The Brewers went back to Toronto for the second time in three days when they traded 2B prospect and former #1 pick Brett Lawrie to the Blue Jays for Shaun Marcum on Sunday. No matter what the minions of the blog commenters would have you believe, this is a good, reasonable move. Here are the justifications:
- Lawrie is a good prospect who played well at a young age in AA last year, but Milwaukee is going to get a long-term contract done with Rickie Weeks. There won’t be any room at second base up here for at least 5 years or so.
- Marcum is coming off a 2009 Tommy John surgery, but he threw 200 innings in 2010 with a 13-8 record and 3.64 ERA (which would make him better than the majority of Milwaukee’s current stable of pitchers). Tommy John surgery is not the death-knell that the media generally hypes it up to be. It is a complicated surgery with a long recovery period, but many players have returned to success after the procedure. Marcum is not “damaged goods” just for having had this surgery.
- This solidifies about 70% of the Brewers rotation for 2011. They plan to go with Gallardo, Wolf, Marcum, and Narveson somewhere near the back (I count Narveson for about half a starter, which gets me to 70%). Not to say this is a world championship rotation, but the top three look stronger than what we were going with a year ago (which, don’t forget – included Jeff Suppan), and the youth movement that emerged in the bullpen in 2010 is a step in the right direction, too. If the Brewers can swing a deal for another #2- or #3-caliber starter (perhaps Casey McGehee or Mat Gamel and/or Carlos Gomez again, along with some minor leaguers?), combined with the prospects of giving Mark Rogers and/or Jeremy Jeffress a shot at a few starts… there is definitely more *hope* for the pitching in this scenario. Maybe better performance, maybe not, but more upside for sure.
Here’s the facts, Brewers faithful: we are not going to be able to move Prince for the sort of stud pitching we once dreamed of. Tom Haudricourt from the Journal-Sentinel has eloquently explained this several times since the end of the 2010 season. The market is not there, and the few trade partners that seemed possible are just going to buy what they need instead. To give up Prince for a Marcum would be highway robbery. But Marcum is the sort of pitcher that was available, and Lawrie is a reasonable price to pay.
What to do with Fielder, though, when the clock is ticking on this final season of arbitration? I am now of the opinion that the goal in trading Prince has to change. We can raid the farm system to pick up some mid-level pitching, but that is going to leave us in trouble 2-4 years down the road. There is no longer a team willing to pay the appropriate asking price for Fielder (top-of-the-rotation pitching), given that he is a one-year rental who will be a free agent next winter. Melvin should be taking a page out his playbook from days gone by, when the Brewers featured a trio of Richie Sexson, Jeromy Burnitz and Geoff Jenkins, and move Fielder for as many prospects as he can get.
Where is the drawback, really? We were considering moving a player that’s already on the roster over to first base anyway, in the event that Prince was gone. If we trade someone else (or a few someone else’s) for another starting pitcher, that hole is plugged as well. The Brewers are not going to be able to get the quality that they seek for Fielder, so they should just go for quantity instead. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t still have some criteria– clearly, you’d want to look at prospects that have shown some major-league ability, and try to balance out the rosters at Huntsville and Nashville as best you can, but beyond that– just go for as many as you can. I’m thinking that for the right team, who needs a big lefty bat to lift them this year, the Crew could get at least 3, maybe 4 prospects. That’s one or two more draft picks than they would end up with if they stick with him this season and just let him go in free agency.
Personally, I don’t think there’s any shame in *how* you get there, just as long as you still meet your overall goals for the off-season:
- Pick up 2 starting pitchers
- Move Fielder
- Minimal damage to the farm system
- Still have a first baseman on opening day
Let’s get it done, Doug.
Dave is in Vegas (the real one). He made a bet for me:
Suppan’s on today. I had to. Hoping to lose it!
Computers down @ work today, but thankfully not the Intertubes.
Gave me plenty of time to read an article on Lifehacker about cleaning up your music collection metadata. In conjunction with my pending upgrade/clean-install that I’ll be doing on my home machines, this is a good time to be thinking about this.
Also, enjoy the early afternoon Brewers game.
Another summer full of promise gets underway today. I’ve spent a lot of time and words in this space in the past making assessments and speculating on the fate of the local 9 from year to year. There’s so much to read, though, in so many places, so I’ll try to keep my comments more brief. Here’s a list of 10 things I think we’ll see from the Brewers this season.
- Trevor Hoffman will become the first pitcher in baseball history to hit 600 saves for his career, before June 1.
- Veteran outfielder Jim Edmonds will get more playing time between center and right than anyone would have predicted when he signed.
- Ryan Braun will hit over .300 again, and pace the ballclub in batting average.
- Prince Fielder will hit over 40 homeruns again, and will get mentioned again when we reach MVP chatter time.
- Alcides Escobar will be a Rookie of the Year candidate, and he’ll win it if he can hit over .260.
- Yovanni Gallardo will win 15 games.
- One of the team’s young catching prospects (Angel Salome or Jonathan Lucroy) will be called up to the team by the 4th of July.
- Jeff Suppan will be traded or released before July 1.
- We’re going to watch the opener in open-air sunshine.
- The Brewers will win 86 games.
Enjoy the season!
A week from today, I will be pulling in to the parking lot at Miller Park to commence with Opening Day festivities. Would you care to join us?
Dave has one spare ticket, and it’s a nice one. It’s in the “Field Infield Box” area:
- Section 125
- Row 23
- Seat 13
It’s available for face value ($80). Great opportunity to join us and have a nice view, if you’re still looking. Shoot Dave an email if interested: schrubbe at gmail dot com.
Sorry, all – need to clarify on this: the ticket you would be purchasing is a single. The four of us that are going together are in 2 pairs at the moment, and the extra is in a different part of the ballpark. I apologize for any confusion.
For the 40th anniversary of Brewers baseball in Milwaukee this summer, the team is running a series of bobblehead promotions that recognize the most notable moments in Brewers history for each decade. Clearly, getting back to the post-season was the gem of the 2000s, so CC Sabathia has a bobble. And his pose, taken out of context, is hilarious:
For a little perspective, the bobble is supposed to be CC’s celebration upon completing the playoff-clinching game against the Cubs in 2008. Here’s a pic from that day:
I had an enjoyable weekend in the Greater Twin Cities area, hanging out with Schneider, and taking a morning visit over to the Elko house.
Josh and I had a chance on Saturday night to go see Pirate Radio, which I think both of us enjoyed. Doesn’t change the fact that I don’t really get to watch a lot of movies anymore, though.
And that’s what my new system is all about. I have had enough of trying to keep up with what is currently available to see in theaters and trying to shoehorn in an occasion to get there. No, I will admit that most movies I want to see simply won’t be seen. That being said, I will now queue them up immediately on Netflix and just hope to get around to them eventually. Does this system make it more likely that I will see all these movies that I show some passing interest in? Probably. Eventually. The biggest difference is having a convenient place to keep a list.
So how about the Packers yesterday? While a lot of people in the press around the state seem to be gushing all over themselves, I have to remind people that the game was still extremely sloppy (Packers were lucky they were playing the one team that gets penalized almost as much) and it was 3-0 at halftime. Am I glad they won? Of course. Do I think it means anything in the long run? Of course not.
How was your weekend?