Posted by Steve
GamelWatch seems to be over before it really even got steam. Tom Haudricourt reports on his blog that the Brewers have called up Mat Gamel from AAA Nashville. The timing of this is a bit odd, because the Hall/Counsell platoon at third base has been performing at a high level, both offensively and defensively. Until Counsell cools off, I don’t see Gamel getting many starts at third. Before you accuse me of insanity that would be keeping Gamel on the bench for Craig Counsell, I want to point out that the Brewers would lose a lot defensively right now going from Hall/Counsell to Gamel. A Gamel/Hall platoon the rest of the year sounds mighty tempting, but Gamel’s defensive problems may make that a poor decision at this point.
I’m very curious to see how the Brewers plan on using him. My guess is some might be a little disappointed in how little playing time he actually gets. They may end up using him the way the Brewers first used Prince Fielder when Lyle Overbay was still manning first base: As a DH in interleague play and the top pinch hitter, with a rare start sprinkled in. He may even only be up until the first round of interleague play is over, go back down to AAA and take regular starts again at third for awhile.
The Brewers are in Minnesota next week, so I expect Gamel to be in the lineup each game of that series. If nothing else, it will be just a smidge better than their DH at times last season. I think this is more a testament to how unhappy the Brewers are with the production of guys like Casey McGehee and Brad Nelson than Bill Hall or Craig Counsell. The Brewers also just signed veteran lefthanded hitter Frank Catalanotto to a minor league contract, which presumably puts Nelson even more on the hot seat. It would be a shame to see him waived, but that might be the move that’s made after tonight’s game.
Despite the issue of how to use Gamel, this is a good problem to have. The Brewers are spoiling us, because it seems like every year or two for the last several years they’re adding a stud prospect to the big league club (Hardy, Hart, Weeks, Fielder, Gallardo, Braun, Gamel). Having Gamel’s bat in the lineup with semi-regularity makes the Brewers’ already good offense that much more dangerous. This is definitely an exciting move.