Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ahhhh, Baseball

Milwaukee and Oakland played to a 3-3 tie in yesterdays Spring opener. Oakland ran out of pitchers. Hart homered and Counsell had 3 hits.

More concerts are coming to Miller Park, with Summerfest doing the bookings.
Great. We can expect to see bands like Def Lepard, Bon Jovi (again), and other irrelevant bands that will attract a plethora of baby-boomers to the park. Heck, perhaps maybe even a little John Mayer or OAR.....I'll pass. More HERE.

Tony Gwynn Jr., the man who HAS to prove something this season (along with Hall & Weeks) may be out for a month with a sore shoulder. Sally. Although he says it will not take that long, I can imagine this does absolutely no good for his cause.

Pretty ironic that Ken Macha's first game (exhibition) is against his old team. I would imagine he got the cheesy questions referring to this fact. No ill-will from those questioned by a bay area newspaper. Macha brushed of the non-story when asked by reporters.

Wisely enough, Brett Lawrie has decided to shift over to second. He must have watched a bunch of 2008 games and noticed that Rickie Weeks pretty much sucks and is on his last push in Milwaukee. I never quite followed his thinking on this one. I get the fact that he and Russell Martin (Dodgers) were talking over the phone and Lawrie was sold on the position by the seasoned vet...but stick to what you know young-one. This kid will make everyone in Wisconsin forget Matt LaPorta ever donned a Brewer-affiliated uniform. He is the real deal.

Andy Baggot of the Wisconsin State Journal is pissed that Macha has discounted Gallardo as the ace. Read about it HERE. Some good points in his argument.

Milwaukee's Triple-A team, Nashville Sounds, have new ownership. Just announced today.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

College Basketball Post

Tonight, as many of you probably already know is the big showdown between Marquette (8) and UCONN (1). The Bradley Center will come alive with the best of the Big East....and of the nation.

I have never been a fan of Marquette Basketball. Mainly because I never liked Tom Crean. In my mind I had always thought he was an egotistical prick. Whether it be his staunch stance against playing cross-town rival UW-Milwaukee (where I graduated in '06) because of it they were a nobody; Or the time I bumped in to him at a Barnes & Noble at the Bay Shore Mall in Glendale, WI a suburb of Milwaukee. I was there with my family (minus Evan, he wasn't born yet) and I ventured up to the "History" section. There he was, reading some book. Slowly I approached the man and gave him a nice, "Hey Coach!". He looked at me.....looked back down at his book....and then walked away. It was him...I know that. Crean has weathered skin on his face, which isn't too noticeable even on HD.

Out goes Crean, who ditches the City of Milwaukee and a prestigious university for the troubled Indiana. A school that just went through it's most difficult time in its storied history (Calvin Sampson).

Buzz Williams took over and the rest is history. I like this man quite a bit. He's a fire cracker on the sidelines and a fierce recruiter. He was Crean's right hand man in landing a number of top-rated recruits. When he was hand picked to succeed Crean, I was asking myself "who was this man?". Well, here is a great little piece on him by the NYTIMES.

While attending UW-Milwaukee I had a number of my classes in the same building that Bruce Pearl used to office out of. I would run in to him almost 3 times a week, each time he would say "hi". Sometimes he would iniate a short conversation, or I would. Talk about the big game coming out or yadda-yadda-yadda. He was approachable and could light up a room. Despite his whistle blowing (on Illinois) 19 years ago, he is a good coach and knows how to stir up a fan base. Prior to him coming on board, there was no fan-base in Milwaukee.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Let's play ball....

Milwaukee will play it's first exhibition game tomorrow versus Oakland. So if you have been craving the sounds of summer and Uecker's voice like I have, tune in to AM620. First pitch is at 2:05pm. HERE is the spring training schedule.

"Right-hander Jeff Suppan will be first out of the chute Wednesday against Oakland, followed by Yovani Gallardo, Manny Parra, Braden Looper and Dave Bush...Macha said he will use an off day late in camp, on March 24, to realign his rotation if so desired for the regular season. But there's nothing to say he won't begin the season with the rotation aligned as it is now.

So Jeff Suppan could very well start opening day. Which is fine with me. That way I don't have to watch him on Saturday (4/12) when they play the Cubs in first game of the year!

In todays intrasquad game JJ Hardy blasted a homer off Tim *Dillard. Mike* Lamb played firstbase today and made an impressive defensive play robbing Mat Gamel of an extra-base hit! Brewers inched one out....ha!
*Update! It seems I rushed through this post and mixed up Mr. Lamb's first name and forgot to add a "d" at the end of Dillard. Thanksfully, "JIM" was able to point that out in a very polite maner.

For those that follow papal events....Milwaukee's own Tim Dolan was hand picked to become the archdiocese of New York. Hip-hip-hoooooray! Pictured above, Nolan threw out a first pitch for the Crew back in 2004.

For those who live in/around Appleton and are planning on becoming rabid Rattler fans...Gord Ash will be MC'ing the "Lead Off" event on April 8th, at some bar in Grand Chute. Perhaps I just a bit jealous. I live in Merrill, we have a VFW team...they are pretty good........

Ex-Brewer thirdbasemen Corey Koskie will be donning a Team Canada jersey for the upcoming WBC. He's trying to make a run at cracking the MLB again. I can see him landing a gig with the Twins, if he hasn't already. He still lives in the Twin Cities. Why? I do not know. They butt.

The fellers at posted another interview with a Brewer prospect. Blake Billings get's the ol' "Q&A". Interesting stuff. I don't know how they pull these interviews off. I called Nick Carter once of the Backstreet Boys and chatted with him for a good 30 minutes. I don't know where I am going with that one...

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Yovanni Gallardo has wisened up and opted out of the WBC. Thank God! That could have been a disasterous mistake of Yo pitched for Mexico, having come off a major injury.

"...I would love to go and represent my country. But the team comes first."

Chris Capuano is making progress....very slowly. This is good, he's coming along just fine. You can't rush this at all. Having been through this before in his career, I am confident he will recover. I just don't know how solid/confident he will be. More HERE.

Oh...and Ryan Braun is making/designing a Metro-Sexual fashionline.
He also likes to hang around douche bags. But that's okay. He's still my favorite.

CC Sabathia's Topps card is in hot demand

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Apparently Mat Gamel isn't taking his opportunity to play third base too seriously. Apparently he reported late and has a minor shoulder injury.

Gane isn't pitching in the WBC and doesn't use his goggles anymore.

Sweet, Fielder says he's 'ready to go' this season. Unlike last season where it took him the first couple of months to get his ass in gear.

No Opening Day Start for Yovanni?

Milwaukee and Cory Hart avoided Arbitration, agreeing upon a 1 year deal. The figure was at the midpoint ($3.25MM). This is good. Granted, he was in the dog house for most of the second half....hell....all of the second half. As for the post season, he was horrible. The frumpy-looking Hart swung at every first pitch and was just as bad out in leftfield.

Mark Attanasio openly discusses just how challenging the club's payroll is. He has already surpassed what he budgeted...and will probably continue on that path by the trade deadline in July.

Lastly, Milwaukee pulled the ultimate upset by beating #21 ranked Butler, 63-60! Go Panthers!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Eric Gagne Is Back!

Tom Haudricourt just announced that Eric Gagne signed a minor league deal with Milwaukee today. He was even invited to camp and will compete for a set-up role. This seems odd to me because the Crew already has McClung & Villy competing for it. Regardless, this is a low-risk contract that will be laced (heavily) with added incentives. My, my how the mighty have fallen.

We all should remember however, that Gagne pitched pretty damn good down the stretch...when we needed him most.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Brewers show interest in Chad Cordero

It's been known for the past 2-3 months that Milwaukee has interest in Chad Cordero. Despite his recent surgery on his throwing arm (shoulder) that knocked him out most of 2008, Doug Melvin has had his staff on hand to view past throwing sessions. This Wednesday is the big day for Chad Cordero. If he can have a strong showing off the mound, then I would imagine Milwaukee would consider making him an offer. They will have to compete with other teams however.

It sounds as if they would use him in 2010 if Trevor Hoffman skips town after one year.
-Trevor Hoffman is getting used to his new teammates, and his replacement is getting used to his new role.
-Chicago Daily Herald bids Provus farewell.
-Seattle is optimistic about their new addition, Luis Pena.
-Vicente Rottino is on the provisional roster for Italy, for the upcoming World Baseball Classic.
This is stupid. These rosters are a joke.
It also looks like Brett Lawrie will be playing with Team Canada for the Classic.
-Nashville Sounds' new ownership is shelling out $1.5MM for stadium upgrades. It is my understanding that Greer Stadium is crap hole of a park that is in desperate need of a facelift.

Prince drops an estimated 20 lbs

Prince Fielder reported to camp early today and 20 pounds thinner. Typically, these types of stories are reserved for celebrities like Jessica Simpson. Fielder is a unique case where grown men are interested in his weight. He ballooned at least 20 lbs heavier last year at this time. So for him to take of 20 lbs, it should bring him to a similar size that crushed 50 homeruns two season ago.

This is great news and must have been the icing on the cake (no pun intended) for Melvin to sign him to a contract extension last month. Boras, Fielders' agent, told Melvin and the rest of the brass that a trimmed-down version of Prince would be reporting to camp.

Cory Provus to join Uecker

Cory Provus has been selected to replace Jim Powell on the Brewers Radio Network. Prior to this Provus covered pre & post game shows for WGN radio for the Cubs. He's a life long fan to the Cubs, so this pisses some off. Not me though, he will hopefully be a little more critical of the Brewers than Powell. Don't get me wrong, Jim will be sorely missed, but Provus must be pretty good to be the set-up man for Uecker.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Another Injury / Updates

Tony Gwynn Jr. injured his throwing arm a couple of weeks ago, according to Apparently he was playing catch and he tweaked his shoulder and is now on a limited throwing program.

I find it ironic that two of the three suspects who have the most to prove are now injured. Weeks will probably follow suit.

Jack Zduriencik picked off another ex-Brewer today, this time off of waivers. Louis Pena was designated for assignment on Thursday to make room for Nick Green. Although Pena would have been a nice addition to the bullpen, Milwaukee needed starting pitchers more than a reliever. So now the Mariners have a pretty decent reliever in Pena.
Ramiro Mendoza will not be a Brewer after all. After failing a physical, Milwaukee didn't want to take the risk. This does result in some good news for Wisconsinites...Vincent Rottino will now be back at camp, thanks to the opening created by Pena.

Yovanni Gallardo is starting to come to his senses and leaning towards not pitching in the World Baseball Classic for Mexico. Smart move (if he decides not to) for Yo, Milwaukee is relying on him as their next ace.

Hart and the Brewers are heading to an arbitration hearing.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

ahhh....Spring is in the air......down in AZ

Well Spring Training has officially started and Milwaukee's pitchers and catchers have all reported for duty. Of course, we can expect not to see Billy Hall next week. What a sally.

*First game is Feb. 27th against the Oakland A's. Oddly enough, that was Ken Macha's last team he managed.
*Opening Day is April 7th in San Fransisco. When was the last time the Brewers had a true home opener? In Milwaukee?

-Sheets feels that he would be a good fit with contender come August.

-Who cares about retiring Brett Favre's #4. When will Milwaukee retire #17? The coveted number worn by Jim Gatner, current manager of the Wisconsin (Wausau) Woodchucks.

-CC Sabathia & AJ Burett reported together. How cute. How much money is that reporting for duty? What heros....

-Last year asked a very important question to it's readers.....
Who is more of an icon in Wisconsin sports?
Brett Favre?
Robin Yount?

It is my opinion that Robin Yount is the most popular sports figure. He played for one team and didn't fake retirement just to get traded to a new team. Nor did he take pain killers, nor did he openly bitch about the front office (Randy Moss/Favre). Despite not winning the World Series in '82, I still feel he is a class act and will always admire Wisconsin.

In other news.....

College Gameday will be at the Kohl Center today. Apparently they must have scheduled this far in advance, because the Badgers are playing against OSU. Badgers have won 4 straight.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Pussy-Foot Hall out for 4-6 Weeks.

Bill Hall managed to injure himself while working out on his own time. He was set to report to camp next week, but it looks like he will be out for most of Spring Training w/ a torn calf muscle.
This leaves Matt Lamb and (perhaps) Mat Gamel platooning third? If so, that would be swell. Granted, Hall is a much better fielder than Gamel, but having Mat get some reps in spring league would be great. I suppose Casey McGehee could also be thrown in the mix too.

So this injury to Hall leaves the Crew with out two of it's starting fielders. Braun will miss most if not all of camp while playing in the World Classic. Throw in Hart not being signed yet, and that's three. I am sure Hart will be inked right before camp. I'm not sure what's going on with that and whether or not they are going to an arb-hearing.

Regardless, Hall is a sally.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Vinny Rottino off 40-man roster, Looper fills in

Vincent Rottino, my good friend John Links' old college roomate at LAX, has been taken off the 40 man roster. This was announced hours before catchers and pitchers report for duty. I am starting to think that Rottino just doesn't have a future with the Brewers. Just too many catchers on the team and he isn't the best outfielder.

I think we all knew this was coming with the addition of Braden Looper, who's deal was just finalized this evening. He passed the physical! Which isn't a shoe-in as we all saw with Sheets.

Milwaukee signed Braden for a 4.5MM, 1 year deal with a mutual option for 2010. On top of that, Looper can earn an additional 750k bonus if he performs well (starts made).

Newly acquired Nick Green (off waivers from the Halo's) was also put on the 40 man roster, replacing Luis Pena.

Here we go! Tomorrow is the first day of camp!

Spring Training Is Here!

Well I finally get to break out my Ryan Braun jersey to wear to work tomorrow, tradition. The luxury of working in an office that has casual day every Friday.

Pitchers and Catchers are enroute to Maryvale Park in Phoenix Arizona to begin training and work-outs. The rest will trickle in next week. Exciting but uncertain times for the Brewers. There are a number of questions being asked back home in Wisconsin and through out Major League Baseball......Can Milwaukee return to the post season? Or was last year just a fluke?

Only time will tell. Until then, one can't help but smile knowing that spring is just around the corner.

* The Brewers are partnering with Amtrack this season to run a promo for a free train ride to Wrigley Field to watch the Cubs/Brewers (Sunday) September 17th.

*Melvin snatched up Nick Green (RHP) off waiver wires from the California Angels, who had to make room on their 40 man roster for Bobby Abreu.

*The Washington Nationals grossly overpaid Andrew Dunn, signing him to a 2 year/$20MM contract.

*Post-Trevor Time is putting San Diego in a crunch to locate a closer. Looks like Heath Bell is their man. He has two saves in 236 games.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Looper set to wear Brewer blue

Haudricourt all but confirmed the signing of Braden Looper tonight. It's a one-year deal with a possible vesting option on the second (2010). Since the 34 year-old made $5.5 MM last year, it's safe to say he'll make at least $5MM, according to T.H.

I have a feeling that it will be McClung that will be odd-man out. Although most of the knobs on the "comment" boards (JSONLINE.COM) feel that Suppan should be kicked out; It's unlikely he will be the one out with gi-normous contract Melvin gave him. Thankfully we got Looper for a deal if it's a $5MM deal. This guy will eat innings and allow the bullpen to rest, because the good Lord knows that the relievers will be getting a lot of work. Especially early on in the season before Bushy and Suppan find their grove. Historically, they both pretty much stink in the first half of the season. Suppan sucks mainly the entire season (2008).

All in all, I like this signing and it allows Melvin to go after a big fish come the trade deadline.

St. Louis also parted ways with second baseman Adam Kennedy. Good ol' Skip Schumacker and Tyler Greene will be battling for it. That's why I like LaRussa, he doesn't take shit from anyone. If you get out of line with him, you're out. Ned Yost never had that respect.

Milwaukee signs Braden Looper

According to Tom Haudricourts' sources, Milwaukee may have inked Braden Looper to a contract today (pending a physical). In a move to bolster their starting rotation Doug Melvin decided to go with a sturdy pitcher like Looper. Last year the right-handed pitcher went 199 innings with a 12-14 record and a 4.16 ERA. Considering the fact that not a single Brewer even came close to that, I feel this is a good pick up. He's no CC or Ben, but a solid veteran who could take the 5th spot in the rotation, thus dropping Seth McClung to the pen. Surely, McClung will get a shot at the rotation at some point, but until then I would look for him to be solid contributor in the pen. This move only strengthens the pen and provides Billy Castro with one more option.
The only thing I question is why LaRussa let him go so easy?

Looper made 5.5MM last season. This is probably a 1-year deal.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Good Questions......

Tom Haudricourt of the Journal-Sentinel lists a number of great questions in today's paper. Check them out HERE.

I feel that the Brewers have a pretty solid bullpen this year in Mitch Stetter, David Riske, Carlos Villenueva, and Trevor Time. The weakest link is David Riske who peformed below average and sat out with an injury a good chunk of the season. Then again, I felt the same way last year. The only thing different is that Trevor Hoffman's stats are still solid and he didn't see a drastic decline like what Gagne was going through prior to coming to Milwaukee.

One thing I would look for is Melvin trading away someone like Angel Salome and possibly another prospect in order to get another starting pitcher. This could happen early, if it's going to happen at all. Melvin isn't an idiot and knows that the starting rotation is weak. I would like to see them package Tony Gwynn Jr. in that too.

Milwaukee may have 5 different players hit 20+ homeruns this season. Imagine that. That could surely offset the high number of runs that the starting rotation will cough up.

Can't wait until Spring!

Friday, February 6, 2009

6 days left until Pitchers & Catchers report!

With the shocking (sarcasm) news of Ben Sheets' injury, CC leaving for NYC, and Melvin's lack of activity in the off season....Milwaukee is faced with a number of questions and concerns coming in to Spring Training 2009.
Every club has their own problems, but Milwaukee has a big one with the starting rotation. With that being said, I truly believe that they will be just fine. If anything, Milwaukee will bring in a work horse in the mid-season. They have budgeted for that in this years payroll.

The only kicker with Sheets is that Milwaukee will now lose top draft picks for CC and Sheets.

Milwaukee did add some depth to the pitching staff with Chase Wright (me like) and some guy who shares the maiden name of my friends' wife. Chase Wright is most memorable for hacking up 4, count em, 4 BACK-TO-BACK-TO-BACK-TO-BACK home runs when he pitched for the Yankees (against the BoSox) back in 2006 or 2007. So, you can imagine this (soon to be) 26 year old has seen the bottom of hell and back again. If anything, hopefully this kid has learned and improved himself. This came at a cost to Milwaukee's farm system, in losing catcher Eric Fryer. I am not too worried about that considering the abundance of solid catchers we have in front of him. Good luck to ya, don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Now with Wright, Macha has a back-up option for when Bush know it will happen. Wright is a southpaw, which is sorely needed in the Suds City. Nothing against Bush, but he tends to struggle early-on in the season...then turns it on in the stretch...when needed most.

I DO NOT want Melvin signing any of these remaining d-bags.

Move over Tony Gwynn Jr.....I like this guys chances as making the 4th spot in the outfield. It appears that Trot Nixon is on a mission.

Yadda yadda yadda.....Rickie Weeks and the Crew avoided arbitration, signs deal. I heard Weeks on XM radio (MLB Home Plate) last night and was embarrassed for him. The guy sounds like he was eating oatmeal at the time of the phone interview. He also said that this year will be different. He is approaching this season like a "baseball player, not a football player". Apparently, Weeks has played baseball like a football player in the past two seasons. Or that's what I got from it. Then he recanted and made no sense in his explanation that ensued. Melvin has said, three years running, that this will be Weeks' break-out year. What if it's not? Then what? Then is it finally time to let him go?

As you all know, Jim Powell has moved on to take on the lead role for the Braves' play-by-play commentator. I really liked him and what he brought to the table. Being a fan of listening to a Brewer game over the radio, rather than watching it on TV, I can tell you first hand that we had it good with him. He was the perfect set-up man to Uecker. Now 13 seasons later, he's gone. Imagine when Bob hangs it up in a few years? Will he last as long as Skully (LA)? Powell enjoyed his experience in Milwaukee.

Despite my fondness for the young guns down in the minors, I don't foresee any of the big three making the opening day roster. Escobar surely won't, unless JJ goes down with an injury. Mat Gamel is a liability because he has yet to improve his defensive skills at third. And Salome is blocked by Iron Man Kendall and Mike Rivera. Heck, at this point Vinny Rottino is probably above him.

Now I can see Hernan Iribarren's left-handed bat, which is sorely needed. Brad Nelson is another guy who would see the bigs before any of the other kiddies see Milwaukee. Now later on in the season, perhaps the second half, yes...they will get the call one-by-one. With out a doubt, one of the three will be called up to fill in when Rickie Weeks goes down. Then of course, they would split time with Billy Hall....and old man Matt Lamb would be left on third....yikes.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Talk about a turn in events. MLB's website reported today that Ben Sheets is going to have surgery on his throwing arm. He failed a physical with Texas which would have led to a 2 year deal.

Now, Milwaukee is faced with the possibility of footing the bill for this procedure.

Gord Ash did mention to today that a lot of this hangs on if Sheets re-injured it while trying out for teams this off season. If that's the case, he's technically not apart of the Brewers.

Regardless, Milwaukee could fork over two draft picks if he doesn't sign with a Single-A team (deal) before the June draft. I still have yet to see why that is. More about that scenario HERE. You think Mr. Sheets is kicking himself for not accepting arbitration from Milwaukee?

So, Melvin again proves why he one of the best GM's in the bigs. Let's see what happens with these other free-agent pitchers who have yet to sign. Same with guys like Lowe, Pettite (who's out until after the All Star break), and Perez. All of which are way over priced.

No matter how you look at this, Milwaukee will probably get screwed one way or the other with Sheets. What is it with big time contracts and Milwaukee pitchers (see Teddy H., Jeff Suppan)