Results tagged ‘ Zack Greinke ’

MLB Network’s Top 100 Players Right Now Entering 2014

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As I did last year, and the year before, 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 Friday, February 21st. I’ll update this same space as they reveal the remaining entries.

As always, I will understandably highlight the Brewers players on the list. There were six Brewers on the list entering 2012. 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. Last year, the Brewers only had three players featured on the list (at the time it was revealed). Yovani Gallardo repeated his position at 72, Aramis Ramirez jumped all the way up to 32, and Braun settled in at 6. Kyle Lohse made last year’s list as well.

My early prediction? The Brewers could have six (6) this year (Braun, Ramirez, Kyle Lohse, Carlos Gomez, Jean Segura, Jonathan Lucroy) but I think Garza falls short for sure. (UPDATE: Looks like the Brewers will only have three again. Ramirez and Lohse both fall off the list and Lucroy gets no love either.)

The criteria for the list remains the same:

  • Emphasized stats from the last three (3) seasons, weighting 2012
  • Projected 2014 performance
  • Defensive position
  • Accolades
  • Intangibles

Here now are the Top 100-1* Players as listed by MLB Network:

100. Derek Jeter – SS – New York Yankees

99. Brandon Phillips – 2B – Cincinnati Reds

98. Torii Hunter – RF – Detroit Tigers

97. Andrelton Simmons – SS – Atlanta Braves

96. Shane Victorino – RF – Boston Red Sox

95. Ian Kinsler – 2B – Detroit Tigers

94. Gerrit Cole – SP – Pittsburgh Pirates

93. Shelby Miller – SP – St. Louis Cardinals

92. Michael Wacha – SP – St. Louis Cardinals

91. Trevor Rosenthal – CL – St. Louis Cardinals

90. Patrick Corbin – SP – Arizona Diamondbacks

89. Clay Buccholz – SP – Boston Red Sox

88. Matt Cain – SP – San Francisco Giants

87. Josh Donaldson – 3B – Oakland Athletics

86. Joe Nathan – CL – Detroit Tigers

85. Matt Wieters – C – Baltimore Orioles

84. Billy Butler – DH – Kansas City Royals

83. Jon Lester – SP – Boston Red Sox

82. Koji Uehara – CL – Boston Red Sox

81. Chase Utley – 2B – Philadelphia Phillies

80. Albert Pujols – 1B – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

79. Pedro Alvarez – 3B – Pittsburgh Pirates

78. Salvador Perez – C – Kansas City Royals

77. Carlos Santana – C/3B – Cleveland Indians

76. Josh Hamilton – RF – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

75. Eric Hosmer – 1B – Kansas City Royals

74. Hunter Pence – RF – San Francisco Giants

73. Michael Cuddyer – RF – Colorado Rockies

72. Justin Upton – LF – Atlanta Braves

71. Anibal Sanchez – SP – Detroit Tigers

70. Jason Kipnis – 2B – Cleveland Indians

69. Gio Gonzalez – SP – Washington Nationals

68. Madison Bumgarner – SP – San Francisco Giants

67. Greg Holland – CL – Kansas City Royals

66. James Shields – SP – Kansas City Royals

65. Matt Carpenter – 3B – St. Louis Cardinals

64. Brian McCann – C – New York Yankees

63. J.J. Hardy – SS – Baltimore Orioles

62. Ian Desmond – SS – Washington Nationals

61. Jose Reyes – SS – Toronto Blue Jays

60. JEAN SEGURA – SS – MILWAUKEE BREWERS

59. Matt Kemp – CF – Los Angeles Dodgers

58. Alex Gordon – LF – Kansas City Royals

57. Cole Hamels – SP – Philadelphia Phillies

56. Jordan Zimmermann – SP – Washington Nationals

55. Hisashi Iwakuma – SP – Seattle Mariners

54. Cliff Lee – SP – Philadelphia Phillies

53. Allen Craig – RF – St. Louis Cardinals

52. Adrian Gonzalez – 1B – Los Angeles Dodgers

51. Jacoby Ellsbury – CF – New York Yankees

50. Jose Bautista – RF – Toronto Blue Jays

49. Jayson Werth – RF – Washington Nationals

48. Ryan Zimmerman – 3B – Washington Nationals

47. Carlos Beltran – RF – New York Yankees

46. Prince Fielder – 1B – Texas Rangers

45. Freddie Freeman – 1B – Atlanta Braves

44. CARLOS GOMEZ – CF – MILWAUKEE BREWERS

43. Wil Myers – RF – Tampa Bay Rays

42. Shin-Soo Choo – LF – Texas Rangers

41. Matt Holliday – LF – St. Louis Cardinals

40. Victor Martinez – C/DH – Detroit Tigers

39. Edwin Encarnacion – 1B – Toronto Blue Jays

38. Zack Greinke – SP – Los Angeles Dodgers

37. Stephen Strasburg – SP – Washington Nationals

36. Jay Bruce – RF – Cincinnati Reds

35. Aroldis Chapman – CL – Cincinnati Reds

34. Joe Mauer – 1B – Minnesota Twins

33. Justin Verlander – SP – Detroit Tigers

32. Adam Wainwright – SP – St. Louis Cardinals

31. Yu Darvish – SP – Texas Rangers

30. Chris Davis – 1B – Baltimore Orioles

29. Manny Machado – 3B – Baltimore Orioles

28. David Ortiz – DH – Boston Red Sox

27. Dustin Pedroia – 2B – Boston Red Sox

26. Craig Kimbrel – CL – Atlanta Braves

25. David Wright – 3B – New York Mets

24. RYAN BRAUN – RF – MILWAUKEE BREWERS

23. Yasiel Puig – RF – Los Angeles Dodgers

22. Bryce Harper – LF – Washington Nationals

21. Adam Jones – CF – Baltimore Orioles

20. Giancarlo Stanton – RF – Miami Marlins

19. Chris Sale – SP – Chicago White Sox

18. Jose Fernandez – SP – Miami Marlins

17. Buster Posey – C – San Francisco Giants

16. Hanley Ramirez – SS – Los Angeles Dodgers

15. Evan Longoria – 3B – Tampa Bay Rays

14. Yadier Molina – C – St. Louis Cardinals

13. Troy Tulowitzki – SS – Colorado Rockies

12. Max Scherzer – SP – Detroit Tigers

11. Carlos Gonzalez – CF – Colorado Rockies

10. David Price – SP – Tampa Bay Rays

9. Paul Goldschmidt – 1B – Arizona Diamondbacks

8. Joey Votto – 1B – Cincinnati Reds

7. Felix Hernandez – SP – Seattle Mariners

6. Adrian Beltre – 3B – Texas Rangers

5. Robinson Cano – 2B – Seattle Mariners

4. Andrew McCutchen – CF – Pittsburgh Pirates

3. Miguel Cabrera – 1B – Detroit Tigers

2. Clayton Kershaw – SP – Los Angeles Dodgers

1. Mike Trout – CF – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

So that’s the list! Sound off in the comments and let me know what you think. Did your favorite player make the list? Was he too high? Too low?

MLB Network’s “Top 10 Right Now” Rankings Entering 2014

Each year I compile MLB Network’s “Top 100 Players Right Now” which airs annually before the regular season begins.

This year, I decided to supplement those rankings by giving you a place to find all of the Top 10 Right Now positional rankings as well.

I’ll add to this post as the episodes air on MLB Network over the next few weeks.

On Friday, January 10, 2014 the rankings for both Centerfielders and Shortstops were revealed. (See them below.) On Friday, January 17th both Starting Pitchers and Right Fielders were unveiled. Friday, January 24th brought us Left Fielders and First Basemen. Relief Pitchers and Second Basemen were revealed on Friday, January 31st.

Catchers and Third Basemen will be revealed on Friday, February 7th, so look for a couple more Brewers to make it.


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Centerfielders Right Now”

  1. Mike Trout – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  2. Andrew McCutchen – Pittsburgh Pirates
  3. Carlos Gonzalez – Colorado Rockies
  4. Jacoby Ellsbury – New York Yankees
  5. Matt Kemp – Los Angeles Dodgers
  6. Carlos Gomez – Milwaukee Brewers
  7. Austin Jackson – Detroit Tigers
  8. Adam Jones – Baltimore Orioles
  9. Dexter Fowler – Houston Astros
  10. Coco Crisp – Oakland Athletics

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Centerfielders was Darryl Hamilton. Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Trout, McCutchen, Ellsbury, Gomez, Gonzalez, Jackson, Jones, Kemp, Desmond Jennings (TB), Leonys Martin (TEX)

James: Trout, McCutchen, Jones, Ellsbury, Gomez, Gonzalez, Jackson, Michael Bourn (CLE), Jennings, Denard Span (WAS)

Hamilton: Trout, McCutchen, Jones, Ellsbury, Gomez, Kemp, Jackson, Crisp, Gonzalez, Bourn


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Shortstops Right Now”

  1. Troy Tulowitzki – Colorado Rockies
  2. Jose Reyes – Toronto Blue Jays
  3. Hanley Ramirez – Los Angeles Dodgers
  4. Jhonny Peralta – St. Louis Cardinals
  5. Jean Segura – Milwaukee Brewers
  6. Ian Desmond – Washington Nationals
  7. Elvis Andrus – Texas Rangers
  8. Andrelton Simmons – Atlanta Braves
  9. J.J. Hardy – Baltimore Orioles
  10. Alcides Escobar – Kansas City Royal

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Shortstops was Bill Ripken. Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Tulowitzki, Ramirez, Reyes, Desmond, Andrus, Peralta, Derek Jeter (NYY), Simmons, Segura, Everth Cabrera (SD)

James: Tulowitzki, Hardy, Reyes, Jed Lowrie (OAK), Simmons, Andrus, Segura, Ramirez, Erick Aybar (LAA), Escobar

Ripken: Tulowitzki, Ramirez, Hardy, Simmons, Desmond, Segura, Stephen Drew (FA), Lowrie, Andrus, Reyes


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Staring Pitchers Right Now”

  1. Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers
  2. Cliff Lee – Philadelphia Phillies
  3. Felix Hernandez – Seattle Mariners
  4. Chris Sale – Chicago White Sox
  5. Jose Fernandez – Miami Marlins
  6. David Price – Tampa Bay Rays
  7. Hisashi Iwakuma – Seattle Mariners
  8. Adam Wainwright – St. Louis Cardinals
  9. Justin Verlander – Detroit Tigers
  10. Max Scherzer – Detroit Tigers

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Starting Pitchers was John Smoltz. Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Kershaw, Verlander, Lee, Hernandez, Wainwright, Yu Darvish (TEX), Scherzer, Fernandez, Madison Bumgarner (SF), Sale

James: Kershaw, Scherzer, Lee, Wainwright, Verlander, Zack Greinke (LAD), Sale, Jered Weaver (LAA), Hernandez, Darvish

Smoltz: Kershaw, Fernandez, Hernandez, Scherzer, Darvish, Verlander, Jon Lester (BOS), Stephen Strasburg (WAS), Wainwright, Price


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Right Fielders Right Now”

  1. Yasiel Puig – Los Angeles Dodgers
  2. Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers
  3. Jose Bautista – Toronto Blue Jays
  4. Giancarlo Stanton – Miami Marlins
  5. Allen Craig – St. Louis Cardinals
  6. Carlos Beltran – New York Yankees
  7. Jayson Werth – Washington Nationals
  8. Shane Victorino – Boston Red Sox
  9. Hunter Pence – San Francisco Giants
  10. Jason Heyward – Atlanta Braves

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Right Fielders was Mark DeRosa. Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Braun, Stanton, Puig, Heyward, Werth, Bautista, Craig, Jay Bruce (CIN), Wil Myers (TB), Pence

James: Braun, Bruce, Stanton, Heyward, Pence, Bautista, Victorino, Beltran, Puig, Torii Hunter (DET)

DeRosa: Beltran, Stanton, Bautista, Werth, Craig, Pence, Bruce, Hunter, Puig, Michael Cuddyer (COL)

You read that correctly. Mark DeRosa doesn’t Ryan Braun in his Top 10 Right Fielders Right Now despite Brian Kenny and Bill James both ranking Braun #1 and the Shredder ranking him second. DeRosa says Braun “should be 1″ but since he has to earn back the respect of fans, his teammates, etc. DeRosa “hopes” he comes back and performs and is #1 next year, but he couldn’t discount other guys.

As for the Shredder, Brian Kenny said he was shocked not only that Braun wasn’t first but that Puig was. I’m guessing Braun was dinged by the Shredder for how many games he missed last year. That’ll happen in an algorithm.

MLB Network’s “Top 10 Left Fielders Right Now”

  1. Matt Holliday – St. Louis Cardinals
  2. Bryce Harper – Washington Nationals
  3. Alex Gordon – Kansas City Royals
  4. Justin Upton – Atlanta Braves
  5. Shin-Soo Choo – Texas Rangers
  6. Starling Marte – Pittsburgh Pirates
  7. Daniel Nava – Boston Red Sox
  8. Carlos Quentin – San Diego Padres
  9. Josh Hamilton – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  10. Brett Gardner – New York Yankees

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Left Fielders was Eric Byrnes. Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Harper, Choo, Holliday, Marte, Upton, Gordon, Gardner, Yoenis Cespedes (OAK), Domonic Brown (PHI), Khris Davis (MIL)

James: Choo, Holliday, Gordon, Gardner, Nava, Harper, Upton, Brown, Cespedes, Hamilton

Byrnes: Holliday, Harper, Upton, Choo, Alfonso Soriano (NYY), Gordon, Marte, Hamilton, Nava, Brown

MLB Network’s “Top 10 First Basemen Right Now”

  1. Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers
  2. Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds
  3. Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona Diamondbacks
  4. Adrian Gonzalez – Los Angeles Dodgers
  5. Joe Mauer – Minnesota Twins
  6. Mike Napoli – Boston Red Sox
  7. Chris Davis – Baltimore Orioles
  8. Freddie Freeman – Atlanta Braves
  9. Prince Fielder – Texas Rangers
  10. Edwin Encarnacion – Toronto Blue Jays

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the First Basemen was Sean Casey. Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Cabrera, Votto, Goldschmidt, Freeman, Mauer, Fielder, Davis, Encarnacion, Brandon Belt (SF), Ad. Gonzalez

James: Cabrera, Goldschmidt, Votto, Davis, Mauer, Freeman, Encarnacion, Ad. Gonzalez, Napoli, Eric Hosmer (KC)

Casey: Cabrera, Votto, Goldschmidt, Freeman, Davis, Fielder, Ad. Gonzalez, Mauer, Albert Pujols (LAA), Encarnacion

MLB Network’s “Top 10 Relief Pitchers Right Now”

  1. Koji Uehara – Boston Red Sox
  2. Craig Kimbrel – Atlanta Braves
  3. Kenley Jansen – Los Angeles Dodgers
  4. Greg Holland – Kansas City Royals
  5. Joe Nathan – Detroit Tigers
  6. Aroldis Chapman – Cincinnati Reds
  7. David Robertson – New York Yankees
  8. Glen Perkins – Minnesota Twins
  9. Luis Avilan – Atlanta Braves
  10. Joaquin Benoit – San Diego Padres

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Relief Pitchers was Dan Plesac. Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Kimbrel, Holland, Jansen, Chapman, Uehara, Trevor Rosenthal (STL), Perkins, Nathan, Jonathan Papelbon (PHI), Benoit

James: Kimbrel, Jansen, Chapman, Uehara, Holland, Nathan, Papelbon, Perkins, Rosenthal, Mark Melancon (PIT)

Plesac: Kimbrel, Holland, Chapman, Uehara, Jansen, Nathan, Jim Johnson (OAK), Perkins, Jason Grilli (PIT), Rex Brothers (COL)

MLB Network’s “Top 10 Second Basemen Right Now”

  1. Robinson Cano -Seattle Mariners
  2. Dustin Pedroia – Boston Red Sox
  3. Ben Zobrist – Tampa Bay Rays
  4. Jason Kipnis – Cleveland Indians
  5. Chase Utley – Philadelphia Phillies
  6. Ian Kinsler – Detroit Tigers
  7. Howie Kendrick – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  8. Neil Walker – Pittsburgh Pirates
  9. Aaron Hill – Arizona Diamondbacks
  10. Marco Scutaro – San Francisco Giants

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode will apparently also provide three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Second Basemen was Harold Reynolds. Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Cano, Pedroia, Kipnis, Utley, Hill, Zobrist, Kendrick, Kinsler, Walker, Omar Infante (KC)

James: Cano, Pedroia, Zobrist, Kipnis, Utley, Brandon Phillips (CIN), Kinsler, Infante, Jose Altuve (HOU), Kendrick

Reynolds: Cano, Pedroia, Phillips, Kipnis, Kendrick, Utley, Kinsler, Scutaro, Infante, Walker


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now”

  1. Adrian Beltre – Texas Rangers
  2. David Wright – New York Mets
  3. Matt Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals
  4. Evan Longoria – Tampa Bay Rays
  5. Josh Donaldson – Oakland Athletics
  6. Pablo Sandoval – San Francisco Giants
  7. Aramis Ramirez – Milwaukee Brewers
  8. Ryan Zimmerman – Washington Nationals
  9. Chase Headley – San Diego Padres
  10. Manny Machado – Baltimore Orioles

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode will apparently also provide three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Third Basemen was Mike Lowell. Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Wright, Longoria, Beltre, Carpenter, Donaldson, Machado, Zimmerman, Headley, Kyle Seager (SEA), Martin Prado (ARI)

James: Longoria, Beltre, Wright, Carpenter, Zimmerman, Headley, Machado, Prado, Donaldson, Seager

Lowell: Beltre, Longoria, Wright, Machado, Donaldson, Ramirez, Headley, Carpenter, Zimmerman, Pedro Alvarez (PIT)

Neither Brian Kenny or Bill James included Aramis Ramirez in their personal Top 10.

Best line of the show? Kenny asked James why he put Longoria over Beltre and Wright. James’ response: “Probably fear.” He then admitted that he might be biased by working for the Red Sox.

MLB Network’s “Top 10 Catchers Right Now”

  1. Yadier Molina – St. Louis Cardinals
  2. Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants
  3. Salvador Perez – Kansas City Royals
  4. Carlos Santana – Cleveland Indians
  5. Jason Castro – Houston Astros
  6. Jonathan Lucroy – Milwaukee Brewers
  7. Carlos Ruiz – Philadelphia Phillies
  8. Miguel Montero – Arizona Diamondbacks
  9. Wilin Rosario – Colorado Rockies
  10. Wilson Ramos – Washington Nationals

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode will apparently also provide three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Catchers was Dave Valle. Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Posey, Molina, Santana, Brian McCann (NYY), Perez, Lucroy, Castro, Ruiz, Russell Martin (PIT), Montero

James: Posey, Molina, Perez, A.J. Pierzynski (BOS), Matt Wieters (BAL), Santana, Rosario, McCann, Lucroy, Jarrod Saltalamacchia (MIA)

Valle: Molina, Perez, Posey, Wieters, Ramos, Martin, McCann, A.J. Ellis (LAD), Lucroy, Castro

So there you have it. All 10 positions worth ranking in MLB by the Shredder and the MLB Network personalities.

There are five Brewers among the 100 names listed by The Shredder. They are: Carlos Gomez (CF, 6th), Jean Segura (SS, 5th), Ryan Braun (RF, 2nd), Aramis Ramirez (3B, 7th), and Jonathan Lucroy (C, 6th)

 

MLB Network’s Top 100 Players Right Now Heading Into 2013

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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
  • Accolades
  • Intangibles

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

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Winter Meetings Recap Day 4: Much Ado About…Something

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Whilst at the Winter Meetings, the Milwaukee Brewers didn’t actually acquire a single player. They lost one in the Rule V Draft Thursday morning but that was the extent of player transactions which were completed completely within the four-day span in Nashville.

The Brewers signed one player to a MiLB contract but according to Gord Ash, that was actually accomplished “this past weekend” prior to the Winter Meetings. It came together both because the Brewers provide a lot of opportunity with its currently thin bullpen and because the player lives in Nashville and decided that if it was necessary for him to pitch in Triple-A in 2013, it may as well be at home with the Brewers affiliate Nashville Sounds.

As for the official four day conference, the Brewers made no moves. But no one should take that to mean that they got nothing accomplished.

Described as “busy” but just with nothing done yet, the Doug Melvin’s contingent made and received calls, met with agents, reviewed players, discussed terms for potential contract offers, and generally conducted a fair about of business.

Going home empty-handed when several players the Brewers reportedly targeted and/or were a fit for what the Brewers need went off the board has left some fans with a bad taste in their mouths. Before resigning yourself to believing that, as one fan put it to me, the Brewers “won’t get anyone worth a damn  this winter”, I implore you to think about what was done over the last week.

Yes, the Brewers want a left-handed reliever. Ron Roenicke has said he doesn’t need a lefty just to have a lefty, but more than one person fashioned their desire as a “focus”. Would you really have wanted Melvin to commit three years to any reliever (how’d David Riske work out for us again?) or pay a glorified LOOGy an average salary around $5 million? As I said yesterday, discretion has proven the better part of valor on more than one occasion throughout history.

Another example of the best laid plans not always working out: The Brewers were tied to Jason Grilli early on in the week with Doug Melvin telling reporters that he had talked to Grilli’s agent about the free agent right-handed relief pitcher. I reported that the Brewers were discussing terms of an offer to present. Ron Roenicke stated that the team is definitely interested in him. Then Grilli narrows his options down to a handful of teams, excluding the Brewers, and Melvin turned on his heel and said that they hadn’t talked to Grilli’s agent all week. Some fans take that at face value and think that the Brewers didn’t do anything regarding Grilli, but that simply isn’t the case. What they did do just didn’t work out. (I plan on analyzing this situation further depending on how busy the news wire is over the next few days, so keep an eye out for that.)

Bottom line about the Winter Meetings though is that while not much may have gotten done as the market awaits the outcomes of several situations (Zack Greinke, Josh Hamilton, the rumored multi-team deal involving Justin Upton, Asdrubal Cabrera, et al) plenty still went on.

Speaking of Hamilton, I’d be remiss if I didn’t pass along a tweet from ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick. It was posted right around the time when people began talking about the rumored contract discussions surrounding Hamilton being about 3-4 years and averaging somewhere between $20-$25 million annually. Here’s the tweet:

So yes, the rumor that refuses to go away is still very much around. With this, coupled with the talk about the Brewers being willing to “listen” on Corey Hart to free up money if necessary, and grouped with Gord Ash’s comments from early in the week about how the only problem with bringing Hamilton to Milwaukee is money…

Yeah, well, ’tis the season for speculation, reasoned or otherwise.

Final piece of news to pass along is that the Brewers’ projected starting shortstop at Double-A Huntsville, Hector Gomez, was injured seriously enough in a winter league game that he could miss significant time in 2013.

This could lead to the Brewers ramping up a search for a minor league shortstop. They’re already looking for an upgrade at backup shortstop with the parent club.

So again, there’s plenty for Melvin and the Brewers to accomplish between now and February 12th but there’s also plenty of time right now for it all to happen.

Enjoy the holiday season and stay tuned as we’ll bring you all the news that breaks surrounding the team.

Read all about the Winter Meetings here!

Winter Meetings Preview: Milwaukee Brewers

2012-Winter-Meetings-logoThe 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.

Bullpen

John AxfordThe 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:

Just some names to know.

Starting Pitching

Yovani GallardoThe Brewers got good performances for the most part from the men who took the ball every fifth day during the year but there is a lot of flux possible in what was left at the end.

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.

Offense

ryan-braunWhile the starting offense can be returned completely intact, the bench will need addressing and a couple of decisions need to be made.

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.

dougmelvinThe 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.

josh hamiltonAs 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 Interview Transcript – Wednesday, October 31, 2012

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?

Who Would You Rather See Brewers Sign?

ESPN’s Buster Olney blogged about how Josh Hamilton would be a fit in Milwaukee should he choose to not re-sign with the Texas Rangers, but only if concerns about his baseball future depress his contract offers.

This resurrection of a topic that many affluent Brewers bloggers have been trying to kill off led to some discussion on Twitter today regarding how the Brewers might best spend the majority of their available payroll*.

Cast your vote in the poll below and let’s help figure this whole thing out.

Milwaukee Brewers 2012 Team Awards

Every year the writers who cover the Milwaukee Brewers all season long get together, so to speak, and cast ballots for five team awards.

The awards are under the following five categories:

  • Team MVP (not limited to just hitters)
  • Best Pitcher (in any role)
  • Best Newcomer (someone not on the team last year)
  • Unsung Hero (given to someone who didn’t necessarily get a lot of credit for the job that they did)
  • Good Guy (a true “media” award because this is for someone who is good in the community, clubhouse, etc but also was very helpful and gracious with the media)

Last year I took part in a Brewers blogger balloting in which several of us who actively and consistently write about the Brewers voted for the same awards. I’m not sure what it says about me, but my top choices in each category were the same as the collective credentialed media.

This year, we’re doing the same exercise as a Brewers blogosphere (some time soon) but I figured I’d get my ballot posted on my blog in the interest of transparency and disclosure. (Many BBWAA members would do well to follow suit on their personal MVP and Hall of Fame ballots.) I’ll also, naturally, explain my reasons behind my choices because what fun would it be without something to argue?

The balloting is such that we choose three men for each award and the votes, when tallied, are worth more points for higher positioning.

Team MVP: Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez, Corey Hart

This is easily an award that belongs to Ryan Braun as I believe that he is deserving of no less than second place in the National League Most Valuable Player voting. His statistical output speaks for itself and he carried the team through many stretches of the season.

Aramis Ramirez takes second place for me because of what he was able to do both at the plate and in the field. Yes he started slowly at the dish like he tends to do but his finish was fantastic. He more than made up for the lost production from Prince Fielder and contributed much more on defense than we were led to believe he would. (For instance, he led the league in barehanded assists this season.)

Corey Hart gets my third place vote because while several players could have fit here Hart did something he was very much against in switching positions when a desperate need arose. He posted very good numbers despite being absent more than once. Him gutting out a painful lisfranc tear in September certainly didn’t hurt his case.

Best Pitcher: Yovani Gallardo, Marco Estrada, Zack Greinke

Make no mistake about it: Yovani Gallardo keeps taking steps toward ace-hood. His fourth career (and consecutive) 200+ strikeout season, another season of over 200 innings pitched, 16 wins including a fantastic run of effectiveness and success following the trade of Zack Greinke. Milwaukee needed Gallardo to step up and he answered the bell.

Marco Estrada found a strikeout tendency not before seen, slashed his walk rate, started a career-high number of games, pitched a career-high number of innings, struck out a career-high number of hitters, posted career-bests in ERA+, WHIP, K/BB ratio, and was a welcome addition to the rotation once Chris Narveson suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.

Zack Greinke didn’t pitch an entire season for the Brewers. This is true. He made 21 starts for the Brewers in 2012. But you know what? Shaun Marcum made 21 starts, Randy Wolf made 24, Fiers 22. Given the results that he posted while here, and given that the bullpen didn’t exactly inspire me to vote for anybody in it for this award, the nod goes to the 2/3 of a season Greinke posted.

Best Newcomer: Aramis Ramirez, Norichika Aoki, Mike Fiers

This award had much more competition than I initially thought it would. Ramirez being second in my MVP list as a newcomer really makes him a shoe-in here.

Aoki overcame early struggles with both playing time and drastic changes to his personal preparation routine to step in as a starting outfielder and eventual every day lead-off hitter. He was productive and posted multiple double-digit hitting streaks over the course of the season.

As for my third place vote, I chose Mike Fiers (though I’m not sure if he technically qualifies because he pitched for the team briefly in 2011) for both what he was able to accomplish throughout the early portion of his schedule but also for the longevity on the roster this year over other worthy newcomers like Jim Henderson, Martin Maldonado, Travis Ishikawa and even Jean Segura.

Unsung Hero: Martin Maldonado, Jim Henderson, Mike Fiers

Maldonado came up from Triple-A Nashville when Jonathan Lucroy went down with a freak hand injury and was lost for a month and a half. With George Kottaras both physically unable (due to a hamstring injury) and truthfully lacking the skills to be the everyday catcher, Maldy overcame a poor start at the plate in the minors and outperformed even the most optimistic projections at the plate. His receiving, throwing, and handling of the pitching staff didn’t get enough credit though which is why he wins this award for me. Maldonado not only was instrumental in handling Fiers when he first came up but he really seemed to get the most out of everybody he caught.

Jim Henderson is here because despite his average results his arrival helped to stabilize the bullpen. He wasn’t always on top of his game, and he blew a game or two, but adding another live arm to the back end of the ‘pen was a key to righting the ship for the 24-6 run where the bullpen finally performed as it was capable of doing.

Finally, I gave a vote to Fiers in this category as well for the fact that Fiers arrived amid a time of uncertainty and really performed exceptionally well until he simply ran out of gas. And judging by the reaction too many fans gave at Miller Park on the day of Fiers’ last start, it appears that his early efforts were forgotten and therefore he is plenty unsung.

Good Guy: John Axford, Rickie Weeks, Martin Maldonado

Struggling at a couple of points during the year, Axford never ducked the media…well, other than the time he had to excuse himself due to his wife going into premature labor but he still left an epic note. Axford answered his naysayers, dealt with the criticism, fielded the questions, and was always willing to own up to his failures and struggles.

Rickie Weeks, the team’s nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, was active in the community and a locker room leader. He too struggled mightily, though for a much more sustained time, and never blew off the reporters and writers who sought his comment on the situation. Weeks never once made excuses or even used the viable ones that were readily available.

Third place here goes to Martin Maldonado. This is a completely personal choice because he was nice to me and took time out after a game to briefly chat with me after a game just as he promised to do. He was very kind and I appreciated he and his wife stopping to talk.

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

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

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

By: Cary Kostka

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

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

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

Starting Pitching:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bullpen:

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

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

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

August:

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

September:

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

Catchers:

Ok, so this one is easy.

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

Infield:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Travis Ishikawa maintains his current role on the team.

Outfield:

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

Ryan Braun is a lock in left (duh).

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

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

So, Brewer Nation, what say you?

Official Brewers Press Release Regarding Trade of Zack Greinke

The Milwaukee Brewers today acquired infielder Jean Segura and right-handed pitchers Johnny Hellweg and Ariel Pena

from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for right-handed pitcher Zack Greinke. All three players will be added to the 40-man roster

and assigned to Double-A Huntsville. To make room on the 40-man roster for these additions, the team designated infielder Edwin Maysonet and

outfielder Brock Kjeldgaard for assignment. The announcement was made by Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Melvin.

“We greatly appreciate Zack’s contibutions to the Brewers,” said Melvin. He will be greatly missed on the field and in the clubhouse. We

wish him nothing but the very best. We are also very excited about acquiring three good young players who are already on the 40-man roster. We

look forward to them joining organization and their future contributions to the Brewers.”

Segura, 22, entered the season as the Angels’ second-best prospect according to Baseball America. He began the 2012 season at

Double-A Arkansas, where he batted .294 with 7 HR, 40 RBI and 33 stolen bases in 94 games before earning a promotion to the Angels earlier this

week. Segura, who particpated in the All-Star Futures Game in Kansas City and was a Texas League All-Star, made his Major League debut on

Tuesday vs. Kansas City, starting at shortstop. His first name is pronounced JEAN (like blue “jean”).

Hellweg, 23, entered the season as the Angels’ fourth-best prospect according to Baseball America. He went 5-10 with a 3.38 ERA in 21

starts with Arkansas this season.

Pena, 23, entered the season as the Angels’ ninth-best prospect according to Baseball America. He went 6-6 with a 2.99 ERA in 19 starts at

Arkansas this season. He also participated in the All-Star Futures Game. Pena held Texas League opponents to a .222 batting average this season

and recorded 111 strikeouts in 114.1 innings.

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