Back in early December, UmpBump’s Coley argued that the Brewers needed to go all in to try and win now before the current window of opportunity closed.
And the Brewers answered his call.
By signing Jorge Julio. Ba-zing.
All right, fine. Their acquisition of Trevor Hoffman was certainly newsworthy. And despite posting his worst ERA (3.77) since 1995, Hoffman’s still a decent pitcher who should be an asset to a Brew Pen that lost Salomon Torres to retirement.
But he ain’t C.C. Sabathia. And he ain’t Ben Sheets either.
Milwaukee lost their #1 pitcher to some team in New York for some amount of money that I can’t even fathom. And while Ben Sheets is yet to sign anywhere on the market, GM Bob Melvin has stated that it’s unlikely Sheets will be back.
So as of this writing, the Brewers have a rotation headed by 22-year old Yovani Gallardo – who is yet to even pitch 140 innings in a big league uniform – followed by Dave Bush, Jeff Suppan, Manny Parra, and Seth McClung. That doesn’t sound like a playoff rotation to me.
Parra certainly has upside and could take another step forward in 2009. But we know what we’re going to get from Bush, Suppan, and McClung and it won’t be enough.
Plus, you might be surprised to know that a lineup featuring guys like Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, J.J. Hardy, and All-Star Corey Hart only scored 750 runs in 2008 – 17th out the 30 teams. How could this have happened? Two words. O.B.P.
The Brew Crew finished 21st in MLB with a .325 team OBP, which resulted in only 2359 ABs as a team with a runner on base, which was 22nd out of 30. If your big boppers don’t get the chances to drive them in, they ain’t going to. And thus far this off-season, the Brewers haven’t done anything to address this. They signed Trot Nixon and Chris Duffy to minor league deals, and that’s it.
However, it’s very much possible that the Brewers offense will be better in 2009. For one, I still believe that Rickie Weeks is better than his numbers have shown. He still strikes out far more than a player with his power level should, but he’s shown us that he has the patience to be a good lead-off option. Corey Hart had a dismal second half (and I mean dismal) that I believe was a fluke (and if he realizes that walking from time to time is a good thing, even better). J.J. Hardy needs to be recognized as a shortstop who’s not far behind the Hanley-Reyes-Rollins group of the NL elite. Not to mention the fact that Prince and Braun are still 25-and-under. This is a team that can hit – and they’ll have to because their starting pitching will be serving them up.
Added: Trevor Hoffman, Jorge Julio, Trot Nixon, Chris Duffy, Scott Thorman
Lost: C.C. Sabathia, Ben Sheets, Ray Durham, Salomon Torres, Guillermo Mota, Russell Branyan, Gabe Kapler, Brian Shouse, Laynce Nix
C: Jason Kendall
1B: Prince Fielder
2B: Rickie Weeks
3B: Bill Hall
SS: J.J. Hardy
LF: Ryan Braun
CF: Mike Cameron
RF: Corey Hart
SP1: Yovani Gallardo
SP2: Dave Bush
SP3: Jeff Suppan
SP4: Manny Parra
SP5: Seth McClung
CL: Trevor Hoffman
IF Chris Capuano comes back healthy in July, he should help the depleted rotation. But there were two things that Doug Melvin should have done to ensure contention – add to the rotation and improve the team’s OBP. He was able to do neither, regardless of who or what’s to blame. And although there’s still time between now and Spring Training, Melvin’s already said that he’s done with notable acquisitions. I like this team enough to want to be more positive about what they’ve done but it wouldn’t be honest. The Brewers are taking a step back in 2009. And the service time for their young, cheap, talent is ticking away…