Thursday, December 8, 2011

Brewers to sign Alex Gonzalez

Word is from Ken Rosenthal that the Brewers will sign SS Alex Gonzalez to a one year deal with a vesting option.

Alex spent last year with the Braves and hit .241/.270/.372 with 15 home runs in 593 plate appearances. He is considered to be an above average fielder.

This will end the fear that Betancourt will return. Now... to sign a 3b...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Winter Meetings Catch Up

Hey all. A million short stories for you.

So word is it's looking like Takashi Saito will resign a one year deal with the Brewers.

After word that there was no interest in bringing back reliever Latroy Hawkins, word is now that the Brewers do have interest.

Rumor has it that SS Rafael Furcal is not being targeted by the Brewers.

A hundred speculations regarding SS Jimmy Rollins. Rollins is reportedly seeking a 5 year deal, with his Phillies only offering 3. The Brewers were then considered to be favorites, but rumors now shift towards him resigning with the Phillies.

The number one rumor out there now is getting former Cum 3b Aramis Ramirez. He is reportedly seeking a deal in the neighborhood of 3 years $10-$15mm per. He would like to stay near his Chicago home and has expressed interest in coming to Milwaukee. If the Brewers do sign Ramirez, it would probably mean the return of Betancourt at SS, and Casey McGehee would probably platoon with Mat Gamel over at 1b, as well as supply some utility type help.

Also, there has been some speculation as to whether or not Francisco Rodriguez may accept the Brewer's offer of arbitration. The market for closers has been weird and lots of guys seem to be available. It'd be nice to have that 8th inning help, but the price would be pretty steep (around $13mm).

In other news the Marlins may start to target Fielder after the end of the crazy bidding war over Pujols if the Cardinals indeed come out on top. I would much rather have Prince in Florida than Chicago...

That's it for now. Hopefully we'll get some signing info soon. It's been a fun couple days.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Winter Meetings are Here!

So today is the start of the Winter Meetings, where baseball's, well, everyone, gets together to plan pretty much everything.

Doug Melvin said it will likely be a quiet one for the Brewer's this year, but stuff could happen. Appparently reliever Latroy Hawkins will attend with his agent again, the same method he used two years ago before signing with Milwaukee. Word has come out of ESPN Deportes in Los Angeles that the Brewers are also interested in free agent righty Octavio Dotel, who put up a 3.50 ERA in 65 games for the Cardinals and Blue Jays last season. Dotel apparently has a one year offer in hand from the Cardinals.

In shortstop related news, it was said that Melvin was scheduled to meet with Jose Reyes agent at the Meetings, however that's all moot considering Reyes signed a 6 year deal with the Marlins. However, ESPN's Buster Olney tweets (@Buster_ESPN) that Milwaukee maybe a prime competitor with Philly for the services of Jimmy Rollins. This is the first real connection I've seen between Milwaukee and Rollins... I kind of don't see it happening.

One thing that's been up lately is increased talk about Milwaukee being a player to bring Prince Fielder back. This is in part due to the slowly developing market for him. However, I don't see this, Boras is pretty notorious for waiting things out, and I think everyone will wait until Pujols is off the board before going after Prince.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Adam Kennedy to Dodgers

So as important as the search for a shortstop and for a decent bullpen is, as well as figuring out the futures of both first and third, finding quality bench players is also key.

I haven't really discussed this before, but all three of the Brewers' major bench players from a season ago have left. Counsell may or may not retire, but won't be offered a contract from the Brewers. Mark Kotsay has taken a spot with his hometown Padres, and Jack Wilson was let go.

We have a decent 4th outfielder in Carlos Gomez, but it stops there. Perhaps we can pick up a guy from the minors (maybe Zelous Wheeler?) but we should probably find a veteran infielder and a veteran outfielder to keep the team together.

Adam Kennedy was one of those guys. He can hit a little, and plays practically everywhere. He just signed a 1 year contract with the Dodgers worth $800k, and up to $150k in incentives. That is somebody we couldn't have used, and I hope GM Doug Melvin isn't too preoccupied with his other searches to find us something usefull (and I hope we have the money). However, we have had some luck with waiver pick ups before (see Joe Inglett and last years Jack Wilson as examples.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Free Agent Updates

So, two of my three predictions for Brewers Free Agency have already been wrong.

Jamey Carroll signed a two year deal with the Twins. (I'm also pretty upset about the Pirates picking up Barmes, I would have liked him too. Can't we just once sign somebody for defense?)

More recently, Jonathan Broxton signed a one year deal with the Royals. I would have liked that one.

In more bullpen type news apparently the Brewers have been in contact with the agent for Takashi Saito, who though old, did a pretty fine job for the Brewers last year. The Brewers need to sign at least one reliever this offseason, maybe a lefty too. Mitch Stetter was refused his assignment to AAA and has now left the organization.

Movie Review? Sure: Moneyball

So this is going to be a pretty special feature, with this post appearing both here, on Brewing Beerball, but also on my movies blog, Cream City Movie Review. Never really though I'd get that fun overlap, but here we are.

I was kind of hoping I could kind of just copy and paste this review, as it would be easy, and there would be serious overlap, but when I first wrote this for Cream City I wanted to talk so much baseball, but didn't want to explain, so this will largly be a rewrite with less movie, and much more baseball talk.

So, I really wanted to see this movie. Largly because of my love of baseball and my enjoyment of the book, but also because of the awesome cast and crew that was rounded up for this feature. The director here is Bennett Miller, the writer is Oscar Nominee Aaron Sorkin. The book you should all probably know (of the same title, plus "The Art of Winning an Unfair Game) by Michael Lewis, who is also the man responsible for the book behind the film Blind Side. On the Cast side we start with Brad Pitt as the main character Billy Beane. Jonah Hill does a fine job as his assistant, Peter Brand, and Philip Seymour Hoffman supports as the A's Manager, Art Howe.

First, a quick rant. I'm not a huge fan of making movies about things in progress. Blindside is about a guy who is still in the NFL. Social Network as about a guy who still runs Facebook. Moneyball is about a guy who still heads the A's. I blame the trend in reality television, oh well.

Moneyball follows Billy Beane through a baseball season with him at the helm of the generally broke Oakland A's. He realizes that considering the disparaging amount of resources at the disposal of different teams he must do something different. The movie chronicles what happened to him over the course of this season, and also looks back at Beane's own life.

The story overall, is great. The acting great. The visuals great. I think it does a pretty fine job of energizing what really isn't a whole lot of anything. It's people taking about baseball, and as much as I myself love to do that, making a movie about it doesn't seem entirely intriging. Michael Lewis' book was fun because it described in much more detail the people involved. Some of the players and secondary staff introduced in the movie have entire chapters in the book. So that was handled well. I saw the film with my mother, who is not a sports person. She like it even more than I did. I'll say that's because I happen to know more about baseball than the movie showed, and really the story of Beane is kinda old by now. On a sad note, one of my favorite lines of the book, which I very seriously burst out in laughter while reading, was left out. "Prince Fielder was too fat even for the Oakland A's".

Now, to get basebally. An interesting thing of note is the character Peter Brand. When I saw the movie I said to myself, "Why don't I know this guy's name?". I knew he was still in baseball, but couldn't place him. Well, Brand represents Paul DePodesta of course. Apparently DePodesta was the only person involved who would not give permission for his likeness to be used for the movie. Cheers to him. He is currently the VP of Player Development and Scouting for the Mets.

This movie is of course exactly that, a movie. It portrays the A's season as a single magical thing with any real background, and gives probably both Beane and "Brand" too much credit for introducing SABR and advanced metrics into baseball. At least Bill James was discussed in the film. There are some very good books out there on the history of statistics in baseball, I can't place the title now, but it really is worth looking into.

On more of a Brewers type note, I kind of liked the portrayl of Art Howe, who was shown to be very much a "baseball guy" with how he played the game, much to Beane's chagrin. It shows that when the team really started to win, Howe finally listened to Beane. Now this was a criticism of Ken Macha when he came over to helm Milwaukee. Sure he had been a winner in Oakland, but they had good pitching and Billy Beane is the true Manager of the A's... kinda seemed that way during his time with the Crew...

I'm getting pretty long winded, but here's for a pretty quick musing. So Oakland, who was the earliest, and still may be the most involved franchise with advanced metrics and whatnot, has done an awesome job of drafting pitchers, but have not done much at all in the way of developing position players. I wonder if there is correlation of numbers here. If pitchers are going to be good have they always put up numbers? Are hitters more likely to grow and develop in a way which stats themselves don't and can't show accurately, which then neccesitates the use of uber subjective rating systems which Beane rejects? Interesting thoughts. Though Oakland mighta hit the nail on the head with Jemille Weeks... Brewer's did draft him earlier though, stupid college.

That's it for now. More for serious Baseball talk later. Not much moving in the Free Agent market now, but winter meetings next week, and I'll totally amp up the blogging for that.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sveum to Manage Cubs, Gamel Waits for 1st Chance

Longtime Brewer's coach, perhaps most well known for his managing the team during the 2008 playoffs following the dismissal of Ned Yest, current hitting coach Dale Sveum has been tapped to be the new manager for the Chicago Cubs.

I was somewhat dissapointed when Sveum was passed over for the managers spot in 2009, a post which later went to Ken Macha. Luckily he stayed on to be the hitting coach and just seemed like a great guy to have around the team. He interviewed for both Chicago and Boston this off season, and had ties to both organizations. Sveum both played and coached for Boston, and new Cubs President Theo Epstein was the GM in Boston during Sveum's coaching tenure there. I thought I'd see him go to Boston personally, and am a little sad I'm going to have to see a guy that I like wearing Cubbie pinstripes.

But congrats to Dale Sveum and his first big league managing gig. He deserves it.

So what has essentially come out of all the talks surrounding Prince Fielder this off season is that Mat Gamel will be the Brewers first bagger in 2012. Gamel is out of options and continues to crush the ball in the Minors. Some issues have been raised regarding his attitude, first during the 2011 spring training where he showed up late several times, and after this most recent season, where AAA Nashville manager Don Money made some pretty harsh comments regarding Gamel. I'm not making excuses for Mat or anything here, but some of this could be a guy who is killing it in the minors and mad he's never been given a shot. He's been shuffled around the diamond, starting at 3rd, getting time in the outfield, and now moved over to first. He commented shortly after the move that he was not pleased by it, but reports have come in that he's really put effort into it and should shape up to be at least a passable first baseman (not that Milwaukee is used to have a brick wall at first anyway).

Also, just want to throw out there that Tom Hardricourt over at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal seems to be leaning more and more towards feeling that Doug Melvin will resign Betancourt for 2012. This would be a disaster in my opinion. I'm not sure why we would want a shortstop on only a one year deal. There are no minor league SS in our system... I would think a two year deal for someone would allow something to develop more. Word on the street is that Furcal is looking for two years and an option, sounds alright to me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Milwaukee Welcomes Baseball's GMs

Today is the official start of the GM meetings, happening this year in Milwaukee Wisconsin. I think the baseball Gods are smiling upon us because this is a beautiful day for the middle of November.

So the GM meetings are really just a precursor to the single most exciting event of the off-season, which is of course the winter meetings. However, there still should be some good things happening. Word on the street is there are lots of agents in town this year.

In Brewers news Reyes is still, naturally, a hot topic for conversation in the rumor mill. Tom Hardricourt stands by his view that the Brewers don't have the payroll to sign him. Another new word in though from Jon Heyman, saying that he hears the the Brewers' number one target is Reyes. Sounds like the Marlins have set the bidding now with a 6 year $90 million deal ($15m/year). I'm a little surprise by this. I didn't think right out of the gate we would get a 6 year offer... however I did think we would see something north of 15 million annually. Some skeptics out there say that the slew of offers being thrown out of Miami (to Pujols, Madsen, Buerle, and Reyes) are largly for show, good offers in and of themselves, but not really enough to sign anyone. We'll see...

In more realistic news Doug Melvin continues to show interest in Yuniesky Betancourt, saying that he talked to his agent. I get the feeling Melvin would like a one year deal, which Yu-Bet could probably be had on (considering a lot of people don't think he should even be a starting player...). There has also been a "tire kicking" on Rafael Furcal, the former Cardinal who hit six home runs last year, five of which were against the Brewers... So back to Reyes, Melvin did admit to speaking with the speedy switch-hitter's agent on the phone, once, and with "no numbers".

So hopefully some interesting developments will happen over the next few days here in Milwaukee. Also, congrats to Justin Verlander on his unanimous choice for AL Cy Young award winner. Great year.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

More Reyes Rumors

So, here it is again. Another word out there talking about Reyes being a target of the Brewers. This one comes from SI writer Jon Heyman (@SI_JonHeyman), saying that Brewers have their doubts about resigning Prince, so have given up and shifted aim to Reyes.

Plausible. I wonder where guys get this stuff... Tom Hardricourt over at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal stil has his doubts too. He reiterated that the Brewers [and probably quite a few other teams] have real concern over the health of Reyes' legs.

I hope to finish a write up of my ideas regarding how signing Reyes could rework the Brewers' lineup to awesomeness. Look for that in the next day or so.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Someone thinks Reyes to Milwaukee...

So, I'm still standing by my initial prediction that Milwaukee will not sign free agent shortstop Jose Reyes, MLB Trade Rumors does, and now Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) of ESPN thinks so too. He recently tweeted that he was unsure of were Reyes would land, but that Milwaukee would be a great fit, and that we have the money.

I agree on the "fit" part, whether or not we have the money remains to be seen. Payroll for 2012 has been estimated giving us under $10 million to spend, not enough for Reyes. It is possible we shed payroll via trades or non tenders (perhaps McGehee, or Kottaras, or others) but some revamping work still needs to be done to the bullpen, so at least $3 million should be held onto for that... Tom Hardricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal seems to share my sentiments, and whether or not this is true, I always seem to trust beat writers more than national ones, especially when gauging what a team is trying to do...