As first reported by Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (and since confirmed by several respected writers), the Milwaukee Brewers are receiving three players in return for Yovani Gallardo who was traded to the Texas Rangers.
The three players are a shortstop, a relief pitcher and an 18-year-old starting pitching prospect.
The shortstop is 21-year-old Luis Sardiñas who was suggested by Ken Rosenthal as potentially being involved as the Rangers had offered the Venezuelan in other trade ideas this off-season. He’s a guy who some still regard highly (7th overall Rangers prospect according to Baseball America) while others (MLB Pipeline, unranked) don’t have him nearly as high anymore. He’s considered a true shortstop defensively which is never a bad thing to have in the system.
The relief pitcher is Corey Knebel, a 23-year-old former 1st round pick (2013, 39th overall) of the Detroit Tigers. Knebel made his MLB debut in May of 2014, appearing in a total of eight games for the Tigers. He was later traded to the Rangers in the Joakim Soria deal. Knebel was listed as the Rangers’ eighth-best prospect prior to the deal. Of Knebel’s abilities, the website says:
Knebel definitely has the weapons and competitive makeup with which to close games. His fastball ranges from 91-98 mph with tailing action, and he uses his height to throw it on a downhill plane. When he stays on top of his curveball, it can be just as nasty as his heater, arriving in the low 80s with sharp downward break.
There’s some funkiness to Knebel’s delivery, but it adds more deception than it detracts from his ability to throw strikes. He flashes a decent changeup, which had the Tigers initially considering trying him as a starter, but his future definitely is as a reliever.
Knebel is 6’3″, was a closer at the University of Texas, and quite clearly skyrocketed through the minors and into The Show. If healthy (he was shut down in August with a UCL injury), he joins a murky if somewhat crowded Brewers bullpen situation.
The youngster of the trio is Marcos Diplan, (20th Rangers prospect, MLBPipeline). He can reportedly touch 98 MPH and sits in the low 90s but has room to add power onto his young frame. Diplan was the consensus top pitcher in the 2013 international class coming out of the Dominican Republic, that coming from MLBPipeline.com.
All told, this is a quality return for the Brewers. There is no surefire superstar in the group, but for one guaranteed season of Gallardo, and a chance to sign him to an extension or at least extend a qualifying offer, this was probably about as strong a return as could have been hoped. Oh, and as I reported yesterday, the Brewers kicked in some money to Texas. Reports have it as $4 million. That could explain some of the delay as a dollar amount of that size would need approval from the commissioner’s office.
Both Sardinas and Knebel were on the Rangers 40-man roster. Gallardo leaving opens one spot.
***UPDATE: To clear the other needed spot, former organizational player of the year Hunter Morris was designated for assignment.***
As first pinpointed by FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi, the Brewers followed through on my report from early last week and are reportedly on the verge of trading away homegrown starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo to the Texas Rangers.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 18, 2015
Gallardo, as you may recall, became the Brewers’ career strikeout leader late in 2014 and was on pace to overtake several statistical categories in Brewers history in the near future. It now appears as though the man we call “Yo” will finish where he currently sits.
I’m writing to discuss why I think this trade went down, some of the logistics without yet knowing all the names involved for sure, as well as my generalized thoughts about trading Gallardo from a macro level.
First, the Brewers are basically maxed out on their payroll as the day begins. Principal owner Mark Attanasio has been flexible over the years in adding payroll in season when the chance to compete is there. Just look at 2014. He authorized acquiring Jonathan Broxton (the likely closer to begin 2015) and Gerardo Parra (a pricey current 4th outfielder) after all. But entering a season where they sit after avoiding arbitration with all three of their eligible players (~$97 million committed to 12 players per Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel beat writer Tom Haudricourt), it’s not that far of a stretch to understand why Attanasio might want to trim a little payroll fat. Gallardo is set to make $13 million in the final season of a six-year, $42.5 million contract he signed before the 2010 season. This is also pretty strong evidentiary support of the idea that the Brewers had no plans to offer Gallardo another long-term contract or even a qualifying offer after the season.
That’s just one of the logistical points of this situation. Another that I’ve been told is that the Brewers might not be moving all of Gallardo’s $13 million. There is chatter that they’ll be paying a portion of his deal. That’s normally done to offset the cost to the acquiring team, thereby increasing the return in quality and/or quantity of players.
But why now? Why move Gallardo at all? He was drafted by the Brewers, after all. I’ve heard all this and more since the trade rumor was first floated out. To those questions, I answer thusly.
Gallardo rebounded a bit in 2014 and actually had a better overall season than many give him credit for. He still struggled against St. Louis, had a poor May after an excellent April and limped through September when everything around the team seemed to be collapsing together, but his season was strong as a sum of its parts. Gallardo’s fastball came back to life and he posted a career-best BB/9 ratio of 2.5 overall. With a full season of control, Gallardo is more valuable to the Brewers to move now than he would be at any other point in 2015. And outside of the money issues, Gallardo is the most moveable piece among the pitchers. He’s the best combination of return, savings, and striking while the iron is hot on the team.
You aren’t moving the cheap Wily Peralta, Mike Fiers or Jimmy Nelson. Kyle Lohse is the oldest of the group and wouldn’t bring as much in return since there’s less projectability left on his arm than that of Gallardo. And after bringing in Matt Garza on an expensive deal, that’s not changing yet, plus the fact that Garza is already on pace to providing an extremely inexpensive contract option.
You also can’t let yourself worry about the fact that he was drafted and developed by the Brewers. So was Rickie Weeks. So was Prince Fielder. So was Corey Hart. There is a time for the vast majority of players in the era of free agency to move on from their original teams. If Gallardo isn’t in the long-term plan and he can bring you back someone who is, you move him. It can be a hard thing for a franchise like Milwaukee to do when homegrown talent under team control is a necessity to win, but when that talent prices themselves out of town decisions must be made regardless of the potential public relations hit. In a perfect world every Brewer is Robin Yount, but a perfect world this ain’t.
As for the return, well that just might be another column once we learn the particulars. Rosenthal speculates that Luis Sardiñas might be involved, but as of Sunday afternoon Gallardo hadn’t even been informed that he’d been traded. A principal agreement could be in place without all the details sorted out. I’m told that Gallardo’s agent leaked the report though so somebody knows something. Understandably, both front offices are upset as the track record exists for both to operate quietly.
In regards to the next step that so many people wanted to jump to on social media already, the agent for James Shields wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t reach out to the Brewers to discern their plan and see if his client might fit. After all, the talk for a bit now is how nobody is in on Shields at the number he wanted. Engaging the Brewers could get things a bit more towards where Shields would like them to be. Then again, the conspiracy theorists point to how shortly after the Gallardo news broke, the Nationals agreeing to a contract with free agent pitcher Max Scherzer came out. They are pointing to the coincidence to indicate that maybe the Brewers desiring to trade for Wisconsin-native starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann and needed to free up a rotation spot and some money to do it and that now that the Nationals feel confident in trading Zimmermann, they could fully engage on Scherzer. While that’s all plausible, it certainly feels like a couple of steps past where things stand as the sun comes up on Monday, January 19th.
Stay tuned. I have a feeling that things could get fun today.
BREWERS ON DECK TO INCLUDE OVER 50 PLAYERS, COACHES, BROADCASTERS & ALUMNI
Event to Feature Community Book Drive; Food Donations Accepted through Hunger Task Force
Nearly 50 Milwaukee Brewers players plus a host of alumni, coaches, front office executives and broadcasters are scheduled to participate in Brewers On Deck, which is set to take place on Sunday, January 25 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Wisconsin Center.
Advance tickets are $15 for adults and $9 for children 14 and under. Tickets on the day of the event are $20 for adults and $15 for children 14 and under. A portion of the proceeds from Brewers On Deck will benefit Brewers Community Foundation. Tickets may be purchased at the Miller Park ticket office, by calling the Brewers ticket office at 414-902-4000, or online at brewers.com/ondeck.
This year the event will feature a community book drive that will help support Next Door’s Books for Kids program. The goal of the Books for Kids campaign is to help all children in Milwaukee’s central city, regardless of their family income or education levels, have books they can call their own. Local author Marla McKenna will help host the event. Fans are encouraged to bring new or gently used children’s books to donate. In appreciation for their contribution, fans who donate a book will receive a free copy of McKenna’s newest publication, “Mom’s Big Catch,” a story based upon events that took place at Miller Park.
Once again food donations will be accepted through Hunger Task. Donations can be dropped off at two main entrances to the Wisconsin Center, located at 4th Street and Wisconsin Avenue, and 4th Street and Wells Street.
Players, coaches and alumni scheduled to attend include (all subject to change):
- Michael Blazek
- Ryan Braun
- Juan Centeno
- Matt Clark
- Clint Coulter
- Khris Davis
- Mike Fiers
- Scooter Gennett
- David Goforth
- Carlos Gomez
- Hector Gomez
- Brooks Hall
- Jim Henderson
- Jeremy Jeffress
- Taylor Jungmann
- Brandon Kintzler
- Corey Knebel (just added)
- Adam Lind
- Jonathan Lucroy
- Kyle Lohse
- Jimmy Nelson
- Gerardo Parra
- Wily Peralta
- Shane Peterson
- Jason Rogers
- Luis Sardiñas (just added)
- Logan Schafer
- Will Smith
- Michael Strong
- Tyler Thornburg
- Rob Wooten
- Darnell Coles (Hitting Coach)
- Joe Crawford (Video/Scouting)
- Matt Erickson (Timber Rattlers Mgr.)
- Mike Guerrero (1st Base Coach)
- Marcus Hanel (Bullpen Catcher)
- Rick Kranitz (Pitching Coach)
- Jerry Narron (Bench Coach)
- Ron Roenicke (Manager)
- Ed Sedar (3rd Base Coach)
- John Shelby (Outfield Coach)
- Lee Tunnell (Bullpen Coach)
- Jerry Augustine
- Cecil Cooper
- Craig Counsell
- Rob Deer
- Jim Gantner
- Larry Hisle
Brewers On Deck will feature a number of activities for the entire family. Autographs and photos from Brewers players, coaches and alumni; interactive games in the Kids Area; Q&A sessions and game shows with Brewers players, coaches and broadcasters; vendor booths with baseball memorabilia; Brewers Community Foundation’s Treasure Hunt, a 50/50 raffle, live auction and many other activities will all be a part of Brewers On Deck.
Details regarding autographs include the following: Recipients of “PREMIER” autographs (players to be announced next week) will be chosen through a random selection process. Each fan in attendance will receive one Premier Entry sheet which may be redeemed at the Random Selection area outside the Main Exhibit Hall of the Wisconsin Center District. The Premier Entry sheet will be exchanged for a numbered coupon to be entered into the random selection process for any one of the select Brewers players. Coupon distribution will be available at 8 a.m. the day of the event and will continue up to an hour before each designated autograph session. There is no cost for coupons to enter the random selection process; however, those holding winning coupons must pay $10 at the respective autograph stage to collect their player signature. There will be 250 winners for each of the autograph sessions. The winning ticket numbers will be posted at the designated autograph stage no less than 30 minutes prior to each player’s session.
Players and staff not included in the PREMIER autograph list will not use the random selection process. Each of these players will sign 250 autographs at prices ranging from free to $10. A schedule of players, their session times, and distribution info will be posted next week. The autograph opportunities are for signatures on photo cards provided by the team; the Brewers cannot guarantee that any player will sign other memorabilia. For additional information, visit Brewers.com/ondeck.
Autograph proceeds benefit Brewers Community Foundation. Please note that cash is the only acceptable form of payment for autographs. The Brewers cannot guarantee that any player will sign other memorabilia, and personalization of items is solely up to the discretion of each player.
A detailed schedule of all Brewers On Deck events will be released next week.
***UPDATE! Here is the schedule…***
Recipients of “PREMIER” autographs Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez, Jonathan Lucroy and Bob Uecker will be chosen through a random selection process. Each fan in attendance will receive one Premier Entry card which may be redeemed at the Random Selection area outside the Main Exhibit Hall of the Wisconsin Center. The Premier Entry card will be exchanged for a numbered coupon and entered into the random selection process for any one of the select Brewers players. Coupon distribution will be available at 8 a.m. the day of the event and will continue up to an hour before each designated autograph session.
There is no cost for coupons to enter the random selection process; however, those holding winning coupons must pay $10 at the respective autograph stage to collect their player signature. There will be 250 winners for each of the autograph sessions. The winning ticket numbers will be posted at the designated autograph stage no less than 30 minutes prior to each player’s session. A schedule is listed below:
PREMIER AUTOGRAPH SCHEDULE
Player Signing Time Stage
Bob Uecker 12:30 – 1:15 5
Ryan Braun 1:00 – 1:45 6
Jonathan Lucroy 2:30 – 3:15 3
Carlos Gomez 3:00 – 3:45 1
Players and staff not included in the above autograph list will not use the random selection process. Each of those players will sign 250 autographs at prices ranging from free to $10.
The autograph opportunities are for signatures on photo cards provided by the team; the Brewers cannot guarantee that any player will sign other memorabilia, and personalization of items is solely up to the discretion of each player (BOLD ITALICS – Premier Autograph).
Autograph Schedule – MAIN STAGES
10:30 – 11:15 Scooter Gennett ($10)
12:00 – 12:45 Logan Schafer ($10)
1:30 – 2:15 Mike Fiers ($10)
3:00 – 3:45 Carlos Gomez ($10)
12:30 – 1:15 Jim Henderson ($10)
2:00 – 2:45 Gerardo Parra ($10)
3:30 – 4:15 Will Smith ($10)
11:30 – 12:15 Adam Lind ($10)
2:30 – 3:15 Jonathan Lucroy ($10)
3:45 – 4:30 Wily Peralta ($10)
10:30 – 11:15 Brandon Kintzler ($10)
12:00 – 12:45 Rob Wooten ($10)
1:30 – 2:15 Khris Davis ($10)
11:00 – 11:45 Jimmy Nelson ($10)
12:30 – 1:15 Bob Uecker ($10)/Mark Attanasio ($0)
3:30 – 4:15 Jeremy Jeffress ($10)
11:30 – 12:15 Tyler Thornburg ($10)
1:00 – 1:45 Ryan Braun ($10)
3:45 – 4:30 Kyle Lohse ($10)
Players who are not listed above will sign free autographs on the Bonus Stage all day long.
Please note that cash is the only acceptable form of payment for autographs.
The 620 WTMJ Stage will broadcast live from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and will include interviews with Brewers players and coaches.
New this year, fans are invited to stop by the Social Media Stage for fun and games. Fans can also post their photos from the event to Twitter and/or Instagram using the hashtag #BrewersOnDeck for a chance to win prizes such as a trip down Bernie Brewer’s slide, game tickets and more. For contest rules, visit brewers.com/onDeck.
Children are invited to visit the Farm Teams Infield for free batting and hitting clinics scheduled throughout the day. Brewers alumni and players will be on hand for the instructional sessions. Kids can run around the field or try a quick game of ping pong with Brewers players.
Klement’s Main Stage Schedule
10:15 a.m. – Welcome – Brewers television broadcaster Craig Coshun will welcome fans to Brewers On Deck. The winners of the seven T-Shirt Friday designs will be introduced to fans.
11:15 a.m. – Meet the Coaches – Third base coach Ed Sedar will host a Q&A session with Brewers manager Ron Roenicke and his coaching staff.
12:30 p.m. – The Brewlywed Game – Brewers players, coaches, prospects and alumni will participate in a game show to see which pair really knows each other the best. Joe Block will host the show.
2:00 p.m. – Meet the Management and Newest Players – Brewers Chairman and Principal Owner Mark Attanasio, President of Baseball Operations – General Manager Doug Melvin, Vice President – Assistant General Manager Gord Ash will join the newest Brewers acquisitions – Corey Knebel, Adam Lind and Luis Sardinas – in a question and answer session with Brewers fans. The session will be hosted by Brian Anderson.
3:15 p.m. – Call to the Pen – Brewers players, coaches, prospects and alumni will participate in a game show, similar to Pictionary. Joe Block will host the show.
My annual countdown to Opening Day will return for another season!
There has been some decent 40-man roster turnover since Spring Training. I mark the passage of time from (roughly) the turn of the calendar until Brewers Opening Day by previewing players who wear a certain uniform number on the corresponding day.
We’re 98 days away from Opening Day, so we won’t get underway on this thing quite yet, but once the countdown coincides with a jersey, you’ll see the first column go up.
I call the series “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” and it works a little something like this:
- Opening Day is April 6, 2015.
- March 29th is eight days before April 6th.
- Ryan Braun wears number 8 on his jersey.
- I’ll write an article reviewing Ryan Braun’s 2014 and looking ahead to his 2015 and post it on March 29, 2015.
Make sense? Here’s another example:
- Jonathan Broxton wears number 51.
- 51 days before April 6th is February 14th.
- I’ll post my Broxton column on February 14th.
I do a column on every player who is on the Brewers 40-man roster along with most Spring Training non-roster invitees. I’ll update this space with a full schedule once the uniform numbers for the newest 40-man additions are announced. I’ll update it again as non-roster invitees are revealed.
Thanks for reading and sticking with me this winter. BBtJN is a very popular series and I thank you for that. Stay tuned!
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.
If you’re otherwise unable to keep up on news as it happens throughout the day (via social media, or however), allow me to catch you up on the all the roster news coming out of One Brewers Way over the past several days.
(I’ve tweeted all of this as it happened, but this is a quick summary so it’s all in one place.)
- October 27th
- 3B Luis Jiménez claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
- October 30th
- Five players filed for, and were granted, free agency
- Zach Duke
- Tom Gorzelanny
- Lyle Overbay
- Mark Reynolds
- Francisco Rodriguez
- A report came out that the 2015 contract option on Yovani Gallardo had been exercised
- Five players filed for, and were granted, free agency
- October 31st
- Brewers confirm picking up Gallardo’s option
- Rickie Weeks officially became a free agent when the team declined the 2015 option on his contract
- Brewers officially exercised their half of the mutual 2015 option on the contract of Aramis Ramirez
- Ramirez officially has three (3) days — read Monday — to decide whether he will opt in as well or decline the option to become a free agent
- C Juan Centeno claimed off waivers from the New York Mets
Quick thoughts (because you can get a list anywhere):
Jiménez sounds like a great glove with some power who carries a higher average than Reynolds. Truly feels like Doug Melvin found a player worth replacing the veteran with.
Speaking of the free agents, the Brewers could look to bring back either Duke or Gorzelanny (though likely not both) but there’s certainly a tenable position that with Duke’s performance and Gorzelanny’s recent health concerns that they choose to let both sign contracts elsewhere. I’d lean toward them re-signing Duke of the two, though Gorzelanny could be cheaper. Overbay has said publicly that he’s leaning toward retirement. As for Reynolds, when he was simply passed over down the stretch last season, it felt like he dropped out of favor. He was streakier at the plate than I think the Brewers anticipated.
Gallardo’s option getting picked up makes all the sense in the world. I covered that move specifically here before it was confirmed Friday morning.
Rickie Weeks leaving Milwaukee is truly a notable moment. He’s been in the franchise for a long time, and was really the first of the high draft picks which ultimately led to winning seasons and playoff runs. While he never did realize the level of a #2 overall draft pick due mainly to injuries, he was the consummate professional in his time in Milwaukee. I wish him consistent success wherever his career takes him next.
Wanting to bring Ramirez back makes sense to a degree as the Brewers haven’t yet developed an internal replacement at third base. Should he decline his option to seek a multi-year deal elsewhere, the Brewers could turn to Jiménez or another internal option like Jason Rogers who played there in 2014 for the first time since college, or even, assuming he stays as has been rumored, Taylor Green? (Yes, that’s how thin the hot corner has been for the Brewers.)
Finally, as for Centeno, I haven’t had much of a chance to read up on him but I did see that he was a tremendous defensive season in 2013 in the minors though he reportedly regressed this past season. He hit pretty well in the minors in 2014 though. Without another catcher on the 40-man roster outside of the MLB level duo of Jonathan Lucroy and Martin Maldonado, it’s nice to have someone readily available who also has minor league options remaining.
Anyway, there’s your end of October round up of the Brewers roster moves over the past few days. Also noteworthy in roster news is that the Washington Nationals declined their option on 1B Adam LaRoche, making him a free agent. He could be a top target in free agency for Doug Melvin
According to Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors.com, the Milwaukee Brewers exercised their 2015 contract option on starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo.
Yovani Gallardo’s option has been officially picked up by the Brewers.
— timdierkes (@timdierkes) October 30, 2014
The option, worth $13 million, had a buyout of a mere $600 thousand, but it was universally agreed that the Brewers would not be able to find similar production on the free agent market for that kind of cost.
Gallardo’s strikeout numbers have dropped the last couple of years, but he’s remained a relatively consistent performer by many other metrics including FIP, WHIP, innings pitched, home run rate, and more. The senior member of Milwaukee’s rotation also posted the best full-season ERA of his career at 3.51, over half a run lower than 2013. Gallardo also posted his lowest BB/9 (2.5) at the MLB level.
The Brewers now appear to have four of their five rotation spots secured for 2015 in Gallardo, Matt Garza, Kyle Lohse, and Wily Peralta. Jimmy Nelson and Mike Fiers would seem to be in line to compete for the fifth job and almost certainly other options will be considered come camp. But if everyone stays healthy, four jobs appear set.
There is also the matter of the holes on the team, most notably at first base where both Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay are free agents. Overbay, who said on MLB Network radio that he’s leaning toward retirement, isn’t likely to return. Neither, it would seem, is Mark Reynolds who played quality defense but was either hitting home runs in bunches or hitting nothing at all. If the Brewers decided that there is value in moving an affordable asset to shore up a bigger hole, it’s conceivable that the Brewers could install Fiers and Nelson in their rotation or return to Marco Estrada who is arbitration eligible.
The point is that by picking up Gallardo’s contract option, the Brewers will be picking up other options as well, metaphorically speaking.
Let’s get this out of the way at the top. Thank you, San Francisco Giants! Thank you, NLCS MVP Madison Bumgarner. Thank you, Hunter Pence. Thank you, Santiago Casilla. Thank you, Pablo Sandoval. Thank you, Yusmeiro Petit. Thank you (and congrats), Tim Hudson. Thank you even to Buster Posey.
Thank you, Michael Morse for tying that one game.
Thank you, Travis Ishikawa for walking the birds off the field.
I wouldn’t be as happy as I am today without the efforts and success of the San Francisco Giants. You can drop the #EvenYear hashtag on social media. You can thank a blossomed ace in Bumgarner. You can shower praise on Bruce Bochy and his coaching staff. It’s all deserved. It’s all warranted. “THE GIANTS (WON) THE PENNANT! THE GIANTS (WON) THE PENNANT!”
And as happy as I am today that the senior circuit representative in this year’s Fall Classic plays its home games outside the state of Missouri, my desire for Giant victories ended when that ball left Ishikawa’s bat.
So why am I rooting against them starting tonight? I like the Giants just fine. I like most of their players. Only Angel Pagan really gets my dander up, and he’ll miss this series with injury anyway. So this isn’t about the Giants.
As far as leagues go, I absolutely prefer the National League game to that of its younger brother. The Designated Hitter should be done away with (though I realize it never will be). The strategy and timing of the NL game makes for a beautiful, and sometimes sickening, dance where decisions feel like they loom larger. You can’t always just pitch a guy until he’s done. Maybe you have to lift a pitcher early because of a key offensive spot. Maybe you try to stretch a guy farther because his spot is due up next half inning. Et cetera. There is so much more that goes into it. It’s more interesting and more fun, in my ever so humble opinion.
I’m a stump for the NL way of life. My team plays in the National League, for what that’s worth.
So, again, I ask: Why am I rooting against the Giants?
Well, to be fair it’s about rooting for Kansas City more than it is about rooting against San Francisco.
Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Norichika Aoki. All former Brewers. All good guys who I enjoy watching succeed. But pulling for the Royals is deeper than just that connection. Doug Henry and Dale Sveum. Both former Brewers. Both members of KC’s coaching staff. I like that, and personally like Sveum as a coach, but certainly wouldn’t use that as a reason to cheer for one team over another. Ned? Not even a little bit.
So instead of continuing to tell you why I’m not rooting for them, even though they are fine reasons should you choose to use them, here’s why I am.
I look at the 2014 Kansas City Royals and I see the 2011 Milwaukee Brewers.
It’s not a perfect 1:1 on the field, of course, but the similarities even at that micro level are interesting. It’s more about how they go about their business on the field, the lights out bullpen, trading away young and controllable talent for a shot at the brass ring, the payoff of a long-term plan. You can take it one step farther and compare to 2008 in Milwaukee where the Brewers faltered down the stretch while trying to hold off other teams for the Wild Card. In 2008 there was only the one Wild Card spot available, but the Brewers held off the Mets to win it by just one game. In 2014, Kansas City got the home game by just one game over Oakland (who held off Seattle by just one game).
Kansas City rode years of awfulness to amass a bunch of young talent in their system. Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon (drafted the same year as, and ahead of, Ryan Braun, by the way), Wil Myers, the list goes on. In fact, you could almost mark the 2005 draft which got the Brewers the final “homegrown” piece to their playoff runs in Braun as the start of the Royals turnaround. In that way, they’ve been a few years behind the Brewers’ blueprint. Get a bunch of young, talented guys in the system with a goal to hit the Majors at roughly the same time, supplement with free agents, and when the moment is right, make a big trade (or two) at the big league level by sending out minor leaguers to go for it.
Let’s break that down, in case you aren’t agreeing with me.
Milwaukee: Drafted Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, J.J. Hardy, Yovani Gallardo, Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun. Traded away Matt LaPorta, Michael Brantley (and more)) for CC Sabathia in 2008. Traded away Cain, Escobar, Jake Odorizzi (and more) for Zack Greinke in 2011. Traded Brett Lawrie for Shaun Marcum in 2011. Supplemented with veterans: 2011 -Mark Kotsay, Craig Counsell, Jerry Hairston, Takashi Saito. 2008 – Gabe Kapler, Mike Cameron, Jason Kendall, Ray Durham, (ironically) Counsell.
Kansas City: Drafted Gordon, Hosmer, Moustakas, Billy Butler, Greg Holland. They scouted international amateurs like Salvador Perez, Kelvin Herrera, Yordano Ventura. Traded away Zack Greinke to acquire several young pieces. Flipped Odorizzi with Wil Myers to acquire James Shields and Wade Davis. Supplemented with veterans like Jason Vargas, Jeremy Guthrie, Josh Willingham, and Jason Frasor.
I think I’ve made my point.
Their offensive games differ, to be sure, as the Brewers hit home runs at a great pace in 2011 and the Royals are more about speed and getting hits that raise the ol’ BABIP. But the rotations were similarly solid from top to bottom, but the real crux of what sent me down this comparison exercise are the late inning relievers.
- Closer: John Axford (1.95 ERA / 2.41 FIP / 46 saves / 1.140 WHIP / 10.5 K/9)
- Setup man: Francisco Rodriguez (1.86 ERA / 2.23 FIP / 1.138 WHIP / 10.2 K/9)
- “7th inning guy”: LaTroy Hawkins / Takashi Saito (Combined: 2.28 ERA / 1.200 WHIP / 6.1 K/9)
- (the Brewers used two veterans so as to keep them fresh)
- Closer: Greg Holland (1.44 ERA / 1.83 FIP / 46 saves / 0.914 WHIP / 13.0 K/9)
- Setup man: Wade Davis (1.00 ERA / 1.19 FIP / 0.847 WHIP / 13.6 K/9)
- “7th inning guy”: Kelvin Herrera (1.41 ERA / 2.69 FIP / 1.143 WHIP / 7.6 K/9)
Six inning games are easier to win than nine inning games. Both of these teams had/have that game-shortening bullpen that general managers are yearning to cobble together each and every off-season.
I won’t lie to you though. The former Brewers being on the Royals certainly helps me root for them. In fact, it led to a series of tweets (@BrewerNation) with commentary how the team with the most former Brewers on it was winning every series (and even every game for a while) in the 2014 Postseason.
Market size, payroll relative to MLB’s elite, a fan base desperate for a winner after more than 25 years of missing the playoffs, that their last pennant was won in the 1980’s — these are all comparisons between the two franchises that help me see them in such a similar light.
But when it comes down to it, when all the dust has settled, at the end of the day, when all the clichés have been dropped…
I’m rooting for the 2014 Kansas City Royals because I see the 2011 Milwaukee Brewers and what might have been.
The comparisons can stop there, though, because this Kansas City team won the two games which that Milwaukee team didn’t. The Royals won their pennant and now have a chance to win another World Series, while the Brewers still seek their first championship.
But if these Royals can get the job done, it offers renewed hope that my team can one day get back and accomplish the same.
And that’s worth rooting for more than anything.
The Milwaukee Brewers will formally unveil the “Brewers Wall of Honor” at Miller Park today. The Wall of Honor will commemorate Milwaukee Brewers players that meet a set criteria based on service to the club. A total of 36 former Brewers players will attend today’s ceremony, marking the largest single gathering of Brewers alumni in team history, surpassing the 31 players who came in for the final game at County Stadium in 2000.
A private ceremony for inductees, their families and special guests will take place at 4 p.m. and the wall will be available for viewing to the general public beginning at 6:35 p.m. A pregame ceremony honoring the inductees will take place on the field prior to the game.
The Wall of Honor will be a permanent display outside of Miller Park on a wall on the North side of the ballpark. Players on the Wall of Honor will each have a plaque with their photo and a brief synopsis of their playing career. The plaques are designed by Matthews International, designers of the plaques for the National Baseball Hall of Fame as well as the plaques on the Milwaukee Braves Wall of Honor at Miller Park.
Players who meet any of the following criteria while wearing a Brewers uniform will be inducted into the Wall of Honor:
- 2,000 or more plate appearances
- 1,000 or more innings pitched
- 250 appearances as a pitcher
- Winner of a major award (MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, or Fireman of the Year)
- Manager of a pennant-winning team
- Individuals recognized with a statue on the Miller Park Plaza
- Members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame who have played for the Brewers
Currently, there are 58 persons who meet the above criteria and will be recognized on the Brewers Wall during the 2014 season. In addition to the 58 members of the inaugural class, there are seven active players in Major League Baseball that meet the criteria. Upon retirement, players who meet the criteria will be added to the Wall of Honor.
A total of 38 honorees are scheduled to attend the event six honorees will be represented by family members. The complete list of players who will grace the Brewers Wall of Honor at the unveiling ceremony today is as follows (attendees subject to change, those who will be present for the event are in BOLD, those who will be represented by a family member at the event are in ITALICS and those not able to attend the event are in PLAIN text):
Allan H. “Bud” Selig
Note: John Axford, Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Yovani Gallardo, J.J. Hardy, Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks are the seven active players that, as of today, qualify for induction into the Wall of Honor following their retirement. Active players closing in on the thresholds include Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Gomez.
There’s been some “confluence of events” news breaking on Twitter over the past few minutes.
Taylor Jungmann has been promoted to AAA Nashville
— Brewers Player Dev (@BrewersPD) May 23, 2014
That’s big news in and of itself for the former 12th overall pick. But then it was coupled with more…
P Taylor Jungmann — the #Brewers #6 prospect — joins Sounds & will make Triple-A debut tonight; P Jimmy Nelson will not pitch tonight
— Nashville Sounds (@nashvillesounds) May 23, 2014
And given what we know about Yovani Gallardo’s ankle and the likelihood that he’ll miss (at least) one start — his next is scheduled for Sunday in Miami — it sure makes sense that Jungmann will be starting for Nelson tonight for the Triple-A Nashville Sounds so that Nelson can make his season debut for the Brewers on Sunday.
— The Brewer Nation (@BrewerNation) May 23, 2014
Nelson has dominated Triple-A hitters this season, to the tune of a 5-1 record, 1.71 ERA in 58.0 IP, 58 K, and a 57.4% ground ball rate. He’s allowed just 17 walks and 37 hits which gives him a 0.97 WHIP. And while his BABIP against is .245, that’s supported by a 12.8% line drive rate, a 2.41 FIP and a 2.94 SIERA.
This could be just a single spot start, but also a good look at a key piece of the Milwaukee Brewers future rotation.
The only question surrounding the situation is who goes out to bring Nelson up. We’ll find that out either after the game tomorrow or on Sunday morning.