I first must tell you all that I have finally gotten a new computer. Therefore, I am blogging from bed, iTunes and Twitter are running simultaneously and should I need to do any last minute research while posting, it will not be a problem. Do you have any idea how long it’s been since I’ve been able to run more than one program at a time? No? Well, let me just say it’s been a long *** time. This is sooooo nice!
But on to baseball…
Did you all hear that the Brewers were moving to Orlando? Some dude running for Congress down there wants a Major League team to move, thus some reporter took that to include the Crew, thus we all think he’s an idiot. It would’ve taken 2 minutes to find out that wasn’t true.
A few guys settled before arbitration hearings are to get underway. Dave Bush agreed to terms with Milwaukee, signing for a year and earning $4.215 million. But, there are a lot of possibilities out there for Bush. He may not make the cut when it comes to the starting rotation. Hell, he may not even make the bullpen with the other guys competing out there. Bush also stands to make up to $110,000 in bonuses but if that’s to happen, he’s gotta shrink that 6.38 ERA.
Also signing this week was starter-***-reliever-***-starter-***-reliever Carlos Villanueva. Villa asked for just over a mill, but signed on for 2010 for $950,000.
The only player yet to sign is right fielder Corey Hart. Hart seems to think he deserves $4.8 million coming off a, well, let’s face it, bad year. And 2009 was only made worse by a missed month with an emergency appendectomy. If Hart and the Brewers don’t come to an agreement, Corey could be on his way out and, I’m gonna just say it: that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.
Milwaukee claimed utility man Joe Inglett off of waivers on Wednesday. This gives the Brewers another left handed bat and an another extremely versatile player should he make the roster out of Spring Traning. His addition meant clearing room on the 40-man, thus designating reliever Chris Smith for assignment. Since Inglett has experience in both the infield and outfield, he’s got increased odds of making the team since the Crew is still in need of bench players that can do either.
In a move that had little to no rumblings in us fans’ heads, the Brewers signed near-40-year-old Jim Edmunds to a minor league contract yesterday. Just last week Edmunds made it clear that he wanted back in the Bigs and GM Doug Melvin was quick to make a move. Should Edmunds make the squad come April, he’s got a chance to hit some career milestones before officially calling it quits. He’s got the goods should he make it to Miller Park, including a career .284 BA, 4 trips to All-Star games and 8 Gold Gloves. Plus, he’s another lefty that can play any spot in the outfield. It’s been reported that Edmunds stands to make as much as $2-2.5 million if he makes the 25-man roster and reaches certain achievements, such as playing a full season.
So, the Brewers have been busy this week but still have a few things to be addressed before the end of February. If the club can’t come to terms with Hart, there’s right field, for starters. And speaking of starters, Melvin still has his eye on Mark Mulder. It may seem like there’s still a lot of time before the start of Spring Traning, but January’s almost over. I do have to say that I’m quite happy with what’s happened this winter, though. This team is really shaping up to be a contender. So…yay!
With the recent addition of Doug Davis, the Brewers now have 6 pitchers contending for spots in the starting rotation.
The Crew’s wishy-washy starting brood managed to muster a 5.37 ERA last year, the highest in the National League. The Brewers snuck in a few bullpen guys like Seth McClung, Chris Narveson and Mike Burns in there at times to try and help out the slumping rotation, but they did little to remedy the situation.
GM Doug Melvin made it clear that Milwaukee was in the market to shed payroll and use the cash for 1 or 2 useful arms to bolster the starting rotation and the new remedies of Davis and fellow lefty Randy Wolf will hopefully prove successful.
Let’s take a look at last year’s numbers, shall we?
Wimpy: Jeff Suppan
7-12 30 Games 5.29 ERA 161.2 IP 80 SO
Wimpy: Dave Bush
5-9 22 Games 6.38 ERA 114.1 IP 89 SO
Wimpy: Manny Parra
11-11 27 Games 6.36 ERA 140.0 IP 116 SO
Lefty: Randy Wolf (LA Dodgers)
11-7 34 Games 3.23 ERA 214. 1 IP 160 SO
Lefty: Doug Davis (Arizona Diamondbacks)
9-14 34 Games 4.12 ERA 146.0 IP 146 SO
Lefty: Manny Parra
Now, don’t get me wrong, there were worse things happening on the mound for the Brewers last year than Manny Parra. Braden Looper gave up 39 homeruns, just as an example. (However, Looper won 14 games.) Parra just needs to get out of his own head. He gets too caught up in one bad performance, hence the stint in Triple-A last season and the trip to the bullpen in ’08. If Manny can calm down and stop psyching himself out, 2010 should be his breakout year that we’ve all been waiting for.
Doug Davis didn’t have the best year in ’09, either, but compared to Milwaukee’s usual suspects, he’s a godsend. Many fans are welcoming him back with open arms and rightfully so. With all the talk about Mark Mulder, I kind of forgot Davis was still on Melvin’s radar. So I’m happy to have seen this deal work out.
What remains to be seen is how the final rotation will shake out for the start of 2010. The Brewers now have 6 established arms competing for 5 spots. I’m not convinced that Jeff Suppan still has what it takes to be a respectable starting pitcher, but he did manage to squeeze out 2 more wins that Dave Bush. Bush, however, pitched in 8 less games than Suppan (and also took a Hanley Ramirez liner off the elbow). Either way, Soup’s still got a year on his contract. Ick.
But in other Brewers news, the Crew has reached agreements with second baseman Rickie Weeks, center fielder Carlos Gomez, outfielder Jody Gerut (I’d rather see Frankie C, but whatev) and pitcher Todd Coffey. Locking up these 4 players for 2010 only leaves Bush, right fielder Corey Hart and reliever Carlos Villanueva. Since the Brewers have a notorious track record of avoiding arbitration hearings, it should only be a matter of days before they’re locked up, too.
Whilst I was recovering from New Year’s Eve Friday afternoon, my dad read me Tom Haudricourt’s Top 10 Brewers Highlights of 2009 from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Before he began the short but sweet countdown, I tried guessing what might be on the list. I was way off base, considering Mr. Haudricourt’s and my definition of “highlight” were a little different.
Here is My (Tom’s) list of Top 10 Highlights for 2009:
1. First baseman Prince Fielder shatters Cecil Cooper’s 26-year club record (126) with 141 RBI, tying Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard for the major league lead. Fielder, who also set a club record with 110 walks, became the first Brewer to lead the majors in RBI since Cooper tied Boston’ Jim Rice in 1983.
**Alright, yes, agreed. Prince Fielder had an amazing year, I’ll give you that. And we fans did wait with baited breath for, like, 7 games for him to finally break that RBI record. And that Cecil Cooper was in town when he did was pretty exciting.