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 struggles....you 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.