Results tagged ‘ George Kottaras ’

Brewers Officially Announce Gonzalez Signing

alex gonzalezShortstop Alex Gonzalez has passed his physical and been officially signed to a one-year contract. The deal was first reported last week by FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal.

A 40-man roster move was necessitated by the addition of Gonzalez. As I surmised at the time, RHP Fautino De Los Santos was the victim. De Los Santos was claimed off of waivers by the San Diego Padres.

De Los Santos was received by the Brewers as compensation in the deal last summer than sent catcher George Kottaras to the Oakland Athletics.

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?

Brewers to Acquire Fautino De Los Santos From A’s for George Kottaras

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle exclusively (her word, not that I doubt her) was told about the return for Kottaras.

Here is what she wrote about the deal:

“The A’s have made a move to acquire Milwaukee backup catcher George Kottaras, two major-league sources confirmed, but the deal has not been announced.

According to multiple sources, the Brewers will receive right-handed reliever Fautino De Los Santos, who had a 4.21 ERA in 40 appearances with Oakland in 2011-12 and a 7.25 ERA with Triple-A Sacramento this year.
Kottaras, 29, was designated for assignment Thursday, but it’s unlikely he’d be able to join the club until Monday, one possible reason the news is not yet official.

It is unclear what the A’s plans are for Kottaras and the current catching duo of Kurt Suzuki and rookie Derek Norris, although initial indications were that Suzuki is not heading elsewhere before Tuesday’s trade deadline. That would point toward a possible demotion for Norris, giving Oakland two experienced catchers for the stretch run.

Norris has been starting two games to every one for Suzuki, roughly, but he did endure an 0-for-30 streak recently. He is 4-for-14 since then.

Kottaras is batting .209 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 58 games.”

Who Has Asked About Whom, Including Greinke’s Phone Suitor

I don’t know, nor will I come close knowing, all the teams that will inquire about players currently on the Brewers roster.

I will follow along the rumors on the internet as best I can from the people that make money to spend time chasing down leads. I will relay that information to you as quickly as I can.

But from time to time I’ll also hear stuff on my own. I’m here right now to offer some of that.

For example, the Angels have called on Greinke, but they also have talked to Milwaukee about Corey Hart and George Kottaras.

Speaking of the Greek column, Kottaras has also had interest shown in him by the Mets and Indians. Probably others have inquired that I don’t know about, but I do know about them.

Furthermore, the Orioles, Tigers, and Giants have all picked up the phone to check on the availability Hart.

As for the Giants, it was reported that they asked about Francisco Rodriguez but I have a hard time imagining they’re still interested after the Phillies series.

There were rumors that the Yankees might inquire about Aramis Ramirez but as far as as I could find out, that conversation hasn’t taken place. At least not yet.

Zack Greinke, of course, is the hottest chip on the market for Milwaukee right now. He’s been linked to numerous suitors including one who kept Doug Melvin on the phone for “over an hour” trying to come up with creative offers. Nothing pending, at least as of a couple of hours ago, with them though.

What’s that? You want to know who bent the Brewers’ ear that long? Okay fine. It was the White Sox.

Many people don’t feel that they have enough of a system to get a deal done straight up with Milwaukee but they are said to covet Greinke badly. And if there’s one thing Kenny Williams is, it’s creative.

Stay tuned!

Monday’s Rumor Roundup

It’s been about a day and a half since the realization began to hit home that the 2012 edition of the Milwaukee Brewers are likely to fall short of their goal.

In a publicly-declared critical nine-game stretch of games, the team went 4-5 and fell to a season-worst 10.5 games back in the division. The Brewers also sit 7.5 games back of the brand new second wild card as play opens today.

After failing to make any kind of move forward, one must believe that the team will follow through on its unstated directive of working toward competing in the years hence. Doug Melvin made reference of the remarkable turnaround experienced by the World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals last year when they came from over 10 games back in the Wild Card race to make the playoffs. Wisely, however, he also stated that it’s a different set of circumstances for the Brewers this year.

That all led me to open my ears, reach out to a couple of people, and start paying attention to a few things. Here is what I’ve learned so far…

Zack Greinke is a sought-after piece still, though many are waiting to see how he performs in his start in Philadelphia on Tuesday prior to coming near Doug Melvin’s current asking price. That asking price is an MLB-ready arm with less than 18 months of service time (so it doesn’t matter if he’s currently a minor-leaguer) along with a “high-end” prospect at either shortstop or first base.

This lines up roughly to what I expected a return could net Milwaukee. I’ve long thought that a return in potential of what the Cleveland Indians got from the Brewers for CC Sabathia in 2008. Now that was a three-piece deal and featured a different position for the second-best piece, but the amount of talent could be similar.

Moving on, there are plenty of other pieces that could provide value to other teams.

The ones I’ve heard made mention of are Francisco Rodriguez (relatively light though interest could pick up significantly if he pitches well over the next week), George Kottaras (three teams), Corey Hart (four teams), Carlos Gomez (one team).

Again, I’m not sure how willing Melvin is to move Corey Hart but it really does seem like doing so could net the team a decent return. I already have expressed my thoughts about packaging players together previously. It is interesting to note that one team crosses over on the lists of those that have expressed official interest in Hart and Kottaras.

It’s also a bit discouraging that a couple of other names haven’t popped up on the radars of the people I talked to, but Shaun Marcum is still injured and Nyjer Morgan has greatly underachieved this year. I’ll stay on it though.

I have been keeping up with the other rumors out there that are being reported. There is talk that if the Brewers decide to sell hard that the Dodgers would have interest in Aramis Ramirez (as mentioned by Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports). Ken Rosenthal put Randy Wolf’s name out there as someone that could be “in play”, though that choice of words doesn’t mean much to me because all it says is that it makes sense to move him but not that anybody has expressed interest.

Finally, for now, the Brewers have actually been talking to two teams about maybe adding a bullpen arm, believe it or not. I would like to think though that those were due diligence conversations in case the team did well over the nine-game stretch which was just completed.

Again, I’ll do my best to keep my ear to the ground and my finger on the pulse as things develop around the Brewers. Keep in mind though that I have a family and this baseball thing makes me no money so I can’t be on it constantly. If anything breaks though, I’ll be quick to analyze and give my opinion…but if you’ve followed along for a while you already know that giving opinion is not something foreign to me.

Bottom line: Stay tuned. A lot should happen, a little might happen, and of course nothing could happen.

Selling with things to offer makes for a fun situation at times but also a stressful one. Let’s temper our expectations a bit if for no other reason than we will be able to more thoroughly enjoy what return we do get.

The Decision Has Been Made for Melvin, Brewers

It is July 21st and the Milwaukee Brewers are through eight games of a critical, “do or die” (to quote Francisco Rodriguez), direction-defining nine-game intradivisional stretch.

The Brewers have won four of those games and they have lost four of those games. The Brewers sit 9.5 games behind the National League Central Division-leading Cincinnati Reds, who have just taken a pair of games from the Brewers.

The narrative was stated loud and clear over the All-Star Break: Make some hay over the next nine or it’ll be time to sell. Gain some ground or start answering the phone. Win much more than you lose or prepare to be broken up.

No hay was made. No ground was gained. They simply haven’t won enough.

It’s time.

There are valuable, non-cornerstone pieces on this roster that can be of use to teams with achievable aspirations. It’s time for Doug Melvin to move as many of those pieces as he can while, of course, considering roster construction, salary structure, and the future.

Speaking more high-level though, there are a handful of players on the 2012 Brewers who are simply unlikely to be on the 2013 Brewers. This is mostly a list of players whose contract situations (be they pending free agency or non-tender candidacy) point to that end. If those players have value, they need to be sent to someone for something.

This list includes players such as Francisco Rodriguez, Nyjer Morgan, George Kottaras, Shaun Marcum, Travis Ishikawa, Randy Wolf, and the prize of the group: Zack Greinke.

There is a reported offer on the table from the Milwaukee Brewers to Zack Greinke right now in the ballpark of five years and roughly $110 million. Should Greinke decide to accept that offer, then clearly he won’t be getting traded. As he hasn’t done so yet, we must work under the situation as it currently stands. That being: Greinke is a pending free agent.

I’m not writing tonight to tell you who the Brewers should target or who I think they can get from various farm systems throughout baseball. I can tell you that I’ll begin to look at that information in earnest now.

What I am here to say is that it’s no longer time to stand pat and evaluate. The Brewers play another game in Cincinnati tomorrow and then have a three-game set in Philadelphia before coming home for a four-game series against the Washington Nationals. I don’t expect everyone currently on the roster to be on that flight back to General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee.

I originally blogged that the decision would be coming on Monday, July 23rd. The nine-game stretch which I identified before the team publicized its importance would be over and the brass would be able to meet Sunday evening and decide.

As is often the case in the prediction business, I was off. I was off on the date, but I was also off in saying that the decision would be made by Brewers brass after some meetings. The decision was made tonight when the team on the field fell to 4-4 in this stretch.

What is left to decide though is how big of a sale to have.

The players I listed earlier all should be moved. There’s no baseball reason to keep any of them if you can get someone to give you something of value in return. The organization clearly wants to keep Miller Park as the summer-long destination for group outings, parties, and money-spending. You can do that, in a sell situation, by highlighting two things: First that this is a necessary evil to ensure success in the near future and second by providing an opportunity to still win on any given night.

Losing many valuable pieces will feel like there’s no chance of winning but Jonathan Lucroy should be back in the bigs soon (maybe even this Thursday as a target?) and they’ll still have Yovani Gallardo, Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez (most likely), Norichika Aoki ,and the feel-good story of Mike Fiers. Baseball is still fun, the experience of going to a game and being in the ballpark is still enjoyable in and of itself regardless of team performance, you can still tailgate just as hard before a loss as before a victory.

But again those are impacts on the business and bottom line (which can feed into baseball decisions if there’s enough of a drop off in attendance) decisions.

From pure baseball considerations, however, how big of a sale should Melvin commit to? Because there are a couple of players who are under contract with the Brewers for (at least) 2013 which could net return for the future as well. The biggest piece in that group, to me, is Corey Hart.

Hart is only under contract for 2013 after this year. He is a capable player at the plate despite extremely streaky tendencies. He has proven himself an improbably capable defender at first base which adds to his versatility. Comparable players to Hart have gotten contracts that are extremely cost-prohibitive to a standard Brewers budget. What’s more, Corey Hart has shown zero propensity toward anything resembling a “hometown discount”. He has held out for every possible dollar throughout his arbitration years and you therefore must operate under the assumption that this trend will continue.

Hart could have a ton of value to certain teams right now. Case in point, for the sake of discussion, are the Texas Rangers. They’re set in the outfield when everyone is healthy but they haven’t exactly had a ton of production at first base. Enter Hart who has played tremendous defense and would probably hit even better inside of the Ballpark at Arlington.

It’s something that the Brewers could consider if they decide to reload toward another run in 2015, for instance. Hart would likely be gone anyway so move him early which increases the return and play for a couple of years down the road. If that’s the decision, then guys like Jose Veras (arbitration eligible in 2013 and 2014) could go and, if they decide to jettison everybody not named Braun, Gallardo, and Lucroy,  Rickie Weeks (under contract through 2014) and Aramis Ramirez (signed through 2014) could be moved, though they’d be much more likely to go in the off-season or at the 2013 trade deadline. That’s because Weeks’ value is very low right now due to his incredibly slow start this season and Ramirez has two years left on his deal after this season instead of just one like Hart.

But I digress before I get too deep down the rabbit hole of possibilities tonight. For now, the initial group I listed earlier needs to moved if possible. They won’t be on the 2013 Brewers but at least they could still impact that team in a positive way if they are moved now for something that can help later. There will be time for discussions and blog posts about rumor, innuendo, discussion, scuttlebutt, conjecture, and of course wild prognostication.

Well, no more than 10 days, I suppose.

Decision Day is Drawing Nigh for the 2012 Milwaukee Brewers

At the close of play today, Thursday, July 5th, the Milwaukee Brewers sit with a record of 38-44, 8.0 games behind the National League Central Divison-leading Pittsburgh Pirates.

It’s a far cry from where the Brewers were a year ago at this time, and at times it feels like this year’s incarnation will never accomplish anything.

While this may prove to be true in the end, at least as far as a playoff participation is concerned, there is still plenty of time left this year to simply enjoy the game of baseball if nothing else.

Then again, there is still a small window of opportunity in front of the Brewers. Between now and Monday, July 23rd is a stretch of 12 regular-season games (along with the MLB All-Star break) which will decide how busy general manager Doug Melvin’s phone will be and whether he’ll be making calls or receiving them.

This stretch is singularly key to the Brewers decision-makers because all 12 games are intradivisional along with the final nine of those games coming against the three teams in front of them in the Division.

The three games prior to the break are in Houston, against an Astros team that traded off one of its only offensive pieces. Those are extremely winnable games, especially given that Yovani Gallardo and Zack Greinke will be pitching in the series.

The nine games immediately following the break begin with six at Miller Park (a place where the Brewers seriously need to play more consistent baseball) against the Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals, and then three on the road in Cincinnati against the Reds.

The Brewers trail the Cardinals by 5.5 games, the Reds by 6.5 games and, as I mentioned earlier, the Pirates by 8.0 games. So, while the Brewers would be hard-pressed to overtake any of the teams during this stretch, even should they somehow go 12-0, one can see the importance here.

Should the Brewers continue to falter and lose, the front office will be left with little choice but to sell off valuable pieces to the highest bidders. As we discussed on the podcast recorded Thursday morning (which hopefully will be posted soon), those pieces should include Shaun Marcum, George Kottaras, Nyjer Morgan, Francisco Rodriguez, Cesar Izturis, and even Zack Greinke (assuming the team is as far away on a contract offer as it appears that they are). Furthermore, should a team approach the Brewers with an acceptable offer for any expendable member of the Brewers roster, that deal should be made.

Nobody in the locker room wants the team to sell. They enjoy this group and want to maintain it, if at all possible. That just simply can’t happen if they have no chance of winning though.

Now, some may say that after the injuries to Chris Narveson, Mat Gamel and Alex Gonzalez that the team never had a chance, but that’s beside the point.

The point being: if the team can gain some significant ground on the teams ahead of them in the Division, and they do so by showing some consistent play in all facets of the game, the front office would likely try to add to the roster and make a push.

Nobody is saying that this scenario doesn’t seem like a tremendous long shot, but as of today at least its a shot that’s available to take.

Bottom line: Pay attention, Brewer Nation. A decision will be made by Monday, July 23rd as to whether this team buys or sells before the July 31st non-waiver trading deadline. Trust me, either way there will be plenty of time to make one or more deals, regardless of the direction of the roster.

Also, either way, it’ll be an exciting time to pay attention to the team. Just make sure you haven’t checked out by then.

Milwaukee Brewers Uniform Number History: #16

Wondering who wore a certain uniform number all-time for the Milwaukee Brewers?

The Brewer Nation has got you covered. If you found this list on its own, head back here for the full repository after checking out this one.

#16

Gus Gil (’70-’71)
Ron Theobald (’71-’72)
Ken Berry (’74)
Sixto Lezcano (’75-’80)
Marshall Edwards (’81-’83)
Juan Castillo (’85)
Mike Felder (’85-’90)
Kevin D. Brown (’90)
Pat Listach (’92-’95)
Jesse Levis (’96-’98)
Lou Collier (’99-’01)
Lenny Harris (’02)
Salomon Torres (’08)
Chris Duffy (’09)
Jason Bourgeois (’09)
George Kottaras (’10-’11)
Aramis Ramirez (’12-Current)

Milwaukee Brewers Uniform Number History: #9

Wondering who wore a certain uniform number all-time for the Milwaukee Brewers?

The Brewer Nation has got you covered. If you found this list on its own, head back here for the full repository after checking out this one.

#9

Rich Rollins (’70)
Dick Schofield (’71)
Billy Conigliaro (’72)
Pedro Garcia (’73-’76)
Gary Sutherland (’76)
Tim Johnson (’77)
Larry Hisle (’78-’82)
Rene Lachemann (’84)
Jim Adduci (’86)
Greg Brock (’87-’91)
Bill Spiers (’92-’94)
Joe Oliver (’95)
Tim Unroe (’95-’97)
Marquis Grissom (’98-’00)
Robert Perez (’01)
Elvis Pena (’01)
Paul Bako (’02)
Enrique Cruz (’03)
Jeff Liefer (’04)
Tony Graffanino (’06-’07)
Hernan Iribarren (’09)
Gregg Zaun (’10)
Josh Wilson (’11)
George Kottaras (’12)
Jean Segura (’12-Current)

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