Casey McGehee was dealt yesterday for Pittsburgh reliever Jose Veras, a move that no Brewers fan worth their salt didn't see coming. With the signing of Chicago's Aramis Ramirez Milwaukee found themselves without need of the 3rd baseman's services. Not only do I love this move, but Melvin proves me wrong again by pulling some great deals off these past couple days. After giving K-Rod his money, and signing mediocre shortstop Alex Gonzalez, I was worried that other areas, such as additional bullpen arms and the absence of a true clean-up hitter, would suffer. Now we made a 3 year $34-$37 million contract offer to Ramirez, and added much needed depth to our bullpen.
Jose Veras may not be a household name, but what he does do for the club is add another hard throwing righty into our pen. By adding Veras the Brewers now have 2 bullpen arms that can consistently hit 95 mph or better on the gun. Over the last two years Veras has also posted a positive WAR, had a K/9 of more than 10, and had a ground ball ratio hovering around 40%. Every indicator on paper says that this trade was a straight up steal by Milwaukee who only lost a backup third baseman at best. But, while Brewer Nation may be happy trolling through the Bucs forums is a different story. Most Pirates fans are not happy with this deal, but it was justified on their end as well, and they got more seasoned help for young corners Pedro Alvarez and Garrett Jones who struggled mightily last season.
I personally am slightly sad to see McGehee go. Not really for what his bat brought to the team, or his defensive prowess at third, but because I have loved this guys story from day one. Unknown infielder comes over to the Crew after being released by the Cubs, plays out of his mind, and becomes cemented into our hearts and the Milwaukee lineup after just killing Chicago every chance he got. Baseball activities aside McGehee was also a great person, donating time and money to charities close to his heart due to his son's condition. Even in June 2011 when Casey was batting .177 I defended him, and tried to make a case for Casey to rebound, sadly, as we all watched, that didn't pan out.
I guess the Brewers, and the resident's of the great state of Wisconsin, can say we took two good third baseman out of the quicksand of Wrigley Field with the inevitable signing of Aramis Ramirez to a 3 year deal. At first this is going to be a little strange for me, kinda like if we would have signed Jim Edmonds 4-5 years ago, but no one can deny that his bat is legit. We get about a match on the defense with McGehee, but his offensive numbers he puts up every year are on par with Casey's memorable 2010 season. Last season in 149 games the slugger batted .306 with 26 home runs and 93 RBIs. He has had four season in which he has hit over 31 home runs, but those days may be a thing of the past since he hasn't hit 30+ since 2006.
A-Ram serves two purposes since he not only fills a questionable position both in the lineup and in the field, but he also makes a weak and slowly sinking Cubs team that much weaker, and no matter what Epstein does this year I think it may be another 3-4 years before the the northsiders will be relevant again. Will A-Ram give us the power we lose from Fielder? No, but it's as close as we are going to get, and with Mat Gamel set to go at first we could see even better power numbers than last season with Prince if he can match even 2/3 of what he did in the minors. A-Ram also has a bit of an injury history to keep track of that may cause problems down the line.
So, Melvin appears to have done it again, and Milwaukee is setting up for a bright season. Hopefully it is not darkened by the cloud of PEDs and tarnished reputations. But, no need to dwell on the drakside since after the signings of both K-Rod and A-Ram, not to mention getting a mid tier reliever with a great breaking ball for next to nothing, Brewers fans have a lot on their plate this season, and we will see what RRR has up his sleeve. Now say car RamRod!