Wednesday, January 27, 2010
If you are out at your favorite local pub in Wisconsin talking sports with your buddies and Sheets name comes up, expect two main responses. 1) “Screw Sheets, he sucks. He was always hurt and he's a big wussy who couldn't ever pitch through injuries.” 2) “Yeah, Sheets has had his issues with injuries, but when he is healthy he is as good as any pitcher in baseball. And because of that I would love for him to come back to Milwaukee. Do you not remember how good he was/is?” You can put me in the camp of response #2. Through all of Ben's injuries, I always stuck up for him. The stats and performances don't lie. He is one of the best, if not the best pitcher in Brewers history.
In his eight seasons in Milwaukee Ben complied a 86-83 record, 3.72 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 1206 K's (Club Record) and 313 BB. During that span he also made the All-Star team four times and in the 2004 season he had an 18 strikeout game against the Atlanta Braves. In that 2004 season, had he had more wins he probably would have won the NL Cy Young. He was so incredibly dominate that season. 12-14 record (which cost him the Cy Young, the team was not very good), 2.70 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 264 K's to only 32 BB's, 237 innings and 5 complete games. Probably the best single season for a Brewers pitcher in history.
Of course, everyone knows about Ben's injury plagued 2005, 2006 and 2007 seasons (weird injuries like an inner ear infection, blisters and groin) that hurt himself and the Brewers. Especially that 2007 Brewers team that almost won the NL Central. Had Sheets been healthy, who knows. Then we have the 2008 season, Ben's last as a Brewer. He pitched 198 innings, which was his most since his magical 2004 season. But he missed most of September during the stretch run with an elbow injury and was not able to pitch in the playoffs, which caused the Brewers to throw Jeff Suppan in the pivotal game 4.
Following the 2008 season Ben became a free agent. The Brewers offered him a $12 mill 1 year deal in arbitration. Ben declined, which ended up being great for the Brewers since Sheets did not throw a single pitch in the 08'. He had surgery on the elbow and spent all year rehabilitating. He worked out for scouts last week in Louisiana, looked real good, signed with Oakland Tuesday and that is all she wrote. I wish Ben the best in Oakland, hope he has an awesome year and earns a multi year deal next season. Thanks for the memories Ben. Some day you will be on the Brewers Walk of Fame outside Miller Park. I have no doubt.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Get ready for the return of the 4 hour game this summer at Miller Park. That's right, Doug Davis is back in a Brewers uniform. To say that Davis works “slow” is an understatement. But I could care less how “slow” he works, he is a good pitcher. Davis returns on a 1 year $4.25 mill contract with a $6.5 mill option for 2011. He played for the Crew from 2003-2006 before being traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Johnny Estrada (UGGHHH), GM Doug Melvin still admits to this being the worst trade he has ever made. Adding Davis to a rotation that already added Randy Wolf this offseason makes this rotation better then what the Brewers had last season. Don't get me wrong, I don't think Davis is a great pitcher, but he is a real good one. It's like the Brewers are replacing Looper and Suppan with Wolf and Davis. That is an upgrade, no doubt about it.
Davis is durable, he has made 30+ starts in 5 of the last 6 seasons and is always a lock for 200 innings. He is good for 11-13 wins and has had an ERA above 4.32 only once in the last 7 years. And in 2 of those season his ERA was under 4. He is a fly ball pitcher who can strike batters out when he needs to, the one knock on Davis besides his slow working, he is prone to walk batters. His WHIP is consistently in the 1.4 and 1.5 range. So you know he works a lot with runners on, but he is good at working out of jams and stranding runners on base.
With the addition of Doug I would predict the Brewers rotation to be Gallardo, Wolf, Davis, Bush and Parra. We all know how good Gallardo is and he should improve. Wolf and Davis are what they are and that is good. If Bush is healthy he should be fine, the big question is will Manny Parra finally step up and live up to the high expectations Brewers brass and fans have had for him. Hopefully this is the season that Parra meshes his physical ability with the mental part of the game. So that leaves the final year and bloated contract of Jeff Suppan on the outside looking in. Unless Suppan has some great spring or Parra/Bush flame out badly I think Suppan will and should start the season as the long man out of the bullpen. That would make Suppan, Chris Narveson, Chris Capuano. Josh Butler and Mike Jones as the next guys as depth in case of an injury. And I would say that group of names is better depth then say Mike Burns, Seth McClung and Carlos Villanueva. So this Davis signing also improves the overall depth of the starting pitching. Which was awful last season. Let's put it this way, the Brewers were able to win 80 games in 2009 with the worst starting rotation in baseball, with the addition of Wolf and now Davis if they can make this rotation even average, they should contend for a playoff spot.
Davis has to be the “feel good” signing of the offseason. He was a fan favorite here the first time around (gotta love the “sharpie” style facial hair), married a Wisconsin gal from the Stevens Point area and really enjoyed playing in Milwaukee.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
In your Matt Holliday signing article you wrote that the Reds are the biggest challenger to the Cardinals. Is that because you don't see the Brewers getting fair value for Prince or your not impressed with their farm system?
Klaw (1:15 PM)
Getting fair value for him would mean a rebuild, so it would take them out of contention for a few years. Their system is not strong, especially not in pitching, which is what the big club needs right now. I don't see how they're going to contend with a superior St. Louis club over the next two years without a miracle or two on the pitching staff (like, say, Manny Parra turning into a #2 starter).
Justin (Cheshre, CT)
When are you eligible to vote for the HOF?
Klaw (1:10 PM)
Three years short of forever.
Justin (Normal, IL)
What is worse, the "Dawson played on two bad knees so he should be in the HOF" or the "OBP was not widely known in his era" excuse?
Klaw (1:12 PM)
The latter one. You think Dawson/his contemporaries didn't realize that OUTS were bad?
Phil S. (NJ)
What do you think of the baseball writer tactic of noting a lack of awards that *they voted on* to invalidate a player's Hall candidacy?
Klaw (1:13 PM)
Agreed - rather circular, isn't it? And do you believe the idiots they let vote on those seasonal awards? One guy put Javy Vazquez SECOND on his NL Cy Young ballot!
Gus (New City, NY)
Hello Keith, I could live with Raines and Alomar not getting in to the HOF this year. But can you explain to me how any of the following players even got a vote? Ellis Burks,Eric Karros,Kevin Appier, Pat Hentgen and David Segui. Besides maybe Burks' rookie year, have the words HOF'er ever been used to describe any of these guys ability to play on the MLB level? To me it's more of a joke than a guy like Rice making the Hall. What do you think? Thanks
Klaw (1:22 PM)
It's one of several questions raised by the results. What possible argument is there for a vote for Eric Karros? A friend of the writer? A former source? Because he's a good announcer? There are only bad reasons, and some are, to me, ethical violations. You can't make up rules and you can't use the process to fulfill personal obligations.
Jeff (Ann Arbor)
Do you think Andre Dawson and (especially) Jim Rice would have been elected if there wasn't this ideologic war between old school BBWAA voters and the stat-heads?
Klaw (1:25 PM)
I believe that Rice was elected as part of a backlash. Some old-school voters didn't like to hear that the way they thought about players their whole lives was wrong. Some clearly don't like - or won't accept - that their monopoly on the transfer of information to readers is over. And some are just clinging madly to RBIs like they're life rafts in an ocean.
Mike S (CT)
Keith, anytime you have a chance to elect the tenth-best player on a HOF ballot, you have to do it, right?
Klaw (1:26 PM)
It seems to some writers, it's not enough to be great, but you have to be "famous for being great" as well. How else to explain the difference between Alomar and Larkin's results? Larkin was every bit as good and played a tougher position, but he was underrated at the time, so he continues to be.
Klaw (1:41 PM)
And he played in a smaller market. I think that counts far more in HoF voting than it does in seasonal awards. Tim Raines spends the 80s as a Met and he's in the Hall by now.
You and many others keep advocating Tim Raines as better then Tony Gwynn. This seems an insult to Tony Gwynn. Do you think you could reference other players occasionally instead?
Klaw (1:54 PM)
This has to be a joke, right?
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
While I would not vote for Dawson and don't consider him a HOFer, him getting in is not as big of a travesty as Blyleven once again getting denied and Alomar, one of the greatest 2B of all time not getting in. But a few voters did manage to vote for the likes of Ellis Burks, Eric Karros, Kevin Appier, Pat Hentgen and David Segui. Yes you read that correct, David Segui received one vote. Doesn't that alone taint this voting process and a group of the people who cast the votes? How does one vote for any of those players or hand in a blank ballot? I don't think I could ever understand. It will be fun though to read stuff from Keith Law, Rob Neyer, Joe Posnaski and Craig Calcaterra about this mockery/sham (shamockery!).
The Office: 31% (6 Votes)
Parks and Recreation: 5% (1 Vote)
Curb Your Enthusiasm: 10% (2 Votes)
Modern Family: 21% (4 Votes)
30 Rock: 0%
How I Met Your Mother: 10% (2 Votes)
Big Bang Theory: 21% (4 Votes)
Two and a Half Men: 0%