Doug "The Wizard" Melvin has been hard at work in these dark days of December. It's just too bad that his magic seems to have weakened this off season. With the signings of Alex Gonzalez and K-Rod fresh in my head I have to ask...why? Granted nothing could match the fireworks we got last year as word traveled around about lucrative pick ups, and head scratches, and long shot payoffs, but are the Brewers grasping at straws to try and hold on to a contending team after the loss of Prince? Straw number one for me would be the signing of Yuni's more agile, and older, brother Alex Gonzalez.
Gonzalez has had a spotty history at best with most of his employment coming because of his glove, not his bat. In 13 seasons Gonzalez has a batting average of .247, and even Kotsay is laughing at that number. But, the story gets deeper when you take into account the fact that he has a steadily rising K%, up 6% since 2009, the inability to take any walks, career average 4.8%, and a propensity to swing at outside pitches. Really stacked up back to back Yuni would be his offensive peer, and if we want to get really real historically Yuni and Gonzalez are only separated by .002 in career fielding percentage (FP).
I wanted someone other than the Cuban Ballerina too, but that doesn't mean that we just go and sign his doppelganger. Granted it is obvious that Gonzalez saves a ton more runs when we look at the vast expanse between Gonzalez and Yuni's UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating). UZR is compiled differently than FP in that it takes into account variables that get left out since FP is a simple formula, putouts and assists divided by putouts + assists + errors, while UZR will tell you how efficient the player is at turning 2, saving runs with their arm, and comparative stats against league averages. Yuni carries a -48.8 career UZR, and Gonzalez owns a career 44.3...only a small difference.
So, Gonzalez has at least proven to me on paper that we can expect the same level of production with better defense and I am OK, but not happy with this move. I am a lot happier with this than the handcuff/blessing K-Rod may or may not be. If Milwaukee brass finds a way to land a big hitter like Aramis Ramirez than my jets may be cooled, but for now I am simmering for a take off. With a group around the horn with not too much depth I worry that we are slowly turning into Oakland; great pitching, mid tier offense. We will see after the frozen tundra thaws if Melvin has a couple more tricks up his sleeve, that or Mr. Attanasio is gonna have to bring all his suits in to get the pockets let out.