This post was to have a different, more positive sounding title, but then I read the box score to today’s game against the Giants and it got decidedly more negative. Grrr.
My favorite oft-bearded, high socks wearing pitcher is set to go 4th for the Brewers this season. Dave Bush (who was 1-0 with a 2.13 ERA in 3 appearances at the time I began taking notes for this entry), is likely the best option for the 4th spot in the rotation, despite allowing a ginormous 7 runs in 6 innings today. What keeps me believing he fits the bill to start after Yovani Gallardo (who’s officially been tabbed as the Opening Day starter for April 5th in Milwaukee), Randy Wolf and Doug Davis is that he’s a legitimately great pitcher who just has some legitimately (really) bad days. I’ll forgive the inordinate amount of homeruns he gives up because he’s pitched multiple near-no-hitters, he’s had a buttload of quality starts and, let’s not forget folks, he’s got the only post season win for the Crew in the last 27 years.
Bush has proved in Arizona this spring (minus today’s hiccup. And, not to put all the blame on DB, it was a bit too little, too late on the offense, Brewers) that he’s back and ready to start. After taking a hard liner off the elbow last season, he spent 2 months on the DL and had the worst record of any of the myriad of Brewers starters to take the mound in 2009. Bush went 5-9 with a 6.38 ERA in just 21 starts, 22 total appearances. But, even after today’s 7 runs, Bush’s current ERA for the spring is 4.34 and, as someone whose opinion is completely taken into consideration by the powers that be, I think he’s going to be a worthy starter for Milwaukee in 2010.
As far as the Crew’s 5th starter goes, it’s been said more than once that a decision doesn’t have to be made until around April 14 because of how the schedule pans out. It’s still up in the air where Manny Parra (1-2, 6.32 ERA, 4 appearances), The Narv Dog (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 3 appearances) and Jeff Suppan (1-1, 7.71 ERA, 5 appearances) will fall before that make-shift deadline. Is it possible for the Brewers to settle on 6 starters and be an arm short in the bullpen? Sure. Is that likely? Probably not so much. I’ve said it many times, overpay Suppan in the bullpen because that guy hasn’t lived up to the expectations since signing with Milwaukee in 2007. He’s past his prime as a starter and we fans just plain old don’t like him. The Narv Dog has had a pretty good track record when he’s started for the Brewers, but I know his lack of Big League experience is weighing against him. And, I’m just gonna say it: It’s Manny’s year. He’s due for a breakout season and I think the Brewers need to give him that chance or risk losing him.
In addition to the pitching conundrum, the Crew currently has 29 guys on their active roster. And we all know that means some house cleaning will need to be done before next week. Catcher Angel Salome will likely be gone, as will outfielder Lorenzo Cain and pitcher Marco Estrada. The Brewers are an arm over in the bullpen so that means one more guy will have to go. There are a lot of guys in that ‘pen that Milwaukee can’t afford to lose, so unless something big happens with how the starting rotation falls into place (ie, getting rid of the odd man out), an established reliever will be on his way out.
Now, as there are 7 days before the best day of the year, I shall share with you the new creation, made especially for the chilly Wisconsin temperatures that we generally get on Opening Day.
So I was grocery shopping with my mom today and we walked past a rack of calendars. It made me think of how, even though it’s December 4th, I had just turned my calendar page yesterday. And who do I see? JJ Hardy. Understandably, JJ wasn’t entirely terrible in 2008 and, yes, was still part of the team so why not put him in the 2009 calendar? Well, the month before had featured Bill Hall. As we all know by now, Hall is now a Mariner.
So I had to walk over to the rack and find a 2010 Milwaukee Brewers calendar and wouldn’t you know it, both Hardy and Hall are featured again!
Of course, baseball is a fickle business and unless you’re locked down to a solid, long-term contract, you’re future could be a pretty big question mark. But Hall was traded in August. Does it really take that long to put a calendar together? I mean, at least wait until late September to submit the pages. There are 25 guys on the team. You only have to pick 12. Bill Hall? Really?
Anyway, we both found it humorous that the 2 biggest slumping players of last season (Brad Nelson notwithstanding) were chosen way back when to be calendar boys for 2010.
But the Brewers seemed to have gotten themselves a catcher for next season, and at a more than 50% discount, too. Gregg Zaun, who split time within the Orioles and Rays organizations last year, signed on for 1 year at $2.15 million, with a club option for 2011. The 38-year-old Zaun will have to earn his keep, as Mike Rivera, Angel Salome and George Kottaras are all on the 40-man roster as well. The Brewers were looking to shed payroll of some of their higher-paid guys to open up their options and hopefully acquite some starting pitching for next year. They certainly did so by not making Jason Kendall an offer, who made $5 million in 2009.
Also, Doug Melvin spoke with Craig Counsell’s agent earlier in the week to discuss the possibility of keeping Counsell on for the 2010 season. As I’ve said before, I’m all for keeping Craigy on the team. Left-handed bats are always useful, and as a bench player, he’s certainly versatile. He had an amazing season last year on a bum knee, so hopefully his post-surgery knee will be even better. Plus, I always like hearing Jimi Hendrix when Counsell comes up to bat…
In other news, I just want to say how happy I am to have made the mlblogs leaderboard for the month of November. I love having this outlet to voice my thoughts and OPINIONS, even if I do create a little controversy every now and then. So perhaps thanks are in order to Zack Hample for getting me there? Yes, thanks, Zack, for not being able to handle one person, alllllll the way in Milwaukee, not liking your childish hobby and sending all your loyal minions to flock to my blog. I appreciate it!
I’m not dwelling on JJ Hardy’s departure. Sure, the Brewers lost a true hottie, a Top 10 Hottie no less, but here’s to hoping they gain much more. Much more by way of speedy, young center fielder Carlos Gomez.
I’m off to the opera tonight (yes, the opera), so I have to make today’s post pretty brief.
The Brewers have their first Spring Training win, with an 8-5 victory over the Oakland A’s. Top 10 Hottie Manny Parra pitched 2 shut-out innings in his first start and so did Mark DiFelice. The Crew had 14 hits against 8 Oakland pitchers, including 5 doubles and an Angel Salome 2-run HR in the 9th. Here’s to hoping these double-digit hitting games (and wins) continue.
Tomorrow the Brewers host the LA Angels at Maryvale and will start Braden Looper against Shane Loux, both non-roster invitees. Trevor Hoffman is also slated to pitch in tomorrow’s game, and Ryan Braun will most likely play the duration, as he leaves Sunday to play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.
Counting down to Opening Day at Miller Park, today’s pic is indeed not a picture from a game, but just a small showcase of how I mix the Brewers into my job any chance I get. As a visual merchandiser, I do what I can to work baseball into my daily routine.
Brewers display in the Kid’s Department, Spring 2007