Infield Emergency

Posted by Steve

I was at the game Wednesday night, so I saw Rickie Weeks’ injury live. I couldn’t even get excited about the game or the win after seeing that. Then I went to a friend’s, where MLB Network was on in the background. They showed the injury. Then they showed it again. Then they showed in from a different, zoomed-in angle. Then, they took to their in-studio diamond where Larry Bowa was apparently showing the right way to step on a base or something. In other words, it was inescapable, and it kept reminding me how doomed the Brewers might be.

Unless something significant happens, that injury may spell the end of the Brewers’ season. The need for infield depth just became an emergency.

The Brewers quickly added Felipe Lopez today in a cash trade, who has the potential to be a decent fill-in. They still need more, though–much more. Eric Farris sure won’t be the answer. More on this after my rant.

<rant>

What on God’s Green Earth does Taylor Green have to do to get called up? At the time of Farris’ call-up, Green had an .957 OPS. Farris’ was .665. What in tarnation?!

There are a few explanations for this, and they’re all dumb. The first is a nightmare scenario: that Green is on the PTBNL list for the K-Rod trade. If that’s the case, I go from liking the deal to hating it. Bullpen help was a ways down the list of the Brewers’ biggest needs, so if they gave up someone who could have helped more than K-Rod this year (and the next six!), I’ll be furious.

Another scenario is that the Brewers dont’ see Green as a second baseman, which Ron Roenicke said today. To that I say: NOW they’re worried about infield defense? They already have the worst infield defense in baseball. Weeks is not a great defender, so even though Green’s natural position is third, it’s worth it to get his bat in the lineup. The offense is a serious concern moving forward without Weeks.

The final scenario is that Green is not on the 40-man roster, so they called up Farris, who was. Again, who cares? Green will be on the 40-man soon enough anyway. He’s their best option at third in the entire organization for the last few months, yet they’re worried about finding a spot on the 40-man. Unreal.

By the way, in case you were wondering how Green responded to once again being snubbed out of a call-up, he had two homers, two walks, a single and a double in last night’s game. It is beyond absurd that he isn’t in Milwaukee at this point.

</rant>

Anywho. Lopez is likely the best option of the ugly, four-headed monster of Craig Counsell/Josh Wilson/Felipe Lopez/Eric Farris, so I’d just as soon give him the majority of starts at second base. But he won’t be nearly enough. They absolutely need one more middle infielder, and really could use two.

They still need a full-time shortstop, and I’m still holding out hope on someone like Clint Barmes, Brendan Ryan, Rafael Furcal, etc. Then, after that, they need a utility infielder who can back up at least 2B/3B, and preferably a SS/2B/3B backup. Barmes and Carroll is ideal, though that will be tough to do and is unlikely.

All I know is the Brewers’ infield needs to look drastically different on Monday than it does right now if I’m going to feel good about their chances to make the playoffs. If I had my druthers (+1), Betancourt, Farris, and one of Wilson/Counsell would be gone by next week.

Doug Melvin will do something, but I’m expecting to be underwhelmed. He’s in a very tough position, but everything he’s said and done to this point in his acceptance of Betancourt and McGehee tells me that he doesn’t see the situation as nearly as dire as it truly is.

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3 responses to “Infield Emergency

  1. I guess I don’t see this quite as badly as you do. Has Betancourt been terrible at times defensively? Absolutely. But his offense appears to be coming around. If they could get a shortstop without giving up much, then go for it. But it’s not worth giving up several prospects or a reliever. Betancourt is not the long term solution at short, but I think they can get through this season with him. Also, I there’s a decent chance that Lopez will be a serviceable fill in until Weeks gets back. So, at this point, I’m not sure that a rental infielder would be worth what it will cost.

  2. Check out this link and click the Fld column.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=ss&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=290&type=8&season=2011&month=0&season1=2011&ind=0

    It’s shortstops sorted by defensive ratings from worst to best. Yuni is far and away the worst defensive shortstop in baseball. Defense that poor at the most important position on the field is EXTREMELY detrimental to a pitching staff. Betancourt’s offense is bad, but the impact of his bad offense is dwarfed by the impact of his terrible defense.

    Lopez cost them nothing. Clint Barmes shouldn’t cost them much either–probably a B type prospect, and that would be well worth the price. Not sure if you saw tonight’s game, but Barmes looked great defensively. The rankings have him as one of the best defensive shortstops. If you put stock in WAR, the Brewers would have 2.4 more wins right now if they had Barmes all year instead of Betancourt. That’s a huge number when a division can be decided by a game.

    The Brewers need to upgrade shortstop. Not doing so in a year that they are clearly all in is indefensible.

  3. I do agree, Yuni has been bad. I was at yesterday’s game when he made two terrible errors, it was ugly. Still, for better or worse, I don’t think anything will happen with him. Houston already traded Pence, and dealing Barmes would completely implode their team. So that option seems to be out. We’ll see if Melvin has anything up his sleeve.

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