Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pleasantly Surpirsed

That is how I feel about new Brewers radio announcer Cory Provus. Listening to the first two Brewers spring games on the radio the past two days at work I was really paying attention to get a feel for Provus. I have to say I really like him. He has a smooth voice that actually at times had me almost thinking it was Jim Powell. He painted a good picture of the action on the field, sounded very intelligent on the club already like he has done it for years and he actually says the score (sorry, I love Ueck but dude needs to give the score more). I have to say I was skeptical at first for the Brewers to hire a such a young guy and one who worked for the Cubs mind you. But Cory in only two games has already exceeded my expectations. I also liked the excitement in his voice for HR's and other big plays in the games. I have to say I could get used to hearing Provus for years to come on Brewers radio.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cactus League Action Starts Tomorrow

Tomorrow the Brewers unofficially kick off the 2009 season. It's a real game, but it doesn't count for shit. But it's still the first game and it's exciting if you ask me, but I'm a huge baseball nerd so of course it excites me. They play the Oakland A's at 2:05pm in Maryvale. Pitchers scheduled to throw for the Crew are Jeff Suppan (who will throw 2 innings), Dave Bush, Trevor Hoffman, Eddie Morlan, Lindsay Gulin, Nick Green, Todd Coffey and Jorge Julio (all will throw 1 inning).

On a side note like we all knew already but it was made official today, Ryan Braun was named to team USA for the WBC. He will most likely be their starting LF and bat 5th. That according to a projection on the MLB Network. I'm really looking forward to seeing Braun and team USA get some redemption from the 2006 teams poor showing. Their first game is Saturday March 7th at Noon against Canada.

One of my buddies is looking at getting a Braun USA jersey so I looked at their roster today to see if in fact Braun would be #8 and to my surprise he was not. He is listed as #51, which seems odd considering no one else on the team is wearing #8.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Reader Poll Results

"Do you like the Braden Looper signing?"

Yes, solid pitcher adds more depth: 91% (11 Votes)

No, we were fine with what we had: 0% (0 Votes)

Hell no! Jeff Suppan 2.0: 8% (1 Vote)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Rogers "Progressing"

GREAT NEWS today reported by Adam McCalvy. 2004 1st round pick Mark Rogers who has not pitched in a game in two years because of various shoulder injuries faced live hitters this week in Maryvale. Ken Macha told reporters Mark looked "a little tentative" but its just damn good news to hear Rogers threw off a mound to batters.

Being a huge fan of Mark's since we drafted him on potential alone, it's great to hear he is progressing. Hopefully he can continue to throw with no sidetracks, if he can keep progressing he could be a wild card for this teams pitching staff at some point maybe not this year but next. I'm sure he will start off the year at one of the Brewers A ball clubs and then possibly move up to AA or AAA depending on how well he feels and is throwing.

"No Classic For Me"

Those the words from Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo. As most hoped and assumed Yovani told Mexico he would pass on a chance to pitch for them in the WBC. A tough choice no doubt for Gallardo who really wanted to pitch for his native country. But in the end, he made the right choice. Coming off that knee injury last season I think most Brewers fans and people inside the organization wanted to see Yovani in Brewers camp the entire spring and not risk an injury in the WBC. This should keep Yovani in a routine the entire spring where if he was on team Mexico he might get sporadic work. The Brewers left this decision totally up to Gallardo and its nice to see him put his team first over playing for his native country. I'm sure Yovani will get another chance in 2012.

On another Gallardo related note. I heard on ESPN 540 yesterday during Homer's show that on's site in their Brewers preview Jason Kendall was quoted as saying "I'd be surprised if he didn't win a Cy Young, he's that good." I have to agree with Kendall, yes Yovani has only thrown 134 MLB innings. But the writing is on the wall. He has a the poise, command and confidence of a guy who has pitching for 10 years even though he is only 22. He has a mid 90's fastball, nasty curveball and a good changeup. You can also see he has a fantastic work ethic and wants to win badly. Look no further for that evidence then the fact he came back from a torn ACL in May to pitch in September and October for the Brewers after most (myself included) didn't think we would see him pitch again until this spring. I was as excited to see Gallardo pitch at the end of last year as I was for any of CC's starts. And that is saying a lot. All I know for sure is in my opinion Gallardo posses the kind of stuff that only real special pitchers have. I'm talking HOF special.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not saying Yovani Gallardo will be a HOF, I am saying he has the kind of talent that other HOF have had. It's a matter of putting it all together over a long period of time.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

News And Notes 2/17/09 Edition

Busy day if your a member of the Milwaukee Brewers or a fan of the club. So much news going around I have to give my thoughts all in one post are I would be making multiple posts in one day which is something I don't like to do all that often. Mostly because I'm lazy and because it just seems pointless.

Okay so even though we know that Yovani Gallardo is the best and most talented of any of the Brewers starting pitchers he will not be starting on Opening Day 09' in San Francisco. Ken Macha made that decision today. I can't say I agree with it, but I suppose he doesn't want to put too much pressure on a 23 year old who missed most of 2008 with that ACL injury. But me personally knowing what I know of Yovani, he can handle it and wants that pressure.

Rickie Weeks and JJ Hardy will probably bat 1-2 in the lineup. That seemed kind of obvious. Moving along to the two biggest stories of the day from Brewers camp.....

Eric Gagne is back. Yes, it is hard to believe I just typed those words. He signed a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. Let me say I LOVE this deal. No risk, all reward if he pitches the way he did the second half and especially down the stretch in a setup role in 2008. This now gives the Crew quite a bit of depth in the bullpen and should make for a competitive camp. If Gagne makes the team he will earn a $1.5 mill base salary and another $2 mill in incentives. The Brewers have until March 25th to put Gagne on the 40 man roster or he becomes a free agent. This was a crazy development that came WAY out of left field. Its another great move by Doug Melvin.

And the last and most refreshing news of the day, Corey Hart and the Brewers agreed on a 1 year deal avoiding arbitration. One day before going in front of an arbiter the two sides met in the middle. Hart wanted $3.8 mill the Brewers offered $2.7 mill. Hart accepted $3.25 mill. A good deal for both parties. I thought for sure this was gonna go to arbitration, maybe Hart and his agent decided it wouldn't be good for Corey to hear the Brewers rip his dreadful second half and more specific September last year. Whatever, Corey is happy and Doug Melvin keeps his arbitration hearings at zero since becoming GM of the team in 2003.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Reader Poll Results

"Are you a Ben Sheets apologist?"

Yes: 35% (6 Votes)

No: 64% (11 Votes)

Hall Injured, Before Position Players Even Report?

Billy Hall who had the inside track to be the starting 3B this season or at least half of a platoon with Mike Lamb now will not. At least at the start of the season. Hall tore his left calf muscle yesterday while exercising on his own, position players don't even officially report until the 17th. Tough break for Hall who will now miss 4 to 6 weeks which could carry into the beginning of the regular season. I feel bad for Hall as I think he had a chance to put it together again like he did in 05' and 06' after having lasik eye surgery. Now Hall will have to make up for missed time to do that.

If there is anybody happy about this news it has to be Casey McGehee and Mat Gamel. Those two will now get more reps at 3B. McGehee is a right handed batter who may get the opportunity to platoon with Mike Lamb in Hall's place. Gamel is the Brewers 2nd best prospect who now has the chance to show everyone his glove has improved and if he blows everyone away with hist bat which is possible he could start at 3B opening day for the Crew. Everyone knows Gamel's bat can play in the bigs already, but his glove is considered worse then Braun's was in 2007. However, Gamel has improved each year with the glove so maybe he makes a big enough jump this year to make the opening day roster. Stay tuned.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Two Words: Pitcher And Catchers (Technically Three, But You Get It)

Today, Friday February 13th, 2009 pitchers and catchers of the Milwaukee Brewers report to spring training in Maryvalle, Arizona. Man that is awesome. Fresh off their first postseason appearance in 26 years, they get ready to embark on a journey hopefully back to the postseason for the second straight season. Most of the core from last years club is back and ready to improve. There is no CC Sabathia or Ben Sheets anymore, but there is a healthy Yovani Gallardo, free agent Braden Looper and the all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman at the back of the bullpen. Ken Macha is now calling the shots from the dugout and he has already been a breath of fresh air after the Ned Yost era.

As a baseball fan this has always been an exciting day because it is day 1 of a new beginning. The slate is wiped clean and the hope and excitement of a new season is starting. In a week or so the rest of the position players will show up then another week and they starts playing spring games. Before you know it it will be April and Opening Day will be here! I feel like a school girl right now I'm so giddy. And that is kind of weird, but not really. I mean this is Brewers baseball we are talking about.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Fantasy Baseball 2009 Is Here!

You can now sign up for 2009 fantasy baseball league's at Hells yes! You know were close to spring training and the start of another season of the worlds greatest game when you can create Yahoo fantasy baseball leagues. It smells like spring. I created my league today that I'm commissioner for. I'm a big fan of the MLB Network show "Prime 9" so I stole that and am calling my league this season "PrimeNine09". My team name for 2009 will be "Melvin's Apprentice" and my avatar is the picture of Doug and I from Brewers "On Deck". Got my rankings all set in my Excel spreadsheet and I'm ready for draft day and to win my 1st championship. I have come in 2nd and 3rd in a few leagues since I started playing in 2006 but this year I feel like its my time. Just got to fend off 13 of my friends.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Looper In The "Loop" In Milwaukee

Well, just when we thought and were told by Owner Mark Attanasio and GM Doug Melvin that the Brewers were done spending money this offseason and were heading into spring training with the team they had. They go and do the exact opposite. Today Haudricourt reported that the Brewers have agreed to a deal in principle with free agent starting pitcher Braden Looper, pending a physical.

Looper has been in the big leagues since 1998, spent most of his time as a releiver/closer until the last two years when he was a starter in St. Louis. The deal for Looper will be a 1 year deal for $5 mill with some kind of option for 2010. Another solid move by one of the better GM's in all of baseball. Looper is not an ace or even a #2 starter but he is a guy who pitched 199 innings last year, won 12 games, had an ERA of 4.16 and improved from his first year as a starter in 2007 to his second year in 2008. Hopefully he improves on his 2008 in 2009 as a member of the Brewers.

Maybe the best thing is you add depth by signing Looper. This allows you to move Seth McClung into the bullpen as that long reliever/spot starter which he was quite good in last season. Now your rotation will be Gallardo, Parra, Bush, Looper and Suppan. And then if there were to be an unfortunate injury you have McClung, Wright, Capuano and DiFelice waiting. Depth, which is something we did not have to much of a week ago we now have.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Sheets And Surgery

What a fucked up offseason it has been for Ben Sheets. And the other day it got even more fucked. Sheets will in fact have to have surgery on his elbow. And now it looks very unlikely that any team will sign Sheets until after June when he is ready to pitch again after the surgery and thus screwing the Brewers out of a draft pick. Apparently there is some rule that if a class A or B free agent does not sign with a team until after the draft the team that is losing that player does not get a pick.

The Texas Rangers were all set to give Sheets a 2 year deal but then he failed his physical because of the elbow and then it was decided that surgery was the only option. Because Ben hurt the elbow during the 2008 season when he was a Brewer, they will be on the hook for the cost of the surgery.

Man the Ben Sheets story has just turned into more and more of a mess with every injury he has had. Sheets is a guy who when healthy is as good as ANY pitcher in MLB but since his healthy and fantastic 2004 season Ben has not had a clean season of health. Missing parts of 05', 06' 07' and 08' with various injury's. I have always been a Sheets fan and wish him the best. I was still holding out hope he would return to Milwaukee but that ship has sailed. And now we won't even get a draft pick out of it.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Brewers Hope Chase Has "Wright" Stuff In 2009

I know, I know a little tacky on the title of this post. But today the Brewers did FINALLY add some pitching depth by trading for LHP Chase Wright from the New York Yankees for OF/C Eric Fryer. Both players were minor leaguers in the deal. Wright however has had a taste of big league ball in 2007. And was actually 2-0, but he was the guy that gave up four straight HR's to the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. I remember watching that game on ESPN it was crazy, I of course had no idea who Wright was at the time. The player the Brewers gave up Fryer was an A ball player.

Despite Wright having a rocky time in his MLB cup of coffee in 07' he has had very good minor league numbers. He doesn't strike out a lot of batters but doesn't walk a lot either. He is a groundball pitcher with a good two seam fastball, curve and a change. Wright was added to the Brewers 40 man roster which is now at 40. He is on a minor league deal but is getting an invite to Brewers spring camp to see what he has. I think this is a great move, your not giving up much in an A ball player and your getting a LHP with some upside who will add some depth to your starting pitching. Another great move by Doug Melvin.

And speaking of pitching depth today the Brewers also signed former Yankee Ramiro Mendoza to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Costas Added To MLB Network Lineup

Well it was rumored for quite sometime and today it became reality. Bob Costas has officially signed on with the MLB Network. I have really enjoyed the MLB Network since it debut on January 1st and now adding Costas to an already great group of on-air talent only makes the network that much better. However, this also put an end to the great "Costas Now" show on HBO since Costas had to leave that network to join MLB Network. Costas will stay on doing his normal duties for NBC though.

The main thing Costas will be doing at MLB Network is hosting his own hour long show "MLB Network Studio 42 with Bob Costas". The first episode will air this Thursday and his first guest will be Dodgers Manager Joe Torre. Bob will also be hosting some of the original programming and will do play-by-play for "select" regular season games on MLB Network. Hells yes! Costas is easily one of my all-time favorite baseball play-by-play guys. I can still remember the good old days when NBC had the World Series and Costas, Uecker and Morgan used to man the booth. So much better then the crap that is Fox's team of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver.

Brewers Avoid Arby Hearing With Weeks

Brewers have avoided an arbitration hearing with 2B Rickie Weeks today. Seems like a nice deal for both parties, Brewers gave him a little more then the midpoint of their offer and what Rickie wanted at $2.45 mill. Well this seems to me and most like the make or break year for Rickie Weeks. The guy was the 2nd overall pick in the 2003 draft and had so much hype around him that he was rushed a bit to the big leagues but that excuse does not work anymore. He has been up since June of 2005 so it is put up or shut up time for Weeks. We have all seen "flashes" of brilliance and greatness from Rickie. But we have seen much more of a player who make easy plays into errors at 2B and a guy who strikes out too much because he swings at to many breaking balls in the dirt.

I doubt at this point Weeks will ever reach his "potential" we put on him when he was drafted and raking in the minor leagues but if he can just be more consistent at the plate and in the field I think he can be a very solid 2B all around. If he could hit around .270 with 15-20 HR, drive in 60 runs, have an OBP in the .360 or higher range and steal more then 20 bases I would be more then happy and ready to lock him up long term. Of course being able to turn a routine double play and cutting his error totals will be huge as well.

I have been very hard on Rickie Weeks, but I'm going to keep an open mind this season and see where we are at the end of this season in his progression as a ball player. He does have tremendous raw ability and is too talented to stink for much longer. I also hope being able to work with a guy like Willie Randolph everyday will help Mr. Weeks.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Out Of Options

MLB Trade posted a list of players on teams that are out of options to the minor leagues. Brewers CF Tony Gwynn, Jr. was on the list. Who cares? Gwynn is worthless, if his name wasn't Tony Gwynn no one would even care about this guy. Besides speed and being a pinch runner what does he bring to the table? He isn't that good of hitter and has no power with his wet paper towel for a bat. He doesn't even bunt all that well or carry a high OBP. So really he doesn't do anything you would want from a leadoff hitter with no power. I really hope he does not break camp on the Brewers 25 man roster, right now Trot Nixon is my choice to be the Brewers 4th OF. Sorry Tony, but all you got his a name. That is it.

Brewers Still Behind 2004's 1st Round Pick

Nice article by Haudricourt today at JSonline about former 1st round pick Mark Rogers. It is a shame Rogers has had the shoulder issues that have stalled his path to the Major Leagues. Like Tom states in the article right now a 1-2-3 punch of Gallardo, Parra and Rogers would look awful nice atop the rotation. Rogers was taken in the 1st round in 04' when Yovani Gallardo was taken in the 2nd round. The Brewers must still think enough of Rogers since they added him to their 40 man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.

Because of the shoulder injury and two procedures Rogers has missed the last two seasons. Crazy to think he has not thrown a single pitch in 2007 or 2008. He is feeling no pain now and is rearing to go. Hopefully he can shake of the rust of two seasons of not pitching and get right into it this spring. With the Brewers lack of depth at starting pitching it would be great to see Rogers do well in spring so that he can start at AA Huntsville or AAA Nashville and be ready if the Brewers need him at some point in 2009. I don't know how much the injuries have hurt his velocity but when he was drafted he had an electric fastball and a great curveball.