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.
Brad Lesley (’85)
Kiki Diaz (’86)
Jim Tatum (’92)
Josias Manzanillo (’93)
Sid Roberson (’95)
Ramon Garcia (’96)
Eddy Diaz (’97)
Carl Dale (’99)
Jimmy Haynes (’00-’01)
Luis Vizcaino (’02-’04)
Kane Davis (’05)
Brian Shouse (’06-’08)
Trevor Hoffman (’09-’10)
Jim Henderson (’12)
Michael Gonzalez (’13)
Wei-Chung Wang (’14)
Jonathan Broxton (’14-’15)
Cesar Jimenez (’15)
Sam Freeman (’16)
Damien Magnifico (’16-Current)
Courtesy of Hammerin’ Hank and Jackie Robinson, today is the only day out of three that sees a new entry in the “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” season preview series.
I do hope that you’ve been enjoying reading about the men who likely have the most say in the fortunes of the 2012 Brewers, along with some who will contribute down the road a bit.
Today we are six weeks plus one day shy of Opening Day 2012 at beautiful Miller Park. Since there are seven days in a week that means, math majors, that Opening Day is a mere 43 days away.
Think back to last season a bit and envision who wears #43 when he takes the field…or I suppose just dart your eyes an inch or so up your viewing device and read the title again.
Either way, today belongs to:
With the distinction of being the final name on the Brewers 40-man roster when listed alphabetically by surname, Randall Christopher Wolf also owns the offering du jour in Brewers camp this spring so far with his fellow starters. His cut fastball is being tinkered with by both Chris Narveson and Zack Greinke.
But more on Wolf’s repertoire in a minute.
First, let’s remind ourselves about Wolf’s physical characteristics. He’s a left-handed throwing starting pitcher who also bats left-handed. Wolf stands 6’0” tall and weighs in, at last update, 205 pounds. He was born on August 22, 1976 in West Hills, California which makes him 35 years old.
Coming to Milwaukee as a free agent in the winter of 2009/10, Wolf signed a three-year deal with a team option for a fourth season as a Brewer. 2012 is the third and final guaranteed year of his contract so his performance this season will obviously go a long way in determining where and for how much his 2013 season will play out.
Naturally, if Wolf is fantastic the Brewers will exercise their option and keep Wolf in town. If he struggles, the team may choose to decline bringing back a 36-year-old pitcher who might be nearing the end of his career. Wolf, though has three things working in his favor meaning he’ll likely find a job in 2013 if he wants one.
After all, Jeff Suppan keeps getting work.
Those three things are his command, his durability, and his handedness. When Wolf’s body no longer will endure the rigors of starting, he’ll absolutely have the option of a “second career” in the bullpen. If you throw left-handed and can get left-handed hitters out, there is a job for you. I could definitely see Wolf finishing out a solid career with bullpen work like former Brewer LOOGy Brian Shouse. It would only be a matter of whether Wolf would want to pitch in the bullpen.
Those things are a little ways off though, so instead of dwelling, let’s take a look back at Wolf’s career highlights, his 2011 season in Brewer blue, and then glance at what his 2012 might hold.
A 13-year MLB veteran at this point, Wolf has seen a lot in his time but there are a couple of things he’s yet to experience, for example, playing in the American League. More than that, Wolf hasn’t tasted the World Series. He came to Milwaukee, in part, because of the window of opportunity he saw here.
Some of that opportunity was realized last year with a division crown, 96 wins, and a decent showing in the NLCS. More lies ahead though.
How much more for Wolf can be tied back to a trade to Houston, of all places, during the 2009 season. Following an All-Star appearance in 2003 as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies, Wolf had been a middling starter at best for parts of five seasons through his time with San Diego in 2008.
Given Wolf’s fly ball pitching tendencies, one would think that a job at notoriously pitcher-friendly Petco Park would lend itself well to Wolf. The opposite was true, and Wolf compiled a 4.74 ERA in 21 starts for the Padres, allowing 6 home runs in 11 home starts, before being sent to the Astros.
His first start with Houston was against the Brewers at Miller Park, an outing which saw Wolf last only 4.1 IP after giving up four runs on seven hits and three walks, including one homer.
But it was in Houston where Wolf made a mechanical adjustment in his pitching that made all the difference and extended his career to the point where, after the Los Angeles Dodgers took a chance on a one-year contract for 2009, the Brewers were willing to offer a multi-year deal which Wolf accepted.
In the second year of that multi-year contract, Wolf went 13-10 with a 3.69 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 134 strikeouts in 212 1/3 innings in 2011. Those numbers were the result of some good luck as Wolf’s xFIP was 4.47 and his strand rate 75.9%. His BABIP against was .286 in 2011 which is better-than-average for a pitcher.
People have enjoyed pointing to regression for Wolf each of the past couple of seasons since his numbers improved after his adjustment, usually citing some combination of xFIP, BABIP, and/or strand rate. While it might be luck that repeats itself, Wolf has been keeping a lot of those numbers relatively consistent.
To paraphrase an exchange between and the Abigail and Ben Gates characters in National Treasure 2, she is like the sabermetric community in saying that when results are good despite the peripherals, it’s luck. To which Randy Wolf would snarkily reply, “I get lucky a lot.”
For the Brewers sake, hopefully Wolf has at least one more season of “luck” left in him. Nothing he’s done over the past two years should make us think otherwise, but for the record both Bill James’ projections and ZiPS have Wolf finishing 2012 with an ERA near 4.00. (James says 3.94 while ZiPS checks in at 4.04.)
As far as Wolf’s immediate outlook for the new season, expect more of what you saw to finish 2011 insofar that he’ll pitch fourth in the rotation, have a personal catcher who isn’t his personal catcher, and finish with a low double-digits win total.
He’ll continue to work off of his four-seam fastball/change up combination, the cutter which Fangraphs seems to have labeled as a slider, and his slow eephus curve.
Wolf will continue to often match up against other team’s fourth starter, giving the Brewers a decided edge against most teams in the league when it comes to pitching ability from that slot.
Also working in Wolf’s favor for a strong 2012 campaign is that he doesn’t have to go into Spring Training games worrying about the rotation’s order or composition. He can focus on getting himself ready. Getting ready to go in the spring is what it’s there for, in the end.
Hopefully by the end of the regular season, though, Wolf and the rest of his teammates will be getting ready for another trip to the playoffs.
By: Big Rygg
When the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays and Arizona Diamondbacks entered the Major Leagues in 1998, there was a bit of a problem when it came to lining up the divisions and leagues. Prior to the expansion there happened to be 28 teams with 14 in each league. Forcing those counts into odd numbers for each league wasn’t going to work without either one team in each league sitting at all times or Interleague Play all the time.
Clearly, those options weren’t options at all and therefore a team had to switch leagues to make it work. The Milwaukee Brewers of the American League were the sacrificial lamb, so to speak, and made the transition from American League club to National League club to begin the 1998 season.
It has been a long and most times difficult journey in the National League for the Brewers. They broke into the National League with a 74-88 record and struggled for the majority of the next 10 years, only reaching a .500 or better mark once in their first eight years in the senior circuit. The only 100-plus loss season in franchise history (2002) has come since the move as well.
Recent history has been a bit more favorable to the Brewers’ fortunes (including a post-season appearance following the 2008 campaign) but the ultimate prize has escaped this franchise’s grasp.
All of the above leaves the Brewers to focus on other kinds of accomplishments, including one counting statistic of which they are on the precipice.
The Milwaukee Brewers are on the verge of their 1,000th victory as a National League entity. They’ve lost over 1,300 games since dropping the DH, so this will be a most welcome achievement.
In light of this forthcoming accomplishment, and with the prized offseason acquisition on the hill tonight in Florida shooting for it, I thought it would be fun to look back at the winning pitchers of the other round numbers in the team’s Win total history. Offered without commentary, please enjoy this look back at a few mentions of Milwaukee Brewers history.
Franchise NL Win #100: Hideo Nomo (recorded as the 26th Win of the 1999 season)
Franchise NL Win #200: Curt Leskanic (recorded as the 52nd Win of the 2000 season)
Franchise NL Win #300: Ray King (recorded as the 11th Win of the 2002 season)
Franchise NL Win #400: Matt Kinney (recorded as the 55th Win of the 2003 season)
Franchise NL Win #500: Doug Davis (recorded as the 20th Win of the 2005 season)
Franchise NL Win #600: Brian Shouse (recorded as the 39th Win of the 2006 season)
Franchise NL Win #700: Yovani Gallardo (recorded as the 64th Win of the 2007 season)
Franchise NL Win #800: Brian Shouse (recorded as the 81st Win of the 2008 season)
Franchise NL Win #900: Chris Narveson (recorded as the 11th Win of the 2010 season)
By: Big Rygg
Here is my 25-man roster (complete with starters, batting order, rotation and bullpen assignments). We will be recording a podcast in the semi-near future to no doubt dissect this (and surely Cary will disagree with a few choices).
This roster was constructed with an eye on best players at positions, but also with an eye on making what could be a legitimate 25-man roster with capable bench players and not all closers in the bullpen, etc.
First will be the roster listed alphabetically by position with starters marked with an asterisk.
SP (5) – Jeff D’Amico, Doug Davis, Yovani Gallardo, CC Sabathia, Ben Sheets
RP (7) – Todd Coffey, Francisco Cordero, Chad Fox, Trevor Hoffman, Curt Leskanic, Brian Shouse, Bob Wickman
C (2) – Henry Blanco, Damian Miller*
INF (6) – Ryan Braun*, Russell Branyan, Craig Counsell, Prince Fielder*, Bill Hall*, Jose Hernandez*
OF (5) – Corey Hart, Geoff Jenkins*, Gabe Kapler, Carlos Lee*, Scott Podsednik*
My rotation shakes out as follows:
1 – Ben Sheets (as a nod to his longevity with the team)
2 – CC Sabathia (he was that dominant in his short stint)
3 – Yovani Gallardo (future ace would make an amazing #3 on this team)
4 – Doug Davis (long tenure, LHP, consistent numbers)
5 – Jeff D’Amico (very solid statistics despite only 33 starts with the Brewers)
The bullpen stacks up like this:
Closer – Trevor Hoffman (yes, only one season but an amazing season as closer)
Set up – Francisco Cordero (flame-thrower, closing experience in the 8th inning)
LOOGy – Brian Shouse (of top three including Mitch Stetter and Ray King, Shouse was best and most consistent)
Others in the bullpen would share back-up 8th inning and the short work
And for my batting order…
CF – Scott Podsednik
SS – Jose Hernandez
3B – Ryan Braun
1B – Prince Fielder
LF – Carlos Lee
RF – Geoff Jenkins
2B – Bill Hall
C – Damian Miller
I am more than happy to explain my selections for this roster and I will…on the podcast. Be sure to download it when you see the post telling you that it’s there.
Happy New Year. Happy New Decade.
How about a couple or several division championships this decade?
By: Big Rygg
With the World Series having finished (finally), it’s officially the off-season for all of Major League Baseball. That brings a lot of things, but most notably for Milwaukee it brings the impending free agency of several members of the 2008 playoff team.
Let’s review those players and discuss them a bit both in how their 2008 season went and whether or not I think they will (or should) come back to the Brewers for 2009.
3B/OF Russell Branyan – .250/.342/.583, 33/132, 24 R, 8 2B, 12 HR, 20 RBI, 19 BB, 42 K, 1/1 SB
Branyan even being a part of the Brewers’ system was a matter of fortunate coincidence. He didn’t have a job coming into 2008 and because he lived in the same city as his former big league club’s AAA affiliate and said affiliate needed a third baseman…well, it worked out.
It was another matter of good fortune when The Muscle returned to Milwaukee. He had been tearing up the league at AAA Nashville and the Brewers needed a left-handed bat to platoon with Bill Hall at third base because of Hall’s propensity to suck so hard at hitting right-handed pitching this year, Branyan’s bread and butter by the by.
Branyan hit home runs at a near record pace for the Crew for a fair chunk of the year. Eventually, however, Branyan’s numbers began to tail off before he finally wound up on the disabled list for almost the balance of the season after hurting himself during an at-bat.
It was almost poetic the way that Branyan rode to the rescue for a stretch, but at the same time it was just as much happenstance. That being said, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Crew could decide to open the year with Hall in the starting infield at 3B with Branyan sitting on the flight deck as the “Ready 5” player. (Note: That’s a reference from Top Gun…I really hope you knew that without me having to tell you.) The bottom line on bringing Branyan back would be how much left-handed hitting they end up with on the roster after the Winter Meetings. Either way, I don’t expect Branyan’s lack of contract situation to be resolved any time soon. Fortunately for The Muscle, the off-season is plenty long enough.
CF Mike Cameron – .243/.331/.477, 108/444, 69 R, 25 2B, 2 3B, 25 HR, 70 RBI, 54 BB, 142 K, 17/22 SB
So here’s the truly mind-boggling thing about Mike Cameron’s 2008 season: He missed nearly an entire month of games (25) due to a suspension but still managed to finish with respectable numbers in several categories. Unfortunately, Cameron also lead the team in strikeouts, beating guys that had at least 140 more at-bats than he did.
The former Gold Glove Award winner, Cameron’s defense was mostly solid this year. There were a few plays that he screwed up, but everybody has a few in a given year. I can’t remember how many times Cameron would go 0-2 in a count and then immediately take that same count to 2-2. Sure, he struck out thereafter an awful lot, but it’s still an interesting quirk of his season.
The issue with Cameron returning to Milwaukee next year is the price of the team option on his contract which stands at $10MM for one year. Yes, we’d have Cameron for 150+ games instead of a maximum of 137, but having already struck out 142 times in just 120 games, it doesn’t bode well for 2009. Cameron, like I’ll explain about Counsell next, might just come down to other roster moves. $750K is a whole lost easier to pay than $10MM, after all. What’s more, General Manager Doug Melvin has made it known that he wants to get more left-handed bats in the lineup to create better balance. The “holes”, so to speak, that we have to fill that we could fill with lefties are at 3B and CF (and possibly 2B depending on your viewpoint). For whatever reason, the Brewers don’t seem willing to give Tony Gwynn a shot despite the fact that he hits lefty, plays solid defense and is more of a prototypical leadoff hitter than anyone else we’ve got on the roster. That could help Cameron come back as a one-year bridge to another propsect being ready (Lorenzo Cain, perhaps, now that Michael Brantley was sent to Cleveland to finalize the CC Sabathia trade).
Time will tell on this one as teams have a deadline to announce whether or not they are picking up options on players.
INF Craig Counsell – .226/.355/.302, 56/248, 31 R, 14 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 14 RBI, 46 BB, 42 K, 3/4 SB
The Craigger (as I call him) or The Schnozz (as my wife does) is a local boy with a flair for coming up big in clutch situations. There’s always some great anticipation when he steps into the batter’s box when the bases are loaded, but quite frankly for the 38-year-old, those situations don’t happen nearly often enough.
He’s got one helluva glove and I routinely find myself assuming an out when the ball gets hit toward him…but the bottom line is that .226 overall isn’t going to get the job done anymore. I’m a big Craig Counsell fan, but realistically can the Brewers afford to carry a $3.5MM (or so) utility infielder? Depending on some of the other rosters moves the team is able to make or chooses to make…it’s probably not feasible. Besides, if things go according to my master plan, we’ll already have an expensive utility infielder in Bill Hall.
2B Ray Durham – .280/.369/.477, 30/107, 21 R, 12 2B, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 15 BB, 23 K, 2/4 SB (with Milwaukee)
Brought it just before the non-waiver trade deadline, Ray Durham added a needed spark to Rickie Weeks at first, but ultimately the two fell into a platoon at 2B. one that doesn’t figure to be repeated in 2009 one way or another. Either the Brewers will recommit to Weeks or they’ll trade for a different double-play partner for J.J. Hardy (or possibly Alcides Escobar depending on how that situation pans out).
Durham missed several games down the stretch which could be contributed to either fatigue, age, bad luck or possibly a bit of all three. Durham is a switch-hitter, which is a nice thing, but the fact that he hits lefties about as well as Weeks hits righties (.238 overall this year vs lefties for Durham). His defense is more solid than Weeks’ too, but the fact is Durham is no spring chicken, or autumn chicken for that matter.
Bottom line on Durham is tha the was brought it to provide some veteran leadership for the stretch run and he delivered just that. If the price is right, he could be a fine bench player whether the Brewers retain Weeks or not.
RP Eric Gagne – 4-3, 5.44 ERA, 46.1 IP, 50 G, 10/17 SV/SVO, 38 K, 1.47 WHIP
Fewer financial committments were worse in 2008 than the $10MM, one-year contract that Doug Melvin signed Eric Gagne to. Signed to be the closer after Francisco Cordero skipped town, Gagne struggled right out of the gate, blowing a 3-run lead on Opening Day in Chicago. The Brewers ended up winning that game, but it was the season for Gagne in a nutshell. Struggles, inconsistency, expectations…all in all Gagne just simply didn’t measure up despite falling into a setup role fairly comfortably late in the year after a stint on the DL.
As for next year? I wouldn’t even mind having Gagne back in Milwaukee, but at a much more believable price. I have a feeling that Gagne will listen to offers for a bit before deciding what he wants to do. If he has the chance to be a closer somewhere for closer-type money, perhaps he takes that offer. But I wouldn’t be shocked if Melvin extends Gagne an opportunity to return to Milwaukee.
OF Gabe Kapler – .301/.340/.498, 69/229, 36 R, 17 2B, 2 3B, 8 HR, 13 BB, 39 K, 3/4 SB
What a story Gabe Kapler turned out to be for the Milwaukee Brewers. The guy retires, manages for two years, get the itch again, lets people know he’s available, signs a contract with the Brewers that the majority of fans (thank you, I am NOT included in that group) did not understand or agree with. All he did was capably fill in at all three OF positions, hit over .300 and was our best bat off the bench as well. Unfortunately, for many reasons, Kapler’s season was cut short due to a shoulder injury. He could have been extremely useful to spell both Ryan Braun (rib cage) and Corey Hart (mental fatigue perhaps?) down the stretch.
Kapler will be 33 for a little over half the season in 2009, turning 34 on July 31st. That’s definitely not too old, especially for a guy who keeps himself in as good of shape as Kapler does. He is a free agent, and given the state of the league, could probably find a starting job on a few teams. Hopefully, though, the fans and clubhouse here in Milwaukee impressed him enough that he would want to come back. Hopefully, also, Doug Melvin was impressed enough with Kapler’s play that he would want him back. I think it’s a great fit here and if I were on Melvin’s staff, I’d push for a deal to get done quickly.
3B Mike Lamb – .273/.273/.273, 3/11, 2 R, 1 K
Lamb has the option to become a free agent after this year. Based on his lack of starts while he was with the club, along with how they only picked him up off waivers, and there’s very little chance of Lamb not exercising that option.
*UPDATE* Lamb filed for free agency on the first day, as expected.
RP Guillermo Mota – 5/6, 5.11 ERA, 58 G, 57.0 IP, 1/4 SV/SVO, 50 K, 1.40 WHIP
Mota came to the Brewers in what was probably the best trade of Milwaukee’s off-season. Doug Melvin contacted the GM of the New York Mets, Omar Minaya, and struck a deal. He offered Johnny Estrada against a list of players he’d be willing to take back in a one-for-one deal. Minaya picked a guy that the fans in New York booed when he was warming up in the bullpen for crying out loud.
Mota pitched well in chunks for the Brewers, a couple of times falling into old habits in New York that got him into trouble. Pitching Coach Mike Maddux corrected Mota multiple times and made him serviceable. If he’s able to continue pitching like he does when he’s right, he’ll help out whatever team he winds up with.
Now, whether or not that’s the Brewers remains to be seen. I think that Melvin would probably be willing to bring him back for a reasonable price, as he did finish the season as our most consistent bullpen arm and you just can’t overhaul as drastically as they did in 2008..can you?
SP CC Sabathia – 11-2, 1.65 ERA, 17 GS, 130.2 IP, 7 CG, 3 SHO, 128 K, 1.00 WHIP
Um…what would I be able to say here that could possibly come close to stating how incredible CC Sabathia was for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008? The man was flat out amazing nearly every time he took the hill. He won his first 9 decisions in a Brewer uniform and, quite frankly, carried the entire team into the playoffs on his large back.
To say that the Brewers want him back is the understatement of the off-season. But, with CC comes a lot of $$. In fact, there is talk that the Yankees are prepared to offer him 7 years for a total of $175MM (that’s an average of $25MM per year, math majors). The Brewers supposedly are preparing to offer (if they haven’t already) a contract of comparable annual amount though not the years. Some talk has said 4/$100MM another I read said 6/$120MM. Either way, if the Brewers are fortunate enough to sign the unquestioned #1 arm on the free agent market…well…it’ll be a glorious day in the history of the Brewer franchise.
SP Ben Sheets – 13-9, 3.09 ERA, 31 GS, 198.1 IP, 5 CG, 3 SHO, 158 K, 1.15 WHIP
After finally confessing and repenting (if you don’t understand that point, you need to look at our September archive), Ben Sheets won a 13th game for the first time in his career and nearly pitched 200 innings for the first time in a few years. However, Sheets also fell prey to the injury bug yet again.
I personally feel that if this wasn’t a contract year for Sheets, he would’ve allowed himself to get shelved if not more often, certainly earlier in the year than late September. It’s unfortunate, but the guy is hamstrung like very few other players in the game. While Sheets hasn’t missed as much time, a decent comparison could be a Carl Pavano. Loads of talent, seemingly always unavailable when their teams need them most.
Doug Melvin has gone on record as saying that he has spoken to Casey Close (Sheets’ agent) and is going to making an offer to possibly bring Sheets back to the Brewers. Having endured the ups and downs of Sheets’ last few years, it’d sure be nice to have a healthy pitcher with his kind of talent. But the bottom line is that Sheets is NOT that pitcher anymore. Yes, a lot of his injuries are weird and random, but when they keep happening, I’m sorry; that’s a trend. And the bottom line that Melvin has to ask himself is whether or not the Brewers can afford the starts. They can afford the money that Sheets can/will get on the open market, but can they afford to carry six starters so that there is a guy ready to pitch when Sheets inevitably (yes, inevitably) misses a start?
The only way I’m comfortable bringing Sheets back to our mid-range payroll team is for Melvin to sign him to a slightly-below-market-value deal that protects our payroll figure from becoming over-bloated to the point where owner Mark Attanasio doesn’t give Melvin any flexibility to pull off deadline deals like he did this year.
RP Brian Shouse – 5-1, 2.81 ERA, 69 G, 51.1 IP, 2/5 SV/SVO, 33 K, 1.17 WHIP
Our left-handed specialist for the past couple of seasons, Brian Shouse is 41 years old but continues to get the job done coming out of the bullpen. Ned Yost used Shouse in some odd ways at times, but he is simply best utilized by bringing him in to face a lefty in a key situation.
Shouse is looking for a two-year deal which would be impossible to come by given his age if it weren’t for his continued success on the bump. Shouse has said that he would like to return to Milwaukee, but feels that he owes it to himself and his family to see what kinds of offers he’s able to field on the open market just to gauge his “value”.
The Brewers are grooming a replacement for Shouse in fellow lefty Mitch Stetter, but I’d still like to see Shouse return to the Crew for at least one more year. Left-handed relievers never seem to flame out so as long as he’s not given up homer after homer, Shouse will be worth the phone call to the bullpen.
CL Salomon Torres – 7-5, 3.49 ERA, 71 G, 80.0 IP, 28/35 SV/SVO, 51 K, 1.35 WHIP
Torres was traded for in the off-season to be a setup man but also provide more veteran leadership to a group that was sorely lacking in that department in 2007. When Eric Gagne was patently ineffective to begin the year and spent some time on the DL, Torres was handed the reins at the back end up the bullpen and did a stellar job until, quite frankly, he wore out by the end of the year. They say sinkerballers prefer to not be overly rested, but 80 innings over 71 games…that’s a LOT of work, fellow Brewer fans.
The team holds on option to bring Torres back, and I believe that they’ll exercise that option. It’s a reasonable cost at just $3.75MM and he pitched very well. He may not come into the year as the closer, but all that will be hashed out in spring training of course.
***NOTE: Joe Dillon was designated for assignment when the Brewers claimed 3B Casey McGehee off of waivers from the Chicago Cubs. Dillon was claimed by the Oakland Athletics so he is no longer a part of the Brewers’ organization.