Saturday, January 31, 2009

Lazy Saturday

Well today was one of those great lazy weekend days for me. Slept in till 9:30am which felt absolutely great. I can't remember the last Saturday or Sunday that I slept past 8am. Had some time to kill before the Marquette V Georgetown game at 1pm (what a great game, Marquette continues to prove that they are for real and I'm starting to believe that they can go DEEP into the NCCA Tourney this year. They also are very fun to watch with their up tempo game and great defense.). I remembered that I had a Half Priced Books gift card that I had gotten from my soon to be mother in-law for Christmas so I figured I got time I will go finally get something with it. I love shopping there at least once every month or so because you never know what you will find which is something I have always loved about second hand stores. Well I think I made out pretty good today.

I got three CD's and a book for $28. First lets start with the CD's, got Pearl Jam's "Yield" which was the only PJ CD I had not yet owned so I was pretty psyched when I found it. Second was Rush's "Moving Pictures". I always respected Rush and thought they were a good band but it was not until recently when I started buying some of their album collection. Lee, Lifeson and Peart are FANTASTIC musicians at their respective instruments. I wish I had gotten "into them" sooner and would love to see them live at some point which I heard is amazing. And third a hip-hop classic that reminds me of middle school, The Fugees "The Score". I had a copy years ago and have no idea what happened to it, this album could almost be a soundtrack to my middle school years.

And finally the book I bought which ties us into the baseball aspect of this blog was Bill Simmons "Now I Can Die In Peace". I have wanted to buy or at least check this book out of the library for awhile now. Simmons has been pretty much the only person I find worth reading over at as I like his everyday fan aspect that he brings into his columns and "BS Report" podcasts which people like myself can easily relate to. He is not some stuck up, smug I'm better then you type sports writer. Looking forward to reading the book, already read the first chapter and have already been entertained.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Oliver Perez, Ummm Hell No

A laughable report by John Heyman on MLB Network last night that the Brewers were "in" on Mets free agent pitcher Oliver Perez. It's just straight up Scott Boras propaganda to create a fictional market for Perez. Perez is a good pitcher, but his 4.22 ERA 125 NL leading walks and 1.40 WHIP is not worth the dollar amount Boras wants for him nor giving up a 1st round draft pick since Perez is a type A free agent.

I want the Brewers to add at least one more starting pitcher before camp starts as much as anybody. But I would be PISSED if they blew money on Perez. The only pitcher left on the market that would be worth spending a big dollar amount on would be Sheets, but for 1 or 2 years max. I think Perez is looking for 3 or 4 years. And luckily we have a smart GM who when asked by Haudricourt about the report said: "Absolutely not." Thanks for being a smart GM Doug and not an idiot.

I still have interest in Garland or Looper but I'm not sure we will even sign one of them. They even in this bad market are still looking for more then they are worth being 4+ ERA type pitchers. We shall see what happens, only 16 days until pitchers and catchers report to Maryvale, AZ.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My Day At Brewers "On Deck" 2009

My three friends and I arrived at the Midwest Airlines Center around 8:30am, thank God we were able to wait inside unlike when they have held the event at Miller Park. The event was set to open at 10am. To our surprise there were not really as many people lined up as we thought. We knew we would easily have a chance to go for any player we wanted for autographs. My plan going into the event since I knew we were not going to get there super early was just to get a ball signed by Dave Bush. But I kind of changed my mind when I had the chance to meet and get a ball signed by the franchise Ryan Braun. It was a fun day, but a lot of standing around in lines. Which I know is the price you pay when you go to an event like this and are seeking autographs for your memorabilia collection.

I was a little disappointed that because we had to wait in line for Braun we missed out on seeing the Trevor Hoffman press conference as well as the Q&A with Melvin and Ash. But I can't complain to much since later on I was able to meet Melvin and get a picture with him, which was right up there with meeting Braun. At one of the Brewers merch stands I got a sweet Brewers "Octoberfest 2008" playoff shirt for only $5, I thought that was a steal. They had a bunch of sports card vendors there as well and at one I spent $3 on the only card made that shows CC Sabathia in a Brewers uni as a Brewer. It was from some 2008 Topps Update set. I thought it was another nice memento to remember that fantastic half a season with Sabathia as a Brewer. Here are a few pictures from the day.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Counsell To Play The "Gritty" Veteran Again For Brewers

Veteran utility infielder Craig Counsell will once again play that role for the Brewers in 2009 as he and the Brewers agreed to a 1 year $1 mill contract. Should be made official after the weekend. this will be Counsell's 4th season as a Brewer.

I like the deal overall. Counsell actually had an option on his last contract for this year at $3.4 mill which the Brewers of course declined. Sorry Craig but no way you are worth that much now or really at any point in your career. Counsell is what he is, an above average defender at three infield positions (2B, SS and 3B) to spell a starter once in awhile, a gritty veteran presence on a young club and a decent left handed bat off the bench who can draw, lay down a bunt or come up with a big base hit. It is always nice to have one guy on your club that can do the things Counsell does as long as you don't have to rely on him for anything more then that.

Basically if Counsell has to make a lot of starts or get a lot of AB's you are in trouble. But we have Rickie at 2B, JJ at SS and a Hall/Lamb platoon at 3B. So I pretty much just picture Counsell giving Rickie and JJ a rest here and there.

Tomorrow is Brewers "On Deck", I must say I'm quite excited. Like I have said before being able to spend an entire day at the end of January in Wisconsin when it's like 10 degrees out around baseball activities can give you warm feelings. I think I'm most looking forward to the Trevor Hoffman press conference and the Q&A with GM's Doug Melvin and Gord Ash. I also plan on getting a ball signed by my boy Dave Bush. Sunday or Monday I should have a post up on the happenings from the day and some pictures.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fielder To Complain Less About Contract This Season

Well it appears that the Brewers and 1B Prince Fielder have a deal in place to pay the big man $18 mill over the next two seasons, thus buying out Prince's first two years of arbitration. The deal is expected to be made "official" tomorrow after his physical. Of course everyone remembers Prince's well documented distaste for having his contract renewed before the 2008 season for only $670,000, after he just belted 50 HR's in 2007, the youngest player ever to do so.

I would imagine there will be no talk of that now with Prince about to sign this very nice contract. I would say this is actually a better deal for the club then for Fielder. If Prince has another big year in 2009 you don't have to worry about having to go into arby before next season with him where he could possibly ask for and get more then $12 mill. Also if you decide to trade Prince before the 2010 season a team will see that $11 mill salary for 2010 as a bargain plus having the opportunity to have him for his 3rd and final arbitration season and that could get the Brewers more value in a trade.

Maybe the best piece of information around all this Prince news the last two days is that Satan, oops I did it again, I mean Scott Boras told Haudricourt that Prince has lost weight since the end of the 2008 season and is committed to a conditioning program. Thank God for that, because he gained quite a bit of weight from 07' to 08' and was probably the most fat vegetarian in history.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Jersey Numbers

So being the nerd that I am I was browsing and I clicked on the roster link and it appears they have updated every players jersey number on the 40 man roster. Guys who previously had a just a line where their number would have been now have numbers and a few players have changed numbers. Here are the ones I noticed:

Jorge Julio will wear #50
Hernan Irribarren wore #26 in his cup of coffee last year, now #9
Trevor Hoffman of course will wear #51
Brad Nelson wore #40 during his cup of coffee last year, now #27
Angel Salome wore #50 during his cup of coffee last year, now #13
Manny Parra wore #43 during his first two years, now #26
Mike Lamb wore #47 last year, now #20

If I remember correctly when Ken Macha was introduced as Manager at his press conference in October he was given a jersey with #40 on it by Melvin, so I'm guessing that is why Nelson switched.

Powell Going Home Back To The ATL

One half of the Brewers radio announce team for the past 13 years is heading back home. Jim Powell who has teamed with Bob Uecker calling Brewers games for the past 13 years has accepted a job with him home town Atlanta Braves.

This was rumored a few months back but was made official today by an Atlanta newspaper. I wish Jimmy all the best, sucks to see him go. I have enjoyed many Brewers games hearing him and Uecker not only call the action but be very entertaining on-air talking about old stories and even non-baseball stuff. One of the things that I always really enjoyed about Powell was his frequent talk about minor league players and what was going on "down on the farm", it was nice to be educated about or system and future Brewers.

I can't blame Powell for leaving, if I was an announcer for any MLB team other then the Brewers and then the Brewers had an opening and wanted me you can bet I would be out the door as well. Seeing Jim goes makes it even a little sweeter that the Brewers made the playoffs in his last year in the WTMJ 620/Brewers Radio Network booth.

No word on a replacement yet. And I don't even have a clue of any candidates. I will say if they wanted to go the route of having a play-by-play guy and analyst at the same time how about Uecker and Jeff Cirillo?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Lots Of Arby Stiff Goin Down Today

Lots of little bits of news about the remaining Brewers arbitration eligible players broke out today little by little Of course Haudricourt was all over it all day here.

McClung signed a 1 year $1.6625 mill deal. The other players left Fielder, Hart and Weeks all submitted their numbers and none matched with what the club submitted. But none of the three are too far apart. So baring something crazy none should go to a hearing and all three should be able to meet in the middle and avoid a hearing.

Fielder and his agent Satan, errrr I mean Scott Boras want $8 mill, the Brewers offered $6 mill. Myself and most thought Fielder would be looking for $10 mill so only being $2 mill apart they should be able to get it done. I would say Fielder is probably worth at least $7 mill.

Corey Hart wanted $3.8 mill, Brewers offered $2.7 mill. Personally I would say Corey Hart is worth the $3.8 mill, that ain't much to pay a guy who although was terrible in September was an All-Star and had a very good all around year.

Rickie wants $2.8 mill in 09', Brewers say no. We want to give you $2 mill. I side the Brewers on this one. Weeks should make no more then $2 mill.

All in all, not bad that they were able to get McClung done and are very close with Fielder, Hart and Weeks. If any of these go to a hearing I would be pretty shocked. Even Fielder with Boras I expect them to settle in the middle and get the deal done.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Brewers "On Deck" Event Details For 1/24

The Brewers have announced all the details for their yearly fanfest "On Deck" event. It is one week from today on January 24th. Already got my tickets, going with three of my buddies. Should be a good time. I know a lot of people complained because you had to pay to get in and have to pay for some of the players autographs, which you didn't have to do in years past. Personally I don't mind, I like that they are having it on winter instead of right before the season starts. Gives you another chance/reason to think baseball when it is freezing out here in Wisconsin. I think the Midwest Airlines Center is a good place to host the event, and really is $15 to much to pay to get into a 7 hour Brewers event AND the stub from the even gets you a FREE terrace ticket to any one of the games against the Reds April 13-15? I think not.

As for the autographs, only three people cost $25. Ryan Braun, Trevor Hoffman and Bob Uecker. You would pay much more for any of those guys at a card show or signing through a memorabilia company. Every other player is $10 or free. I'm looking to try to get a ticket for Dave Bush who is $10 and a ticket for Mat Gamel/Angel Salome who are free. There will be 250 tickets for each player/coach/personality at the event, you can only pay cash.

Mostly looking forward to the press conference that they are holding at 10:30am to introduce Trevor Hoffman to Milwaukee. Pretty cool that we the fans will be able to attend something like this. Also should be cool to see some of the Q and A sessions they are going to do with players and coaches. All in all will be a really fun day to get pumped for the 2009 season. Let's just hope the Wisconsin weather cooperates.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Brewers Avoid Arby Hearing With Bush (My Most Underrated Player)

Just like with JJ Hardy, the Brewers avoided an arbitration hearing by agreeing to a 1 year $4 mill contract with Dave Bush. A nice little raise for Bush who made $2.55 Mill in 2008. Bush had a solid 2008 after a very rocky start in April and May that got him demoted to AAA Nashville. He went 9-10 with a 4.18 ERA and sparkling WHIP of 1.14. After the All-Star break Bush was 7-3 with a 3.23 ERA. Oh and you can't forget that gem he pitched in game 3 of the NLDS against the Phillies at Miller Park.

To me Bush is the most underrated player on the club. I will be honest with you, I chastised this guy at the beginning of last year when he had that ERA over 6 and was giving up long ball after long ball. But when you look at what he has done since joining the Brewers in 2006 (now as the prize of the Overbay trade), what he did after April/May last year and at his stuff he is a damn good pitcher and has become one of my favorites on the Brewers. The thing with Dave Bush is he has always given up HR's, (25+ the each of the last 3 seasons) but he doesn't give up a lot of walks or hits. When he gets in trouble it's long balls early in the game. If he can cut down on the HRs given up he could easily have an ERA under 4.

Besides giving up the HR the only other thing holding Dave back from being a legit #3 pitcher and possibly a #2 is slow starts. He historically has been bad in April and May, real bad. Bush told the JS's Tom Haudricourt today that he hopes and plans to find his groove much earlier in the season. I will go out and say right now on January 15th, Dave Bush will win at least 14 games for the Brewers in 2009. You heard it here first. He has already won 12 twice, he can make it to 14 with another ERA around 4 give or take and another WHIP in the 1.14ish range. Please make me look smart Dave, for your sake, mine and most important the Brewers.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Brewers Avoid Arby Hearing With Hardy

Brewers avoid a salary arbitration hearing and have agreed to a 1 year contract with JJ Hardy. Deal is worth $4.65 mill. Seems like a good deal to me and pretty cheap, still hope we can lock him up long term at some point. In my opinion Hardy may be the fourth best SS in all of MLB behind only the 3 R's (Ramirez, Rollins and Reyes). I suppose locking JJ up for the long term like they did Braun last year comes down to what the Brewers think of/want to do with Alcides Escobar. Should be interesting watching that situation unfold over the next couple years. The thing that gives me high hopes for Hardy in the future is he seems to have gotten better every year and I don't think he has reached his ceiling yet, which is scary.

Monday, January 12, 2009

"The Greatest Of All Time" Rickey Gets Into HOF On 1st Ballot, Rice on 15th

The 2009 MLB Hall of Fame class will consist of two. The first is the greatest base stealer of all time and all-time leader in runs scored former A's (and a bunch of other teams) LF Rickey Henderson who was the greatest leadoff hitter ever and will probably deliver the greatest acceptance speech of all time (Rickey was never short of words in his career, one of the best guys to quote). The second is Red Sox great LF Jim Rice who in his 15th and final time on the ballot FINALLY got enough votes to get in. Glad to see Rice finally get the call, well deserved as far as I'm concerned. Kind of hard to believe some knobs didn't vote for Henderson as he was not unanimous. Although there has never been a unanimous choice. Yes, there were some people who did NOT vote for Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Tom Seaver, etc. Doesn't make much sense does it?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Finally! My MLB Network Works!

Since my move at the end of December and now being a Time Warner Cable customer and not a Charter Cable customer I have not had the pleasure of viewing the new MLB Network. I was so excited to do so since back in October when I heard about the launch of the channel. For some reason the channel was not coming through our digital cable box at the house, I finally called and they decided they had to send a technician out. Well not only did they send one, it was a TWO technician job. Basically it was a "signal" problem the nice gentlemen from Time Warner told me. The splitters that were in the house (this is my future mother in-laws house, my fiancee and I are staying with her temporarily until our wedding in May and we get our own house) were bad and they simplified things threw in a new splitter, a few cables and then everything worked!

My impressions of the network thus far are positive. I have enjoyed the classic games that I have seen and really like the Prime 9 series show. I saw Prime 9 on centerfielders and all-time HR's. They had a little to much Red Sox stuff on this weekend. A lot of various shows that focused on Red Sox history and such, but it's better then a bunch of Cubs or Yankees shows I guess.

I'm really looking forward tomorrow to seeing my first episode of "Hot Stove" their live show that airs each weeknight from 6 to 7. Hopefully they will have some Brewers news to report. Also tomorrow they are going to have some Hall of Fame induction selection show on in the afternoon that I believe will re-run at night.

So all in all, I love it like I thought I would. And I also look forward to seeing much more of Hazel Mae, who gives me a weird feeling. Like when I used to climb the rope in gym class.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

As Time Goes By.....

It is of my personal opinion that the more time that goes by with Ben Sheets un-signed and that the Brewers don't sign a different free agent starting pitcher the more likely it is that Sheets returns to Milwaukee on a 1 year deal. Possibly with incentives or an option for a 2nd year. I just get a hunch that as more time goes on with no teams really interested in Ben that he and the Brewers can come to a mutual deal. I have no doubt that if Sheets did not have a past of injuries he would have been one of the first free agents off the board this offseason and would have gotten a nice multiple year contract.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Brewers Have Their 2009 Closer And He Is The All-Time Saves Leader

It became official today (pending a physical of course) but the Brewers have signed the all-time saves leader and future HOF Trevor Hoffman (554 saves) to a 1 year deal worth $6 mill with another $1.5 mill in incentives. I think it's a great deal for the Brewers. They fill their closer needs with the best ever. Sure he has just turned 41 but had been very good still the last few years. I expect good things from Hoffman in 09'. I think he will be better then Gagne or Torres was in 08'. It came down to the Dodgers or the Brewers for Hoffman and he chose to leave the west coast where he calls home and played in San Diego for 16 years to come to the heart of the Midwest. Bottom line, the Brewers made the bigger push. Manager Ken Macha, trainer Roger Caplinger and players Mike Cameron and Jason Kendall all contacted Hoffman about coming to Milwaukee. Just awesome, the Brewers will have a presser once Hoffman passes the physical which should not be a problem. I heard in various interviews on the radio today with baseball media that Hoffman keeps himself in top physical condition, a work out freak.

I can't wait the first time I'm at Miller Park this season and I get to hear AC/DC's "Hells Bells" as Hoffman the future HOF walks out of the bullpen in a Brewers uniform to shut down another team. It is going to be fantastic. Now Doug Melvin if you wouldn't mind, go sign a starting pitcher like Ben Sheets, Jon Garland or Braden Looper. Thanks Doug, we appreciate it.

Hoffman And Brewers "Close"

According to the Brewers and all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman are very "close" on a deal. According to the source it is very close to happening. Hopefully it will be official sometime today.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

And I Thought The T206 Honus Wagner Was The Most Rare Baseball Card

Seen this story over at, my absolute favorite sports blog. A women out in Fresno, California named Bernice Gallego (no relation to former Athletic Mike, as far as I know) may have found the first baseball card ever produced. It is a card of the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings. The card could be worth 6 figures, and she once had it on eBay for $10. Wow.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

AC/DC Could Be Blaring Through Speakers At Miller Park In 2009

Yup, "Hells Bells" by AC/DC could be a song you hear quite often at Brewers home games in 2009, specifically when the Brewers have leads going into the top of the 9th. The all-time saves leader in MLB Trevor Hoffman is now a serious target for Doug Melvin and the Crew. Melvin had talks today with Hoffman's agent Rick Thurman who told the Journal Sentinel that the interest is mutual between the Brewers and Hoffman. Hoffman is 41 so the age factor is there, he is probably seeking a 2 year deal for around $7-$9 mill per year. The Dodgers are also said to have had serious talks with Thurman about Hoffman. But it is said that Hoffman wants to close, something he would not do in LA because of Jonathan Broxton, that should give the Brewers a small edge.

Personally I hope we get the deal done. Closer is a need for the club and Hoffman although 41 still seems to have gas in the tank. He converted 30 of 34 save chances in 2008, had an ERA of 3.77, WHIP of 1.037 and 46 K's to only 9 BB's in 45.3 innings pitched. I don't think signing a 41 year old who just came off a good season to a two year deal would be to risky. Cant be anymore risky then signing Eric Gagne to a 1 year $10 mill contract, could it? Talks between Thurman and Melvin should continue tomorrow, hopefully a deal will be struck shortly after.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I'm Back! And The Brewers Still Have Not Done Shit.

Well the holidays are over and my move is complete. So we are finally updating VFBC. First off I have decided to no longer post follow ups to the reader polls. Mostly because I'm lazy and because I'm sure people can see the results and don't need me to explain them. I will probably leave it up for 2 days after the poll closes so people can see the final results, then I will put up a new poll. Sound good? Yeah I thought so to.

Well the Brewers still very quiet on the hot stove front. I think sometime this week or next we will see Melvin make some moves, just my gut feeling. With Randy Johnson now signed with the Giants we can take him off our wish list. The Brewers have recently been linked to Derek Lowe as a "mystery" team, whatever that is. I like Lowe a lot and would love to sign him, but I don't think we have the money to throw at him. If he could be had for 3 years $42-$45 mill I would pull the trigger on that in a heartbeat. But it sounds like Lowe is looking for around $16 mill a season and is a Boras client that coupled with his age not sure he is quite worth that kind of money. He is very good, durable and eats innings though. I would now put him behind Ben Sheets as my top two choices for a starting pitcher. Problem is both of those seem like long shots. Because of that I would say some more realistic choices for the Brewers to add to the rotation would be John Smoltz, Jon Garland or Braden Looper. I wouldn't have a problem with either of those three.

As for a closer, I really like Brandon Lyon and to a lesser extent Takashi Saito. Both could be had fairly cheap. The thing with Saito is his injured elbow, that is a concern so he would have to get checked out. But Lyon would be an awesome power arm closer and it would allow us to not have to worry about using Carlos Villanueva or Seth McClung in that role. I really hope Melvin considers one of these two and gets them soon before another team finally steps up and signs them.