Daily Archives: December 13, 2012

Should the Brewers just rebuild?

Posted by Steve

While the Cubs, Reds, and much of the rest of baseball has been wheeling and dealing, the Brewers have done a whole lotta standing around on the sidelines. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though.

No part of me wishes the Brewers had matched or exceeded the two-year, $26.5 million contract the Red Sox just gave Ryan Dempster, and I’m glad Doug Melvin has stuck to his recently stated “no three-year contracts for non-excellent free agents” rule. Dempster is 35, so anything more than two years is asking for trouble.

Some of the other players I mentioned as potential Brewers targets have signed elsewhere, such as Dan Haren, Brandon McCarthy, and Joe Blanton. Relievers Jason Grilli Koji Uehara have also signed with other clubs, although Mike Adam is said to be signing soon (the Brewers were rumored to be interested).

Like I said, I don’t have any problem with the Brewers not wanting a repeat of Jeff Suppan or even to a (much) lesser extent, Randy Wolf, but if they aren’t going to add another starting pitcher through free agency, what are they going to do?

Without any additions to the starting rotation, the Brewers are likely not going to be good enough to overtake the Reds, and probably the Cardinals as well. If the Brewers don’t add another starter who’s at least league average, it’s very likely they’ll find themselves in the middle of the pack, which is not a good place for a team to be.

If the pitching was better, the Brewers would be contenders, and if the offense was worse, they’d be sellers. But neither one is the case, so where do they go? The division was winnable last year, but it seems less so with all of the Reds’ upgrades. Might the Brewers’ best course be to reload and sell off pieces, such as Corey Hart, Aramis Ramirez, and possibly even Yovani Gallardo and Rickie Weeks?

It seems crazy, but let’s look closer. A full firesale could bring the next wave of players that could bring cost-efficient production. They could target MLB ready players, like they did in Jean Segura. Unlike years past, the Brewers have young, near-MLB ready pitching, so they could target position players if they have a firesale.

The problem with that, though, is the presence of Ryan Braun. You know he wouldn’t be happy about a firesale, and it seems foolish to waste the next couple years of his prime.

It’s tough to say which direction is the right one, but I’m starting to think the Brewers would be better off rebuilding. For sure, I’d rather have them take that direction than enter the season with Yovani Gallardo and four unproven starters. Ideally, they’d find a way to add another impact starter and take their run at the playoffs, but that’s just starting to look unlikely. Hart and Ramirez have good value currently, possibly as high as it will get. The best move might be to cash them in and look to speed up the retooling process.