Tag Archives: Ben Sheets

My response to the Journal-Sentinel’s ‘Seasons of Greatness’

Posted by Steve

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel recently completed their rankings of the top ten seasons in Wisconsin sports history. If anyone knows me, you know I of course thought of Ben Sheets’ 2004 season, that of 264 strikeouts to 32 walks. Incredible. This was the year of his 18 strikeout game, among other great performances (Incidentally, all the people whoever said Ben Sheets wasn’t tough probably don’t realize he threw 673 2/3 innings over the course of three seasons, or that he pitched all of 2004 with a herniated disc. But that’s not my point here, so I’ll move on).

What’s actually more incredible is the fact that nobody noticed that season happened. The win is obviously a horrible pitching “stat,” but this very season is why I hate that stat the most. Sheets finished eighth in Cy Young voting that year. The joys of playing for a crappy team.

Are you ready for an eye-popping statistic?

You sure?

Sheets’ WAR of 8.0 that year is higher than any NL Cy Young Winner since 2002 (tied with Lincecum)!

It’s one thing to go unnoticed on a national level, but apparently it wasn’t even noticed right here in Milwaukee.

Not that I expected Sheets’ 2004 to make the top 5 or 6, or even top 10 (though I would put him in), I certainly expected it to be in the discussion. Instead, it didn’t get one measly vote. One of the best seasons of its decade, and zero votes.

I’ll only stick to baseball players on their list, since comparing him to athletes from other sports seems pretty arbitrary, but Ben Sheets very likely has had the best season of any pitcher in Milwaukee baseball history–that’s Brewers and Braves–and it’s gone completely unrecognized in the teams’ own city! Here are some pitchers who beat him out.

CC Sabathia got seven votes. He wasn’t even here the full season, and his 2008 season was worse than Sheets’ 2004.

Warren Spahn got 7 votes for a season in which he struck out 111 and walked 78.

Lew Burdette got 4 votes for a season in which he struck out 78 (!) and walked 59. His ERA+ was 94, meaning he was below league average!

Rollie Fingers had a great year for a closer, but he threw 78 innings. This won him an MVP!? Insane. Also crazy to put him #9 on the list.

Clearly these “experts” just based it on A) team achievements and B) awards, such as MVP or Cy Young, which are often based on team achievements.

I swear, if I was given ten seconds on national television to say absolutely anything in the world, there’s a good chance it would be, “Ben Sheets’ 2004 season is one of the most underrated in history. Go look at the numbers.”

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Changing gears here for a bit of news. I am happy to announce that I will be writing for a new site this year: Reviewing the Brew. It’s part of the growing FanSided blogging network, and it’s made some big strides since it started in 2009. They’ve asked me to join, and I’m excited to expand my audience and work with other writers.

Just to be clear, I will still be running this site and writing here plenty; I will just be writing there in addition. The idea is that this will help expand my audience, and hopefully bring more readers here as well. It won’t be the same content, either; I’ll have original stuff for both sites.

If you want to keep up with what I’m writing over there, the best way is to (sorry to say this) follow me on twitter. Anything I post at Reviewing the Brew will be linked on twitter. Look for my first post soon, likely on the topic of trading Nyjer Morgan.

As always, thanks to everyone for reading.

Doug Melvin for GM of Everything Forever

Posted by Steve

“Mizuno gave me a samurai sword for winning the Cy Young. It’s awesome. … I’m going to hang it up and maybe start a collection. Not a gun collection, but a samurai sword collection. If you can do it. I don’t know if you’re allowed.”

-Zack Greinke, on letting his parents keep his Cy Young Award while he keeps the sword.

Wow. What a day.

I heard about the Greinke trade this morning, yet I’m just getting around to posting now because I was checking for updates and reading about it for much of the day. My immediate reaction was that of over-the-top excitement that bordered on embarrassing. After a day to let everything settle, I can say that I’m at least as excited about this deal as I was for the CC Sabathia trade. To be honest, this is likely to have a bigger impact baseball-wise than that deal.

Before I really get into this, I just want to say that I will once again be wearing my “Melvin: The Man, the Myth, the Mustache” t-shirt with pride once again. After the past couple seasons, I said that I at least wanted to see some creativity from Doug. No more free agent signings of over-the-hill pitchers as their main off-season move.

I think it’s fair to say he obliged.

“I feel like I’ve acquired a CC Sabathia except for two years and maybe longer. It feels good. It was a costly trade. We gave up a lot of good, young players. This is a credit to our scouting and player development people to have the kind of young players it takes to make a trade like this.”

Kudos to you, Doug. This was an incredible move.

I’ll see how much I cover here, because there’s A LOT to get through. First, I might as well talk about what the Brewers gave up.

SI’s Joe Posnanski, one of my favorite baseball journalists, called the players the Brewers gave up “interesting.” I think that’s a great way to describe them. Interesting, not great or sure things. No prospect in this group was elite. If I had to rank them in order of my disappointment in losing them, it would look like this:

1. Lorenzo Cain

Cain is number one for me because he is the most developed and therefore most ready to contribute right away. If there’s one thing I’ve concluded since I became a baseball nut, it’s that prospects are not worth nearly as much as proven big leaguers. Cain has proven himself in the minors, and he’s ready to get his shot as a starting center fielder. Losing Cain hurts the Brewers more in 2011 than any of the other three players they lost.

2. Jake Odorizzi

Odorizzi probably had the highest ceiling of any Brewers pitching prospect. He has a good chance to be their best drafted starting pitcher since Yovani Gallardo. Yet, he is only 20 years old and hasn’t touched AA yet. There is still plenty left to do before he can become a good big league starter. The saying “there’s no such thing as a pitching prospect” comes to mind here, as it will take at least two seasons in all likelihood until he really contributes at the major league level.

3. Alcides Escobar

How his star has fallen in a year or two. If you visited this blog at all last season, you know I was not very high on Escobar. He was never a good hitter at any level of the minors, which is why I didn’t understand the rush to get him to the majors. All we heard about was his incredible defense, yet I was mostly underwhelmed by his glove last season–especially when compared to the steady glove of J.J. Hardy. It certainly wasn’t enough to make up for his terrible offense and poor plate discipline.

He’s still young, and he could certainly develop into a capable offensive shortstop. Still, the Brewers aren’t likely to get worse production in 2011 from the shortstop position than last season, no matter who they throw out there. It’s why I don’t mind losing him.

4. Jeremy Jeffress

I loved following Jeffress in the minors. Love his high k rates and his high velocity. I also felt he was the most ready to contribute to the Brewers next season out of all their prospects. Yet, most scouting reports I read on him have him eventually ending up in the bullpen because of the lack of a third effective pitch. No matter how much I like a pitcher, his value is severely lessened if he ends up in the bullpen.

I don’t mean to make it seem like I don’t think the Brewers paid very much. They gave up a lot. All four players are highly regarded, and three of them are likely to be big leaguers next season. Thing is, while all four of these players could end up as good major leaguers, none project to have anywhere near the value that Greinke has right now. In fact, none are even close to the level of prospect that Greinke was as a minor leaguer. This is very much a quantity for quality deal, and a general rule of thumb is that quality trumps quantity.

Going beyond a simple rule of thumb, this deal makes a ton of sense for the Brewers. Their hand for 2011 was forced by the lack of a decent trade market for Prince Fielder. Once they realized they weren’t likely to get a good return for Prince, they went into win-now mode. This was definitely reflected in the Marcum deal. You can argue that the farm system is gutted, that they may have given up good players, and that their defense is a mess. One thing you can’t argue, though, is that they suddenly have a great rotation to go along with a good offense.

I could look closely at the numbers to explain why Greinke is a huge addition, but I’m not really sure that’s necessary. It’s widely accepted that Greinke is on the very short list of the best starting pitchers in baseball, is only 27, and is under contract for two more years (with a possible extension looming?). Plus, I’m not really going to say much here that you can’t find in 20 other articles/posts that analyze Greinke’s impact. Instead, I’ll just add some of my own observations.

  • Greinke reminds me so much of my favorite Brewer ever, one Ben Sheets, that it’s crazy. They are/were awesome right handed starting pitchers with great stuff and command, but more specifically, they’re both funny people who are extremely quotable. Not to mention, I did a comparison of them a while back. Finally, Greinke’s most similar player through age 26 according to Baseball Reference is… You guessed it: Ben Sheets.
  • What is Ken Macha thinking right now? He must feel like he’s taken a swift kick to the groin. He was fired largely because the Brewers’ pitching was terrible, but that wasn’t his fault. Now as soon as he gets canned, this happens. On the other hand, congrats Ron Roenicke on turning the Brewers around! You know people will be saying it next year; you just know it.
  • The Brewers really gave up five pieces in this deal: the four players to get Greinke, and then having to take back Yuniesky Betancourt. Betancourt is gawdawful. Not only is his defense bad, but he has absolutely miserable plate discipline. He has a career on-base percentage of .288 and a career walk rate of… Brace yourself… 3.4 percent! The Brewers cannot allow Betancourt to be their main shortstop. I’d rather sign someone like Edgar Renteria or Orlando Cabrera. I’d even prefer Craig Counsell over Betancourt, except Counsell can’t handle a full season at this point. They need to find another option at shortstop somewhow.
  • What about center field now that Cain is gone? It sure looks like a Dickerson/Gomez platoon. One idea: check in with Boston on Mike Cameron. They just signed Crawford and now have an outfield of Ellsbury, Crawford and Bay. Might as well check on shortstop Marco Scutaro, too.
  • Even though they’re downgrading at center field and shortstop, their production next season really can’t be much worse than what it was last season. Cain is a better option than Gomez for sure, but remember that Cain wasn’t up until the season had pretty much gotten away from the Brewers. In other words, most of their center field production came from Gomez. And even though Betancourt is a bad player, he and Escobar had an identical WAR of 0.6 last season.
  • Fun fact: the leader in WAR over the last two years is Zack Greinke with 14.7. The player with the worst WAR over the last two years? That’d be Yuniesky Betancourt with -1.2. In other words, you could say the Brewers acquired the best player and the worst player in baseball.
  • I’m still very concerned about the Brewers’ defense, in fact, probably even more than I was before this trade. Their infield defense in particular looks very bad. While its impact may be lessoned with more strikeout pitchers than last season, it’s still ugly. Doug’s signature move of the off-season is complete, but I’d still like to see him explore options to improve the club defensively. Maybe try dangling either McGehee or Gamel along with Betancourt (or heck, just DFA Betancourt) to see about a shortstop/bullpen/center field upgrade.
  • Even though it hurts to give up Jefress and Odorizzi, the Brewers suddenly don’t have as big of an immediate need for pitching. Their top four in their rotation is set for the next two seasons. Plus, they still have some young, cheap impact arms in the form of Zach Braddock, Mark Rogers, and John Axford.
  • The Brewers’ farm system may now be the worst in baseball, but they’ll have some chances to restock it soon. They have two first rounders next season due to the Dylan Covey fiasco, and they’ll have some comp picks when Fielder walks in a year (hopefully they won’t have additional comp picks from Rickie Weeks).

All things considered, this was a great day to be a Brewer fan. They went from a mediocre team to probably the division favorite in the span of a couple short weeks. The only downside to this is that we still have to wait more than three months for Opening Day.

A quick link

Posted by Steve

Just thought I’d pass this along.  It’s a pretty cool gallery of Ben Sheets’ career with the Brewers.  Good stuff from the Wausau Daily Herald.  Interesting that there was nothing like this from the Journal Sentinel.

So long Big Ben

Posted by Steve

Well, looks like Ben got his money after all.  Ten million for one year.  Good for him.  I like it for the A’s also, mainly because of my belief that there’s no such thing as a horrible contract if it’s a one-year deal.  If Sheets regains his form, he’ll easily be worth 10 mil.  If he doesn’t, well he’ll come off the books next season.

I don’t need to recite my many odes to Ben Sheets once again.  It became apparent that Sheets was not going to come back to Milwaukee, so I was prepared for him to go somewhere else.  At that point, I was just hoping he wouldn’t go to the Cubs, who were rumored to have interest.  I actually expected the Mets to sign him, so when he signed with Oakland today I was pleasantly surprised.  I’ve always liked the A’s, but more importantly, I’m glad he’s out of the NL.

The biggest dilemma for me now is who to root for in the AL West.  I had adopted the Mariners since Jack Z took over in Seattle last year, and I absolutely love what he’s done there.  I guess as long as the Angels don’t win yet again, I’ll be happy.

It’s too bad the A’s are the only AL West team the Brewers don’t play this year, but it might not be all bad.  I don’t have enough faith in a lot of Brewer fans not to boo Sheets in his Miller Park return, and such a scene might be enough to turn me against the Brewers altogether.  Sheets seemingly grew tired of the moaning of some shortsighted fans who felt he didn’t earn his last contract (when in reality he outperformed it).  In his presser today, he seemed to make reference to that fact.

[Sitting out] renewed me. I realize I love the game. You want to be somewhere where people want you.

Even today, I’ve been hearing reactions along the lines of, ‘What are the A’s thinking?’ or ‘Sheets wouldn’t have helped the Brewers,’ and all I can do is shake my head.  Defending Ben Sheets has become my pastime, but I have honestly grown tired of it.  I wonder if people will ever realize how good he was.

2009 Zack Greinke vs. 2004 Ben Sheets

Posted by Steve

Sure, I’m about to beat a dead horse.  But it’s my blog (and Dan’s?), so I’m allowed.

I was very pleased to see the voters actually get one right and award Zack Greinke with the AL Cy Young yesterday.  Greinke was the best pitcher in baseball this season and definitely deserved the award.  Of course, the only reason there was any doubt was because of Greinke’s lack of wins–16.  That people still let an utterly meaningless “stat” such as win-loss record influence their evaluation is an embarrassment.  Fortunately, it did not affect the outcome in this case, but it still has in many cases.  None more glaring than… (Dah, dah dah daaaaah) The 2004 season of Ben Sheets! Cue the groaning, people heading for exits.

Let’s compare the two seasons.  You may be surprised by what we find (or if you know me at all, I guess you probably won’t)

Greinke 2009

229.1 Innings, 2.16 ERA, 242 strikeouts, 51 walks, 11 home runs

Sheets 2004

237.0 Innings, 2.70 ERA, 264 strikeouts, 32 walks, 25 home runs

Those are the only numbers I listed because other stats incorporate all these in some way.  ERA is extremely subjective and dependent on things like defense and scoring.  Strikeouts, walks, and home runs are the only things completely controlled by the pitcher (hence the title of Three True Outcomes).

To have the most value, you need to throw a lot of innings.  As you can see, both Greinke and Sheets were workhorses in these seasons.  The rest of the numbers are debatable as to who was more valuable.

The most glaring difference is home run totals.  As a fly ball pitcher, Sheets has always been plagued by the long ball.  25 is not a very good number.  On the other hand, 11 home runs in 229 innings by Greinke is insane.

Then you get to k/bb ratios, which is my favorite stat to look at for pitchers.  I consider a 3:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio to be very good, and it’s the marker I’m looking for if I for some reason needed to identify ace-caliber pitchers on a moment’s notice.  Greinke’s ratio of 4.75 is excellent.

Then we get to Sheets.  He had both a higher strikeout rate and a lower walk rate than Greinke’s 2009.  It’s good for an 8.25 k/bb mark, which is just otherworldly.  I went over the significance of that ratio in my Ode to Ben Sheets last year, so I won’t recite all that again except to say that it’s historic.  Incidentally, he put up a ratio of 10.55 in 2006, but that was over 106 innings.

So which was better?  For my personal affinity towards k/bb, I’d take Sheets’ season over Greinke’s.  It’s certainly debatable and there probably isn’t a wrong answer.  That’s not the point of this post.  All I’m trying to say is they are certainly comparable seasons in terms of value.

So what’s my point?  My point is that Greinke (rightfully) won the Cy Young in 2009.  Where did Sheets finish in 2004?  First?  Second?  Nope.  Would you believe a tie for eighth?  Because that’s what it was.

Is there any logical explanation for this?  Of course not; we’re discussing MLB Awards voters here.  The illogical, asinine, mind-numbingly stupid explanation is that Sheets’ record in 2004 was 12-14.  That he could have a losing record with that incredible stat line speaks volumes to how awful the rest of the team was, but that’s beside the point.

Roger Clemens won the Cy Young in 2004.  He had a very good season, but all the peripherals outside of home runs were vastly inferior to Sheets’.  The “edge” Clemens had over Sheets was his record; Clemens was 18-4 that year.  In truth, there was another candidate more deserving than Clemens aside from Sheets.  Randy Johnson had an insane year (290 strikeouts) but finished second in the voting due to a 16-14 record.

This still bothers me today, as if you couldn’t tell.  Sheets’ 2004 is better than most Cy Young seasons.  The majority of baseball fans have no idea Sheets ever had such a dominating season.  Many don’t realize he was a workhorse ace for many years.  In fact, many fans look at Sheets’ overall tenure with the Brewers in a negative light!  Sure he’s had more than his fair share of injuries, but those were all after 2005.  People don’t realize how good he was.  And it’s all because he was stuck on crappy teams and couldn’t get wins.

Every time I hear win totals used as the prominent qualification for the Hall of Fame, or hear Joe Morgan say the first thing he looks at in Cy Young voting is Win-Loss record, or hear a pitcher criticized for not getting more wins, a small part of me dies inside.  Performance should not be judged by a completely meaningless stat.  It will never happen, but I’d love to see the Win-Loss stat removed from the scorebook.

And take saves, batting average and RBIs with it.

The Fanboy Curse

Posted by Steve

I’m becoming convinced that something about me is dangerous.  Like any Brewer fan, I like most of the players.  There are, however, some who I like a lot more than most fans.  For years my favorite player has been Ben Sheets, who has to be one of the unluckiest players in the game.  For the last several years he has been plagued by some of the most obscure ailments: a herniated disc, vestibular neuritis, a torn lat, blisters, a groin strain, an inflamed finger ligament.  Finally the big blow came in the form of shoulder surgery.  Through all of that I stood up for Sheets when those ailments clouded the fact that whenever he was healthy he was elite.

If you’ve been here before, you know another player I like a lot more than most is Rickie Weeks.  Weeks has had his struggles ever since the Brewers rushed him to the majors, both offensively and defensively.  I stood by his potential and stayed patient, always feeling he’d become a good player.  Over the years he has battled wrist and thumb injuries.  A few weeks ago he was hit in the face with a 94 mph fastball.  Yesterday, he injured his wrist again.  There is still no word on the severity of the injury, but he already left St. Louis to get it checked out.  If this is serious, it’s incredibly frustrating.  He was on his way to a very good season; he even had a decent shot at the All-Star Game if he kept it up.  I’m still hoping this was precautionary, but a 15-day DL stint at minimum seems likely.  I don’t see why they’d have immediately sent him to get it checked if it wasn’t at least that serious.

If I was Mark DiFelice, I’d stay away from cutlery, lawn mowers, ovens, salad tongs, etc. as much as possible.

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Speaking of DiFelice, word is starting to get out around the Major Leagues.  Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports has a great article on DiFelice out today.  His quote is my favorite part:

“There’s something to say for how slow I throw,” DiFelice said. “Guys hate hitting against me, because they wonder if I’m going to throw anything else, if I’ve got something up my sleeve. Nope. Sorry.”

Love it!  I also love the exchange with Edinson Volquez.

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We had GamelWatch, but there is no need for EscobarWatch for the Brewers’ supposed top prospect.  Escobar is off to a very slow start at AAA, with an OPS of .677.  This reiterates how foolish it would have been to trade Hardy and hand the shortstop position to Escobar without having him earn it first.  Escobar would have been an automatic out in the lineup (i.e. Jason Kendall at best) if he was in Milwaukee to start the year.  He’s still young, and Hardy is still under contract through next season, so there’s absolutely nothing wrong with giving Escobar at least a full season in AAA.

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Might as well at least mention that the first place Brewers are absolutely on fire, huh?  A sweep of St. Louis tonight would be outstanding.  Ever since their whining last year about the Brewers’ having the audacity to untuck their jerseys after a win, beating the guardians of baseball etiquette has been at least as enjoyable as beating the Cubs.  The self-proclaimed “best fans in baseball” who can’t even sell out a Saturday game against the team they share first place with need to get over themselves.  It was suggested at brewerfan that Brian and Bill untuck their shirts for the postgame today if the Brewers win.  I wholeheartedly support this.  Let’s make it two sweeps in a row!

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I should know better than to even look at PECOTA’s playoff odds at this point after the Brewers’ collapses the last few years, but I simply can’t help myself.  Currently PECOTA gives the Crew a 58.6 % chance at making the playoffs, compared to 62% for the Cubs.  I believe they only gave the Brewers around a 25% chance at the start of the season, but they are currently projecting 93 wins.  And that’s all I’m going to say about that at this point. 

Now that you have C.C., time to ease off Sheets

Posted by Steve

Well, it’s finally done. Those talks dragged out all weekend, and for a while it looked like Cleveland might foolishly turn down the Brewers offer, which was much better than any other they were getting. As I’ve said repeatedly, I really hate losing LaPorta for someone the Brewers won’t control beyond this season.

Since it’s done and over with, I won’t dwell too much on how much they may have overpaid, because if they make the playoffs it’s probably worth it, and if they go deep into the playoffs it will be worth it almost for sure. The Brewers do get two comp picks back for Sabathia as well.

Quick side note before I get into the meat of this post: Tom Haudricourt was absolutely awesome this weekend. He made several updates to the JS blog, and continually scooped both the national writers and Cleveland writers. Props to TH.

On to the main event. Doug Melvin truly put his neck on the line by doing this deal. The Brewers absolutely need to make the playoffs after giving up such a huge offer for a rental player. I don’t think I need to explain why a Sheets-Sabathia tandem would be outstanding for the playoffs, but first things first: make sure they get there, and make sure both pitchers are healthy when it happens.

Baseball Prospectus has developed what they call Pitcher Abuse Points (PAPs). You can find a description of their formula here, but basically it a weighed system that starts earning points for each pitch beyond the 100 mark in a game. Why am I bringing this up? Because as of July 5, your most abused pitcher in baseball is none other than Ben Sheets. You can see the full list with categories at BP’s page. A quick summary of the top ten:

1. Ben Sheets

2. Gil Meche

3. Ricky Nolasco

4. Cole Hamels

5. C.C. Sabathia

6. Carlos Zambrano

7. Justin Verlander

8. Jon Lester

9. Tim Lincecum

10. Brett Myers

Now this list can be a bit misleading, as you notice many of the pitchers are “abused” because they happen to be very good pitchers, and very good pitchers have a knack to pitch deeper into games. That said, it’s never good to be number one on this list.

I have complained more than once this season that Ned Yost has kept Ben Sheets in games far too long when the situation has not at all called for it. A couple examples:

Friday’s game against the Pirates when they sent him out in the sixth when he was already over 100 pitches and the team was leading 8-1. He finished the game with 120 pitches, and was not even able to finish the sixth.

Another example was in Minnesota for The Kevin Slowey Game. Slowey looked like Maddux in his prime, and Sheets was struggling to find an out pitch. Sheets had allowed four runs through six, and it was pretty clear that the Brewers probably weren’t even going to score four runs against Slowey. Yet Yost ran him out there for the seventh, needlessly pushing Ben’s pitch count to 115.

Totals of 115 and 120 are huge red flags and put up big PAPs. It seems the Brewers coaching staff are dead set in their thinking that Ben is the ace, and therefore must save the bullpen every time out, regardless of how efficient he is pitching. Sheets is obviously outstanding, and has an amazing ability to throw complete games. That should not mean that he should be left out to toil when he is not on top of his game. 110-pitch complete games are one thing, 120-pitch seven inning outings are quite another. Infamously, Sheets has not quite been a model of health in recent years, and it is moronic to tempt fate with the most important player on your team.

A lot of it has to do with the bullpen struggling to get the ball to Sal Torres, and some of it has to do with other starters (COUGH-SUPPAN-COUGH) not going deep enough and burning up the bullpen.

Getting Sabathia needs to be the start of the process that lessens Sheets’ workload to do everything possible to keep him healthy through September (and hopefully October). C.C. is another guy who goes deep into games, which will hep save the bullpen. Some of you astute readers may have noticed that Sabathia is also on that list; he checks in as the fifth-most abused pitcher of 2008, which is also a cause for concern. Sabathia was dominant last season, but was lit up in the playoffs. Nobody can say for sure, but this may have partially been a result of a tired arm from throwing 241 innings during the season.

The Brewers should be able to ease off C.C. and Sheets a bit this season for a few reasons:

  • One of Bush or McClung will be moved to the bullpen (here’s hoping Mota is DFA’d!), which will hopefully improve the bullpen’s depth and talent level.
  • Even while easing off Sheets and C.C., they will still pitch deeper into games than average pitchers, which will in turn keep the bullpen fresher–in turn, if one of these two guys are off their game, the bullpen should be good to come in a bit earlier.
  • I fully expect the Brewers to add at least one more pitcher (likely a reliever), which will bolster the bullpen even more.

I’m sure Doug Melvin and Ned Yost are anxious for the advice of a random blogger with no connections and limited readership, so here it is. Doug, Ned, you took a huge gamble with the Sabathia trade, and it’s commendable that you were willing to make that move to win this year. That said, it would be devastating to screw it up by riding Ben Sheets into the ground. You have the pieces in place, and you’lll be adding more in the next couple weeks to fine-tune the team for a championship run. If Ben Sheets and C.C. Sabathia stay healthy, the team is a huge favorite to make the playoffs. The number one concern should be to keep Sheets healthy, so Brewers, please take better care of his arm.

Also, see if you can get Mark A to bring back the lemonade stands at Miller Park. That stuff is fantastic.