After the Milwaukee chapter of the BWAA totally whiffed on the team awards, Miller Park Drunk wrote a post ripping them (mostly the Journal Sentinel staff) to no end for picking Casey McGehee as the Team MVP, as well they deserved to be ripped for that crap. No doubt McGehee had a great season, but to pick him as MVP over say Rickie Weeks, who won our Team MVP award is downright ridiculous and the stats prove it. So this got Jaymes over at The Brewers Bar thinking that members of the Brewers Blogosphere should also vote on the team awards and that McGehee would not get a single first place vote. Here are the results of that vote. Just want to thank Jaymes again for letting me cast my ballot. Here is said ballot:
1. Rickie Weeks 2. Ryan Braun 3. Prince Fielder Most Valuable Pitcher:
1. Yovani Gallardo 2. John Axford 3. Randy Wolf
1. John Axford 2. Lorenzo Cain 3. Jonathan Lucroy
1. Kameron Loe 2. Zach Braddock 3. Jonathan Lucroy Good Guy Award:
Today news broke that after interviewing nearly a dozen candidates, the Brewers have narrowed down their search to four men to become the eighteenth manager in club history. They plan on having second interviews for those four guys that owner Mark Attanasio will be involved in. If I had to guess at who the "Final 4" are I would say they include Bob Melvin (who most pin as the favorite), Pat Listach, Joey Cora and Tim Wallach. With what I know about these four (which is not a ton, but enough) I can honestly say I would be fine with any of the four. Part of me likes the youth and unknown (since none have managed in the big leagues) of Listach, Cora and Wallach. While the other part likes the fact that Bob Melvin has experience, seems pretty well regarded and has won before. I just trust and hope in both Doug and Mark to pick the guy who they feel can best get this current group of guys to play at a high level and get the most out of them. That is something I am not sure that Ken Macha was able to do in his two seasons in Milwaukee.
Now perhaps the best news was this little blurb from Tom Haudricourt in his JSonline Brewers Blog comments sections:
"I just was told by a very good source that neither Bob Brenly nor Bobby Valentine are in the mix for the Brewers' managerial job. "
Let me just say, THANK GOD. Especially on Brenly. I could live with Bobby Valentine managing the Brewers, but no way in hell could I stand Bob Brenly. I would rather have Macha or Yost back before that happens. Hopefully sometime next week we find out who's hands the Brewers brass gives the keys to drive the 2011 Brewers back to the postseason.
It looks really good, but you know you shouldn't go for it. Now don't get me wrong, I think Zack Greinke is a fantastic, All-Star caliber, #1 starting pitching. And pairing him with Gallardo atop the Brewers rotation would be amazing. And as soon as I read Buster Olney's column Saturday morning where he broke the news that the Royals would shop Zack this offseason I immediately wondered if the Brewers had a chance, but then I thought about it. And like that second donut you think about eating, it seems like a great idea, but you know it isn't.
First there is the group of players you would have to give up for Greinke. It would probably take a package of three or four prospects that are big league ready now or very close to it. Think along the lines of having to part ways with some of the following; Brett Lawrie, Mat Gamel, Lorenzo Cain, Scooter Gennett, Zach Braddock, Mark Rogers, Jeremy Jeffress, Jake Odorizzi and Wily Peralta. These are all players who could be big parts of the next 6-8 years for the Brewers. Is it worth giving up a combination of three or four of these guys and somewhat giving up on the chance to be competitive for the next 6-8 years with cheap, young players?
If you make a deal for Zack, you also only have him signed for the next two seasons ($13.5 mill each year, not real expensive, but not cheap either). After that runs out, if he gives you the type of production you want and expect from him you have to believe he will test the Free Agent waters for one of those big contracts that so many ace type starting pitchers are getting lately. Now if Greinke is willing to talk possible extension before the deal is made and you can come to some sort of agreement, then that is a different story, but the odds of that are very slim.
I do see the point of view from some Brewers fans of going for it by trading for Greinke and keeping Prince for the 2011 season and just taking draft picks when he walks after the season. But going that route really doesn't guarantee you a World Series or even a playoff birth. If it did, sure go ahead make the Greinke deal and hold onto Prince. But of course there is no way of guaranteeing that. So keep all your good young prospects, trade Prince in the offseason for some pitching that can help now and go to war in 2011 with what is already a pretty good team. And know that you still might be able to compete in 2011 and will have plenty of help on the way with all the players I listed off above over the next couple of years to be in contention and get back to the postseason.
Yeah, I said it. And I believe it, but I'm not saying it will happen for sure. But Lorenzo Cain could be a Carl Crawford type talent. This first hit me the other night watching Crawford play in the Rays vs Rangers ALDS game. I am actually surprised I did not make the connection earlier, like during the regular season watching Cain play. There are just so many similarities between Cain and Crawford that it is hard to deny. Okay, here me out.
Both Cain and Crawford started playing baseball at a late age. Most guys that end up playing in the major league's started off playing baseball at age 5 or 6 in tee ball. But Lorenzo and Carl first picked up a bat and glove in their high school years. They both have pure, raw athleticism. This is what allowed two guys who didn't play baseball before high school to pick the game up so quickly and make it to the show. Maybe the current skills that most draws in comparison between the two is speed and defense. Both have tremendous speed that help them cover a lot of ground in the OF. Cain in CF, Crawford in LF although I am sure Crawford could more than handle himself in CF. Their speed also allows them to steal a lot of bases. Crawford is always amongst the lead leaders in steals, Cain stole 124 bases over parts of 6 seasons in the minor leagues and 7 in 43 games for the Brewers in 10'. I would expect in a full big league season for Cain to steal 40+ bases, hopefully the next Manager of the Brewers will be someone who will run a bit more than Ken Macha did.
Finally, both players hit for average and get on base at a good clip to bat in that #2 or #3 spot in the order. And with the speed they have that is what they need to do. Crawford has developed power over time, hitting a career high 19 HR in 2010. Many scouts and teammates of Cain's think he to will develop power and be a guy who can hit 15-20 HR a season. Might take a few years but he should get to that mark like Crawford did. So as you can see, if you compare the skill sets of Lorenzo Cain and Carl Crawford through the eye test as well as look at their minor league stats, they are similar players. Crawford however has proved it at the big league level is a perennial All-Star and is about to cash in big time this offseason as the best position player on the market. Cain got his first taste of big league action and should play his first full season in 2011, for him it could be and hopefully will be the start of a Carl Crawford like career. Stay tuned.
Because the offseason is long and I am bored. Here is my 25 man roster prediction. My gut says they keep Gamel at 3B and move McGehee to 1B, but that could flip-flop. We'll see. My #2 starter is unamed because I feel it will be a player they get back in a Prince Fielder trade. Mark Rogers is too good to not be in the rotation, they can skip some starts to limit his innings. Todd Coffey is non-tendered, comes down to him or Villanueva, they go with Villa. Carlos Gomez starts the season in AAA. They go with young players on the bench, no Counsell.
1. Rickie Weeks - 2B 2. Lorenzo Cain - CF 3. Ryan Braun - LF 4. Corey Hart - RF 5. Mat Gamel - 3B 6. Casey McGehee - 1B 7. Alcides Escobar - SS 8. Jonathan Lucroy - C
Chris Dickerson - OF Brendan Katin - OF George Kottaras - C Joe Inglett - IF Luis Cruz - IF
Yovani Gallardo (Pitcher Acquired In Prince Fielder Trade) Randy Wolf Chris Narveson Mark Rogers
John Axford Zach Braddock Kameron Loe Manny Parra LaTroy Hawkins Carlos Villanueva Mike McClendon
Okay, I know I wrote yesterday that I did not have a front runner or opinion on who the Brewers should hire as their 18th Manager in franchise history. After having a day to think about it, I have changed my mind. I am all in on current Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Dave Martinez. I like Dave for a few different reasons. He has been the Rays bench coach for four seasons now under Joe Maddon. To me Maddon is one of the very best Manager's in baseball. He makes good in-game decisions, is great with his players and dealing with the clubhouse. I would think and hope some of that has worn off on Dave. Martinez is also young, he is only 46 and he played the game as recently as 2001. I think a young manager is exactly what this current Brewers team needs. He also seems to get quite a bit of praise from people around the game, at least that is the impression I get when I have watched Rays games on TV. So when I got to thinking about my selection of backing Dave Martinez I went to the source on all things Tampa Bay Rays. Jonah Keri, here is an email exchange I had with Jonah earlier today.
Jonah, with Macha now officially gone as Brewers manager myself and many other Brewers fans have been speculating who they might hire or at least interview for the job. Someone I have not seen anyone bring up (besides myself of course) is Rays bench coach Dave Martinez. Since you are my #1 source on all things Rays, what do you think/know about Dave?
I know he has been bench coach for 4 seasons under Joe Maddon. That alone has me very interested in Dave because Maddon is one of the best managers in the game and seems to get the most out of his players and does a good job of keeping things good in the clubhouse. I would think some of this has rubbed off on Dave.
Martinez comes with a fine reputation. Players' manager, smart guy - not sure if he'd be as receptive to analytical input as Maddon, but I imagine some of it must rub off.
It wasn't all his fault, he did the best he could with the crappy pitching staffs he was dealt for two straight seasons. But in the end, it came down to his Win/Loss record and the fact that he could not seem to relate to many of the players and get the most out of them. Fair or not, that seemed to be the case. I was always pretty neutral on Macha. Didn't hate him but was not a huge fan. I actually overall agreed with most of his in-game managerial decisions. However, I was not a fan of many of his lineups and stubbornness when it came to playing many of the young players, specifically Mat Gamel, who might be the happiest person after hearing today's news. Four things I will remember most from the Ken Macha era you ask? Poppycock, Zim-Zam, @notkenmacha and his Grandfatherly pre and post game pressers.
Now Doug Melvin will have to hire his third manager during his tenure as Brewers GM. A lot of names floating around, the top two seem to be Bob Melvin and Pat Listach. I don't have a front runner or really an opinion on who they should hire. But those seem to be the two names mentioned most around the message boards and blogs. I just want someone from outside the organization and someone that can come in here and win. But the biggest factor if the new Manager wins or loses might be what Doug Melvin does to shore up the starting pitching and who he gets back in the almost sure Prince Fielder trade. If Doug fails at those two things, so will the next Manager.