How I’d Have the Brewers Finish Up the Season – Guest Blog

It’s been quite a while since someone wrote on the blog here other than me, the primary author. This was submitted by my podcast co-host for your enjoyment back near the beginning of August. My crazy schedule led to my forgetting to get it posted until now.

With that said, certain information is “as of writing” and should be taken as such (i.e. Izturis wasn’t yet traded).

By: Cary Kostka

The Brewers were selling in the days leading up the non-waiver trade deadline sending us all on a “what now” path for the rest of this season, as well as what to look for next season. Although this is largely seen as a step backwards for the organization, I see this as an opportunity for the team to be better down the road.

The Brewers have the next couple of months to evaluate their current roster and newly acquired players, and like most Brewer fans I have my own theory as to how the next couple of months should play out.

I broke it down into the following categories: starting pitching, bullpen, catching, infield, and outfield.

Starting Pitching:

The injuries we have seen over the course of the season have given us long looks at Marco Estrada and Mike Fiers, as well as a touch of Tyler Thornburg mixed in.

The Brewers acquired a couple of arms in the Zack Greinke deal, and a bullpen arm in the George Kottaras deal. But what will the rotation look like for now?

Below I have two rotations: one for August, and one for September. You will notice that the September rotation has six pitchers listed. This is not a mistake on my part…I see a 6 man September rotation as a great way to take a look at some additional young arms. With Shaun Marcum’s impending free agency and Randy Wolf’s option possibly not being picked up, the make-up of the 2013 rotation is in the air.

So, here are my projected rotations (not in any particular order) for the rest of 2012.

August rotation: Yovani Gallardo, Wolf, Estrada, Fiers, Marcum/Mark Rogers.

Marcum is still a question mark at this point, and him being moved to the 60-day DL means that he will not be available until the last third of August. He has been feeling good in simulated outings, so I would imagine he would be back in time for a late August start.

September rotation: Gallardo, Wolf, Marcum, Estrada, Fiers, Rogers/Wily Peralta.

Go to a 6-man rotation in September, and in the 6th spot, alternate starts between Peralta and Rogers. Peralta has been pitching much better lately for Nashville (5-2, 3.06 ERA in his last 10 starts).

With his arm fatigue, Thornburg would be best served spending September on the bench or in limited bullpen duty.

Bullpen:

What a thorn in the side of the 2012 season this bunch turned out to be. Let’s face it; the bullpen was a heaping load of mediocrity this year.

Try to deal K-Rod if you can…if not, park him at the ass end of the bullpen. I think John Axford will be fine, and a new bullpen coach will help here. The loss of veterans LaTroy Hawkins and Takashi Saito hurt him this year, as he leaned on both of them for advice and instruction (Hawkins in particular).

Below is how the roles should shake out for both August and September.

August:

Closer: Axford and Jim Henderson. Keep throwing Ax out there, but let Henderson continue to get work in as a closer.
Setup/General Relief: Whatever the situation dictates.
Lefty Specialist: Manny Parra Longman/mop-up: Livan Hernandez

September:

Same as August, except you add Rogers and Peralta to the bullpen mix when they are between starts. Park K-Rod and Hernandez on the bench, and let’s see what our newly acquired arms (Pena, Hellweg, and De Los Santos) can do. Thornburg could help here as well, but that depends on how his arm is responding to rest. I’d like to see how Rogers would do in the setup role.

Catchers:

Ok, so this one is easy.

Lucroy is back, but I say split his playing time with Maldonado 60/40. Catchers are the baseball equivalent to NFL running backs; they have short shelf lives due to constant wear and tear. There is no sense in “using up” Lucroy in a non-playoff season. Also, this gives Maldonado a great chance to continue his growth. This pair will be one of the best catching tandems in baseball next season.

Infield:

Corey Hart is here to stay as our first baseman at least for this season. With Aramis Ramirez entrenched at third, the big questions arise in the middle of the infield.

Rickie Weeks has had just shy of two months of production this year, and shortstop had been ok defensively but a black hole in the lineup, sans Cody Ransom’s innate ability to seemingly make every one of his few and far between hits a game changer.

My thoughts on this are to send Izturis packing…he is not a long term option, and the team would be better off if newly acquired Jean Segura was promoted and started. Jeff Bianchi would be called up on September 1st, and would see some time at short as well.

At second, we’re basically stuck. Would the team be able to find a place on the 25-man roster for Eric Farris? I’d like to see what he’s got, though he projects as more of a backup type player. I would like to see Taylor Green get more playing time to get a better feel for what he is capable of, or not capable of doing. I feel this is something the team needs to know going into next season.

Mat Gamel will be a question mark next season, and if Green shows he can hit, 1B could be a little less of a question mark in spring training, and would allow the team to confidently move Hart back to right. Hart has done pretty well at first, but next season will be the final year of his contract. It would be good to know our other options at that first.

I have heard speculation about giving Green more time at second, but that would be a mistake given his concrete boot like range at second.

Travis Ishikawa maintains his current role on the team.

Outfield:

Trade or waive Nyjer Morgan. He does not have a place on this team at all. I would much rather see Caleb Gindl or Logan Schafer get some MLB trigger time.

Ryan Braun is a lock in left (duh).

The mechanical adjustments Carlos Gomez made recently have upped his game to a new level. Make him the sole starter in center and see where this takes him.

Norichika Aoki has played great and is a lock in right. Call up Gindl as a reserve outfielder, as he has logged double digit games in all three OF spots. Schafer gets the call up on September 1st.

So, Brewer Nation, what say you?

4 Comments

Pingback: Daybreak Doppler: On Badger Football Expectations | PocketDoppler.com

Nice column. I agree with all of your positions. I would add, I would like to see Kris Davis get a look in a look in RF, even though he plays mostly LF. I’d really like to see Chulk called up for closer audition too.

Um. Izturis has been gone for a while now, and Segura’s been up for at least a week.

Read the part at the top again…or for the first time.

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