Results tagged ‘ Prince Fielder ’
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
Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun has been elected to Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game in each of his five full seasons in the big leagues.
The first three games saw Braun reach base exactly zero times in seven at-bats. He struck out three times to boot. (Braun’s fourth election resulted in him not playing in the game due to injury.)
Earlier tonight though, Braun started his fourth Midsummer Classic for the National League, playing left field, and hitting third in manager Tony La Russa’s lineup. Following a one-out single by San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera, Braun dug into the right-handed batter’s box.
On a 2-1 count, Braun took a 98-MPH fastball from American League starting pitcher Justin Verlander over the head of starting right fielder Jose Bautista for an RBI double, giving the National League a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Braun would later score from third base on Pablo Sandoval’s bases-clearing triple, but the run he drove in held up the entire way as the National League shut out the American League be a final score of 8-0!
In the fourth inning, with two outs, Ryan Braun then tripled into the right field corner. (He was stranded there when Joey Votto grounded out to end the inning.) That second hit was the first time a Milwaukee Brewer has ever recorded two hits in the same All-Star Game. A little piece of history is always a good thing.
Braun contributed on defense as well during his four innings in the field, tracking down two deep fly balls on the warning track and catching another in much shallower left. But the crowning moment was a leaping catch while running at full sprint to take away a double from Home Run Derby champion Prince Fielder to end both the fourth inning and Braun’s night of work.
Offensively, Braun finished 2-for-3 with a double, triple, RBI and run scored. Without a tremendous diving catch by Jose Bautista, Braun could have been 3-for-3 and again, his RBI was the game-winning RBI! Ryan Braun is the also only the fifth player to hit a double and triple in the same All-Star Game. He joins Earl Averill, Willie Mays, Mike Schmidt, and George Brett.
All things considered, it was an extremely positive All-Star break for the reigning National League Most Valuable Player.
Congratulations to Ryan!
Congratulations are also in order to Brewers manager Ron Roenicke who was named to Tony La Russa’s staff after the Brewers made it to the National League Championship Series in 2011.
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.
Sandy Valdespino (’70)
Roberto Pena (’70-71)
Wilbur Howard (’73)
Von Joshua (’76-77)
Vic Harris (’80)
Jamie Easterly (’81-’83)
Rick Manning (’83-’87)
Odell Jones (’88)
Jeff Peterek (’89)
Tom Filer (’90)
Franklin Stubbs (’91)
Doug Henry (’91-’94)
Jack Voigt (’97)
Mike Myers (’98-’99)
Valerio De Los Santos (’00-’03)
Prince Fielder (’05-’11)
Ladies and gentlemen it has happened.
The Brewers flight from Arizona got back to town late yesterday evening. That’s right, to be a bit corny: “The boys are back in town!”
There’s no word whether the team boarded by jersey number, but if they had then today’s final profile subject would have been the first one on.
He is the starting right fielder and will bat fifth tomorrow at Miller Park, despite not exactly piling up the at-bats this spring.
He wears the number one on his back. He is:
Standing 6’6″ tall and weighing an official 235 pounds, Jon Corey Hart came to camp in 2011 poised to continue making good on an off-season contract extension negotiated with the club before the 2010 season.
Hart had posted career-worst numbers in 2010 in several categories but negotiated his way in an arbitration hearing to a $4.8 million contract. I blasted Hart in this space for that situation, and was happy to be proven wrong to a degree in 2010.
So when he got hurt in Spring Training however and started the year on the disabled list, people had cause for concern both about missing his production and whether his long-term outlook would be affected.
He only played 130 total games after beginning the season on the DL with an oblique strain and, he would later admit, it shouldn’t have been that many. Hart told members of the media that he rushed back because he felt he could help the team even at less than 100%. It didn’t work well, and Hart realized that he should have stayed in minor league rehab games longer than he did.
When he was on the field in 2011, Hart continued two recent trends: increased power and greatly decreased speed.
His final statistics totaled:
130 G, 492 AB, 80 R, 140 H, 25 doubles, 4 triples, 26 HR, 63 RBI, 51 BB, 114 K, 7 SB, 6 caught stealing, .285/.356/.510
Hart had played in 15 more games in 2010 than 2011, and had gotten 64 more at-bats which resulted in better counting stats, but the rates of certain stats were up and with better health, Hart probably would have at least equaled his 2010 in many categories.
Two numbers that were exactly the same were Hart’s steals and caught stealings. It continued to be disconcerting because despite his 6’6″ frame, Hart was always a benefit on the bases. Hart stole 23 bases in both 2007 and 2008 before falling to 11 in 2009 and just seven the next two years.
Hopefully his realization about carrying the extra weight and subsequently dropping that weight will help Hart regain some of that lost quickness.
But has it made a difference? In a Spring Training where Jonathan Lucroy was running wild on the basepaths, how many stolen bases did Hart attempt? And what was his success rate?
We don’t know if Hart’s speed was positively affected in game situations because he only played in two official Cactus League games. And therein lies the x-factor for the Brewers in 2012: health.
In any season where position players stay healthy and are able to answer the bell 150 times or more, there is a lot of luck involved. For the second straight spring, the only kind of luck Hart had was bad luck.
While hurrying to Ryan Braun’s press conference at Maryvale Baseball Park this spring, Hart was wearing his spikes and slipped on some cement, damaging his meniscus, requiring surgery. While he was rehabilitating his knee, Hart was injured again in the weight room when a metal bar hit him in head, requiring eight stitches.
Having a good sense of humor about it all, Hart hit the nail on the head when he stated that he needs to just report to camp with about a week to go in Spring Training so as to limit his exposure to the perils of Arizona.
Four weeks to the day following knee surgery, Hart was back on the field playing. It’s quite a remarkable recovery in some respects, but Hart worked hard at his rehab to get himself ready.
In the two official games he played this spring, Hart was 3-for-6 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored. He also ran well in the outfield. Hopefully he can hit the ground running tomorrow afternoon.
Hart did have plenty of highlights in 2011 though.
He tied franchise records with a three-home run, seven-RBI game against the Washington Nationals. Hart produced five lead-off home runs after moving up the lineup following Rickie Weeks’ ankle injury in July. He put together an 18-game hitting streak which started on August 18th, during a month for which Hart would later earn team Player of the Month honors.
Hart also recorded a pair of home runs in the postseason while batting .244 (10-for-41).
As for 2012, if Hart’s knee remains healthy, I’d like to project a solid year at the plate. And if his conditioning changes are a benefit he’ll increase his value to the team both on the basepaths and in right field.
With the departures of Prince Fielder and Casey McGehee in the off-season, all the talk has been of how the combination of Aramis Ramirez and Mat Gamel will need to be able to make up the lost production. But if Hart adds 20 games to his register this season, hitting in the fifth spot in the order and coming through in RBI situations, that will combine into those offensive totals and significantly affect the outcome of several games.
But it all finally starts tomorrow at Miller Park.
We’ll see you there if you’re going, and we’ll see 25 of the men who were previewed and reviewed throughout the weeks leading up to tomorrow.
I’ve had a fun ride with this series and hope that you learned something along the way.
Thanks so much for reading and stay tuned all season as the articles and analysis will be here.
Batted .285 with 26 HR and 63 RBI in 130 games…..made 123 starts, all in right field…Established a career high in walks (51)…Committed only 2 errors the entire season for the second consecutive season…Missed the first 22 games of the season after suffering a left oblique strain in spring training….. was on the 15-day disabled list from 3/30-4/25, retroactive to 3/22…Appeared in 5 games at Triple-A Nashville from 4/19-4/25 during a rehab assignment…Batted .324 (69-for-214, 13hr, 32rbi) over his last 53 games of the season, raising his overall batting average from .255 to .285…Batted leadoff in his last 62 starts (77-for-256, .301, 15hr, 36rbi)…..had previously not started a game in that spot in the order since 7/22/09 at Pittsburgh…Hit 5 leadoff home runs: 7/19 at Arizona, 7/30 vs. Houston, 8/3 vs. St. Louis, 8/22 at Pittsburgh and 8/31 vs. St. Louis…..now has 7 career leadoff homers…Produced 3 HR and 7 RBI on 5/23 vs. Washington, tying franchise records…..the 3 HR marked his first homers of the season (22nd game)…..became the 10th player (15 times) in franchise history to hit 3 HR in a game…..joined Ted Kubiak (1970), Jose Hernandez (2001), Richie Sexson (2002) and Damian Miller (2007) as the only Brewers with 7 RBI in a game…Tied his career high (3x) with 4 hits on 7/30 vs. Houston, including a leadoff homer in the 6-2 victory…Was named Brewers Player of the Month for August (.321, 8hr, 17rbi)…Recorded a season-high 18-game hitting streak from 8/18-9/6, batting .359 (28-for-78) with 5 HR and 9 RBI…Batted .244 (10-for-41) with 2 HR and 5 RBI in 10 games during the postseason.
Not much desire or time for a poetic open today.
We’re eight days away and that jersey wearer had quite an eventful 2011.
He is the Brewers starting left fielder:
The positive results of that training showed in his early Cactus League numbers. He was 5 for his first 15 with two home runs. The negative results then reared their ugly heads…or should I say their ugly intercostals?
Ryan Joseph Braun was pulled from a game on Saturday, March 12 with a strained rib cage muscle. It was the same injury that had cost Braun time in 2010 and Brewer Nation was beginning to worry that it would be a chronic issue for the rest of his career.
Braun would return to the lineup two days later. There’s nothing quite like overreacting.
He would end up playing in 150 games in 2011, posting a stat line of:
563 AB, 109 R, 187 H, 38 2B, 6 3B, 33 HR, 111 RBI, 58 RBI, 93 K, 33 SB, .332/.397/.597, .994 OPS
Braun led the National League in slugging percentage and OPS. He was second in runs scored and batting average. Fourth in doubles and RBI. He ranked fifth in total hits and on-base percentage. And he finished sixth in home runs, seventh in stolen bases, and twelfth in triples.
Those numbers did not go unnoticed.
The accolades for Braun during and as a result of his 2011 season were numerous and significant.
- National League Player of the Week in late April (4/25/11)
- National League Player of the Month for April
- Elected starting outfielder for the National League All-Star team
- Fourth consecutive election
- Was the top vote-getter in the entire league
- National League Player of the Month for September
- 2011 NL Silver Slugger
- Fourth consecutive win
- 2011 National League Most Valuable Player
It was quite the season for quite the ballplayer.
As any Brewers fan knows, Braun has been a well-respected and accolade-laden player throughout his career. He was a Rising Star as a minor leaguer, the 2007 NL Rookie of the Year, a two-time NL Player of the Month prior to 2011, and as mentioned above prior to 2011 Braun had won three Silver Sluggers as well as three All-Star Game starts.
He had become wildly popular around the country both for his good looks and due to the popularity of fantasy baseball. As a contributor across numerous categories, fans in all parts of the nation knew name because he helped them “win”.
Vastly more importantly is that he helped the Brewers win, a lot. 96 times in the regular season, in fact, with another five victories in the postseason.
It was a franchise record. Braun was justly rewarded with the NL MVP, the franchise’s first MVP Award since Robin Yount won his second in 1989.
The day the announcement came down about who had won the MVP was a great day for Brewers fans. There was much rejoicing, sports talk shows in the city of Milwaukee were blowing up with wall-to-wall praises for Braun, the Brewers, and a feeling of validation for the 2011 season despite a finish two wins shy of the World Series.
But what should have been a storybook off-season for Braun turned into a horror novel the likes of which Stephen King would pen.
Okay, perhaps that’s being a bit melodramatic but when irresponsible journalism led to a bombshell rocking the baseball world, it certainly felt like the world was caving in around Brewers fans.
It was reported that Braun had failed a urine test taken during the NLDS and that performance-enhancing drugs were the cause. ESPN decided to make the uneducated leap and several of its on-air personalities started saying that Braun had tested positive for steroids. No PED was not ever detected in Braun’s urine.
I’m not going to get into everything again in this space because enough has been said about the situation, but for the purposes of a review/preview of Braun, it needs to be made mention of.
That’s because Braun was suspended for 50 games because of the urine test. Under the suspension, Braun would miss every game from Opening Day (reminder: 8 days away!!) until May 31st.
Braun appealed the suspension claiming his innocence and telling reporters that the reports were “b.s.”
As you know, Braun won the appeal by basing what we know of his argument on something that if proven to be questionable would mean that the suspension could not be upheld. The independent arbitrator ruled in Braun’s favor making the three-member panel vote for Braun by a 2-1 margin.
(If you want to read my other thoughts on the Braun situation, I wrote them back in February. You can get to them by clicking here.)
That means that Braun will be in the lineup on April 6 when the Milwaukee Brewers take on the defending World Champion St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park for Opening Day 2o12. The reigning NL MVP will lead the defending National League Central Division Champions into battle.
That’s great news for the Brewers and not so great news for the redbirds.
Spring Training this year hasn’t been great for Braun. He started the Cactus League by playing only every other day while, apparently, nursing a bit of a sore groin that finally flared up and cost him a few days at one point.
Braun is just 4-for-28 in 2012, but he’s started to come on lately with hits in three of his last four games (3-for-11, 2 walks). He is confident that when the bell rings in eight days, he’ll answer it the same way that he always has.
After all, Spring Training isn’t about results anyway for someone with Braun’s pedigree. It’s about the process to get oneself ready to play. So long as Braun remains confident, the results will be there in the end.
That’s not to say that there won’t be some differences to Braun’s numbers this season. Many people will claim that lineup protection is overrated at best and non-existent at worse, but Aramis Ramirez is not Prince Fielder. That means that in certain situations, you can expect that total of two intentional walks to skyrocket by comparison.
If the lineup produces around Braun, and that production should be less concentrated which should help Milwaukee more than hurt, the left fielder will see plenty of success.
With a full season on tap in Brew City Braun will see an increase in on-base percentage, and if he can stay patient and attack the mistakes he sees (something he’s always done phenomenally well throughout his career), the bottom line for Braun is that he’ll put up the numbers he can control.
The numbers that are reliant on his teammates? We’ll see how that all shakes out when the time comes.
But eight days from now, when we’ve filled Miller Park and are screaming our collective heads off for our guy during team introductions, just enjoy the moment. And if Braun goes 0-for-4 in the game, don’t worry. After all, there’s 161+ to go.
Something tells me Braun will be just fine when those games are in the books.
We’re a lucky 13 days away from Opening Day 2012.
(First of all, Happy 30th Birthday, Corey Hart!)
Moreover, it’s the second-to-last weekend without regular season baseball for the next six months.
Please excuse me for a moment while I reread that sentence, smile and exhale contently.
Where were we?
Toward the end of the 2010 season, the writing seemed to be on the walls at Miller Park.
The Brewers were limping to a 77-85 record and a third-place finish in the National League Central.
Littering the roster were players the likes of Jeff Suppan, Dave Bush, Doug Davis, Jody Gerut, Chris Smith, Adam Stern, Joe Inglett (knuckleball notwithstanding), and other players that have at best moved on to a different team and at worst are now out of the game altogether. Wasting space on the bench along side them was manager Ken Macha too.
And arguably the team’s best player received a standing ovation in his final home game because fans realized that what made the most sense for the future was probably sending Prince Fielder to a different team in order to get some return for him before he would inevitably leave town after the 2011 season anyway.
In short, the system was no longer working in Cream City, though you could argue that perhaps it never had because no World Series title had come home. All offense and minimal pitching wasn’t getting the job done. It was time for a change.
That change came by way of two off-season trades to acquire starting pitching. One was already discussed five days ago when we previewed #18 Shaun Marcum.
The other shall be discussed now because he wears #13. His name is:
It was nearing Christmas in 2010 and Brewers fans were happily examining Shaun Marcum’s career statistics and wondering how he would perform following Yovani Gallardo as the number two in the starting rotation.
Then, all of a sudden, an acquaintance of mine started tweeting one night about another trade that he had caught wind of. If it went down, it would change the game in the NL Central. If it came off, it would turn the division on its ear.
Needless to say, it went down.
Doug Melvin sent four young, talented ballplayers to the Kansas City Royals as a return for one “shortstop” and one Donald Zackary Greinke.
A former Cy Young Award winner coming to Milwaukee? That reminded a lot of people of the 2008 acquisition of CC Sabathia. That led to a playoff appearance. That was a good thing.
We all know now that 2011 ended with a trip to the NLCS, but it didn’t quite start out so happily.
Pitchers and Catchers reported to Spring Training in 2011 to expectations and hope among fans. Fielder was not traded, Greinke and Marcum were on the mound, John Axford was ready to slam the door on nearly any game with a late and close lead…in short, optimism abounded.
Then news began trickling out about a pickup basketball game, a hard fall, and a cracked rib.
The newly-acquired ace was shelved. He wouldn’t be with the team on Opening Day. He wouldn’t make a start in the entire month of April or maybe more. How would the team survive?
Greinke’s first start was on May 4 in Atlanta against the Braves. Greinke lost that start, only going four innings and allowing five runs (four earned).
Well, then worry turned to panic for some.
The team was 13-17 after Greinke’s first start. The cries were roughly the same. They gave up too much for this injury-prone bum. This guy can’t pitch even though he is “healthy”. They’re paying him how much to pitch this poorly?
Greinke won four of his next five starts, but allowed 16 earned runs over 30 innings.
The sky was officially falling.
“Maybe we can trade him.” “What a bum!” “Cy Yuck!”
It’s like it was “Jump to Conclusions Mat” night at Miller Park.
The only thing keeping the critics somewhat at bay was that by the end of May the team was 30-25 overall. In fact, from the first game Greinke pitched through the end of the season, the team played 33 games over .500 baseball.
Something about getting that piece back in the rotation calmed this team down. It helped Marcum, Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson all perform better by way of bumping them to lesser opponents. It helped challenge Gallardo to be at his best each and every time out.
Greinke made everybody around him better. That’s an incredibly difficult thing to do in a sport like baseball. You are so self-reliant at times in this particular team game. Every at-bat is a one-on-one battle until wood hits leather, and even then there’s usually something that prevents a defender from being involved. Foul balls into the stands, home runs, come-backers…there’s a lot of aspects of the individual battle inside of the team sport.
But somehow Greinke had that effect.
He had an 11-0 record at Miller Park in 15 starts. His peripherals were solid despite some of the traditional stats not looking as good.
There is a statistic called xFIP which stands for expected fielding-independent pitching. To put it crudely, it measures what a pitcher’s ERA would be if the defense wasn’t a factor. Greinke’s was a 2.56 which was the best mark in baseball. (Gallardo, for the record, was tenth in all of baseball with a 3.19 xFIP.)
Greinke finished the season with a 16-6 record, 3.83 ERA, having allowed 161 hits and 45 walks (1.20 WHIP), 82 runs (73 earned), an opponents’ batting average of .245 and recording 201 strikeouts…in just 171.2 innings pitched over 28 starts. Yeah, 201 strikeouts after missing an entire month of starts.
Greinke wasn’t very good on the road, and he struggled in the playoffs, but those things (and perhaps the looming visage of free agency on the horizon) have made Greinke hungry though. He has spent Spring Training 2012 healthy which has allowed him to find a delivery which increases his control without sacrificing velocity. He’s also working on a new pitch.
A guy who struck out 201 and only walked 45 feels that he’ll have better command in 2012. He’s also put a cut fastball in his repertoire for the new season. In his most recent start of this writing, Greinke threw 76 pitches, over twenty of which were cutters. The results speak for themselves: 5.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K.
Do you think he’s ready for the season to begin? So does Ron Roenicke.
There has been talk this spring about a possible contract extension between Greinke and the Brewers. I, myself, reported on initial contact to that end happening last December during the Winter Meetings.
If the 2012 Cactus League is any indication, it would certainly behoove the Brewers to lock Greinke up sooner rather than later. If he has a season that lives up to his 2011 peripherals while having the traditional stats more in line with his ace persona…it could cost the Brewers a pretty penny to retain his services.
Working in Doug Melvin and Mark Attanasio’s favor is that Greinke has praised them both in the media throughout the tenure of his employment in Milwaukee. He is allowed to scratch his itches, like attending a college baseball game to scout a player, for example. Milwaukee understands his social anxiety and allows Greinke to excuse himself from long meetings to take a quick mental break before getting back to work.
The environment has been wonderful for Greinke, and we fans are a big part of that. He loves playing in front of us and the support we show him is paramount in the Brewers’ attempts to retain his services.
In short, one more time, this relationship has been wonderful to this point and could very likely be wonderful for a few more years at least if a deal can be struck.
Greinke is working without an agent, though news came out today that he’s been consulting with Ryan Braun on some pitching comps as far as contracts that have been signed. No telling if anything will come of it, but at least for now it appears to be all positive.
For the Milwaukee Brewers to continue competing in the window which they’ve opened for themselves, quality pitching is a must. And when that quality is of such a high level and is already in town…
Well, it just goes to show you how important these negotiations are…assuming the sides are even actively talking at this point.
Short-term, however, and as a matter of opinion, 2012 is looking like an amazing opportunity for the Milwaukee Brewers to not only repeat at NL Central Champions, but also to possibly advance at least one more step into the World Series.
Once you’re in, anything can happen.
And should Greinke decides to stay in a Brewers uniform beyond 2012, anything might be possible over the length of that deal.
In short, as fans we should be so lucky.
We’re just over two weeks away from Opening Day.
Despite being a first-year Milwaukee Brewer, today’s subject is well-known to Brewers fans already by virtue of having spent his entire career in the National League Central.
The 33-year-old’s career began with the Pittsburgh Pirates the same year that the Brewers made the move to the senior circuit from the American League. That was 1998, of course.
Also, of course, the person that I’m talking about is:
Before we get into that, I wanted to relate a quick story.
So many of these players are simply assigned a number when they’re first called up to the big leagues. They become a part of their identity, but they aren’t always their own choosing.
Ramirez is different.
When he came to Milwaukee the number he had worn his entire career (#16) was owned by backup catcher George Kottaras.
Former all-stars usually get what they want when pitted against a backup catcher, but this wasn’t a simple exchange of something for a number. Ramirez wanted to wear 16 not simply because he always had.
Instead, Ramirez first wore 16 when he joined the Pittsburgh Pirates at the behest of his father. Mr. Ramirez never told his son why he wanted him to wear the number, and unfortunately passed away a few years ago.
But the ballplayer honored his father’s request and continues to do so to this day.
No matter what you may think of the stories of Ramirez’ lackadaisical attitude or perceived laziness at times on the diamond…
That’s a pretty cool reason to prefer a number. Kudos to Mr. Kottaras for not standing in the way of Mr. Ramirez or his son.
Anyway, it’s no secret that Ramirez is an average-on-his-best-days defender at this stage of his career. He doesn’t have great range, even for the hot corner, and his while his throwing arm is still plenty strong enough, his throwing accuracy is at times found to be wanting.
Despite popular belief to the contrary, the starting third baseman last year wasn’t bad defensively. Casey McGehee had solid footwork, accuracy and got to his share of balls. Ramirez should handle the routine play fine, but it is likely that there will be plays this year which Ramirez won’t make that Brewers fans will be wondering “why not?” because last year they’d have been converted into outs.
And defensively, the most important thing you can do is to convert outs into outs.
That brings us back to the plate which is where Ramirez will look to earn the $36 million guaranteed over the life of the contract which he signed with Milwaukee this past December.
Ramirez is a notoriously slow starter at the plate, and he contributes a good portion of that to the weather he dealt with while playing his home games outside in the usually cold Aprils at Wrigley Field these last several years.
Hopefully the climate controlled environment of Miller Park will help to alleviate some of that and Ramirez will start off like he tends to finish seasons.
Regardless of his start, he stands to finish much better than Brewers third basemen did at the plate last year.
McGehee in 2011: 155 G, 546 AB, 46 R, 122 H, 24 doubles, 13 HR, 67 RBI, 45 BB, 104 K, .223/.280/.346, .626 OPS
Ramirez in 2011: 149 G, 565 AB, 80 R, 173 H, 35 doubles, 26 HR, 93 RBI, 43 BB, 69 K, .306/.361/.510, .871 OPS
Now, for the record, I fully believe that 2012 McGehee will also outperform 2011 McGehee, but I don’t think he’ll reach the numbers Ramirez has averaged over the course of this career.
But that’s how Ramirez compares to third base. McGehee batted fifth or lower in the lineup for manager Ron Roenicke last year. I mention that because the other thing Ramirez was brought here to do was to fill the cleanup spot in the lineup vacated by the departed Prince Fielder.
There are many analytical types who will tell you that lineup protection is a myth and that there is absolutely nothing that has been able to quantify the effect one player hitting behind another has on that first player.
Much the same, there are many baseball people who continually bring it up as a matter of fact.
Regardless to which side of that fence you’re on, it can be argued that a superstar player finds himself pitched around in certain situations when there isn’t somebody behind him that can make the opposing team pay for that tactic.
Let me put it this way, when Roenicke, principal owner Mark Attanasio and general manager Doug Melvin met this off-season to discuss Roenicke’s wants, several positions were presented as needs by Melvin.
Roenicke’s simple response: “Cleanup hitter.”
He didn’t know which position on the diamond that would necessarily come from at that point, but Roenicke was clear in his desire for someone to bat in the lineup behind Ryan Braun. There’s something to that.
I offer now a profile that was written by my Brewer Nation Podcast co-host, Cary Kostka.
This was originally posted at his Sport Profiles blog: http://sportprofiles.wordpress.com.
Career to Date
Aramis Ramirez, born on June 25th, 1978 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates on November 7, 1994 and made his major league debut on May 26th, 1998 with the Pirates. He was traded to the Chicago Cubs (with Kenny Lofton) on July 23rd, 2003, where he remained until he opted out of his contract with the Cubs and signed a three year, $36 million deal with the Milwaukee Brewers in December 2011.
Ramirez played in his first full season in 2001, finishing with a .300 BAV, 34 HR, 112 RBI. Over his major league career (6 years with the Pirates, 9 years with the Cubs) Ramirez has averaged .284-30-108. Ramirez was an All-Star in 2005 and 2008 and won the N.L. Silver Slugger award at third base in 2011. He has only once finished in the top 10 for MVP voting (2004) despite have 6-100 RBI seasons, 4-30 home run seasons, and 9-20 home run seasons. Although healthy for most of his career, Ramirez missed a large portion of the 2009 due to a dislocated shoulder suffered against his current team (Brewers) on May 8th. He has also suffered a number of calf and hamstring injuries that has led to him only being able to play 140 games twice since 2006, and only once (2011) since 2008.
At The Plate
Ramirez had a TPR (total player rating) of 77.2 in the hitting department during the 2011 campaign. As the numbers above show, he can flat out rake when at the plate.
Ramirez’s’ batting stance allows him to generate power by moving his back hip into the pitch. When he swings, his hips rotate ahead of his hands to give strength to his core muscles, increasing bat speed. The back shoulder rotates with the back leg and hips which increases the leverage of his swing.
He is able to keep his swing short by keeping his front knee bent forward when his back toes comes down, then straightening the front knee as he moves closer to the contact point of the bat with the incoming pitch. This has the added effect of increased bat control, allowing him to easily adjust in mid swing.
Ramirez’s running TPR comes in at -12.2. He has below average speed and is not a base stealing or base running threat when he is out there. He is not very aggressive on the base paths, which while minimizing base running mistakes has drawn some frustration of both the organizations he has played for and the hometown fans when he fails to take an easy extra base.
Defense is definitely Ramirez’s weak point, checking in with a fielding TPR of -35.2. As his career has progressed the number of mental mistakes he makes on the field have come down to almost zero which has improved his defense overall, according to the SABR zone rating. His biggest asset on the field is his arm; it is both strong and accurate.
He has an overall lack of range and seems out of position at times. The lack of range has led to speculation that the Brewers, should Mat Gamel fail at first and Taylor Green show he is ready for third, would entertain shifting Ramirez to first. The cause for Ramirez to appear of position could be more of a coaching/managerial call than Ramirez himself. I feel this will be proven this season, as Brewers skipper Ron Roenicke loves positioning his fielders to give them better chances of being successful with the glove.
Early in his career Ramirez was seen as being a lazy, immature player but has worked his way towards shedding those early career observations, becoming a more humble, but competitive player. While he is not a gym rat, he has put forth more effort in recent years as he struggled with a number of injuries since 2008. The only incident I could find was a dugout fight with Cubs teammate Carlos Silva, during a spring training game on March 2nd, 2011 after Silva started blaming his teammates for their lack of defense.
As mentioned earlier, Ramirez has only once appeared in 140 games since 2008, making his recent injury history concern #1 for not only himself, but for his new team, Brewers fans, and fantasy baseball players.
Most of Aramis Ramirez’s community works comes as a part of MLB-DDA (MLB Dominican Development Alliance) and USAID (United States Agency for International Development), which provides and supports for a number of programs, including “The Bank Of Hope”, “There Is Power In Learning”, Hope and Life”, and “Spaces To Grow”.
Ramirez’s hitting method should allow him to remain a productive hitter into his 40’s, with an expected slow slippage of power. His defense at 3B will eventually make it necessary for him to move to first, or will send him to the A.L. as a DH. He will continue to be an above average player if he stays healthy.
Bottom line for Ramirez in 2012 is that he’ll hit cleanup, man the hot corner, and hopefully drive in plenty of runs.
The Brewers need his bat to perform to successfully defend their National League Central Division championship.
After spending his entire 14-year career in that same division, Ramirez has only been a part of three such teams (all with Chicago in 2003, 2007, 2008) but without a World Series appearance to show for it, let alone a ring.
He wants that chance and the Milwaukee Brewers would be more than happy to give it to him.
When you have your brain tuned to sports and you hear the number 23, what’s the first thing or whose is the first name that comes to mind?
I think for the majority of people in the Midwest, and perhaps still around the country, the first thought is one of long-time NBA superstar (and short-time MLB minor-leaguer) Michael Jordan.
Jordan wore the number 45 during his brief time with the Double-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, but he is certainly remembered more vividly for his time in the red and black with the 23 on his back.
I only bring this up to illustrate that I was the same way for a long time. I’ve never been a fan of the Chicago Bulls, but 23 was always Michael Jordan.
Until about seven years ago.
With all due respect to Andrew Lorraine and Mark Leiter before him, it was in the 2005 season that I first started to really notice that the Brewers had this dynamite prospect who wore 23 in a short September call up in 2003.
Perhaps it was the high profile of said prospect, and perhaps it was also due to the building injury history or the talk about his hands being as soft as concrete that helped him stick in my mind. Positives and negatives are all a part of the first and lasting impression of someone who we meet.
The offensive talent was undeniable though, and you could sense that the defense would come around with repetitions and practice. It has, and the man who I now think of first and foremost when hearing “23” is:
I could regale you with stories of how Rickie Darnell Weeks led the NCAA in batting average in 2002 and 2003 (.495 and .479 respectively) which helped him set the NCAA record for career batting average (.473) and helped him win the Golden Spikes Award, the Dick Howser Trophy, and two-time recognition as his conference’s Player of the Year and Most Outstanding Hitter of the Year.
I could tell you that Weeks was a finalist in 2003 for the Sullivan Award which is given to the top amateur athlete in the country, regardless of sport.
But I won’t do that because this is more about how Weeks fared in 2011 and his outlook for 2012.
Anybody that sees Weeks up close and in person is amazed at his physical condition. At 5’10” and 220 pounds, most people guess he’s an NFL strong safety rather than an MLB second baseman. He is physically impressive if not imposing.
Owner of some of the quickest hands on the team, Weeks had to overcome being too quick at times early in his career. His bat was getting in and out of the hitting zone too fast and it was resulting in worse contact than he should’ve been getting.
Watching him progress on the field has been a true delight for this baseball fan. His quiet confidence and professionalism have been hallmarks of his time as a Brewer and his consistent production when he’s been healthy has been a source of pride when discussing the Brewers with fans of rival teams.
It’s that “when he’s been healthy” part that has kept Weeks from becoming one of the game’s elite to this point.
Weeks’ has had surgery on both of his wrists on separate occasions. That’s a physical ailment which has been corrected. A freak injury took him out of the lineup during the summer of 2011 though, a year which finally saw him getting the national recognition for which fans in Milwaukee have been clamoring.
The “first half” of the season saw Weeks put up a line of .278/.351/.486, 67 runs, 103 hits, 22 doubles, 2 triples, 17 home runs, and walk 40 times in 370 at-bats over 91 games. (The first of those home runs was the first time a Milwaukee Brewer had ever opened a season with a home run.) Weeks was rewarded with not only a trip to his first All-Star Game, but he was elected the starting second baseman which is reliant on popular fan voting.
Weeks participated in the Home Run Derby as a member of captain (and teammate) Prince Fielder’s National League squad. He hit three home runs on the day which wasn’t nearly enough to win, but he finally got to bask in a bit of that national spotlight.
A couple of personal milestones were reached during the 2011 season as well. Weeks hit his 100th career home run on June 5 against the (now Miami) Marlins. He also notched his 100th career stolen base in a game against the Giants on July 23.
All of this came prior to the freak injury I made reference to a few paragraphs ago.
In a game against the Chicago Cubs, while trying to beat out an infield ground ball, Weeks stretched for the first base bag as he had done many times before while busting it down the line. His foot hit the bag in a way that caused his ankle to bend with such severity and due to such force that when he instantly tumbled to the ground the majority of fans assumed the ankle was broken.
Fortunately, in a manner of speaking, Weeks only had severely sprained the ankle. He ended up missing a total of 39 games and came back before his ankle was ready because the team’s offense was struggling so badly without him.
At the time of the injury, Weeks was second in the National League in runs scored, tied for fifth in total bases, tied for sixth in extra base hits, tenth in total hits and tied for tenth in doubles. He went only 9-for-37 (.243) in the 14 regular season games he played in after returning and only hit .146 (6-for-41) in 11 games in the playoffs.
When he reported for Spring Training last month, Weeks stated that his ankle still wasn’t 100% healed from the injury at that time. He expected it to be 100% for Opening Day 2012, however, which we are rapidly approaching.
As the only returning member of the infield from Opening Day 2011, Weeks’ veteran presence in and quiet leadership of the Milwaukee clubhouse will be a very welcome and necessary thing.
The other thing that Weeks needs because everybody else is new is plays on defense. His own defensive timing will be important, but his timing with Alex Gonzalez will be especially so. Gonzalez is Weeks’ new double-play partner and the fourth new primary shortstop Weeks will play with in four years. After a year of dealing with the shortcomings of Yuniesky Betancourt, Weeks will welcome a return to defensive prowess in the man to his right.
As far as offensively, Weeks looks to return to the leadoff spot in Ron Roenicke’s lineup. After Corey Hart found success leading off following Weeks’ ankle injury last season, Roenicke left Hart atop the batting order for the balance of the year. Weeks never liked hitting fifth and said so publicly this spring. Hart has been on the record as saying he didn’t like hitting fifth either, but clarified his comments by saying this spring that he only didn’t like hitting fifth because he was hitting behind Fielder.
With that combination of preferences, and as evidenced by many games throughout the spring so far, it is safe to assume that Weeks will have the opportunity to lead off another season with a home run on April 6 at Miller Park.
It’s an opportunity which is 23 days hence, and one that for Weeks and fans alike can’t come soon enough.
Welcome back. Today begins a stretch of five consecutive days with new profiles for your reading pleasure. That streak will end courtesy of the greatest Milwaukee Brewer of all time, #19 Robin Yount.
Today, however, we’re at 24 in our countdown to Opening Day 2012.
The man who wears 24 is trying to make his first ever career Major League Opening Day 25-man roster at the age of 26.
He is the likely starting first baseman:
Originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, Gamel has been as highly-touted as anyone not named Ryan Braun or Prince Fielder as far as potential and tools and the ability to make an impact at the Major League Level.
This hasn’t happened yet for Gamel for a variety of reasons.
First of all is the fact that Gamel has been blocked a bit by players at third base during his time in the organization. First was when Ryan Braun was drafted and kept at the hot corner initially, but then afterward when the team acquired Casey McGehee.
In part because of Gamel’s inability to throw consistently enough while at third, and partly as a hedge against the likelihood of Prince Fielder’s foray into free agency, Gamel switched positions while at Triple-A Nashville.
While still only occasionally playing third base, especially when McGehee was virtually useless on offense throughout the majority of the 2011 season, Gamel focused on learning first base.
He’s done well enough by most accounts at learning the fundamentals, and despite his early assertions that he didn’t like the position when the change was first made, Gamel now seems to like it fine.
Still, many fans would continually bemoan Fielder’s departure and bring up names of veterans at the position who the Brewers should bring in to man the position instead until perhaps a Hunter Morris or Nick Ramirez (first baseman prospects in the Brewers minor leagues) would be ready for the job. They didn’t seem content to let the to-this-point-underwhelming Gamel try to fill some of the offensive void created.
I’ve been on record all off-season as saying that Gamel needs to get a legitimate chance at first base and it’s encouraging to see that all signs point to Ron Roenicke giving him that opportunity. It wouldn’t be enough to platoon him right away or have him be a bat off the bench. I’ve long been of the opinion that Gamel’s best (and perhaps only) chance to succeed at the big league level is to give him both a job and the consistent at-bats that come along with it.
The team seemed ready to do just that, but Gamel was unable to stay healthy. That brings me to my other point.
The reason that I chose to lead with the words that Gamel “has been waiting” to make an Opening Day roster is because up until this season it never seemed like Gamel was trying to make an Opening Day roster. It’s like he just figured that his natural ability would be enough to get him to The Show.
While it has gotten him there a couple of times as a short-term fill-in during Interleague play, it’s never been enough on its own to keep him in Milwaukee or even to perform well while he was up.
Gamel has torn up minor league hitting long enough that he should have been in Milwaukee sooner but his health and questionable conditioning, drive and determination have let him down and caused him to fall short of his goals. If you read the Manny Parra profile two days ago, you’ll know that sometimes those things are a necessity to succeed. Parra has demonstrated them for years. Gamel, not so much through the 2011 season.
In fact, it got to the point where despite his very good offensive season at Triple-A, Gamel was publicly blasted by Brewers minor league coach Don Money in comments to members of the media. Many fans have used that as fodder for tearing Gamel’s chances down.
Gamel used that as fodder for getting his ass in gear.
One of the most exciting moments of the spring was when we began to hear that Gamel had finally gotten the message that he needed to put in that extra work. He said he was in the “best shape of his life” and while that’s a cliché amongst sportswriters, it truly seemed to true in Gamel’s case.
He dropped some unnecessary weight by hiring a personal trainer for the first time. He worked hard to avoid the nagging and, quite frankly, annoying injuries of years past. He admitted that he hadn’t come to camp before in good enough shape to win a job. Muscle pulls and the like haven’t hampered Gamel at all this year.
Gamel has finally had a healthy Spring Training and the results of being up to speed on offense and in the field have begun to show themselves. He had a stretch recently where he hit a home run in three consecutive games, after the second of which Roenicke stated that he absolutely thinks that Gamel is capable of hitting 20+ home runs during the 2012 season.
It’s a far cry from Money’s comments last September.
As someone who has always believed in Gamel, perhaps I’m invested in his personal success more than most. Some only care about the Wins and Losses and don’t care how they are achieved. That’s fine, but that’s not me. I pay attention to the individual performances, trends, etc. That’s probably mostly caused by of my line of work, but so be it.
The bottom line is that I truly believe he’s capable of helping this team win, which is the most important thing after all.
You can follow Mat and his wife Julianne on Twitter: @JMGamel
DISCLAIMER: What you are about to read was told to me when I asked what news might there be that would be qualified as “HUGE” that could have presented itself within the past couple of days. Please read everything before you jump to any conclusions and remember that I am not saying that what is laid out will happen for sure. Nothing is ever for sure when it comes to free agency until a contract is actually signed. As with my previous post about Zack Greinke approaching the team about a contract extension, this is officially just a rumor. While I am confident that Greinke did approach the team, it doesn’t mean that anything will for sure ever come of it.
Make sense? I sure hope so.
Earlier this morning on Twitter, a follower of mine posed a question to me @BrewerNation.
He tweeted: “a friend inside the organization told me today that there will be HUGE news out of MKE in the next two days. Any ideas?”
To paraphrase my reply, I responded that I had a couple of ideas on what it could be that would qualify as “HUGE” but that I’d make a call about it since nobody had directly shared anything with me to that point.
I reached out to someone that I trust and was told about an idea that had been presented to the team at some point yesterday.
Allow me to again throw the (unfortunately) necessary disclaimer out at this time:
Please read all of the following things that I was told before jumping to a conclusion about the subject matter. Nothing you are about to read is confirmed as happening for sure.
This was simply an idea that was brought to the Brewers by an individual. Surrounding circumstances help to support this idea as being legitimate not only in potential execution but also in having actually come about as I’ve been told.
What are some of those circumstances, you ask?
- Scott Boras was at the Owners’ Meetings in Arizona to discuss some of his clients with different teams. (For example, he is believed to have had a meeting with the Yankees about Edwin Jackson.)
- Boras had a conversation of some kind* with either one or both of the Washington Nationals owners.
- The market hasn’t materialized regarding some of Boras’ clients as they thought it would.
- Boras stated to the media today that he’d have Prince Fielder signed somewhere before Spring Training began.
Yes, Brewer Nation, the idea that I was told about is that super-agent Scott Boras approached the Milwaukee Brewers with an idea for what can only be described as a “fall back option”, if you ask me.
He suggested that if he doesn’t have anything else in place that they like by the end of January, Prince would agree to come back to Milwaukee on (at least) a one-year deal with a full no-trade clause. A dollar figure was quoted to me with the caveat that they often change so I won’t bother to pass that along at this time.
The Brewers reportedly agreed to that idea and also proposed an additional option of a three-year pact. No word on whether Boras…I mean Fielder…would consider that or not.
So there you have it. Like I said, having a tentative agreement of sorts in place with Milwaukee could easily allow Boras to play it against teams practicing feet-dragging like the Washington Nationals, thereby prompting their conversation yesterday. Boras might have said something like “I have something else in place if you guys don’t step up your offer. The time is now if you truly want your organization to take the next step.”
I said on Twitter that this is decidedly in the “believe it when I see it” category because, like many others, I just don’t see how taking a one-year deal makes financial sense for Prince Fielder. I understand the arguments for it, but they are mostly intangible in nature.
Then again, that’s not to say that I wouldn’t welcome the idea with open arms. I’ve said to anyone willing to listen that I’d gladly and knowingly accept five years of awful baseball teams down the road while Mark Attanasio recovers from any financial hardships brought on by breaking his budget for one year and resigning Prince. I’d love it. I’d trumpet it. I’d buy a 20-game pack per season knowing I might see 15 losses every time.
Scott Boras does have limited (though recent) history of doing what he calls a “pillow pact”. It’s where he signs a one-year contract to better position his client for free agency the following year. He’s done it with Adrian Beltre in Boston and this off-season with Ryan Madson in Cincinnati.
I was also told several weeks ago that Fielder had instructed Boras to consider fewer dollars if the offer was coming from a perennial contender. In other words, if your team is usually awful and you want me to play for you, it’ll cost more. That would obviously be unrelated to accepting a one-year deal, but it lends itself to the idea that Fielder might be realizing that an 8yr/$200MM contract just isn’t going to happen this off-season with the biggest spenders unable or unwilling to splurge at this time.
All of that doesn’t mean that I think it will happen. History shows that someone will step up, and if we’ve learned only one thing over the years of Boras’ contract negotiations, it’s that all it takes is one. (To reiterate the record if you haven’t seen me say it before, I’ve been saying since last April or longer that if Prince leaves Milwaukee it makes the most sense to sign with the Rangers.)
Once again jumping the fence post though, I have also said that until Prince Fielder’s name is signed to a contract for the 2012 season, there’s always a chance –however remote– that Fielder could play again in a Brewers uniform.
I don’t want to get hopes up only to have them dashed if Boras finds one team to pay what he and Fielder were originally looking for, but I wanted to pass along this information anyway…
Just in case.
*Some say it was a conversation about Prince Fielder. Another report says it was a casual conversation as Boras was walking through the parking lot.
UPDATE: I’ve seen a tweet from @BillShaikin of the L.A. Times mentioning this same topic but stating that it was the Brewers who approached Boras and he laughed at the idea. Obviously that’s the public stance that Boras must take right now so that it doesn’t appear to teams willing to go multiple years on a contract offer that he’s willing to take a one-year deal instead.
Clearly this idea is one that people are hearing about, so hopefully that lends validity to my report as well.