When it rains, it pours

Posted by Steve

It’s long been a lost season for the Brewers, and the blows keep on coming. This most recent one hurts quite a bit: The Brewers did not sign first round pick Dylan Covey. It’s the first time since 1991 that the team failed to sign a first rounder.

The circumstances that led to Covey opting for college are strange to say the least. Last week during a team physical, Covey was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. This was not made public until Monday, but Covey and the team knew about it last week. The Brewers did not rescind their offer, but Covey decided going to college at San Diego, close to home, would be a better way to deal with it.

To this, all I can say is ‘What next?’ I don’t mean to imply this news is as damaging for the Brewers as it is for Covey, but from the Brewers’ perspective, this is still a tough pill to swallow in an already disappointing season. The bizarre reason for it makes it even more frustrating. It would be one thing if we could just blame it on a greedy kid who wanted a ton of money and/or didn’t want to play in Milwaukee, but all signs indicate Covey was anxious to sign before this last minute twist.

For compensation, the Brewers will receive the 17th pick in next year’s draft (two other players drafted ahead of Covey also did not sign, otherwise the Brewers would get the 15th pick next year) along with their standard pick based on 2010 standings, so they’ll have two picks in the top 17.

That’s pretty nice consolation, and next year’s is supposed to be a good draft class, but it’s not as good as signing Covey would have been. Covey would have started pro ball right away next season, while a new draft pick might not start until a year later. The Brewers need to get impact arms into their system as soon as possible. Additionally, that 17th pick comes with an asterisk: comp picks only last one year. If the Brewers fail to sign the player they draft with that pick next year, they won’t receive another comp pick for the following year. Essentially, they have to draft someone they know they will be able to sign. This could result in the team opting to forfeit top talent in favor of someone who is “signable.”

New scouting director Bruce Seid has certainly had a frustrating start to his attempt to replace the wildly successful Jack Zduriencik. His only two first round picks have been disasters so far–Covey and Eric Arnett, who has struggled mightily in his first season. That will have to change quickly if the Brewers want to get impact players into their system.

————

Just because I have to discuss something positive for once, I’m bring back Gamel Watch.

The mood is tense; I have been on some serious, serious reports, but nothing quite like this.

Mat Gamel is obliterating AAA pitching, and should be called up any day now. After a slow start in his return from injury, he’s gotten his OPS all the way up to .885. I continue to view Gamel as a long-term starter for the Brewers, and my preference is still to trade Casey McGehee and give Gamel his shot at third. For now, I’m hoping to see Gamel in Milwaukee soon playing at least a few times a week. Of course, with Ken “Gamel Hater” Macha still at the helm, I won’t hold my breath.

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