Posted by Steve
Nobody is paying much attention to the Brewers right about now. Admittedly, I’ve even been a little caught up in Packer Fever myself. Still, it’s time to remind myself I’m a Brewer fan first. After the fairly lengthy layoff, I think it’s Cornucopia Time.
The Brewers have clearly made great strides this off-season, but I don’t understand one key thing: it seems they are really going to go into the season with Yuniesky Betancourt as their starting shortstop. This is most likely a horrible idea. I touched on why it’s a horrible idea in an earlier post, and you don’t need to search far and wide to find evidence of him being an all-around bad player.
It’s not like there weren’t better options available. Edgar Renteria would have been worth a flier before he signed with Cincinnati for a reasonable $2.1 million. Even Nick Punto would have been a better option, as he can take a walk and play good defense. Plus, Bill Schroeder’s head would explode due to Counsell/Punto, the scrappiest shortstop platoon of all time.
It won’t surprise me to see Luis Cruz in Milwaukee this season. Cruz isn’t likely to be any better offensively than Betancourt–he put up a .281/.309/.414 line in AAA last year–but he’s a strong defensive shortstop. Still, shortstop looks to be a big problem this season.
Here’s something kind of funny to think about: the best hitter in the bottom of the Brewers’ lineup on most days will be the pitcher. Think about it. On many days, the Brewers will probably trot out something like Lucroy-Gomez-Betancourt as their 6-7-8 hitters. Meanwhile, Yovani Gallardo won the Silver Slugger last year, Randy Wolf can hold his own offensively, Greinke apparently considered giving up pitching to become a position player a few years ago, and Marcum is supposed to be a good hitter. As good as the top five in the lineup should be, it could get ugly after that.
If you’ve been wrapped up in football, you may have missed the most mind-boggling trade in some time. This has to be the worst personnel decision since Ryan Howard’s crippling contract extension. The Angels traded for 32-year-old Vernon Wells and the $86 million left on his contract. The response to this deal is hilarious. Fangraphs has three posts on the trade. They are titled, “The Most Inexplicable Trade Ever?” “How Could Wells Earn His Contract?” and “Death Match: The Wells Trade Versus the Zito Contract.” And then there’s my favorite reaction piece: The Orange County Register did a Word Cloud from both a Blue Jays and Angels message board on the deal. It’s simply outstanding. Highlights include “Pearl Harbor” and “Naked Pictures” from the Angels board and “Wowwwww,” “Jedi-like” and “Kiss” from the Blue Jays board.
I’m getting very nervous about the future of Rickie Weeks. First we hear that long-term extension talks have been temporarily tabled, then we hear the sides are $2.3 million apart in arbitration. The Brewers just made Prince Fielder the highest arbitration-salaried player in MLB history, but Weeks not signing is more noteworthy in my eyes. There’s still plenty of time, but the Brewers need to realize that the time to get a bargain extension on Weeks was before last season. They won’t be able to lowball him now that he’s had a full season and is just a year way from free agency. He’d get a huge contract on the open market, so the Brewers are going to have to give him a big chunk of change if they want him to sign.
Because I like to end things on a good note whenever possible, here’s a tidbit to warm your heart: Braden “Grimace” Looper is now a Chicago Cub.