Will the Brewers Ever do Anything Right Ever Again?
While the trade deadline came and passed last week with the Brewers only making one move, many fans were upset with the Brewers for not trading any additional players. It felt as though everything that could go wrong this year has gone wrong, and at times it feels like the management is just sitting around waiting for next year to happen. However, you can bet that Doug Melvin tried his hardest to draw some interest from other teams on some possible trade chips on the Brewers, mainly some of the bullpen arms. It probably just came down to other teams not offering the Brewers what Melvin and Attanasio think they deserve for certain players, so they decided to stand pat. While it may seem like the Brewers can’t do anything right lately, I believe that Melvin has done a lot more right than wrong these last few years. Here are a few of the reasons that back up that opinion.
Greinke trade (the first one)
I still think the Brewers got the better end of this deal. Alcides Escobar is a plus defender at shortstop, but he’s had average at best offense the last three seasons in Kansas City. Lorenzo Cain is also a good defender, but hasn’t seemed to figure it out offensively. The Royals shipped pitcher Jake Odorizzi to the Tampa Bay Rays this past offseason and Jeremy Jeffress is now with the Toronto Blue Jays. Plus, Greinke helped the Brewers get to the 2011 NLCS, so I say the trade was definitely worth it and I think the Brewers may have won it. Although, Kansas City did also force us to take Yuni B along with Greinke, so maybe the Royals are smarter than I thought.
Shaun Marcum trade
I know a lot of people were upset with Marcum for falling apart in the 2011 postseason, but he was one of the key players who helped the Brewers reach the postseason in the first place. He pitched poorly during the playoffs, but Prince Fielder was also pretty awful during the playoffs, yet nobody blamed him for leaving runners on base and failing to help the Brewers score more runs and win more games. Brett Lawrie, who the Brewers gave to Toronto in exchange for Marcum, has been struggling this season, batting just .238 with a .297 OBP. He’s also been plagued with injuries this season. In the end, I think that the Brewers won this trade, too.
Not bringing Marcum back for 2013
While a lot of fans were upset with Marcum for the way the 2011 postseason went, a number of other fans wanted the Brewers to bring back Marcum for 2013 on a one-year deal to help bolster the (sad) starting rotation. He is now out for the season after having surgery for a condition which doctors labeled “thoracic outlet syndrome.” Hats off to Melvin and the Brewers medical staff for not trusting Marcum to be able to stay healthy and saving the club $4MM-ish this season. Although, with the way the Brewers have been dropping like flies, he would have fit in just perfectly.
If you’ve watched Segura at all this season, you can tell he’s going to be good for years to come. He’s a good defender, has excellent speed (somewhere, Brian Anderson just told someone that Segura leads the league in infield hits), and has shown some unexpected power, hitting 12 homeruns in 109 games this season. There was no way the Brewers were going to be able to re-sign Greinke, so he had to be traded. The Brewers also got pitchers Johnny Hellweg (who has struggled in his short time with the Brewers so far) and Ariel Pena from the Angels in that trade. It seems like highway robbery, but it’s okay because the Angels were confident that Greinke was going to help them get to the 2012 postseason. Oops. At least they were able to re-sign him for 2013, though. Wait a minute.
The Brewers gave Lucroy a 5 year contract extension before the 2012 season began, and, like Gomez, he has been worth all of that money and then some. He’s been great offensively the past couple of seasons and he seems to be constantly improving defensively. He’s one of the best at framing pitches and he’s improved greatly at calling games (Randy Wolf disagrees). He’s also gotten a lot better at blocking the plate, which he sometimes struggled with when first coming up from the minors.
A lot of people didn’t understand why the Brewers felt the need to give Gomez a contract extension before the season, but now Gomez is showing everyone exactly why he deserved it. He leads the majors in WAR, is 9th in slugging percentage, 15th in OPS and 6th in stolen bases. He is probably the best center fielder in the game and personally I think his defense alone makes him worth that extension. The Brewers did a good job locking him up through the end of the 2016 season.
K-Rod trade (the first one)
Somehow, Doug Melvin managed to get K-Rod from the Mets in 2011 for practically nothing. The Mets paid the majority of K-Rod’s salary and the Brewers sent Daniel Ray Herrera (who got shelled in his short stint to the major leagues with the Brewers in 2011 pre-trade) and Adrian Rosario (I’m not sure who he is, either) to the Mets. K-Rod was a huge boost for the struggling 2011 bullpen. He always made me nervous, but he usually got the job done after taking over the 8th inning role, which was previously occupied by Kameron Loe (somewhere, he just gave up another homerun to a left handed batter). Another trade won by Melvin.
2013 K-Rod signing/trade
When the Brewers announced that they had signed K-Rod to a minor league contract this season, I was pretty skeptical. K-Rod was bad last season and I didn’t want him anywhere near my baseball team. In the end, Melvin ended up getting us the Orioles’ number four prospect for K-Rod in a deal about a week before the trade deadline. We acquired third baseman Nicky Delmonico, who was assigned to Brevard County. Third base is a weak spot for the Brewers system, so this was another great trade for Melvin. Last time I checked, K-Rod had given up lead off homers in 3 of his first 4 appearances with the Orioles, so I think the Brewers win a K-Rod trade for the second time in three seasons.
The Brewers 2012 bullpen was virtually unwatchable last year. The first few months, they couldn’t hold a lead to save their lives. They started to improve in late July/early August, but by that time the damage was already done. This season, the Brewers have had one of the best (and most used) bullpens in the league. Melvin added some cheap pieces this year, signing Gorzelanny to a 2 year deal and Mike Gonzalez to a 1 year deal. He also traded with Tampa Bay for Burke Badenhop. Brandon Kintzler has been the Brewers most consistent bullpen pitcher this season, and Melvin was the one responsible for finding Kintlzer a few years ago in the independent leagues. This quick fix goes to show that you don’t have to shell out big money to improve your bullpen.
Letting Prince Fielder walk
Obviously, the Brewers (and most fans) knew that he would be gone after the 2011 season, but there were some fans that thought the Brewers should have brought Prince back, no matter what the cost. Sure, the Brewers could have matched or topped the Tigers’ offer of 9/214MM and no doubt Prince would’ve gladly stayed in Milwaukee. Since the Brewers generally keep their payroll somewhere around $80-90MM, that also means we would have to split the remaining $60MM among the other 24 men on the roster, so they would be averaging roughly $2.5MM per player. This probably means that we would have a bunch of Yuni B’s running around on the field, because that’s all they would have been able to afford. Nobody wants that to watch that. (If you do, then we’re going to have to have a talk). And, you know, nothing ever goes wrong when you give a player a long deal like that. Just ask the Angels and Albert Pujols.