December 17, 2015
Dear Brewers Fans:
During this holiday season, I want to extend my sincere thanks to you for sticking with us through a tough, challenging and–most aptly–disappointing season. You showed your loyalty by purchasing more than 2.5 million tickets to see baseball at Miller Park, which you’ve done every season over the past nine years. Only seven other MLB teams have reached this attendance milestone. And over those nine seasons, the Brewers have averaged more than 35,000 fans per home game, which is among the ten highest team averages in all of Major League Baseball.
The commitment you’ve demonstrated to the Brewers, I assure you, is equaled by my own commitment to doing better. Each of you deserves that. By doing better, I mean fielding a playoff-competitive team and one day bringing a world championship to Milwaukee. To move toward accomplishing this lofty goal, I believe we need to take a step back and build more intensively from within. Our new General Manager, David Stearns, has been spearheading this approach, which requires grinding things out, prospect by prospect and trade by trade. While we look forward to using his fresh vision to getting our baseball operations to where we want them to be, we are mindful that there is a lot of hard work to do, and we will not take any shortcuts or look for quick fixes.
Importantly, David has a great deal of flexibility to work with, as the team has just three long-term contracts remaining: Jonathan Lucroy (two years), Matt Garza (two years) and Ryan Braun (five years). As you probably know, David recruited Matt Arnold from the Tampa Bay Rays as his Assistant GM. At this month’s Winter Meetings, he and Matt started to implement their strategy, which David has articulated thematically as acquiring, developing and retaining as much young talent as we can. We do not have a rigid timetable because we believe it is vital to build a proper foundation for sustained success. I am encouraged by the level of teamwork I’ve been seeing in baseball operations and, most significantly, between David and Matt.
Even before David joined our organization, our re-evaluation effort had begun. When the start of the 2015 season told us that the first 150 days of the 2014 season had been an illusion–one ultimately supplanted by the reality of the final month of that season–we made the difficult decision to change the team’s manager. In early May, we hired Craig Counsell, already a valued special assistant to our GM, to a three-year contract. This allowed Craig five months to observe our players in the field and to start training them to play in the style that had brought him two World Series rings as a player.
With a focus on the future at the July 31 trade deadline, we exchanged veteran players who had less than two years remaining under their contracts for seven young players, four of whom saw action with the Brewers before the end of the season. A total of twelve rookies debuted this season–a club record. The performance of our lower-level Minor League affiliates provided more evidence that the talent of our prospects is improving. Our AA affiliate, the Biloxi Shuckers, went to the Southern League Championship Series this year for the first time since 2007. Moreover, Baseball America named three Brewers among the publication’s top five prospects in the Arizona Fall League.
Since the end of last season, we have traded for another seven young players, including three with Major League experience. Through all these trades, we have added fourteen prospects to our team, supplementing the players we selected in what was considered a rich 2015 draft. As reported on mlb.com, eleven of our top twenty prospects have been acquired in the past two years either through draft or trades. The restocking of the farm system has begun in earnest.
Finally, I would be remiss not to acknowledge Doug Melvin, who has transitioned from President of Baseball Operations and General Manager of the Brewers into a role as Senior Advisor. Doug’s baseball acumen, work ethic and loyalty have been an asset to the team for thirteen seasons, and he remains a valuable resource to David and our baseball operations group.
So, as we approach 2016, I want to reiterate how much the entire Brewers organization appreciates the community’s strong enthusiasm for the club. We are dedicated to building something special here in Milwaukee for you, the best fans in baseball. I thank you once again for your steadfast support.
Chairman and Principal Owner
MILWAUKEE BREWERS BASEBALL CLUB
Sandy Alderson, who is the General Manager of the New York Mets, told reporters following their game tonight that Carlos Gomez is not now and will not by Friday be a New York Metropolitan.
This is too convoluted to put together after midnight now, but here’s the short version of all the reports:
- The deal (Gomez to NYM, Zack Wheeler & Wilmer Flores to MIL) was agreed to, pending physicals.
- Gomez was informed while on the Brewers charter flight back to Milwaukee from San Francisco by manager Craig Counsell that a deal was in place, pending medicals, once the news was breaking on Twitter.
- Flores was informed at some point during Wednesday evening’s game but remained in the game, an uncommon practice for a player in an agreed upon trade.
- Word started coming out that the hold up was pending review of medical reports.
- After the game, Alderson met with the media at CitiField to tell them that there was no trade for Gomez. Media talked to Flores who said he was told that there was no trade after all.
- Assumptions were apparently made that it was Wheeler’s post-Tommy John surgery medicals that were the issue and that the Brewers backed out of the deal.
- Reports then started to come out (likely leaked by the Mets) that they bailed on the deal over concerns about Gomez’s hip.
- Those concerns were characterized as slight. Also, that they shouldn’t have nixed the deal.
- Scott Boras (Gomez’s agent) was quoted that Gomez has no hip issue, never has, and anyone claiming otherwise is being untruthful.
Got all that? Good. I’m going to sleep at some point.
Here is a boatload of audio recorded on Sunday, January 25, 2015 at Brewers On Deck in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Right fielder Ryan Braun
Relief pitcher Jim Henderson
Manager Ron Roenicke
New Brewers first baseman Adam Lind
Starting pitcher Wily Peralta
Newest member of the starting rotation Jimmy Nelson
All-Star outfielder Carlos Gomez
Second baseman Scooter Gennett
All-Star starting catcher Jonathan Lucroy
General Manager Doug Melvin met with the assembled media
EXCLUSIVE with 40-man pitcher Michael Blazek
Prinicpal Owner Mark Attanasio addressed the media
This is the full audio from one of the Main Stage events, a panel discussion (with fan questions!) featuring Mark Attanasio, Doug Melvin, Gord Ash, Adam Lind, Corey Knebel, and Luis Sardinas
a.k.a. “So, about that tweet…”
During the morning on Tuesday, I tweeted out the following:
— The Brewer Nation (@BrewerNation) December 9, 2014
I promised to expound on it here on the blog because of the nuance involved.
Based on a Nick Cafardo report from prior to the Winter Meetings that said that the Brewers were showing interest in Allen Craig, I reached out to a source who confirmed that the sides had talked about Craig and that Gerardo Parra was a name that came up in those discussions. They were characterized as “preliminary at best” (my wording) but as something that had been discussed.
In addition, it was shared that the Red Sox had inquired about Yovani Gallardo. It wasn’t stated when, but it would make sense if it was in the same pre-Winter Meetings conversation. That would be in line with Doug Melvin’s public comments that as of the end of the day Tuesday, the Brewers contingent hadn’t met with any other team’s representatives in San Diego. Melvin has since admitted to meeting with a team on Wednesday, but wouldn’t say which.
A possible return from the Red Sox was not known (or at least not shared) by my contact. My own deductive thought process believes that the Red Sox probably were and are making many exploratory calls on starting pitchers potentially available in trade as they (correctly, it turns out) expected that they might lose out on Jon Lester in free agency.
The Gallardo option, real or not, it felt to me, was not a top option for the Red Sox…
…and chatter from the Winter Meetings seems to have supported that idea as the Sawx have been linked to Wade Miley (“talks broke down”) and others today. That’s why I tweeted this on Wednesday morning…
If Wade Miley goes to Boston (as is said close by @jonmorosi), that’d basically eliminate one of the two things I heard. Write up tonight.
— The Brewer Nation (@BrewerNation) December 10, 2014
So for now, it’s quiet as kept for the Brewers. Doug Melvin told reporters during his Wednesday evening briefing that he anticipates finding bullpen pieces later in the off-season once prices begin to come down.
Doug Melvin plans to wait to fill out the bullpen. Thinks there will be talent, value available later — like Neshek, Duke last yr. — Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) December 11, 2014
And it has also been echoed by Mark Attanasio that the Brewers aren’t really in much of a position for major free agents as they are pushing the limits of their budget.
With a payroll projected to approach $110mm, #Brewers are near the high end of an acceptable range over a 10-year period, Attanasio said.
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) December 10, 2014
So, in all the Brewers are beginning to make Winter Meetings contacts but haven’t yet consummated any deals. With Melvin telling reports that he intends to pass in at least the MLB portion of Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft, the Brewers could very well leave San Diego with no transactions on the books.
It definitely helps that Melvin & Co. brought in Adam Lind early this off-season and retained Aramis Ramirez. Even though it doesn’t, the Brewers could field a capable 25-man roster if the season started tomorrow.
Before fretting, keep in mind that there are still plenty of shopping days until P&C.
***UPDATE*** 9:13pm CT ***UPDATE***
I now see this tweet from Jon Heyman, saying the Wade Miley has been acquired by the Red Sox, so I’d guess that the Yovani Gallardo chatter will never result in anything, let alone ever be confirmed as true.
The Milwaukee Brewers today named Darnell Coles hitting coach. Coles, who was signed to a one-year contract, replaces former hitting coach Johnny Narron, who was relieved of his duties on October 10. The announcement was made by President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin.
“Darnell has an impressive Major League background as a player and coach,” said Melvin. “With his knowledge of hitting and strength as an instructor, he has the ability to connect with our players, with whom he is quite familiar.”
Coles, 52, returns for his second stint in the Brewers organization, having served as minor league hitting coordinator from 2010-11 and as manager at Double-A Huntsville from 2012-13. He spent the 2014 season as assistant hitting coach for the Detroit Tigers, his first career coaching position at the Major League level. The Tigers offense led the Major Leagues in batting average (.277), hits (1,557), RBI (731) and doubles (325) and ranked second (led the American League) in on-base percentage (.331), slugging percentage (.426) and OPS (.757).
Coles began his coaching career in 2000 as minor league hitting coordinator with the Seattle Mariners. From 2001-06, he served as an analyst for ESPN. His coaching career resumed in 2006 as minor league roving hitting instructor with the Washington Nationals and followed with roles in the organization as manager at Class-A Vermont (2007) and Class-A Hagerstown (2008) and as hitting coach at Triple-A Syracuse (2009).
Coles played 14 Major League seasons and batted .245 with 75 HR and 368 RBI in 957 games. The former infielder/outfielder played for Seattle (1983-85, ‘88-90), Detroit (1986-87, ‘90), Pittsburgh (1987-88), San Francisco (1991), Cincinnati (1992), Toronto (1993-94), St. Louis (1995) and Colorado (1997). He was a member of the 1993 World Series champion Blue Jays.
Coles and his wife, Shari, reside in Tampa, Florida. They have three children, DeAnna, Darnell Jr. and Jared.
The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired outfielder Gerardo Parra from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for a pair of minor-league prospects; outfielder Mitch Haniger and left-handed pitcher Anthony Banda.
Parra is expected to join the team tomorrow in St. Louis.
The announcement was made by President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin. “The addition of Parra gives us a veteran player who helps to balance our lineup and also brings Gold Glove defense,” said Melvin. Parra, 27, is batting .259 with 6 HR and 30 RBI in 104 games this season. He has made 98 starts (96g in RF, 2g in CF).
Signing as a non-drafted free agent on 8/30/04, Parra had spent his entire professional career in the Diamondbacks organization. He is a career .274 hitter with 39 HR and 250 RBI in 787 Major League games (2009-14). Known for his exceptional defense, Parra has won National League Gold Glove Awards in left field (2011) and right field (2013). Entering today, his 62 outfield assists since 2009 were tied for second (with two others) in the Major Leagues, trailing only the Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista (63).
To make room for Parra on the 25-man roster, outfielder Logan Schafer will be optioned to Triple-A Nashville. To make room on the 40-man roster, pitcher Tyler Thornburg was moved to the 60-day disabled list.
Haniger, 24, was selected by the Brewers in the supplemental first round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. He batted .255 with 10 HR and 34 RBI in 67 games at Double-A Huntsville this season.
Banda, 20, was selected by the Brewers in the 10th round of the 2012 draft. He was 6-6 with a 3.66 ERA and 2 saves in 20 games (14 starts) at Class-A Wisconsin this season.
There’s been a lot of talk today regarding the Brewers involvement in left-handed starting pitcher, the true ace of the Tampa Bay Rays, David Price. I’ve been sitting on a rumor for over three weeks now and may as well talk about it now since it’s the hot topic of the day.
Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com kicked things off by resurrecting the ghosts of CC Sabathia and, to a different degree, Zack Greinke in pointing out that the Brewers have made runs to the playoffs after acquiring ace pitchers. Sabathia, of course, was the 2008 in-season addition who carried the Brewers to the playoffs along with Ben Sheets.
Rosenthal and Morosi comment that the Brewers were “putting their ‘foot in the water'” on Price and that the results of Rays vs Brewers over the next few days could directly influence Price’s future, both in terms of whether and, if so, where he’ll be dealt. Well, what I was told is that three weeks ago, Melvin supposedly offered a package to the Rays that featured Jimmy Nelson as the centerpiece. I don’t know who else was discussed along with Nelson, but I was told that any package offered for discussion was a “non-starter”, at least at the time. What that means is that it simply wasn’t enough of a return for Tampa to consider. It lead to a report that the Brewers were viewed as “out” on Price at the time.
As teams have gotten back into the race, or fallen out of it, trade partners also fluctuate. Perhaps the Rays are more willing to deal with the Brewers now, and perhaps that’s because Melvin is willing to part with different pieces now than he was before. That, I don’t know. But I was told three weeks ago that Andrew Friedman and the Rays’ front office are valuing near-MLB prospects more than “high-ceiling, but further away from contributing types. Again, they may not have seen what they wanted to in that realm and are now willing to consider those “further away” prospects, but I’m not privy to any more recent discussions…at least not yet.
So, yes, the Brewers expressed interest. And while things may have changed in the last 22 days, initial information indicated that Melvin and company didn’t have the right package to pull off the major coup this time around.
And while I don’t expect anything to happen, it sure would be fun if they figured out a way to sweeten their offer.
Here are the comments after Day 1 of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft from General Manager Doug Melvin and Director of Amateur Scouting Bruce Seid.
A few funny things have happened on the way to June.
While the Brewers have been slogging through a seesaw month of May (two and six in their first eight, five and one in the next six, one and five in the six after that, five and two in the most recent seven games entering play on May 31st), they’ve tinkered and toyed with some things that we simply wouldn’t see — because we haven’t — in recent history.
First, the Brewers posted their May 24th lineup and it featured a major change. After a day off to rest his tweaked oblique, rightfielder Ryan Braun was back in the lineup but he was hitting second. It’s a move that sabermetricians would love as there is plenty of statistical evidence that the second spot in the lineup is the most efficient and productive spot for your “best” hitter. Braun and his offensive brethren would falter in that game from a run production standpoint as they would only score once despite 11 hits. (It was Braun that scored the run, for what it’s worth.) But this would not be a one day trial that manager Ron Roenicke would abandon due to lackluster results in the columns of R or W.
Roenicke explained his thoughts after the game, more or less, and confirmed that this was the plan for a while. Truth be told, it started in phases even though that might not have been by design. Season-long leadoff hitter Carlos Gomez needed a day off two days earlier on May 22. It was that day that Roenicke moved Jean Segura up to lead off for Milwaukee. Segura responded by going 3-for-5 with two runs scored in a loss to Atlanta. When Gomez returend on May 23, Roenicke left Segura at the top and inserted the powerful Gomez in the cleanup position. That was seen as a reaction to Braun being out and moving Jonathan Lucroy up to Braun’s customary third spot. It was seen as a blip and scarcely even mentioned let alone thought deeply about. Then Braun returned on May 24 and Segura, Lucroy and Gomez held their positions as Braun slid in at number two.
The offense has been on a tear since that 22nd of May, tying a franchise record with at least 10 hits in 10 straight games. All this has happened without Aramis Ramirez, and it’s almost June 1, which we collectively know as Aramis Ramirez Day. If he comes back (scheduled for Wednesday in Minnesota and likely DHing) and doesn’t take long to warm up, the offense could really make a splash early in the second third of the season.
But there is more going on than just a significant lineup change.
On that same May 24 in Miami, the Brewers outrighted Jeff Bianchi to Triple-A Nashville after he cleared waivers. Bianchi, who is out of options, has been outrighted off of a 40-man roster before in his career and therefore had the right to refuse this assignment thereby electing free agency. He eventually decided to stay, but the point here is that there was more going on than simply swapping one utility infielder for another (they called up Irving Falu, but you know that).
The Brewers of the recent past would not risk losing an asset, even one grossly underperforming as was Bianchi, by outrighting them. This is a front office displaying more of a sense of urgency than even they themselves did this off-season by signing Matt Garza and bolstering a rotation that many assumed they’d just fill in house with five readily identified arms.
That they were willing to shake up their lineup, one that had been struggling to score runs shortly beforehand, and outright Bianchi at all speaks to the team’s desire to sustain their position atop the National League Central. They are not going to stand idly by, subscribing to the Ned Yost School of Thought that once infamously and dismissively reminded worriers that his Brewers were “still in first place”.
No. These Brewers, while still in first place, were seeing a once large lead begin diminshing as perennial division rivals the St. Louis Cardinals began to find their stride a bit while the Brewers scuffled. Their lead was down to 1.5 games as recently as May 27. Milwaukee is certainly striding right at the moment as they’ve won their last three with St. Louis losing its last three and the division lead entering play on the last day of May was back up to 4.0 full games.
Complacency and status quo are not seemingly in the toolbox of the 2014 Milwaukee Brewers. Kudos to them for yet another day alone in first place (where they’ve been since April 9) but more so they deserve accolades and attention for not just thinking that was good enough.
What’s more? They aren’t necessarily done.
They could consider changes in their first base platoon, including dumping the defensively solid but weak-sticked Lyle Overbay. They could juggle their bullpen pieces a bit which they’ll have to do when Tom Gorzelanny is ready but there’s certainly room for more if they desire. They could certainly continue to tweak their bench and bring in a more powerful option their the currently versatile yet light-hitting duo of Falu and Elian Herrera. And if someone doesn’t perform in that rotation or if they need to use a piece to get a piece elsewhere, they could make the decision to go with Jimmy Nelson at some point.
The bottom line is that if they decide to stand pat this season it won’t be due to a lack of want to change nor will it be due to any apprehension thereof. This is a front office that not only sees the benefits in making moves, but certainly won’t be lured in by making a change for the sake of change.
It’s a different feeling than we’re used to as fans over recent history, but it’s certainly a welcome one.
Here is Brewers general manager Doug Melvin on Monday from Baseball’s Winter Meetings…
…and here is field manager Ron Roenicke from Orlando as well.