Results tagged ‘ Aramis Ramirez ’
First and foremost, I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!
I’m always open to answering questions directly on Twitter, Facebook, or via email. When someone takes the time to seek out my opinion, they deserve a response…even if I don’t know. But, in a way to give thanks to my followers and friends I put out a call for questions so I could answer them here on the blog. This not only will hopefully advertise that I’m always willing to chat Brewers, but it’s also a little tip of the cap to give members of the Brewer Nation some pub too along with giving longer-form responses than Twitter allows.
If I don’t answer your question here (or some similar variation of it), I will respond to you via the social media forum you posed it in.
— Packman (@Packman1265) November 29, 2013
Over the past few seasons, the Brewers have emphasized competing now over planning for the long-term future. Bringing in veteran free agents, trading top prospects for rental pitchers, eschewing development for experience in many cases. This past season was ultimately an exception but more due to circumstance than design. The Brewers were structured to compete in 2013 and it was a long run of unfortunate events that wound up costing them a shot at a wild card berth.
Now, all that said, to the question: The Brewers appear like they’re preparing to take one final shot with this core group of big leaguers. They may resign Corey Hart on a one-year deal. They may give Rickie Weeks one more chance to sink or swim in 2014. They’ll give it a go for April, and probably May. If they’re in it, this is their “near future” chance. They don’t have a ready replacement at third base when Aramis Ramirez likely departs after 2014. They are light in impact prospects to fill any position over the next couple of seasons. Should the Brewers fail in 2014 (and even if they play well, they need a lot of other teams to falter), they’re next likeliest window is at least a couple of years down the road.
@BrewerNation How should the Brewers pitch to Kottaras?
— Jαmie Krueger (@jamielkrueger) November 29, 2013
Four outside and take your base. (Editor’s note…which is also me: Kottaras was recently acquired by the Chicago Cubs.)
@BrewerNation Would Aoki have more value as a trade chip, or a 4th OF/Lefty bat off the bench?
— Aaron McCabe (@acmccabe) November 29, 2013
This would be assuming the Brewers would move Ryan Braun to right field and start Khris Davis on a regular basis in left. If that’s the case, Norichika Aoki would be very valuable as a pinch-hitter, especially when you simply need a ball put in play. He is capable of defending at all three defensive positions as well.
However, the Brewers already have a much better defender to back up all three spots in Logan Schafer and as a fifth outfielder, Caleb Gindl has shown a little bit of pop. Couple that he’s ultimately expendable with his extremely affordable 2014 contract, and Aoki could fetch the Brewers a decent return despite turning 32 before the season. In my opinion, the better value is in moving him.
@BrewerNation Is anyone on the management or coaching side of the organization on the hot seat this year? Melvin, Ash, Roeneke?
— Dylan Wendt (@BeerBratBrewers) November 29, 2013
If there was to be a change during or after the 2014 season (because they would have made changes by now if they were going to before it), it would likely be a second-tier change like a coach or some scouts. It can’t be ignored though that Mark Attanasio inherited Doug Melvin when his group bought the team and the principal owner went directly against the suggestion of his GM when he made the call to sign Kyle Lohse. It didn’t feel all season like it was the beginning of any dissension, but ultimately you never know.
@BrewerNation what do you see as a viable first base solution if Hart is not resigned?
— Earl Barker (@ebarker111) November 29, 2013
First of all, I don’t see them not resigning Hart. He wants to be here and I given the injury risk I can’t see someone else giving him a ton of guaranteed money instead of the kind of “modest base salary with a lot of incentives” contract I reported that the Brewers were preparing a couple of weeks ago.
If that somehow falls apart though and Hart plays elsewhere in 2014 I think the Brewers would be best served committing to someone capable of handling the position for the entire season. No converting shortstops or relying on the Yuniesky Betancourts of the league. I also think that Hunter Morris would benefit from a bit more time in Nashville before getting the full-time gig in Milwaukee. If the Brewers want to compete though, they can’t afford a offensive black hole like in 2013 or even to platoon the position.
@BrewerNation Even though he’s against it, would moving Braun back to 3B make sense to make room for Davis with Ramirez possibly gone?
— Jake Smith (@jksmth) November 29, 2013
No. If a player is against something like that, especially when those adverse feelings come from experience, it’s likely to be a bad situation. Ryan Braun was terrible defensively at third base, so much so that it almost cost him the 2007 NL Rookie of the Year Award. In 2015, when Ramirez is likely gone, hopefully someone will have stepped up to fill the void at third base, be that Taylor Green or maybe as a bridge to one of the low-level minor leaguers with a high ceiling, or otherwise.
@BrewerNation will scooter gennett be the opening day starting second baseman, if so where does rickie weeks end up.
— Matt (@mje_96) November 29, 2013
In his season-ending press conference, Doug Melvin mentioned specifically that Gennett probably had a leg up in the second baseman’s competition entering 2014. It will be a closely monitored situation all spring training long. So many variables are at work. Gennett played solid defense and hit right-handed pitchers very well, two shortcomings of Weeks’ game at this point. Gennett also couldn’t hit southpaws to save his life, or possibly his job as an everyday option. Then again, Weeks is coming off of a serious leg injury (and successful surgical repair) and his ability to play everyday will be scrutinized as well. A platoon feels like a viable option as we stand today on the last day of November, but Weeks is a veteran who gets out of slumps in the batter’s box. The team could also benefit from Weeks regaining some trade value if they do decide to go with Gennett, which could lead to early at-bats for Weeks.
Should Gennett win the outright starting job for one reason or another early enough in camp, expect Weeks to be featured often in Cactus League play in an effort to get him moved elsewhere. The Rays had interest a year ago around this time and the Royals at least were reportedly sniffing around before the trading deadline. There could be options, but it takes two to tango, as they say.
@BrewerNation if you were GM, would you deal Braun for lottery tickets? Or try to win now while he’s still in his prime?
— Will Hsu (@wphsu) November 29, 2013
There’s no way I’d try to trade Braun right now. I wouldn’t be able to get proper return on the value because he’s seen as somewhat of an unknown right now. Teams think he’ll perform when on the field but the question is how healthy he’ll be able to stay. Even if I were going to look to trade Braun at some point in his contract, it couldn’t be until he has a typical 2014 season and I’d be able to ask for and get a package of high-ceiling, can’t-miss, solid-gold prospects.
@BrewerNation I would like to see the crew get a lefty starter. Anyone available?
— Tom Neises (@NeisesTom) November 29, 2013
Several available, but how good do you want that starter to be? Free agent Chris Narveson is drawing some interest after pitching well in the Caribbean this off-season. He’s certainly familiar with the organization and they with him. But some of the other names available aren’t exactly exciting given their circumstances. You’d be looking at a fifth starter with most of the arms out there and is that worth denying the youth a chance?
And now from Facebook:
“Steven Linkins: Any idea how big a player the brewers plan to be in free agency? they don’t have many holes but it would sure be nice to have a contender again”
Doug Melvin is taking things slowly this off-season as he tends to do. Despite a flurry of activity elsewhere in the league, the Brewers are biding their time while they wait for Corey Hart to receive his medical clearance, expected to come on December 3rd. He is their primary target this winter. Should that fall through, the Brewers would have a need at first base and at least some money to spend.
“Carlo Marinello: Do you think the rumor of Aoki being traded and Braun playing RF is a high probability?”
I think the latter half of that is likely. The only reason it wouldn’t happen is if Braun is completely uncomfortable and they want to make sure he can focus on his offense in 2014. Whether Aoki gets traded or falls into a platoon of sorts in left field with Khris Davis will depend on how strong the offers are which Melvin will certainly field between now and March 31st.
“Ryan Hewitt: If Aoki isn’t traded, do you think he would be okay with being a 4th OF?”
Any competitive athlete wants to be on the field as much as possible but Aoki has proven to be a quality teammate in every respect. He didn’t join the Brewers in 2012 as a starter and if he fell into a platoon or fourth outfielder role to begin 2014, I’m sure he’d continue to play hard to earn his playing time back.
“John Suess: why not Braun at first; you have three other qualified outfielders ready now (plus others in the minors). Braun has played infield and he can also then sub in the outfield. I’d never get rid of Aoki – he does too many things right.”
Braun is an above average outfielder, one who gives you an advantage offensively as well. There’s no reason to force him to first base at this point of his career. He may well one day be better off there but for now he can run, defend, and still hit well above average as an outfielder. His bat doesn’t profile with as much premium at first base either.
“Scott Underwood: Are the Brewers better off resigning Corey Hart or moving on?”
Much better off resigning him. He’s the best bat available at first base on the market that doesn’t come with the loss of a draft pick, he’ll come much cheaper for 2014 than they will anyway, they don’t have a ready option in-house, and if he fails they can justifiably move on in 2015.
“Robert Boese: Any Chances Of The Brewers Changing Logo Or Uniforms For Next Year?”
Other Than What Seems To Be A Special “Japanese” Uniform Day Coming The Weekend Of The Aoki Bobblehead, They’re Sticking And Staying With What They’ve Currently Got.
“T.m. Ryan III: You may know the answer any reason why #17 hasnt been retired or ever used since Gumby had it. If memory serves me correctly hes the last to have it”
The Brewers have only retired five numbers in franchise history, and all of the players for whom they’ve done so are members of the Hall of Fame. They haven’t issued #17 since Jim Gantner last wore it in 1992, true, likely out of respect for what he meant to the franchise. It’s more of a “soft” retirement if anything.
“Adam Mrozek: Are the Brewers really shopping Ryan Braun? If so, my Brewer cap is getting burned.”
Your cap is safe. Braun is not being shopped.
“David Hannes: Could Rickie Weeks or Aramis Ramirez play first base this year?”
Ramirez would be well-served to move to first base if he wants to extend his career much longer, but this doesn’t seem to be the season for it. He’ll rightfully want to enter his what could be his final free agency as a third baseman.
Weeks has hard hands, is a small target, isn’t particularly flexible to stretch for balls, and wouldn’t make much of a first baseman…especially if his offensive woes continue.
“Terry Fraser: Are the Brewer looking at Garrett Jones? Perfect bench player for us- power off the bench, plays 1B, LF, RF, lefty bat vs closers.”
Jones is certainly versatile and would be a welcomed addition to the bench in Milwaukee, in my opinion, at the right price. However, other teams that could use his skills will be able to offer him much more than the Brewers would (or really should). Sean Halton can provide similar defensive coverage and some of the offensive ability for a fraction of Jones’ cost. Taylor Green covers you at even more spots than Halton does and also hits left-handed.
Robinson Cano. Short of that, would Hart and O’Flaherty work?
So that wraps it up for the first edition of Brewer Nation Q&A. I hope you enjoyed the format and will participate in the future if you didn’t this time.
As always, I’m available on social media for questions as I stated earlier. Find the links at the top.
Do you have a follow up question or something else you’d like to know? Disagree with my answers? There’s a wonderful comments section right here on the blog. Put it to work!
ESPN.com’s senior baseball writer Jayson Stark posted a column today about the trade market and all things pertaining to it.
He mentions the Brewers on the separate occasions. Here are those mentions and my thoughts about them.
On Aramis Ramirez, other hitters:
“The Brewers haven’t quite packed it in yet, but an official of one club that spoke with them reports that if they do sell, they’d gladly listen on their third baseman — and, for that matter, on any position player except Jean Segura, Carlos Gomez and Ryan Braun. The good news: Ramirez has a reputation as a second-half producer (.295/.351/.531 lifetime after the All-Star break). The bad news: He’s guaranteed $16 million next season, with a mutual option worth $14 million for 2015, with a $4 million buyout.”
It’s no surprise to read that the Brewers would listen on almost any hitter. There are veterans in this group that made a couple of playoff runs as a nucleus but are getting older and expensive together. There are complementary pieces that have performed well in Milwaukee but would be in decline (if they aren’t already) or off contract before Milwaukee’s next playoff push if they choose to adhere to Melvin’s stated directive.
One of the most valuable pieces among them, when healthy, is Ramirez. He could bring a handsome return from the right caller plus the Brewers would love to get out from underneath the rest of that contract.
I agree with the “untouchables” list offered above as well, realizing that the time to reload is now while we, as fans, look toward legitimate contention in the near future.
On Yovani Gallardo:
“The blueprint got all smushed up in Milwaukee this season. But that doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be plenty to market if the Brewers sell. Atop the list of their most-coveted pieces, you’d find their ace, Yovani Gallardo. But teams that have checked in say the Brewers haven’t made it clear whether Gallardo is going to be out there or not. One NL exec said his impression was that Gallardo is the one pitcher on this staff who won’t be available. But another said: “To be honest, I think they would love to move him. Remember those fastballs that used to be 94-95-ish? Now they’re 89-90-ish.” Nevertheless, a 27-year-old starter with a track record and up to two seasons of control (counting his 2015 option) always makes for a viable trade chip.”
I don’t know that Melvin would “love” to move Gallardo as the executive who spoke to Stark suggested, but after Melvin’s comments mentioning Yo at all I’d be a fool if I didn’t recognize that they’re willing to.
Melvin stated that a trade offer would have to “wow” him in order to move the Brewers’ long-time number one, but just that Melvin was willing to discuss Gallardo with the media speaks volumes.
Working in Melvin’s favor again is that he has some leverage with Gallardo much like he does with Ramirez. Gallardo is under contract for 2014 and has an affordable team option for ’15 that won’t be voidable after all. (The option could have been voided by Gallardo if he had multiple top finishes in the Cy Young Award balloting during the extension.)
Whether they should move Gallardo becomes the question now. Assuming a decent return is offered, are you reloading for a run at the division in 2016? Or do you want to take one more shot with this offense in ’14? The decision will be made soon and it directly affects Gallardo’s availability on the market.
Stark then lists his “Five more arms to keep an eye on:” at the end of the column, a list which includes Francisco Rodriguez.
This is the most obvious choice for a player that the Brewers would love to move. After getting somewhat screwed when Rodriguez accepted arbitration following the 2011 season, the Brewers got no compensation at all for what appeared to be the imminent departure of K-Rod from Cream City.
After receiving some offers to begin 2013, Rodriguez waited and eventually got a deal he was comfortable accepting from Doug Melvin. For everything that he wasn’t in 2012, Rodriguez has been excellent so far this season for Ron Roenicke. He would certainly bring back a worthwhile piece for a team in need of a proven (yes, I said it) late-inning option.
The Brewers announced this morning that utility infielder Jeff Bianchi was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list where he had been since before the season started. Bianchi originally had a groin strain in spring training which forced his withdrawal from participation in the World Baseball Classic. While that had healed, he then developed hip bursitis, forcing the DL stint.
The corresponding move to activate Bianchi was the optioning of Khris Davis to Nashville where he’ll be able to actually get some playing time and consistent at-bats. As I said last night at the time, Davis simply couldn’t adjust to the role of staying sharp with such irregular PT. He’s hardly alone in that struggle though. Countless players can’t adjust which is why those veterans who can flourish in a bench role, relatively speaking, continue to have such value in the game.
Bianchi’s return is the first in a list of several players expected to heal and contribute to the team’s successes this season. In other words, the Brewers are starting to get healthy.
The key to the timing of these additions is that the guys who have been there have kept the team within striking distance in the division. The Brewers enter play today 1.5 games behind the division-leading Cardinals, whom they face beginning tonight in a four-game series. Play well, and the Brewers will at worst remain where they’re at.
But the Brewers are getting a huge boost back in the lineup for Game 2 in this series as they expect to activate third baseman, cleanup hitter, and professional batsman Aramis Ramirez on Friday.
Ramirez was crucial to the Brewers success last season, especially once he overcame a slow start. He was off to a good start at the dish this year before re-injuring his knee on a slide into second base. Hopefully the games he missed will be the slow ones and he’ll hit the field running on all cylinders this weekend.
And the Brewers won’t stop there. They are still awaiting Corey Hart’s return at the end of the month following off-season knee surgery and Chris Narveson’s from an in-season finger injury.
Hart especially will be akin to trading for a quality player two months before the trading deadline. Hopefully he’ll shake the rust off in his rehab stint in the minors and reenter the lineup sharp.
Good things are coming, Brewer Nation. We’ve been biding our collective time and the team has been winning enough. When the bats are all back in, let’s look for another nice run.
THE 2013 “VOTE BREWERS!” CAMPAIGN IS UNDERWAY
Online Brewers.com Fan Balloting Begins Tomorrow, Miller Park Firestone Balloting Begins April 29; Participating Entrants will have Opportunity to Win Incredible Prizes
MILWAUKEE – Brewers fans have the well-earned reputation for filling the ballot boxes with All-Star votes for Milwaukee Brewers players year in and year out. With at least one Brewers player elected to start in five of the last six All-Star Games since 2007, Milwaukee fans demonstrated that it doesn’t take the largest market to be heard as they voted for their favorite Brewers in almost unheard of numbers.
And while it may still be April, it’s time to ramp up and Vote Brewers! This season, eight Milwaukee Brewers players are featured on the ballot for the 84th Major League Baseball All-Star Game to be held on Tuesday, July 16 at Citi Field in New York City. Brewers fans will again have the opportunity to show their overwhelming fan support by helping decide which players will be named to the Midsummer Classic through the 2013 MLB In-Stadium All-Star Balloting Program and the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot.
Brewers players on this year’s All-Star ballot include C Jonathan Lucroy, 1B Corey Hart, 2B Rickie Weeks, 3B Aramis Ramirez, SS Jean Segura, OF Ryan Braun, OF Carlos Gomez and OF Norichika Aoki.
Beginning Wednesday, fans are able to vote online at brewers.com and beginning Monday, April 29, fans will be able to vote through in-park balloting at Miller Park.
At brewers.com, all fans voting 21 or more times for their favorite Brewers will be entered into a drawing to win Ryan Braun’s Miller Park Suite for a night, complete with tickets, food and a personal visit from the 2011 National League MVP. There is a maximum of 25 votes per email address. More information and rules may be found at brewers.com. Additionally, fans voting online will be eligible to purchase Field Outfield and Club Outfield seats for select Brewers games at a savings of up to 50% (details available after voting at Brewers.com).
Those visiting Miller Park are encouraged to vote early and often via paper ballot at the All-Star Polling District, set up during Brewers home games along the first base concourse. In-park balloting at Miller Park begins on Monday, April 29 and continues through Friday, June 21, comprising 25 home dates. The Vote Brewers! campaign will feature event staff decked out at home games in promotional t-shirts, and signage along the Miller Park fascia and behind the plate. In addition, media partners FS Wisconsin and Newsradio 620 WTMJ will be promoting the initiative on broadcasts, and the World Famous Klement’s Racing Sausages will help distribute voting information around the city. There will also be voting parties staged during the balloting period.
With every 10 ballots turned in to the All-Star Polling District, fans will receive one raffle ticket that will enter them in a drawing for the opportunity to win a collector’s item daily, ranging from game-used memorabilia to player autographs. A drawing will be held during every home game through June 21 and the winning ticket will be announced during the game. Rules will be available at the Polling District.
Ryan Braun narrowly missed being elected a starter for the 2012 MLB All-Star Game after finishing fourth in voting among National League outfielders to Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers by just over 100,000 votes. Braun was later named a starter to replace the injured Kemp.
In 2011, Braun led National League outfielders in voting for the fourth straight season and led all NL players in voting for the first time (5,928,004). He is the only Brewers player to ever be elected to start in four consecutive All-Star Games (did not play in 2011 due to injury). Rickie Weeks was selected to his first All-Star Game as the NL’s starting second baseman and Prince Fielder started and made his third All-Star appearance in 2011. In 2010, Braun and Corey Hart started for the Brewers (Hart was named as a starter after an injury to Atlanta’s Jason Heyward).
In 2009, Braun and Fielder joined Trevor Hoffman as All-Stars. In addition to Braun in 2008, Hart was named that year to the National League All-Star team via the Monster All-Star Final Vote. In 2007, Fielder received the second-most votes in the National League en route to his first career All-Star team, becoming the first Brewers player to be voted to the All-Star Game since Paul Molitor was selected at third base in 1988. A complete list of All-Stars in franchise history can be found on page 277 of the 2013 Brewers media guide.
The 2013 American League and National League All-Star Teams will be unveiled on Sunday, July 7 on the 2013 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show on TBS. Both the National League and American League teams will have eight fan-elected starters. The pitchers and reserves for both will be determined through a combination of “Player Ballot” choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers.
Fans can vote for the Major League All-Stars online at brewers.com through Thursday, July 4 at 10:59 p.m. CT.
Following today’s final exhibition game (a victory over the Chicago White Sox), the Milwaukee Brewers announced their 25-man roster for Opening Day.
Here is the breakdown by position.
- John Axford
- Burke Badenhop
- Marco Estrada
- Mike Fiers
- Alfredo Figaro
- Yovani Gallardo
- Michael Gonzalez
- Tom Gorzelanny
- Jim Henderson
- Brandon Kintzler
- Kyle Lohse
- Chris Narveson
- Wily Peralta
- Jonathan Lucroy
- Martin Maldonado
- Alex Gonzalez
- Yuniesky Betancourt
- Aramis Ramirez
- Jean Segura
- Rickie Weeks
- Norichika Aoki
- Ryan Braun
- Khris Davis
- Carlos Gomez
- Logan Schafer
The Brewers will also be carrying four (4) players on the big league 15-day disabled list to begin the season (Jeff Bianchi, Taylor Green, Corey Hart, Mark Rogers) and one (1) on the 60-day DL (Mat Gamel).
Special congratulations go out to Alfredo Figaro, Mike Fiers, Jim Henderson, Jean Segura, Khris Davis, Wily Peralta, Martin Maldonado, and Logan Schafer who are all making their first Opening Day MLB roster!
Recorded last night over dinner and during a fantasy baseball draft, my podcast partner Cary Kostka and I get you ready for Opening Day!
We discuss the 25-man roster projection, lineup for Opening Day, rotation, Kyle Lohse, Yuniesky Betancourt and more!
Click here to download the podcast: Brewer Nation Podcast – 2013 Opening Day Preparedness
With the NCAA’s “Selection Sunday” on deck tomorrow for college basketball, the tournament’s third round moniker felt appropriate because being only 16 days away from Opening Day at Miller Park is certainly sweet.
We’re nearing the end of this year’s “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” countdown, but we’ve still got a lot of hitters to profile between now and April 1st. And after a three-day break, let’s get right back into as we look at…
Ramirez came to the Brewers last year with a lot of expectations. He was signed to bat clean up, “protect” Ryan Braun, and provide an offensive upgrade from the “Hot Corner” over departing starter Casey McGehee. The one expectation that wasn’t on Ramirez entering 2012 was great defense. It was assumed that Ramirez would be dependable at third, but unspectacular. Reliable, but limited.
For all of that, though, Ramirez exceeded what most everyone had him pegged for. He posted a season line of .300/.360/.540 (.901 OPS), 171 H, 92 R, 50 doubles, 3 triples, 27 HR, 105 RBI, only 82 K, 44 BB, all in 630 PA and 570 AB across 149 games. From his 2011 season, Ramirez bettered himself nearly across the board.
Defensively, Ramirez had himself in the Gold Glove conversation late in the year. He nearly set the consecutive errorless games streak by a third baseman if not for a pair of dropped popups in foul territory. He came in a bunts and dribblers extremely well, flashing a barehanded pick and throw move to first that was flawless. His reaction was far better than advertised coming out of Chicago and he was more accurate than anyone in the Windy City would have had you believe.
I also feel it necessary to mention Ramirez’ baserunning on its own. It wasn’t completely ridiculous in a vacuum as Ramirez only stole nine bases, but when his previous career high was five (in 2001 at the age of 23), he’d never again stolen more than two in a season before or since, and even had seven full seasons of zero stolen bases…well, the 9-of-11 (81.8% success rate) was phenomenal in a relative sense.
About the only thing Ramirez lived down to was his notoriously slow start. It hasn’t always been the case, but April was once again brutal for Ramirez as he limped out of the gate with a .214/.264/.381 slash line. May was better but still below average at .274/.364/.484, but as the weather heated up, Ramirez did likewise. Ramirez peaked in July at .373/.409/.608 (1.017 OPS) and actually slugged better still in August when he posted a season-high .642 SLG thanks to his eight home runs in the month.
Ramirez put together a great season despite being 34 years old for the majority of it. Will be eventually decline like every other human being? Of course. Do the Brewers hope that they gave him the perfect length contract to get out before the decline begins? Absolutely. That being said, the Brewers will be looking to Ramirez to not only duplicate the full-season numbers but to also perhaps spread out that production a bit more evenly. Though to hear Ramirez tell it, if he could only start hot he’d have a few MVP trophies on his mantle at home.
The first hurdle to that goal appears to have been overcome by Ramirez. He sprained his knee sliding into second base two weeks ago as I write this. Following the ACL tears of both Mat Gamel and Alex Gonzalez in 2012 and then Gamel again this year, Brewers fans immediately feared the absolute worst. It sounded at the time from a friend in attendance that Ramirez walked off with only a slight limp. The media reported that he looked okay enough after the game, but the next day when Ramirez showed up to camp the next day with a noticeable limp, he was scheduled for an MRI. He didn’t have the telltale swelling that accompanies a torn ACL, so he was cautiously optimistic but said at the time that he was “not feeling too good right now.” Luckily, it was just the sprain and after just under two weeks off to rest it, Ramirez returned to the lineup for the Brewers.
With all of the question marks surrounding the Brewers rotation as they enter the regular season, the offense absolutely needs to be there along the way. To his credit, before the injury Ramirez and Brewers manager Ron Roenicke had discussed a plan to try to get Ramirez over his early season woes. Part of that seemed to include an increase in the amount of Cactus League at-bats Ramirez would see. After missing nearly two weeks and needing to understandably take things slow for at least another week, time has run out on getting Ramirez that much work. Still, hopefully something clicks this year that hasn’t done so very often in the past and Ramirez will enter April all heated up.
The thing about Ramirez is that even if he starts slow, he nearly always rebounds well. Part of that I think is due to many players wearing down as the summer gets long and Ramirez having a specific process which he follows to keep himself fresh throughout the year. In other words, as others tend to slow down, Ramirez stays even and the difference then works out in favor of Ramirez. Then again, that’s just a theory which isn’t based on any research. Perhaps that’s something I’ll look into more as this season progresses.
Before it can progress though, it needs to begin. That happens 16 days from the posting of this article.
Miss anyone along the way? Catch up on the Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers profiles to this point:
- #20 Jonathan Lucroy
- #21 Donnie Murphy
- #22 Logan Schafer
- #23 Rickie Weeks
- #24 Mat Gamel
- #27 Carlos Gomez
- #29 Jim Henderson
- #31 Burke Badenhop
- #32 Tom Gorzelanny
- #37 Mark Rogers
- #38 Chris Narveson
- #41 Marco Estrada
- #45 Kelvim Escobar
- #46 Hiram Burgos
- #48 Donovan Hand
- #49 Yovani Gallardo
- #51 Michael Gonzalez
- #53 Brandon Kintzler
- #54 Josh Stinson
- #57 Khris Davis
- #58 Josh Prince
- #59 John Axford
- #60 Wily Peralta
- #61 Darren Byrd
- #63 Tyler Thornburg
- #64 Mike Fiers
- #65 Miguel De Los Santos
- #67 Santo Manzanillo
- #68 Jesus Sanchez
- #70 Nick Bucci
- #71 Johnny Hellweg
- #73 Ariel Peña
- #74 Michael Olmsted
- #75 Travis Webb
- #77 Jed Bradley
- #78 Taylor Jungmann
- BONUS ARTICLE: #91-94 Adam Weisenberger, Hunter Morris, Kentrail Davis, Rafael Neda
As I did last year, I’ll be keeping a running list of the Top 100 Players Right Now as they are revealed on MLB Network, eventually compiling the entire list.
They will have revealed all 100 by the end of Tuesday, February 26th. I’ll update this same space as they reveal the remaining entries.
As before I will understandably highlight the Brewers players on the list. Last year there were six Brewers on the list. Rickie Weeks was 83, John Axford was 77, Yovani Gallardo was 72, Aramis Ramirez was 66, Zack Greinke was 64, and Ryan Braun was too low at number 9.
Based on what has been revealed, it would appear a safe bet that Rickie Weeks has fallen off of the list. And how about John Axford? Could he really be in the Top 40 or did he fall off too? I’m guessing he fell off despite his fantastic 2011 season.
Looks like the Brewers will only have three this year.
The criteria for the list remains the same:
- Emphasized stats from the last three (3) seasons, weighting 2012
- Projected 2013 performance
- Defensive position
Here now are the Top 100 Players as listed by MLB Network.
100. Ryan Howard – 1B – Philadelphia Phillies
99. Sergio Romo – CL – San Francisco Giants
98. Yu Darvish – SP – Texas Rangers
97. Elvis Andrus – SS – Texas Rangers
96. Chase Utley – 2B – Philadelphia Phillies
95. Adrian Gonzalez – 1B – Los Angeles Dodgers
94. Jacoby Ellsbury – OF – Boston Red Sox
93. Victor Martinez – C/DH – Detroit Tigers
92. Jordan Zimmermann – SP – Washington Nationals
91. Michael Bourn – CF – Cleveland Indians
90. Aroldis Chapman – P – Cincinnati Reds
89. Adam Wainwright – SP – St. Louis Cardinals
88. Jon Lester – SP – Boston Red Sox
87. Mike Moustakas – 3B – Kansas City Royals
86. Brett Lawrie – 3B – Toronto Blue Jays
85. Michael Morse – 1B/LF – Seattle Mariners
84. Allen Craig – 1B – St. Louis Cardinals
83. Torii Hunter – RF – Detroit Tigers
82. Carlos Beltran – RF – St. Louis Cardinals
81. Carlos Ruiz – C – Philadelphia Phillies
80. Brian McCann – C – Atlanta Braves
79. Miguel Montero – C- Arizona Diamondbacks
78. Curtis Granderson – CF – New York Yankees
77. Jim Johnson – CL – Baltimore Orioles
76. Jason Motte – CL – St. Louis Cardinals
75. Ian Desmond – SS – Washington Nationals
74. Chase Headley – 3B – San Diego Padres
73. Adam LaRoche – 1B – Washington Nationals
72. Yovani Gallardo – SP – Milwaukee Brewers
71. Madison Bumgarner – SP – San Francisco Giants
70. Alex Gordon – LF – Kansas City Royals
69. B.J. Upton – CF – Atlanta Braves
68. James Shields – SP – Kansas City Royals
67. David Freese – 3B – St. Louis Cardinals
66. J.J. Hardy – SS – Baltimore Orioles
65. Kyle Lohse – SP – (FREE AGENT)
64. Wade Miley – SP – Arizona Diamondbacks
63. Johnny Cueto – SP – Cincinnati Reds
62. Jonathan Papelbon – CL – Philadelphia Phillies
61. Mariano Rivera – CL – New York Yankees
60. David Ortiz – DH – Boston Red Sox
59. Jason Heyward – RF – Atlanta Braves
58. Austin Jackson – CF – Detroit Tigers
57. Zack Greinke – SP – Los Angeles Dodgers
56. Chris Sale – SP – Chicago White Sox
55. Billy Butler – DH – Kansas City Royals
54. Bryce Harper – LF – Washington Nationals
53. Derek Jeter – SS – New York Yankees
52. Starlin Castro – SS – Chicago Cubs
51. Troy Tulowitzki – SS – Colorado Rockies
50. R.A. Dickey – SP – Toronto Blue Jays
49. Gio Gonzalez – SP – Washington Nationals
48. Matt Wieters – C – Baltimore Orioles
47. A.J. Pierzynski – C- Texas Rangers
46. Roy Halladay – SP – Philadelphia Phillies
45. Matt Cain – SP – San Francisco Giants
44. Pablo Sandoval – 3B – San Francisco Giants
43. Josh Willingham – LF – Minnesota Twins
42. Yoenis Cespedes – LF – Oakland Athletics
41. Matt Holliday – LF – St. Louis Cardinals
40. Ian Kinsler – 2B – Texas Rangers
39. Edwin Encarnacion – 1B – Toronto Blue Jays
38. Joe Mauer – C – Minnesota Twins
37. Jered Weaver – SP – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
36. Jay Bruce – RF – Cincinnati Reds
35. Justin Upton – LF – Atlanta Braves
34. Dustin Pedroia – 2B – Boston Red Sox
33. Paul Konerko – 1B – Chicago White Sox
32. Aramis Ramirez – 3B – Milwaukee Brewers
31. Brandon Phillips – 2B – Cincinnati Reds
30. Carlos Gonzalez – LF – Colorado Rockies
29. Ryan Zimmerman – 3B – Washington Nationals
28. Jose Bautista – RF – Toronto Blue Jays
27. Craig Kimbrel – CL – Atlanta Braves
26. Stephen Strasburg – SP – Washington Nationals
25. Jose Reyes – SS – Toronto Blue Jays
24. Yadier Molina – C – St. Louis Cardinals
23. Adam Jones – CF – Baltimore Orioles
22. David Wright – 3B – New York Mets
21. Buster Posey – C – San Francisco Giants
20. Cole Hamels – SP – Philadelphia Phillies
19. Cliff Lee – SP – Philadelphia Phillies
18. CC Sabathia – SP – New York Yankees
17. Andrew McCutchen – CF – Pittsburgh Pirates
16. Evan Longoria – 3B – Tampa Bay Rays
15. Giancarlo Stanton – RF – Miami Marlins
14. Albert Pujols – 1B – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
13. Adrian Beltre – 3B – Texas Rangers
12. David Price – SP – Tampa Bay Rays
11. Prince Fielder – 1B – Detroit Tigers
10. Josh Hamilton – RF – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
9. Joey Votto – 1B – Cincinnati Reds
8. Robinson Cano – 2B – New York Yankees
7. Felix Hernandez – SP – Seattle Mariners
6. Ryan Braun – LF – Milwaukee Brewers
5. Clayton Kershaw – SP – Los Angeles Dodgers
4. Matt Kemp – CF – Los Angeles Dodgers
3. Miguel Cabrera – 3B – Detroit Tigers
2. Justin Verlander – SP – Detroit Tigers
1. Mike Trout – LF – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Totals by team:
- Philadelphia Phillies – 7
- St. Louis Cardinals – 7
- Washington Nationals – 7
- Detroit Tigers – 6
- Atlanta Braves – 5
- Cincinnati Reds – 5
- New York Yankees – 5
- San Francisco Giants – 5
- Texas Rangers – 5
- Toronto Blue Jays – 5
- Baltimore Orioles – 4
- Boston Red Sox – 4
- Kansas City Royals – 4
- Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – 4
- Los Angeles Dodgers – 4
- Milwaukee Brewers – 3
- Arizona Diamondbacks – 2
- Chicago White Sox – 2
- Colorado Rockies – 2
- Minnesota Twins – 2
- Seattle Mariners – 2
- Tampa Bay Rays – 2
- Cleveland Indians – 1
- New York Mets – 1
- Chicago Cubs – 1
- Oakland Athletics – 1
- Miami Marlins – 1
- Pittsburgh Pirates – 1
- San Diego Padres – 1
- Kyle Lohse – 1
It’s the final day of 2012.
This was a year which saw the Milwaukee Brewers attempt (unsuccessfully) to defend a division championship for the first time since 1983. It was the first time that the Brewers featured their very own defending league Most Valuable Player since 1990. They entered the season with an intact rotation which used the fewest different arms (6) to make all 162 starts. Arguably the league’s most fearsome bullpen back-end was returning as well with only a couple of key veterans taking jobs elsewhere. And sure, Prince Fielder followed the money to Detroit but this was going to be Mat Gamel’s breakout year and Aramis Ramirez would pick up most of the slack…at least once May rolled around, he would.
Alas, we all know how things turned out in 2012 so I shan’t recap the trials, tribulations, trade, and triumphs that resulted in 83 victories a year after winning a franchise-record 96 games.
No, for this column we look forward. We look forward to 2013. We look forward to P&C. We look much too far forward to Opening Day with this set of projections.
If the season started tomorrow, the following things would be true:
- I’d be extremely happy that I wouldn’t have to still be counting down to Opening Day (91 days as of this writing).
- I’d be extremely cold while tailgating outside of Miller Park for a few hours on my wife’s birthday.
- I’d have failed miserably in posting my season preview “Brewers By the Jersey Numbers” articles.
But really, I’m posting today to take a look at how the current roster stacks up and what I think a 25-man roster would look like when the games started counting.
I gotta tell you all that I would normally not make this projection for quite some time but with Doug Melvin’s declaration that they were “coming to the end” of acquiring free agents (or however he exactly worded it), chances are the majority of options at the team’s disposal today are going to be the same options they are presented with in 43 days when Pitchers and Catchers officially report.
Of course, and it should go without needing to be said, a ton can change between now and then anyway despite appearances. Somebody could be traded. Somebody could be signed as a veteran backup where currently only inexperience resides. Somebody could injure themselves in a pickup basketball game. Et cetera. But if we accounted for every “if” that we could, nobody would ever project anything. That’s simply not much fun.
Assuming everyone is through rehab successfully, here is how my 25-man roster would look if the season started tomorrow. (Players listed alphabetically within their position group.)
Starting Pitchers (5)
- Marco Estrada
- Mike Fiers
- Yovani Gallardo
- Chris Narveson*
- Mark Rogers
I know what you’re thinking. “Free Wily Peralta!” I agree that he’s likely one of the best five options available to fill a spot in the rotation but based on the necessary evil of depth maintenance and with respect to the rules on minor league options, this just feels like the rotation that will head north from Arizona. Gallardo is a lock. Estrada was mentioned more than once this off-season as having an advantage in the competition. (He also isn’t hurt by the fact that his manager really likes his pitching.) Fiers did more than enough throughout most the season to be given a shot from the get. After adding two left-handed relievers to the bullpen, sticking Narveson in there doesn’t make sense anymore (if it ever did). Rogers is out of options and I really want to see him get a shot to contribute as a starting pitcher. He won’t make it through waivers to Nashville. Peralta has options remaining and that’s what this should come down to. Don’t doubt for a minute though that if Fiers struggles for a few starts early and it appears that the end of 2012 was due to being “figured out” more so than simply fatigue, he’ll be optioned down to Nashville in favor of the young Dominican.
Tyler Thornburg will get a look this spring but I feel like they don’t want to mess with him as a reliever this year at all. They’ll give him a full season starting in Triple-A. Hopefully with the regular and steady work he was used to, he’ll be able to avoid the arm fatigue that slowed his development in 2012. Hiram Burgos, just added to the 40-man roster, should also pitch in games in big league camp to start the spring, but after skyrocketing through the system this year, he’ll be in Nashville’s rotation when camp breaks.
Relief Pitchers (7)
- John Axford (Closer)
- Burke Badenhop
- Mike Gonzalez*
- Tom Gorzelanny*
- Jim Henderson
- Brandon Kintzler
- Michael Olmsted
One open spot for competition. Many feel that the aforementioned Peralta should be in the rotation and that either Narveson or Rogers will become the default long reliever as a effect. For me, the final spot in the ‘pen will come down to one of the recent high-ceiling additions which Melvin and his staff have picked up this off-season. If I had my druthers, Michael Olmsted gets first crack at it. Spring Training performance might dictate that he isn’t ready for the jump over Triple-A, and this might be specifically adjusted in March, but based on minor league numbers, projectability, and stuff, Olmsted appears to be at the top of the influx of opportunity-seekers. Olmsted is already on the 40-man roster too, something that would come into play should someone like a Jairo Asencio continue to impress.
Last year’s swingman Josh Stinson has an option remaining so he’ll head to the minors. Likewise Miguel De Los Santos. One other note, as of this posting the Mike Gonzalez deal still hadn’t been made official. When it is, someone must come off the 40-man roster. I think that will be Fautino De Los Santos. So, if he’s even still with the organization, he’ll be tucked away in the minors to begin the year.
- Jonathan Lucroy
- Martin Maldonado
Need there be a lengthy explanation? How’s this: no other catchers on the 40-man; these two played very well all year (when healthy); next best options coming to camp are Blake Lalli and Dayton Buller. Next!
- Jeff Bianchi
- Mat Gamel**
- Corey Hart
- Donnie Murphy
- Aramis Ramirez
- Jean Segura
- Rickie Weeks
A “traditional” roster usually consists of six infielders and five outfielders. I’ve split this roster differently for a couple of reasons though. First, Mat Gamel and Jeff Bianchi are both out of minor league options. Bianchi performed okay last year in his first big league action, but really what the Brewers will be holding onto is depth at shortstop. Sure, they wouldn’t have to add Donnie Murphy to the 40-man roster at all and could just stash him in the minors to begin the year but he is the superior defender to Bianchi and can more capably cover defensively at the hot corner. Furthermore, the team has made no secret of the designs to have Gamel play in the corner outfield spots this spring along with Corey Hart’s obvious ability to fill in should an emergency arise.
Taylor Green will once again be the victim of circumstance, but he is more valuable to the organization playing everyday anyway even if that’s at Nashville. He can stay ready at the plate and be called upon if an injury creates a need.
- Norichika Aoki**
- Ryan Braun
- Carlos Gomez
- Logan Schafer**
To elaborate a bit on my point from above, Logan Schafer can play all three defensive outfield positions very well. He can take over for any of the regulars when they need a day off and can be utilized in double-switches late in games. It’d be the same way that the Brewers played the majority of 2012 defensively once Hart moved to first base. Assuming that day’s starting outfield was Braun-Gomez-Aoki, Nyjer Morgan was the only “true” outfielder remaining on the roster. Schafer can do more than Morgan could defensively and still brings at least as much at the plate from the same left side.
For the record, if the Brewers did decide to carry five outfielders, I’d guess that Murphy would begin the season in the minors for depth and the extra outfielder would be Caleb Gindl. This seven IFs and four OFs configuration can work, though, with the proper personnel. The Brewers would have that group in 2013 should they choose to go that route. I would.
Opening Day Lineup
- Rickie Weeks
- Norichika Aoki
- Ryan Braun
- Aramis Ramirez
- Corey Hart
- Jonathan Lucroy
- Carlos Gomez
- Jean Segura
- Yovani Gallardo
On Opening Day I foresee manager Ron Roenicke looking to do a couple of things with his lineup. I think he’d like to have Weeks back up near the top and despite how Aoki performed so well while leading off in 2012 I think he’ll play the same card he did once he moved Weeks down the lineup last year to justify the order I have listed. You may recall that on days when Carlos Gomez started in center, Aoki batted second because Aoki handled the bat better to move the leadoff hitter over should he reach base. When Morgan started in center Roenicke felt that Aoki’s patience resulted in a better chance to get on base for the rest of the lineup. As we know, despite typically low batting averages, Weeks gets on base. His .350 career OBP is 99 points higher than his career batting average and only .005 lower than what Aoki did in his rookie season. What’s more, despite the struggles Weeks had for a majority of 2012, he still managed to walk 74 times (and reached based 13 more times after being hit by a pitch).
That being the situation near the top, I think it affords Roenicke the opportunity to begin with Gomez further down the order where he won’t hurt the Brewers early on in the season should he regress from last year’s breakout. If Gomez proves that 2012 is the baseline going forward then Roenicke will have a good problem with which to deal.
Segura is still young, still growing into his skills and performed well enough in the oft-dreaded “spot before the pitcher” that he could flourish there to begin the year. His winter league numbers are also encouraging regardless of the competition level. If he can develop more patience, he’ll be contributing plenty out of the 8th spot all season.
* - Throws left-handed ** - Bats left-handed
So that’s how I see things shaking out if the season started tomorrow.