Springtime Cornucopia

Posted by Steve

The snow is gone (for now), March Madness is underway, and I just had my first tennis outings of the year this week.  You know what that means:  baseball is just around the corner.  Let’s celebrate with yet another Cornucopia of Thoughts.

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We’ll start with the bad news.  Mat Gamel’s strained lat has not improved, most likely because it’s actually torn.  He’ll be out six weeks.

That’s a bummer, but it’s not all bad.  After the way he misused Gamel last year, I would not put it past Ken Macha to keep Gamel on the bench simply to back up Casy McGehee at third.  This injury at least assures the Brewers won’t be burning up his service time.  Gamel will start in AAA, which means at least he’ll get regular at bats when he does come back.

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I’m officially skeptical of Rick Peterson.  From that same JS article:

Stetter used to set his hands at the chin before delivering a pitch. Now, at Peterson’s suggestion, he is setting at the belt. Stetter also is throwing mostly from a lower arm angle, instead of varying it as in the past.

“My best pitch to a righty used to be an over-the-top fastball, in. Now, that’s kind of taken away from me. Now, I’m working on throwing in from that other arm slot. I’m tinkering with a couple of things, but it’s coming together good.”

That’s kind of taken away from me? Yikes.

It just seems like as an organization, the Brewers are reacting too drastically to what was simply a collection of bad pitchers.  The worst starters from last season will no longer be in the rotation, so the problem is already largely solved.  Instead, it’s like Peterson needs to be some savior who’s coming in and making changes to all these pitchers.  How many of these changes are necessary?  I am not pretending to know that, but like I said–there are definitely warning signs that point to an overreaction.

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The venerable Will Leitch of Deadspin is previewing/musing on each team before the season begins.  His Brewers preview just ended up being a beautiful rant against the rules of baseball, using the Prince Fielder home run celebration as a case study.  Once again, I’ve certainly commented on this enough, but I thoroughly enjoyed this so I figured I’d pass it along.  I’m happy to see many others seem to feel this way.

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Much is being made of the Brewers suddenly having too much pitching.  Let’s make one thing clear.  They definitely don’t have too much pitching.  What they have is too much mediocre pitching and guys without minor league options.  Yo Gallardo, Randy Wolf, and for some reason, Doug Davis are guaranteed spots.  I guess because Davis was a free agent signing he’s guaranteed a spot, even though nothing really separates him from Dave Bush or Manny Parra.  That leaves four guys for the final two spots: Parra, Bush, Chris Narveson, and Jeff Suppan.

Suppan should not start the year in the rotation.  Fine if you don’t want to cut him and eat the 12 mil (even though I’d be just fine with that), but please don’t compound the problem by keeping him in the rotation just because of his salary.  He’s not as good as the other three and doesn’t deserve a spot in the rotation.  If you don’t want to cut him, banish him to the long relief role.

Dave Bush should be in the rotation, and it really shouldn’t even be up for debate.  He has proven himself as a serviceable starter.  None of the others have.

That leaves Parra and Narveson for the final rotation spot.  I’d go with Parra.  Even though I hate his walk rate, he still has highest potential on the staff outside of Gallardo.  Either move Narveson to the bullpen, or, if you have to cut him, it’s probably not the end of the world.  I’d still prefer to cut Suppan over him, though.

The best part of this whole thing?  Macha actually referred to different possibilities as “combinations and permutations.” That’s almost as good as when he was flummoxed inside a zim-zam.

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Rickie Weeks has a .485 OBP and homered off Reds phenom Aroldis Chapman on Wednesday.  Discuss, marvel, gape.

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Despite the looming baseball season, at this time of year my attention is completely on college basketball.  I have entered Right Field Bleachers’ Bracket Challenge where I am competing against mega-celebs such as Jeff Cirillo, Trenni Kusnierek, and the agent of some Brewers minor-leaguers.  Alright, maybe they’re really D-List celebs.  But then, as founder, chief-poster and self-proclaimed President of B!B!K.T.U.T.H!, what am I?  A Z-list celeb?

Of course, I’m just messing around.  Jeff Cirillo, as Dan certainly attested to a few years ago when we ran into him at a bar, is “Seriously the coolest Brewer ever.  Seriously.  Sorry, I just had to get a handshake.  Coolest. Brewer. Ever.”  Plus, he once politely mocked me for injuring my wrist in an office kickball game at the same time that he was in a cast from taking a fastball off his hand, so that makes him even cooler.

Anywho, things are off to a riveting start after Day One.  I’m tied for fourth, Rillo is tied for 83rd (probably because he never made his picks), and Trenni never actually signed up.

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4 responses to “Springtime Cornucopia

  1. Congratulations on the most insane suggestion for the rotation. Cut Narveson and keep Dave Bush. For the life of me, I don’t get the weird cult like devotion to the guy. I know its not about being a “serviceable” pitcher. And no, he isn’t always serviceable. All too often he’s just plain bad. How could someone who is mediocre at best have people who desperately want him to pitch? I’d rather have Looper back and I sure don’t want to trash a guy like Narveson for him. Insanity.

  2. Hal, Bush has been a serviceable pitcher during his entire Brewers tenure–sometimes more than serviceable, like in 2006.

    No pitcher is always serviceable. It’s really all about the entire season. If you want to look at individual starts, sure he’s been pounded at times, but how many times has he flirted with no-hitters? And what about his playoff start in 2008?

    I like Bush because generally he doesn’t walk people. He pitched poorly after his injury last year, but he’s healthy now. Saying you want Looper over Bush is pretty extreme–Looper was one of the three or four worst starting pitchers in all of baseball last season. Bush is a nice option as a #4 type starter.

    I’m also wondering what “a guy like Narveson” is. Narveson did a commendable job last year with the Brewers, but it was the first year of his professional career that he was better than average. I like him, and I do want him to make the team (especially over Suppan), but he doesn’t have the track record of competence that Bush does.

  3. You have to take into account the grizzledness of Bush, it’s off the charts.

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