Tagged: Gregg Zaun

I haven’t forgotten about baseball…

…I’ve just had a super busy week or so that’s barely enabled me to update my Facebook status, let along blog about my beloved Brewers. So, even though I can’t catch you up on all my thoughts about everything, I’m sure as hell gonna try.

First, let me just let out a huuuuuuuuge typewritten LOL to Ben Sheets giving up 9 earned runs out of 10 batters and not recording a single out in a game last week. I found it funny. It’s not an “I told you so” moment or anything by a long shot, especially because it’s only Spring Training, but him saying at least he felt good after it? Whatev. Of course he felt fine. He clearly wasn’t throwing as hard as he could if he couldn’t get anyone out. Sheets is a strikeout kind of pitcher and if he was just lobbing ’em up there, what else would he feel physically afterwards? I’m just so happy he’s not gonna be a crybaby in Milwaukee anymore. Enjoy it, Oakland.

I’m pretty sure I haven’t mentioned it yet, and if I did, here it is again. It’s exciting for me, so I don’t care. My parents gave the family certificates for Christmas to go to a Brewers game, disclaimers and all. Liiiiiiike, no Diamond Box seats, no Marquee games, etc. So when I suggested maybe getting a table at Friday’s Front Row Grill, I didn’t think it would be heeded. Instead, it was and we got a table right over the bullpen for Robin Yount bobblehead day. It’s probably the game I’m most excited to go to. Yes, the Minnesota roadie with the ladies is still on, but Robin Yount bobble and prime-o homerun ball territory? Awesome. (Don’t worry. I won’t be doing an “ballhawking.” But if a ball happens to land in my food, super.) 

And speaking of that roadie, I’d like to personally thank Target and Joe Mauer for making it near impossible to get reasonably priced tickets. Stupid new stadium and stupid astronomical contract. Lucky for us, we managed to get tickets to the Friday night game, but by the time we were done ordering those, Saturday’s game was sold out. Unless of course we wanted to buy season tickets or a 20-game pack. Gah. So unless we can miraculously find tickets before we leave, the ladies and I are just going to have to find the most obnoxiously Twins-y bar and be our obnoxiously Brewers-y selves. Any suggestions, Twins fans?

And, since I’m obnoxiously Brewers-y pretty much all the time, guess who’s in charge of the new MLB display at work? I mean, duh. As if I even had to ask. The men’s department isn’t even one of my areas, but my boss knows better than to trust anyone else with this task. By the time I bring in some of my personal memorabilia to make it that much cooler (provided I can keep it all out of any human reach), the buyers in New York will finally understand that Milwaukee is NOT a suburb of Chicago and henceforth will never send us any Cubs gear again. Ever. (It will be worked on this week. Pictures shall follow.)

And because I said I haven’t forgotten about baseball, let me touch on a few things related to the world of baseball right now. Let me start with some looming decisions the Brewers staff has to face.

First, pitching. We all know Yovani Gallardo, Randy Wolf and Doug Davis have their spots locked down. And any idiot can tell you that Manny Parra and Dave Bush are prrrrrobably better choices than Jeff Suppan. Even Chris Narveson (whom I shall forever refer to as “The Narv-Dog.” Because he’s awesome. And it will catch on.) has been verging on amazing this spring, but lacks big league experience. I mean, your guess is as good as mine as how this starting rotation will pan out, but please, please, please leave Suppo out of it. Please!

Second, the Brewers have a few guys with “out” clauses whose deadlines are creeping up. Jim EdmOnds (I’d noticed I’d been spelling his name with a ‘u.’ No idea why.) has a 98.4% chance of making the Opening Day roster and I completely agree if and when that decision is made. So his “out” should be pretty much taken care of. Left handed reliever Scott Schoenweiss could make it to the bullpen, but so far, the staff seems content with Mitch Stetter taking on that lefty specialist role, not to mention LaTroy Hawkins being able to hold his own against left handed batters, as well. Schoenweiss may just be on his way out. And earlier today, contending back up catcher Matt Treanor was traded to the Rangers, answering the question of what the Brewers were going to do with him. I have to agree with this move, as I think George Kottaras is offensively better and will make a better back up to starting catcher Gregg Zaun.

And, I hope you all know what’s coming next.

THERE ARE 14 EFFING DAYS TIL OPENING DAY!!!

That means 2 weeks until cupcakes and cute shirts and flipcup tourneys and tailgating and wearing hats in appropriate, non-dirty hair situations and raspberry Long Islands and blue flipflops and cornhole and Ryan Braun’s bum and high socks and Sausage Races and Bernie’s Slide and, one things I’m most excited for at Miller Park this season, 50/50 raffles!

Seriously, 2 weeks until the best day of the year. Two weeks until My Boys are back to kick off 162 glorious games. I heart baseball.

 

Go Brewers!

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Fiiiiinally Doug Melvin does the right thing

The offseason is starting to finally produce some newsworthy content and I’m happy to report (even though I’m a little behind) that the Brewers organization is actually doing some useful things this winter. 

Doug Melvin promised us all that he would do his best and be aggressive in getting at least one new arm to the starting rotation and he has done exactly that in signing lefty Randy Wolf to a 3-year contract. Wolf is coming off his best season in years after posting a 3.23 ERA with the Dodgers in 2009, going 11-7 in 34 starts. He stands to make $29.75 million and has a 4th year club option. Wolf is excited to come to Milwaukee, where he’ll fit into a young(er) rotation of Yovani Gallardo and Manny Parra for sure, and possibly Dave Bush (who is arbitration-eligible) and Jeff Suppan, who unfortunately still has a year left on his contract. Although, nowhere in Suppan’s contract does it stipulate he must hold a spot in the starting rotation, all of us fans will just have to hold our breath and hope that, come spring, he will not. 
With the Brewers team ERA being the lowest in the Majors last year (5.37), Melvin and Co. are not only looking for improved arms in the starting rotation, but are looking for stability and health in the bullpen as well. Last year, the pitching staff was oft-injured, the bullpen was tapped for spot-starters and therefore was stretched very thin and there were some problems with, um, mental health? The addition of Wolf will be nothing but an improvement and the Brewers have begun to add to the bullpen, too.
LaTroy Hawkins was signed to a 2-year, $7.5 million contract after the Houston Astros couldn’t guarantee him a multi-year deal. Last season, Hawkins was nothing short of outstanding, posting a 2.13 ERA in 65 appearances, including 11 saves. With Mark DiFelice out for 2010 (and possibly off the team), Hawkins is a much-needed lefty out of the bullpen and should work well as a set-up man for closer Trevor Hoffman. 
The Crew is close to finalizing a deal with RHP Claudio Vargas (although I’m not sure why…) and have 3 other arbitration-eligible right-handers awaiting offers in Todd Coffey (highly likely), Carlos Villanueva (pretty likely) and Seth McClung (unfortunately, not likely). Also on the 40-man roster are lefties Mitch Stetter and Chris Narveson, as well as RHP Chris Smith. David Riske is recovering from Tommy John surgery but could rejoin the club at some point in 2010 and there are a lot of pitchers in the farm system that could fit well with the team after Spring Training wraps up. 
The Brewers also picked up 23-year-old lefty Chuck Lofgren in the Rule 5 Draft from the Indians. Lofgren would likely come out of the bullpen, but worked well as a starter in the Indians Double- and Triple-A affiliates. 
Although it seems right now there is no shortage of pitching in Milwaukee’s bullpen, it seems Dougie isn’t quite done with his search. However, I hope he remembers that he’s got one more thin spot that should be addressed: the outfield. 
The JJ Hardy trade brought Carlos Gomez to centerfield to accompany team stud and Top 10 Hottie Ryan Braun in left. Everyday right fielder Corey Hart is eligible for arbitration this year and unless Melvin has some big deal planned, I don’t see him leaving Milwaukee any time soon. Back-up outfielder Jody Gerut also has to wait until tomorrow’s arbitration deadline to see if a deal will come his way. I can be on board with the Braun-Gomez-Hart combo, but it wasn’t until later last season that Gerut really stepped up and I’d almost rather have more power coming off the bench than what Gerut can provide. But beggars can’t be choosers, I suppose. 
It also seems that the Brewers have more infielders than they know what to do with. The Crew picked up 2 catchers in Gregg Zaun and George Kottaras, thus leaving little room for arbitration-eligible Mike Rivera. They added Adam Heether to the 40-man roster, picked up Luis Cruz and are continuing to negotiate Craig Counsell’s return.
But so far, it seems like the team is really taking shape. The additional pitching will only be helpful, provided all the pieces can fall into place after the arbitration deadline. If the Brewers can get one more discounted starter after tomorrow, the could really be in business for 2010. With the majority of the power hitters still in place, Milwaukee may finally have that 1-2 punch of pitching and offense they’ve been lacking. I know we fans say it every season, but this really could be their year. 

A funny thing happened on the way to the snack aisle…

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!