Joining us this week for the Thursday Q & A is Jaymes from The Brewers Bar.  As you’ll find out The Brewers Bar is one of more established & ‘older’ blogs out there and a great source for Brewers news, opinion and other updates. 

Give us a little history on The Brewers Bar, how and why you started and idea for the name.

I joined the Brewers Bar staff around this time last season, actually, when it was still at MVN (Most Valuable Network, run by Evan Brunell of Fire Brand of the American League fame).  Unfortunately, MVN folded at the end of last year due to hosting costs, so we made the move over to the Bloguin network of blogs.  We were in a bit of a transitional stage in December while the new blog was getting set up, which is a pretty horrible time for a baseball blog to be in limbo, with the winter meetings and free agency happening.  Fortunately, we were up on Bloguin around the start of January and it’s been a blast so far.

As for the name, that’s a better question for David Hannes, who created the blog way back at the end of 2006 and still writes when he can to this day.  I’ve always liked the name, though, and it made for a really cool new banner when the new site launched in January.

Is there a place for Chris Capuano once Doug Davis returns or should he be released? After all, Capuano isn’t going to be used in the pen.

Sadly, if the Brewers can’t find the spare innings for Cappy now, I don’t know how they’re going to do it once Doug Davis gets back (and especially when LaTroy Hawkins returns).  Whoever is going to be bumped from the rotation in favor of Davis is going to need to stay stretched out, so they’ll probably take over multi-inning duties.  If that happens, Capuano *really* isn’t going to have a place, and I think the team would be better off using the roster spot elsewhere.

I don’t think there’d be much interest for a guy coming back from his second Tommy John surgery and throwing so slow that pitch f/x was confusing his fastball for a changeup, so maybe he’d be open to a return to Nashville in order to stay stretched out instead of opting for free agency.  I had worries about his ability to throw 5 innings without getting completely gased when he first came up; now I’m not sure I would trust him to get through 3.

Given Narveson’s improvement and Wolf’s struggles, should Randy be sent to the pen when Doug Davis returns? Or should they go with the six man rotation Macha has mentioned?

Randy Wolf’s statistically been the worst starting pitcher on the team this year, and with Trevor Hoffman’s recent streak of scoreless outings, he may even be the worst-performing pitcher on the roster.  With that said, there’s less than a 1% chance Wolf loses his rotation spot this season.  Taking him out of the rotation halfway through year one of his deal would be admitting the contract was a huge mistake, and there’s not a manager or GM in the league that would do it.  As bad as Wolf has been, there’s reason to believe he’ll get better.  If Hoffman can start getting better results, I think Wolf can.  I just wouldn’t count on him to be anything more than your #4 right now.

A 6-man rotation until the All-Star break wouldn’t be the worst idea Macha’s ever had.  It would at least let them see if Davis has anything left (or at the very least, give him enough rope to hang himself with like they did with Suppan).  The extra days off would be beneficial to guys like Yovani Gallardo, too, who’s had to deal with some ridiculous pitch counts.  But that’d be going too far off on a tangent.

Short answer: I still think Narveson gets moved to the bullpen, even though he’s about third on the list of guys who should be moved.

Hawkins is soon to start throwing off the mound. Who gets ejected once he returns? Or should the present group be retained and Hawkins released?

I’m one of the few Hawkins supporters left standing, which is weird because I wasn’t a fan of the signing when it happened.  Outside of two very bad flare-ups in April and his final outing where he was pretty clearly hurt, Hawkins was the best reliever this team had.  I think this team could use him when he’s ready to return, but the problem is that everyone who deserved to be let go is already gone, and the guys we have now are pretty damn good.

If Capuano survives Davis’ return, I think his time comes when Hawkins is ready to come back.  If he’s not around by then (or if they want to keep him around longer), I could see someone like Braddock becoming a victim of the numbers game and being sent down temporarily.  Of course, if the team falls further out of contention by the time Hawkins comes back, it might be a good idea to start shopping some guys like Riske or Coffey, and that might create an opening.

Seem to be focusing on pitching questions here, but we’ll have one more.  What do you attribute the recent pitching successes to?

I think it boils down to trusting the defense, which is an extremely hard thing to do with this team.  For the most part, we’re seeing the Brewers walk less guys than they did in May and give up less home runs than they did in April.  I had a post a week or two ago about the correlation between the starters inducing more ground balls and the recent string of good starts.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence — instead of giving up two-run homers, they’re getting inning-ending double plays.  That leads to shorter innings, which leads to longer starts, which leads to less innings for the bullpen to pick up, which leads to better bullpen performance because they’re actually rested.

Unlike other professional sports drafts, most players picked in the MLB draft will need a few years of seasoning before ever even sniffing the Majors.  What is your take on the recent MLB Draft and the picks the Brewers made?

Those that are upset with the pick of Dylan Covey are probably people that wanted to see the team take a college pitcher that would presumably get to the big leagues sooner.  Well, that’s what Eric Arnett was supposed to do when the Brewers picked him last year, and now he’s failed so horrifically at Wisconsin that he’s repeating Rookie ball.  All indications are that while Covey is a high school pitcher, he’s the type that will still advance quickly.  In that regard, he compares favorably to Yovani Gallardo — his stuff is already being compared to Yo’s, in terms of velocity and his breaking pitches. 

The more I read about Covey in the days after the draft, the more I liked him.  Yeah, he might not get to the big leagues as fast as a college pitcher would, but his upside is so much greater that I think the Brewers made the right call — did they really need another Dave Bush type?  Because that was the ceiling of a lot of the college guys left.

Overall, I think the draft class was solid, but Covey’s probably the only guy with the potential to be really, really good.  That’s not a knock on Bruce Seid’s drafting, though, because this was a pretty weak class.

Of course, come late July the 800 pound gorilla in the room will be what to do with Prince Fielder.  If you were in Doug Melvin’s position, what you do?

I keep him through the season, and work like a madman at the winter meetings to get a deal done in December.  It definitely seems like that’s the way Melvin’s thinking, too, and for good reason — you’re only limiting your options by dealing a player in the middle of a season, and you’re not going to get exactly what you want.  Sure, Prince’s trade value might be higher with 1.5 years of team control left rather than just 1, but what good does that do if you only have the Angels interested and they only want to give up guys who project to be #3/#4 starters (not a real trade rumor, just characterizing what the market seems to be right now)? 

A midseason deal like the one the Rangers got when they traded Mark Teixeira would be a dream come true, but a deal like that will never happen again.  I just don’t think Prince has as much trade value as a lot of fans think he does, and that was even before he got off to this slow start.  Still, I think a trade needs to be made — the Brewers have been burned more than once when they were planning to just take the compensation picks.  The main target in a trade should be pitching, since Mat Gamel or Casey McGehee could slide over to first base and at least be around league-average offensively.

Speaking of trading players, it also seems that Corey Hart’s name is surfacing a lot more in regards to trade talks.  What is your take on that?

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably noticed I’m a big fan of trading Corey Hart.  Part of my reasoning is that I just don’t think Hart’s value will ever be higher than it is now, but I’m also not the type that assumes other GM’s don’t know that.  I do have other reasons for wanting to trade him, though.  One, there’s a definite need for corner outfielders among contenders right now.  San Diego could use an upgrade there, as could Tampa Bay.  Two, if you don’t trade Corey Hart, you’re looking at another expensive arbitration case this winter with the numbers he’s going to have by the end of the year.  The people who were upset with his salary heading into this season won’t be happy when he puts in for $8-$10 million after hitting 30 home runs and driving in 100.  Three, guys who can hit like Hart in right can be found anywhere for about half that price.  Eric Hinske is OPSing around .900 this year for the Braves and is making $1 million with another $500k in performance bonuses.

While things do seem to be on the rise for the Brewers right now, Ken Macha still took a lot of heat early on when things weren’t that great.  Do you see Macha returning next year?

I don’t.  Ken Macha was hired because of his track record of winning games in Oakland.  Ned Yost was the guy to get us up the mountain, Ken Macha was supposed to be the guy to lead us to the top.  It hasn’t happened — this team has at best been treading water since Macha got here, and at worst has regressed in some ways.  For much of this year, this wasn’t the fun-loving young Brewers we loved to watch in 2008.  They’ve never seemed comfortable with him, and others have openly spoken out against him (Hart called the idea of losing his job in spring training “stupid,” Bush isn’t happy about constantly getting jerked around, etc.).  He’s oddly passive and overbearing at the same time — he’s like a strict dad that wants to keep you in line but never has your back if you need support.  I’m not a huge fan of blaming problems on the manager, but it seems pretty clear to me that he hasn’t added anything to this team, either, and for that reason there’s no reason to pick up his option.

What advice would you give to sports bloggers (or bloggers in general) as it relates to starting or maintaining their blogs?

Don’t get caught up in hits or page views, just feel good about what you’re writing.  If you’re writing a blog to get famous, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.  If you’re really into that stuff, just focus on putting up consistently good content and the readers will come.  Also, get on Twitter and actually be a “real person” there — talk with people, have fun, and don’t just post a bunch of your links.  It’s a lot more fun to read a blog if you feel like you know the person behind the screen name.

(Also: proofread.  I personally strive to have less mistakes in my posts than Anthony Witrado.  Yeah, it’s a low bar to set, but it’s still a bar)

Wally: Another good comment here on getting on Twitter and building a following there as well, especially as it pertains to interacting with people in that medium.

…and now for the lighting round.

Your all-time favorite Brewers player is:

Jeromy Burnitz…I fell in love with him watching him go head-to-head with Griffey in the home run derby as a kid.

Your favorite Brewers blog to read that is not named The Brewers Bar is:

Disciples of Uecker , followed closely by Brew Crew Ball

Wally: You can read our Thursday Q & A with Jack from Disciples of Uecker here .

If there were no Brewers, you would have a blog about:

College Basketball

If you were a pro baseball player, your position would be:

They’d try to hide me in left field like Ryan Braun.

Should I ever run into you at a bar, I should buy you a _____________ for taking the time to answer these questions.

Miller Lite. I’m easy to please.

Thank you Jaymes for being our guest this week on the Thursday Q & A.  The Brewers Bar is always open so make sure to stop by and Jaymes can be found on Twitter as well so make sure to give him a follow.

If you’re a Wisconsin sports team blogger and would be interested in being a guest on the PocketDoppler.com Thursday Q & A, just let us know !

 

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  • http://www.retaggr.com/page/crichar3 Chris

    Nice interview. Thanks Jaymes for playing the home version of our game…

  • http://mike BigSnakeMan

    “Taking him(Wolf)out of the rotation halfway through year one of his deal would be admitting the contract was a huge mistake, and there’s not a manager or GM in the league that would do it.”

    I agree with that assessment but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done. Teams that try to ‘finesse’ their mistakes are the ones that end up compounding them.

    Some very impressive ‘takes’ here; the most well reasoned I’ve read this side of my man Chris. Great interview.