There was much speculation in the air this week about whether the Milwaukee Brewers would and/or should be buyers or sellers as the upcoming interleague trading deadline approaches.  Before this week’s disappointing home sweep at the hands of the San Francisco Giants, General Manager Doug Melvin noted that, since the first month of the season, the Brewers possessed the same record as their division rival St. Louis Cardinals implying that it was too early to write off the season prior to the All-Star Break.  What Melvin failed to add was that the Cardinals were a sub-par 3 games below .500 over that span and struggling to stay in playoff contention themselves.  Since this team had the look of a .500 ballclub from the outset of the season, it’s hard to imagine the Brewers putting together the type of run that would bring them back into playoff relevance.  (And no, this weekend’s mini resurgence against the woeful Pirates doesn’t count; neither of those wins is particularly confidence inspiring.)  That would make it incumbent upon Melvin to explore all avenues to improve the long range outlook of the team.

As my friend and PD colleague Chris posted here yesterday, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Brewers should immediately go into complete rebuilding mode.  We pretty much just went through that cycle and came up short.  The young core of Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart and J.J. Hardy was supposed to insure that Milwaukee remained a playoff contender for years to come.  Now, Hardy is already gone and trade rumors are swirling around all the rest of them except Braun, and that’s only because he’s signed long term to a reasonable contract.  Like Chris, I don’t profess to know the specifics of what needs to be done; that’s Melvin’s job.  But I do agree with him that any moves that are made have to be for players who are already or near major league ready.  To ask the fans to accept another long term rebuilding project would be unrealistic in terms of maintaining attendance at Miller Park, which is vital to the financial health of the franchise. 

I do, however, have a couple of suggestions for Melvin as he goes about remaking the team.  First, the crackdown on steroids and amphetamines in major league baseball dictates that there needs to be a sea change in organizational philosophy to an emphasis on pitching, and yes, defense.  Those are attributes that have been backburnered in Milwaukee for far too long.  And by defense, I mean the true fundamental kind as opposed to the pseudo variety as practiced by the current whiz kid shortstop.  It’s absolutely unconscionable that 40 year old Jim Edmonds is probably the Brewers best defensive player.  Second, no one on the ballclub should be untouchable if Melvin feels he can improve the team.  They won’t be able to keep Fielder long term anyway and, even with the hot streak he’s currently on, Hart doesn’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of opponents and has always left something to be desired as a defender and clutch hitter. 

Beyond that, I trust Melvin’s judgment.  With the possible exception of Nelson Cruz, it’s hard to point to any player he traded away that might have made a difference had he stayed in Milwaukee.  Call it a lack of intestinal fortitude or whatever you want, but something is clearly missing with this team.  The whole just doesn’t seem to be as great as the sum of the parts.    

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Back on the field, the Brewers DL’d staff ace Yovani Gallardo in favor of returning starter Doug Davis thereby eliminating the prospect of hurting anyone’s feelings.  Except, of course, for Brewers’ fans.  Davis picked up right where he left off, serving up two Pittsburgh gopher balls in his 5 inning stint on Friday night.  Actually, that’s a little better than he left off if only because he was so dreadful before.

BTW–Remember back a couple of weeks ago when Casey McGehee was slumping and many fans seemed ready to jettison him for Matt Gamel?  Since that time, Casey Mac has rebounded to hit .354 over the last two weeks with an OPS over .900.  Even if McGehee reverts to his minor league averages, he still provides a solid presence at the hot corner and is light years ahead of what the Brewers have had there in the recent past.

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Nice little ceremony by the Brewers Friday night honoring former outfielder Geoff Jenkins in his ‘official’ retirement as a player.  Jenkins displayed a sense of humor in his press conference, a trait that no doubt served him well as he was often the best player on some bad Brewer teams.  Jenkins probably never got his due in Milwaukee; there were a couple of stretches in his career when he nearly carried the team singlehandedly.  Though these ‘re-signings’ are a little contrived, it’s usually a pleasant gesture for the player and also the fans.  Lord knows the Brewers can use all the fan goodwill they can get these days.

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LeBron James much ballyhooed departure from Cleveland opens up a window for the Milwaukee Bucks to challenge the Chicago Bulls for a division title in the suddenly diminished NBA Central.  It also presents a potential opportunity for the Bucks General Manager John Hammond to move Michael Redd.  With the re-signing of John Salmons and the acquisitions of Corey Maggette and Chris Douglas-Roberts, there would seem to be little place for Redd with the revamped Bucks.  Having just lost one hometown star, the Cavaliers might be open to the idea of replacing him with another one.  I don’t know if Hammond can work out the cap logistics or if Cleveland actually has anything left that he’d want.  Another fly in the ointment were reports this weekend that Redd doesn’t intend to return until February.  But such a trade would allow the Bucks to get out from under Redd’s contract while permitting good guy Redd to play in his home state.  Hammond would be remiss not to explore the possibility.

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Edgerton native Steve Stricker is putting on a clinic at the John Deere Classic golf tournament in the Quad Cities.    Stricker shot 60-66-62 en route to a six stroke lead and the 54 hole PGA scoring record.  If he can shoot 65 or better today, he’ll break the all time PGA tournament record.  Stricker got a little loose with his driver on the final two holes on Saturday but still managed to save par.  Stricker obviously has a comfort zone at the course as he’s the defending champion.  Here’s hoping he can go low again on Sunday and repeat his title.

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RANDOMLY FIRING SYNAPSES:  Brewers radio voice Bob Uecker can’t return fast enough.  The way things are going, that’s the only way I’ll be able to endure the second half of the season……….Isn’t it past time that Miller Park removed the centerfield banner enumerating Trevor Hoffman’s career saves?  To leave it up is an affront to the future Hall of Famer; especially since he was uncomfortable with the idea in the first place……….Memo to the fan who gave the Pirates a ground rule double in the 4th inning last night:  If you’re going to interfere with the ball in play, don’t then render the point moot by throwing the ball back on the field.  Incredible!………As far as I’m concerned, the Brewers best lineup includes Edmonds in centerfield, Craig Counsell at shortstop and Jonathan Lucroy behind the plate.  That doesn’t say much for the Hardy trade………With as many times as Weeks has been hit by pitches this year, he’ll need to be fitted for a body cast by season’s end………..Does anyone else have a bad feeling about Hart participating in the HR contest at the All-Star game?……….If the Houston Astros could somehow find a way to combine outfielders Jason Bourgeois and Michael Bourne, they’d have one deadly outfielder…………..I wonder if PGA pro Charlie Wi plays Wii Golf………….And finally, our long national nightmare will soon be over with today’s conclusion of the World Cup.  Hopefully, that means that we won’t have to concern ourselves with soccer for at least another 4 years.  If I ever again hear another vuvuzela, it will be too soon.

Thanks for reading.  Enjoy the rest of your hot weekend.          

 

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  • http://pocketdoppler.com Dave Kerwin

    Now I know what to get you for Chriatmas. Can you say vuvuzela?

  • http://mike BigSnakeMan

    I’m sure Brandon will enjoy it. Thanks, “Dave”.

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

    *In fairness to Melvin, Cruz was looking like a AAAA player when he dealt him to TX. The guy was older (26/27?) and Hart was younger and ascending. Then he struggled in TX for a couple seasons before breaking out. I give Doug a pass on this one.

    *You’re telling me Charlie Wi is not a city in Wisconsin?

    *After seeing Escobar and Gomez play, even Morticia wants to see JJ back in MKE.