Now that the Brewers have closed out their 2011 season it's time to look ahead. How do they capatilize off what they accomplished this season? How does a small market team compete next year with out their star first baseman? How do they upgrade this offseason at the corner-left infield? Who will man RF next season? Will Corey Hart take over 1B? Is Taylor Green the answer at 3B? Can the Crew lure Jose Reyes this off-season?
So many questions--with no easy answers.
Here's what we know, Milwaukee will probably have the same starting rotation in 2012. The bullpen will look the same as well, except for KRod and a few other names not worth mentioning (I don't have their contract info in front of me).
The offense may still have Carlos Gomez manning CF and possibly even Nyjer Morgan, if he can be signed at a reasonable price. The biggest question mark is in RF, with Corey Hart being either dealt this offseason or moving over to 1B. That of course is pending the Prince Fielder question, which is pretty much accepted that he will be moving on to richer...er...bigger waters.
The infield will also probably have some new faces. SS will be vacant and 3B will probably have Taylor Green manning it next season. Green of course was a mid-season call-up and then apart of the playoff roster. Ideally, Milwaukee will like it if they can some how move the 29 year-old Casey McGehee to a new club in return for some prospects. Most likely, McGehee will stay-put however, as he is only 1 season removed from having 100 RBI in 2010. But his knees aren't getting any more durable.
Jose Reyes will be the most sought after free agent (who's names aren't Prince & Albert) this offseason. Reyes would be a welcomed addition, when Prince bounces town. He would be cheaper and he still has plently of ball left in him (29 years-old). My only concern with him is his weak-ass hamstrings and the idea of him spending at least 2 stints on the 15 day DL. He did so for the Mets this season, in the midst of earning his batting title and his career season. Other options at SS would be Jamey Carrol (old as dirt) and Hairston Jr, who plays 3B far better.
So barring any freak injuries or big roster moves, the Brew Crew will look the same except for the #4 spot in the line-up, as well #6.
Will Milwaukee try to add 1 more arm to their rotation? It's doubtfull, considering all 5 of the starters will be back in 2012. However, if Melvin can score a CJ Wilson or CC Sabathia, you can imagine that either Marcum, Wolf, or Narveson will be dealt for a SS or 1B. My guess is that Marcum would be moved to an American League team in return for some infield help, since he has 1 season left and is up for his final arbitration.