Results tagged ‘ Jean Segura ’
Milwaukee – (That’s how I start these things, right?)
Tonight at Miller Park, the Milwaukee Brewers hosted the NL Central Division-leading St. Louis Cardinals in the first of a four-game set.
The third inning was particularly hospitable to the redbirds as they brought 11 men to the plate and scored six times. It was a rough and often unlucky inning for Wily Peralta who broke multiple bats, and was blooped, flared, and papercut to death by the Cards. There were a couple of hard hit balls as well but the majority of safe strokes would qualify for the “Punch & Judy” Hall of Fame. The six runs that the Cardinals scored in the inning would be all they got for the night, which added even more to the feelings of frustration.
After the game, Roenicke talked about the troublesome inning for Peralta.
“You see weird things and it’s not always fair,” said Roenicke. “(Peralta was) okay. It was definitely not as bad as what those numbers look like.”
As for Peralta’s repertoire, Roenicke admitted that, “his offspeed stuff wasn’t as sharp as I think he needs to get it to. He needs to be able to throw a slider for a strike when he needs to and he needs to be able to bounce it when he needs to. His change ups he’s got to mix in more. His sinker is still really good. I thought it was down most of the night.”
Peralta would eventually get out of the third and pitch into the fifth before putting two on in the fifth. Alfredo Figaro entered and only allowed one hit over the next 2.2 innings.
Peralta for his part understood that he made a bunch of good pitches in the third inning getting a couple of broken bats and suffering several weak hits but that it was obviously the difference in the game.
“This inning (was) the difference in the game”, said Peralta. He said it was particularly upsetting to give up so many consecutive hits with two outs.
He credited the bullpen for allowing the offense a chance to win. “The bullpen did a good job and (held) there.”
As for St. Louis, Jake Westbrook did what Jake Westbrook does on the mound and allowed some baserunners, but only three consecutive fourth inning singles from Weeks, Gomez, and Maldonado were able to scratch a run across off of the Cardinal veteran.
Luckily, “veteran” in this case also means “old” and Westbrook was lifted after 6.0 innings pitched for Joe Kelly. All Kelly did was get charged with two runs in 0.2 IP (raising the 8.31 ERA he entered the game with), and force Cardinal manager Mike Matheny to call on Mitchell Boggs. The new right-hander walked two — the first loaded the bases, the second scored the second run off Kelly — without recording an out. Matheny had to go get Trevor Rosenthal then who struck out Martin Maldonado to end the threat.
Tom Gorzelanny continued the quality work out of the bullpen this evening with a quick and clean 8th inning.
Rosenthal stayed in for the 8th inning. He got the scuffling Alex Gonzalez to pop out in foul territory to Yadier Molina, but then Blake Lalli scalded one what had to be a good 25 feet between a bewildered Molina and Rosenthal. Norichika Aoki reached on an error with one down, but resident hero Jean Segura could not come through on this night as he struck out swinging, chasing a high fastball.
That brought Ryan Braun to the plate as the new tying run, and he singled up the middle to plate Lalli and put Aoki on third. The legend of Yuni B 2013 took a hit though as he struck out swinging to end the inning. Still, that made the score 6-4 in favor of the Cardinals heading to the 9th.
The 9th saw Burke Badenhop get Carlos Beltran to bounce back to him, strike out Matt Holliday, and break the bat of Allen Craig on a soft liner to Segura.
The last of the ninth, and the game, belonged to Edward Mujica and the Cardinals though. Weeks attempted to cut the lead in half but his deep drive to RF was hit about 30 feet too far left. Gomez singled and eventually would steal second. After Maldonado struck out looking, Gonzalez came through with an RBI single to CF.
That allowed Ron Roenicke to send up Jonathan Lucroy to pinch-hit. Unfortunately, Lucroy would strike out to end the game with the Brewers falling a run short.
After the game, Josh Prince was optioned down to the Nashville Sounds where he will get a chance to play every day. He admitted that at least a part of him was excited to play regularly again.
“That’s what I love to do is play the game. But there’s no better place to play than (the big leagues).”
Prince will work defensively at multiple positions in preparation for his eventual return.
The move opens up a spot on the roster for the returning Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez will rejoin the team officially on Friday and be active for that evening’s game.
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.
A couple of weeks ago, I tweeted out that I had some really cool personal news to pass along. I haven’t done so yet, but if you were listening to the best Brewers post game show in the market hosted by Tim Allen and Steve “Sparky” Fifer on Sportsradio 1250 WSSP on Sunday evening then you already know…
I was offered a weekly segment on the post game show which they decided to call “Rounding the Bases”. It’s set to air every Wednesday on the post game show in the second hour (or last half hour depending on how long the show goes). Well, the first week was a bit of a mess due to Tim Allen being off and the station having to basically run two abbreviated post game shows with both the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks and the Brewers both having Wednesday evening games. Then, as bad luck would have it for me, the Brewers were rained out this past Wednesday and no game means no show.
Fortunately, the guys decided that getting the first segment in was more important than waiting until Wednesday and so we got it done on Sunday. The segment was about 10 minutes long and brings us to the point of this blog.
Each week I’ll be blogging about the topic that was discussed on my segment following the post game show. This will allow for my thoughts to reach more eyes and will provide a spot for discussion about the topic for those that heard it and those that somehow missed it.
That said, let’s get to the point.
On this week’s segment, I felt I had to point out one of the brightest spots of this 2013 season early on, the play of Jean Segura.
Segura began the season batting down in the 8th spot in the batting order. With his skill set he was somewhat suited for the tough job of clearing the pitcher or giving that last bit of hitting before the much easier out at the tail end of the lineup.
Well, all Segura did down in the 8th spot was hit. He hit to the tune of .455/.500/.455 in 12 plate appearances. It was just five hits in 11 at-bats with a walk, but it was enough to raise eyebrows. Then, after Aramis Ramirez re-injured his knee, Segura was eventually moved up to the second spot in large part because he was hitting and so many guys weren’t. Rickie Weeks was hitting incredibly well in the two spot, but Ron Roenicke felt he needed Weeks to bat cleanup to continue to force teams to pitch to Ryan Braun. Weeks has fallen off drastically since the switch, but Segura has flourished even more. That has led to a delicate situation which Roenicke is still trying to figure out.
But Segura’s spot nestled between Norichika Aoki and Braun seems to be secure, at least as far as any player’s spot in a lineup is secure anyway. As Segura continues to hit, he’ll continue to be a featured part of Roenicke’s batting order.
Well, entering Sunday’s game, Segura was hitting a robust .406/.441/.625, including two doubles, a triple, and a home run. And on Sunday? Oh, just your run-of-the-mill 2-for-4, BB, R entry in the box score. Ho hum.
It’s not all about batting average of course, and Segura left three on base and struck out once, but his infield single in front of Braun’s drought-ending home run in the eighth inning of Sunday’s eventual win over the St. Louis Cardinals was significant in its timeliness if nothing else.
But despite his success this season, there’s more to this story. Segura was acquired, of course, at the end of July 2012 when the Brewers traded Zack Greinke to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He was initially sent to Double-A Huntsville (he had been at Double-A with the Angels before the deal) and hit .433/.500/.533 in 30 at-bats before getting called up to Milwaukee the first week of August. He started slowly, hitting just .209/.250/.239 in 67 August at-bats, but September was a different story as Segura heated up as the Brewers made the post-season push. Segura hit .309/.378/.407 in 81 at-bats with nine walks and just 11 strikeouts.
That was just the beginning as Segura went on to Winter League success, winning the batting title in the Dominican League. Spring Training in 2013 kept it rolling as Segura hit .367/.377/.550 in 60 Cactus League at-bats. It’s truly a case of riding the hot hand for Roenicke and the Brewers brain trust.
Will Segura be the first player since Ted Williams to hit .400+ for an entire season? Of course not. But this hot streak is something that the Brewers offense sorely needs right now and it makes sense to ride it out as long as they can.
On the air, Tim Allen asked me what I would do with Weeks if Segura keeps up a batting average over .300 with an on-base percentage of around .340 when Aramis Ramirez finally returns. While I said that I didn’t think Segura would quite keep up that pace, my reply was that it certainly would be nice if Segura was able to make Roenicke have to make that decision.
For now though, enjoy this young, talented, and most importantly capable shortstop as he blossoms in front of our eyes. Then knock on some wood and thank whomever you feel is deserving that we as fans as done having to suffer through everyday starting shortstops the likes of Cesar Izturis, Edwin Maysonet, Cody Ransom, and others of their ilk.
The Brewers are fortunate to have Jean Segura hitting like he is right now. They are fortunate to have a talent who still has room to develop and still has potential to fulfill. If he reaches the heights which some scouts project him to? Well, that’d be just fine too.
Yes, it’d be just fine.
Reminder: “Rounding the Bases” is scheduled to air every Wednesday on the “Rupena’s Baseball Post Game Show” on Sportsradio 1250 WSSP. Listen in! To hear my segment from Sunday’s show, click here: http://podcast.sportsradio1250.com/wssp2/3947773.mp3 (Go directly to 43:25 for my segment.)
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
We’re in the home stretch, Brewer Nation. There are just nine days left until Opening Day at Miller Park. Sure, there are two exhibition games at The Keg this season against the Chicago White Sox, but despite the venue, it just isn’t the same as Opening Day will be. Brewers games in March 2013 don’t count.
All that said, let’s get right to today’s profile as we’re already into the afternoon.
This is another of the new entries to the countdown this year as he wasn’t even in the organization at this time last year. Along with Johnny Hellweg and Ariel Pena, the third and most important piece of the return when Zack Greinke was traded to the Angels is the subject of today’s profile. He is…
The majority of 2012 was incredibly rough for the shortstop position for the Milwaukee Brewers. Alex Gonzalez, signed to start due to his defensive excellence was lost for the season at the beginning of the May. His backup, Cesar Izturis, was solid defensively but unlike the bat which Gonzalez carried to the plate, Izturis couldn’t hit his way out of a wet paper bag. That wasn’t for an abundance of plate discipline. Did you know that Izturis walked a whopping three times in 169 plate appearances as a Brewers?
Other men were tried at the position throughout the year and none of them were getting the job done. Cody Ransom, Edwin Maysonet, Jeff Bianchi all started games at short, and do you remember the innings that Brooks Conrad spent at shortstop? Aramis Ramirez almost played shortstop in extra innings one day but the game ended before he got the chance. Yes, it was rough work on many days for Ron Roenicke filling out a lineup card. That much flux at shortstop isn’t a good thing regardless of the talent level of the men who keep swapping in and out, but when the options are those that I just listed, you can understand a little bit of what Roenicke was going through.
But then, at the end of July, a trade was made which brought Jean Segura to the organization. He was a shortstop who some thought wouldn’t stick at short very long and was better suited to being a second baseman, but he was still a shortstop at the time and was likely vastly superior to the available alternatives. The Brewers felt the same as after just eight games with Class-AA affiliate Huntsville, while hitting .433 in them, Segura was summoned to Milwaukee to stop the hemorrhaging. He arrived with some fanfare though other were skeptical as they would have preferred the Brewers had held onto Greinke.
Still, Segura arrived and set to work. He was solid in the field and occasionally spectacular, but his bat (career .313/.367/.439 in the minors) didn’t catch the same flight as Segura did. In fact, to continue the hyperbole, Segura’s bat was apparently waylayed in Hunstville for a few weeks. Segura hit .264/.321/.331 as a Brewer in 2012, but started out just .209/.250/.239 in August. To finish the year, Segura went .309/.378/.407 after August, putting fans more at ease not only with the acquisition, but also with the fact that he was up with the parent club at all. Many were concerned that bringing Segura up was either wasting service time, stunting his growth as a hitter, or both. It was nice to see Segura hit to end the year.
Segura then decided to play winter ball this off-season. The Dominican Republic native played in the Dominican Winter League for Gigantes del Cibao. In 148 at-bats over 35 games, Segura posted a slash line of .324/.379/.426. He even hit a pair of home runs. He was actually playing so much that the Brewers were a little concerned for the now 23-year-old. At only 5’10″ and 200 pounds, there was a little worry about Segura wearing down in 2013 without enough of an off-season. Youth is on his side though and this spring he’s shown no ill effects. Against opponent quality with a 9.0 rating (as Baseball Reference defines 10.0 as all MLB-level and 8.0 as AAA-level), Segura has racked up .333/.349/.476 entering play today (March 23).
The best thing about Segura is his potential to further grow into his skills and what those skills could ultimately mean for a Milwaukee offense which looks to start the season with all but one of its best offensive lineup from 2012. Because even with Izturis, Random, Bianchi, and Maysonet combining for awful numbers, the Brewers finished at or near the top of the league in several offensive statistical categories. Adding in another stick which should at the very least produce hits and create runs more consistently than anybody else did in 2012 in the same job, the offense could become that much better in 2013.
The future certainly looks bright for the Brewers and Jean Segura. Even if he ultimately ends up at second base defensively one day, the time between then and now should be fun for the Brewers who look toward having a young shortstop with promise for a few years. That’s something they haven’t had since J.J. Hardy came to town, though he didn’t realize his potential until he was two teams removed from Milwaukee and with the Baltimore Orioles.
For 2013, Segura will likely be hitting 8th in the batting order most days to begin the year. As other things happen (injuries, poor play, etc) and Segura gets more experience at the big league level, he could work his way up the lineup, but he won’t be an everyday option in the second spot until 2014 at the earliest. That may one day be his lineup spot with the Brewers, but it wouldn’t be until other players have moved on from the Brewers one way or another.
But the future beyond 2013 is for next year’s installment of “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers”. For this year, Segura’s role and spot on this team are pretty much set. Let’s enjoy the ride.
Miss anyone along the way? Catch up on the Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers profiles to this point:
- #11 Alex Gonzalez
- #12 Martin Maldonado
- #14 Jeff Bianchi
- #15 Caleb Gindl
- #16 Aramis Ramirez
- #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
Gonzalez agreed to a one-year, major-league deal with the #Brewers, source says.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 29, 2013
You may recall that Gonzalez was inked to be the club’s starting shortstop for 2012 but suffered a season-ending knee injury in early May.
The two sides have been linked all winter because the Brewers obviously like what he brings to the club (or else they wouldn’t have signed him a year ago) but the sticking point was that Gonzalez wanted a starting job if he could find one.
Apparently he wasn’t able to and agreed to a one-year deal to back up now-incumbent shortstop Jean Segura.
The positives for the Brewers are two-fold. First, he provides a proven option should Segura struggle and end up needing a break or demotion for any length of time.
Also, it’s certainly palatable from a financial perspective as Rosenthal tweeted:
Alex Gonzalez gets $1.5M from #Brewers plus the chance to earn nearly $1 million in performance bonuses.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 29, 2013
That’s a good deal for the money and so long as it doesn’t result in a major stunting of the growth of Segura, which it won’t as many members of the Brewers decision-makers have told us all winter, then I’m happy to welcome Gonzalez back. Furthermore, I can’t imagine that Gonzalez returned to Milwaukee for that small a dollar amount if he was expecting to be the everyday shortstop.
Welcome back, Sea Bass!
This signing will necessitate a 40-man roster move and could have significant impact on the composition of the 25-man roster. Jeff Bianchi, Bobby Crosby and Donnie Murphy won’t exactly be at the forefront anymore, especially with the need to carry a competent backup 1B due to Corey Hart’s injury.
This signing will also not be made official until Gonzalez passes a physical, but I’m told privately that the Brewers want two opinions on Gonzalez’ knee before the contract gets signed. Though given how assistant GM Gord Ash said that Gonzalez was doing so well toward the end of last season that they were considering activating Gonzalez, I’d think that probably a formality.
Early reaction on Twitter came from Brewers pitcher Chris Narveson:
Pumped to get Alex Gonzalez back!! Great teammate and clubhouse presence #pumped
— Chris Narveson (@sleep_trick) January 29, 2013
And later from Brewers starting catcher Jonathan Lucroy:
Gonzo’s coming back! Guys a stud shortstop.
— Jonathan Lucroy (@JLucroy20) January 29, 2013
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.
The Winter Meetings aren’t officially underway just yet as I sit down to give my keyboard a workout this evening, but the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee is set and baseball executives from across North America have checked into their rooms and have no doubt begun to follow up on things begun prior to departing for Music City.
Doug Melvin is there (along with his entourage) and has had plenty to say about what he expects out of the 2012 Winter Meetings. With appreciation to the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel for the quotes themselves, I’ll be laying out some things Melvin said and analyzing what I think they mean for the Brewers heading through the rest of the off-season.
Before I do that, let’s recap the basics about what educated fans know already about the Brewers and their needs.
The bullpen was bad in 2012. In fact, it underperformed so incredibly that it alone could be labeled as a singular reason that the team failed to reach the postseason. Just a handful of losses flipped to wins and the Brewers would have had that opportunity to face the Braves in the first-ever National League Wild Card Game.
As a result of their collective struggles, the bullpen has been basically gutted. Gone are multi-year Brewers like Kameron Loe, Francisco Rodriguez, Tim Dillard, Mike McClendon, and Manny Parra. Along with them, first-year tryouts for Jose Veras and Livan Hernandez ended in free agency. Even short-term fixes like Vinnie Chulk came and went. The only guys left who pitched in the big league bullpen to end the regular season and are still a part of this organization are likely closer John Axford, likely setup man Jim Henderson, and the finally healthy Brandon Kintzler.
As we all know, the Brewers did announce a trade acquisition on Saturday when they dealt a minor-league outfielder for established relief pitcher Burke Badenhop. That addition still leaves three jobs to be filled. FoxSports.com’s Jon Morosi already tweeted earlier this evening about one of those open roles:
#Brewers are prioritizing a lefty reliever. Among the available free agents: Burnett, Choate, M. Gonzalez, Howell, Gorzelanny.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 2, 2012
Just some names to know.
A return of all five starting pitchers from the 2011 NLCS team was seen as a rarity, not to mention that the Brewers only used six starting pitchers all that season. Now? Randy Wolf was released, Shaun Marcum is a free agent, Zack Greinke was traded, and Chris Narveson is coming off of shoulder surgery.
That’s the stuff of how question marks are made.
Yovani Gallardo is set to return atop the rotation but after that hasn’t yet been decided. As it stands right now, the Brewers have probably six arms vying for the open four spots in the rotation. Mike Fiers, Marco Estrada, Chris Narveson, Wily Peralta, Mark Rogers and, to a lesser extent in my opinion, Tyler Thornburg.
Doug Melvin has mentioned a couple of free agent starters by name this off-season already (Edwin Jackson and Ryan Dempster, for the record) but had some commentary on that front as well.
Will Jean Segura begin the season as the starting everyday shortstop in Milwaukee or in the aforementioned city of Nashville as he gets a bit more seasoning in Triple-A? Who will take over as the backup infielders after the Brewers burned through a number of MLB veterans during 2012? Travis Ishikawa is gone, Alex Gonzalez is a free agent after being hurt most of the season, Mat Gamel should be healthy but missed a ton of at-bats and doesn’t really have a job at this point…and that’s just the infield.
In the outfield, Nyjer Morgan was released and Logan Schafer seems incredibly obvious to become the fourth outfielder with Milwaukee. After that, though, will they carry a fifth outfielder? If so, who will it be?
About the only spot on the field where there isn’t a question is behind the plate. Jonathan Lucroy and Martin Maldonado are healthy and coming off of strong seasons.
Excuse whilst I knock on some wood.
Okay. With that, let’s get to those quotes from Melvin.
The big quote is one about payroll. After setting a franchise record in 2012 with a payroll north of $100 million, the Brewers finished in the red, meaning that they actually lost money this year. (Part of that is because the fans didn’t show up quite as well as they had budgeted for, but wins bring attendance.)
Melvin said, “(The payroll is) coming down. We’ll probably look at (an opening payroll) of $80 million or thereabouts. We want to keep flexibility in case players become available.”
In other words, despite a large chunk of money coming off the books there should be no expectation of a dollar-for-dollar reassignment. That could limit how much the Brewers can do in free agency but it will almost certainly limit the magnitude of what the Brewers can do.
That assumes that Melvin sticks to his initial words, but more on that in a bit.
Melvin was clear in that the Brewers don’t plan to get involved on high-end (in terms of years or dollars) relief pitchers.
“We’re not looking at those kinds of guys. We’d probably be reluctant to go three years with anybody. We might have to do two. David Riske was our last three-year deal for a reliever. That didn’t work out,” said Melvin.
Would left-handed reliever Sean Burnett be a pipe-dream then? Burnett had to debunk a rumor that he was seeking a four-year deal but that doesn’t mean he isn’t looking for three.
The starting rotation was mentioned earlier and was brought up to Melvin as well. He stated that with how the contracts worked out with Jeff Suppan and Randy Wolf that the Brewers “wouldn’t go three years with a starter. You look at those contracts and they don’t usually work out. Look at all the free-agent players who have been traded the last few years. Free agency gets people excited, but it’s not as effective as people would like to think.”
Does that mean that following a report which I linked to on Twitter the other day that the Brewers are taking themselves out of the market for the aforementioned Jackson and Dempster, both of whom are believed to be seeking deals of a minimum three years? Perhaps.
Melvin stated that the Brewers will probably go with some of their younger players in the rotation but that he understands the dangers of trusting a small sample size.
As for the offense, Melvin admitted (as reported in this space) that contact was made between him and Josh Hamilton’s agent Michael Moye, but Melvin also said that, ”I don’t see (a big-ticket signing) happening. If it does, we’d have to be creative with something.”
Melvin added, “You never know how those things work out. I never thought we’d be able to get Aramis Ramirez last year (for what they signed him for). Things change. If major things happen, you have to be prepared to act quickly.”
In other words, Melvin is reminding everyone that you simply can’t use definitives when discussing transactions in Major Leage Baseball. Or, to go the cliched route…Never say never.
Finally, for the bench, Melvin said that they’re in the market “mostly for depth.” He stated that they “may have to go with some of our younger guys” but that “it’s always nice to have an experienced bat on the bench.”
And since a lot of you have reached out via social media as to why I haven’t pass along many rumors in the last few days, Melvin confirmed that he has made no offers to any free agents yet and, as of the time he said so out loud, he didn’t have any serious trade talks going either.
Then again, he’s in Nashville now at the Winter Meetings. It’s made for just those kinds of things.
Stay tuned all week for reaction and analysis to anything and everything that I hear or read related to the Brewers. I’ll pass it along just as soon as I can.
My suggestion? If you aren’t on Twitter or you are and don’t follow me @BrewerNation…now’s one of the best times of the year to take the plunge. I can’t always blog right away but tweeting is much easier to do on the fly.
Doug Melvin, General Manager of our beloved Milwaukee Brewers, was on the radio this afternoon on AM 1250 WSSP in SE Wisconsin for a few minutes talking about his off-season plans.
Here is a transcript of the interview (which you can listen to by clicking here):
On speculation connecting the Brewers to certain players (i.e. Josh Hamilton, Zack Greinke):
“Well, I don’t think those are the names that were gonna be involved with. I think this is gonna be a year we’ll take a look at the free agent market, but more than likely I don’t anticipate us being actively involved in free agency. We may try to find different ways to improve our ball club. We do like the current club we have. We were 36-23 with the third best record in the National League after August 1st with some of the young pitchers we brought up. We do have most positional guys back so I wouldn’t get too excited about those kinds of names. I think a lot of it is speculation. It often makes sense. This is the time of year when those kind of things happen.”
On having young pitching after years of waiting for some and if he may have to trade some of it away to acquire a proven starter:
“We feel right now there’s probably a better chance we’re going to hold onto our young pitching. We saw Mike Fiers come up last year. He struggled a little bit later (in the year). We saw Mark Rogers and Wily Peralta both come up with the power arms they showed us in the past. We had Tyler Thornburg. We’ve got Hiram Burgos who’s going to be added to the roster, had a very good year. We’ve had Taylor Jungmann who’s probably going to be at Double-A. We’ve got John Hellweg who’s pitched very well in the Fall League and was just picked by the scouting bureau as the best player on that Phoenix ball club. So, we do have some depth with our pitching. Jimmy Nelson we like; we’re very high on him. Nick Bucci (too) so. We’ve got a chance to have, out of 10 starters in Double-A and Triple-A, we have a chance to have 8 to 9 of them they’re gonna be legitimate prospects we think will pitch in the big leagues. The big league pitchers? It’s time to give Wily Peralta, time to give Mark Rogers that opportunity.”
In discussing fan support following a rough first half and the resultant decisions surrounding trading away Zack Greinke:
“Who’s not to say that if we kept Zack Greinke that we might’ve got back in this thing. You have to make some tough decisions sometimes. When a shortstop was included in a deal for Zack, we just had to make the decision at that particular time. … It’s a credit to Ron, the coaches, the players that they didn’t give up and it’s something that we can learn that in baseball you can be six, seven, eight games out and that can be made up in two weeks time. So, it’s a lesson we all can learn that sometimes you gotta be a little bit patient. It is a long season.”
Asked if there is any way Zack Greinke can be back in a Brewers uniform:
“I don’t know. I’m sorry but I don’t think that’s gonna happen. As much as Zack liked it here and enjoyed it here, there’s a couple clubs that are gonna get heavily involved with him. He is no doubt the number one pitcher out there…from the starting pitching standpoint. I think he’s gonna do very well but I would expect that we may get a phone call from his agent but I think in the end it’s going to be difficult for Zack to come back here to Milwaukee under the amount of money he’s probably gonna be offered.”
Asked if he would like to add a veteran starting pitcher and if any free agents intrigue him:
“Yeah, there’s a few names out there. Obviously we’re gonna lose Marcum and we’re gonna lose Greinke so we’ve talked about adding a starting pitcher. We do have to add to our bullpen too. Edwin Jackson’s another name that’s been out there. I don’t know where he’s headed or what his thought process is. We do have an opportunity; we can go with the current guys we have. The tough part with that is that any kind of injury, then you really tap into not having the depth that’s needed over the course of 162 games. Going with the younger guys and Yovani, Marco Estrada, Mike Fiers, Rogers, Wily Peralta, Chris Narveson will be back and be healthy. The part of that is you really cross your fingers that everybody’s going to stay healthy and everybody’s gonna produce. So you would like to have a veteran that you could put out there in the rotation that could eat up a couple hundred innings, but you also want quality innings. In the past, we’ve had the Jeff Suppan, Randy Wolf. They both came in here when we didn’t have the younger pitching and they gave us innings and that but obviously you’d like to get the quality. Pitching takes a long time to develop.”
On Manny Parra and fans growing impatient:
“He’s on the roster now and we’ll wait and see. I can’t indicate at this time, but…there comes a time when changes of scenery do help players and that happens sometimes. That’s what we’ve talked about before and if you look at Manny’s numbers and break them down, the numbers are there. You’d like to see more consistent performance, so you know, there’s a possibility. Manny right now’s on our roster at this time and we’ll wait and see.”
On arbitration, bullpen changes:
“I think you’ll probably see three to four new faces out there. I think John Axford, Jim Henderson, I think Brandon Kintzler pitched well enough that he can step in and perform in one of those roles. We would like to maybe try to get a left-hander but we also want a left-hander of quality if we can otherwise we’ll just stay right-handed. But I can see where you could turn three or four names over in that bullpen. Also with the starting pitchers there’s going to be one of those guys that will lose out (on a rotation spot) and will probably go to the bullpen and be a long guy.”
On Axford sticking as closer in 2013:
“I’d like to think that John can. As I said in the press conference at the end of the year, he had two months where he had more than one blown Save. He does strike out people. His strike out rate is still one of the best in the game. His walk rate was too high this year and he needs to get that back down. I do like having a closer and a guy in the bullpen that’s gonna strike people out. I think that’s important. That’s why I like a closer that’s gonna get strikeouts so I lean a little bit towards (Axford) but they also have to reduce the walks. We’re confident, in John, the stuff is still there but gonna have to improve on his command and control.”
On how he feels about the hitters:
“We look at it and we feel pretty good about the ball club we put out positional-wise. Offensively, it’s a pretty good ball club. It fits both what Doug Melvin looks for and what Ron Roenicke looks for. I’m a home run and doubles guy and Ron likes the aggressive style. We fulfilled both those (philosophies) leading the leagues in home runs and also stolen bases we were first or second. We were very aggressive on the bases scoring runs, second in the league in sacrifice bunts. We scored runs in a lot of different ways. I do believe with our ballpark we’re always gonna be a team that’s gonna rely on the home runs just because of the facility we play in and that. But I’m pleased with the positional aspect of our game. I think I’m more than pleased in the fact that Maldonado coming on the scene we’re very set at catching. Having a young shortstop in Jean Segura, being young up the middle with catching, shortstop, Rickie bounced back, and then Carlos Gomez in center field. Carlos is a five-plus guy so we’ve gotta determine is Carlos is here over the long haul or is he here for (only) one more year.”
On Alex Gonzalez possibly returning:
“We’ve gotta make that decision yet. Alex is a free agent so he could test the market too. When it comes down to asking players, when you’re a free agent, he’s gonna want to know his playing time. How much time is he gonna play or do we view him as an extra guy and are we going with Segura. We have to answer that question. Jean is playing winter ball right now and is hitting almost .400 and he hit very well the month of September for us. We’re pretty high on (Segura) at this point. We can go with Jean Segura. We just want to make sure that is the right thing to do. Alex would love to return to us but it’s probably going to be about playing time. ‘Are we the right fit for him?’ And if you do bring Alex back, what impact does that have on Jean Segura? We haven’t made that final call yet. Right now we’re probably leaning toward Segura and just letting Jean do the job because we do think the resources are going to be needed for pitching.”
On Josh Hamilton again:
“No. There’s nothing going on. If he wants to sign that “Andre Dawson” contract…that $500 thousand contract that Andre Dawson did for the Cubs. I think it’s about time a player did that so I’m waiting for that one.”
On any off-season proclamation like he did in 2010 before acquiring Greinke and Marcum by stating he was going to go get some pitching:
“I don’t have any right now. I gotta go check the piggy bank.”
Alright, Brewer Nation. What do you think of what the GM had to say today?