As I’ve talked about in the last couple blogs about the Milwaukee Brewers, they haven’t had a spectacular winter as far as big splashy names and high prices, but that can often sink a small market team like the Brewers without a salary cap. But Brewers general manager Doug Melvin is smarter than that and he has been around baseball more than a block or two, and he knows how to run a baseball team productively on a budget. Is this Moneyball 2? Who will be the Brewers Brad Pitt in this movie lol. Seriously Melvin has gotten rid of unproductive relievers such as Jose Veras, Fransisco Rodriguez, Tim Dillard, Kameron Loe, Manny Parra, Mike McLendon and Livan Hernandez. He kept the good ones in John Axford who when he’s on is pretty reliable and Jim Henderson who’s like the new farm boy flamethrower. He filled in or shared the closing duties nicely with Axford last summer. And the new guys I’ve mentioned Burke Badenhop, Tom Gorzelany, Mike Gonzalez the last two from the 2012 playoff Washington Nationals should be good. Both Gorzelany and Gonzalez are left handed specialists and it’s always good to have a southpaw to throw from the other side of the plate. Another name the Brewers relievers will be counting on is Brandon Kintzler who is a quality reliever when healthy. That should fill six of the seven bullpen spots for the Brewers. And one last name to look out for is right hander Michael Olmsted who could be promoted soon from the minor leagues. He is a 6-6 power pitcher who had pitched in the Boston system and then in Japan. Boston didn’t want to lose him, but didn’t have a spot on their 40 man roster. Boston, the Red Sox loss could be the Brewers gem or diamond in the rough . We’ll see. Anyway in closing the Brewers don’t have a lot of big names behind Axford and AX needs to return to his lights out 2011 performance when he didn’t blow a save after opening day until the playoffs. The relievers may be inexperienced and the quality may be underrated for now but the depth is there which the Brewers needed, and if they shine in the major leagues that quality will shine through like a bright light on opposing hitters in Milwaukee this season. So Shine the Light Brewer pitchers and especially the relievers. Like a flashlight shining in your face, that’s how hard they want to make it to hit Milwaukee pitching. Lights Out! Have a great season and Go Brewers Go! Doc.
Well the calendar has turned to 2013, so we are officially in the year of the next baseball season. I’ve been checking out the Milwaukee Brewers, my old hometown team and the team that I’m going to be covering mostly for Basebook this year which I’m really excited about. For my first assignment I’ve been asked to check out the Brewers young prospects and the state of the team heading into 2013. And it’s coming quicker than you already think. Pitchers and catchers report in 40 days. Spring and time out at the ballpark and watching baseball are almost here again. For the Brewers, they have a couple exciting position player s developing in the minor leagues that I found out about at Brewers.com . Hunter Morris is a first baseman and a left handed bat in the Southern League where he was the MVP of Double A Ball last year. Whenever he comes up he could fill in for Corey Hart at first base who is in the final year of his contract unless he gets an extension. He could also send Hart last year at first base, back out to right field as insurance. Also the Brewers have a young second baseman at Triple A Scooter Jennett, who is good defensively and has some good pop in his bat even though he’s a small guy. The word on these minor leaguers is that they are not in the class of a Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart former Brewer farmhands who became star major league players. But they are good and they could be up in the majors sometime this year or in 2014. Meanwhile the Brewers also have some young arms to bolster their rotation and they have made some improvement in the bullpen as well. Willie Peralta, Mark Rogers and Mike Fiers all spent time on the mound for the Brewers in 2012 and they could be starting pitching options for the Brewers in 2013. Also Marco Estrada is another option and Chris Narveson will be back from shoulder surgery. Yovanni Gallardo also returns as the ace for the Brewers and a quality pitcher and bat as well. He once hit a home run against 300 game winner former flamethrower Randy Johnson a few years back so that’s a bonus. Also the Brewers picked up Tom Gorzelany a left hander from the Washington Nationals last year. He will bolster a Brewers bullpen that was last in the National League last year and he could be a starter as well. Another reliever the Brewers picked up was right hander Burke Badenhop acquired in a trade last month from the Tampa Bay Rays. So the Brewers may not have gotten a top name quality pitcher like starter Ryan Dempster who was in the Brewers eyes, but ended up with the bigger market Boston Red Sox. But Brewers general manager Doug Melvin is crafty with his budget and signings and has kept a small market team competitive in Milwaukee for the Brewers. Finally the Brewers are also set pretty well with their position player starters for 2013, so they didn’t make any big moves there. And they have an exciting young 22 year old shortstop Jean Segura who has a nice arm and bat at shortstop so that’s exciting. The Brewers led the National League in homers and stolen bases this year so with a quality offense that’s why they have concentrated on improving the pitching this winter. And even though they didn’t sign any big splashy names, costing more money , they have found a way to remain competitive and I’m excited to see how this young and veteran group of Brewers meshes together in spring training and into the 2013 season. I think this could be an exciting season where the Brewers can compete again for a division title or wild card position in the National League. And I am from Milwaukee, and sometimes get up to Miller Park in the summer to see a game. Wouldn’t that be exciting to do a game and field report from there! Go Brewers and Slide Bernie Brewer Slide as Brewers Hall of Fame Announcer Bob Uecker calls another home run Get up and get out of here Gone for the Brewers. Talk soon. Doc.
It’s the end of the year 2012, and it was another great and memorable year in baseball. The San Fransisco Giants won their 2nd World Series in 3 years after going 56 years and a city change from New York since winning their last World Series in 1954 when Willie Mays was catching fly balls there. The last out of the World Series on a called third strike was Miguel Cabrera as his Detroit Tigers got swept by the Giants. But Cabrera had a pretty good year capturing baseball’s first Triple Crown in 45 years since Carl Yasztremski won the honor in 1967 and Frank Robinson in 1966. Someone has tough shoes to fill this season if there is to be a repeat Triple Crown winner in baseball. His teammate pitcher Justin Verlander was pretty good winning the AL CY Young Award and he did good dugout interviews leading to Tiger rallies. What he couldn’t do was get batters out in the All Star Game and World Series mainly to San Fransisco Giants batters like Pablo Sandoval who hit a triple off him in the All Star Game, and then 3 home runs in the World Series Game 1. Also his Giant teammate Melky Cabrera hit a home run off Verlander in the All Star Game and won the MVP giving the National League home field advantage in the World Series. But Cabrera wasn’t able to share in the Giants joy after being suspended for 50 games for PED (Performance Enhancing Drugs). And later he was released and ended up with the Toronto Blue Jays. There were three perfect games in baseball as well. Phillip Humber of the White Sox, Mait Cain of the Giants and Felix Hernandez of the Mariners which was the first time that three perfect games had happened in one season of baseball. Bobby Valentine was fired by the Boston Red Sox for poor managing and volitale behavior. Ozzie Guillen was fired by the Florida Marlins for poor managing and insensitive comments about Cubans. The Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros lost over 100 games each and the New York Yankees got swept out of the playoffs by the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS before shortstop Derek Jeter their captain had his season ended with a broken ankle. Ouch I know what that feels like as I have been recovering from a broken foot this fall. The Texas Rangers after two tough World Series losses in 2010 and 2011, blew a big AL West lead to the Oakland A’s and then lost a wildcard game at home to the Baltimore Orioles one of the surprise teams in baseball. And then the Rangers lost free agents Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and Mike Napoli. Some big bats to fill and the Rangers will likely be the Texas Strangers this year. And a team I like and will be focusing on Basebook here this next year, the Milwaukee Brewers didn’t play well until August after winning the NL Central and going to the NLCS in 2011. But the Brewers caught fire the last month in a half of the season and made a late playoff run behind 2011 NL MVP Ryan Braun and a load of bats and improved pitching which could be even better in 2013. So we’ll see what happens in 2013. The Washington Nationals formerly the Montreal Expos made their first postseason appearance since 1981 when they were in Montreal. They lost a tough deciding game to the 2011 World Series Champion St Louis Cardinals who had another great year, but their miracle comebacks and finishes were finally finished in a pouring rainstorm down 9-0 to the San Fransisco Giants in Game 7 of the NLCS. And as I write this catcher AJ Pierzynski formerly of the White Sox has signed a 1 year 7.5 million dollar contract with the Rangers. So maybe they’ll be a little less strange after although AJ can be a volitaile and feisy character and catcher having been in a few brawls, but he also helped lead the White Sox to the 2005 World Series Championship. So we’ll see what happens this coming season and their will be more moves ahead before spring training for sure. Finally before I go a tribute to a legendary player, who many of us younger fans never saw other than highlights Roberto Clemente who died or disappeared in a tragic plane crash 40 years ago on New Years Eve in 1972 while delivering relief supplies to Nicaragua struck by an earthquake. from his homeland Puerto Rico. Clemente was only 38 years old . In an 18 year career with the Pittsburgh Pirates he played and won two World Series in 1960 and 1971. In the 1971 series he batted .414 in a 7 game Series win over the Baltimore Orioles. His last regular season hit was his 3000th so he’s the original and true Mr 3000. Also what I liked about Clemente was he had power, speed and a great arm. He always hustled and more impressively he did it while playing hurt with chronic back pain and other injuries. Roberto Clemete. I would have loved to see him play and his body was never found which adds to his everlasting mystery and mystique. We’ll remember the great Latin #21 player Roberto Clemente always. RIP. Talk soon and Have a Happy New Year and I look forward to Playing Ball Soon!! Best wishes Doc.