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:
After we moved, there was a long period of time where all our spare moments were taken up with sorting through stuff, moving things around, putting things away, etc., and then all of a sudden it was the holiday season. By about mid-January, I could sense that we were moving past that stuff and a little extra time would be opening up. I’m glad, not only for the sake of my sanity, but I feel like I can start making lists of other things to worry about again. A little quality time with this site is one of them.
I changed to a new ‘theme’ shortly before we moved out of Milwaukee, and I still like it quite a bit. It has some limitations with a few things– the photo gallery “sub-pages” no longer display correctly, and using an image in the banner at the top is troublesome. These are things I want to work on sooner than later.
A few other miscellaneous tidbits:
- I’ll be getting an event created on FB in the next several hours as well, but be advised that Michelle and I are inviting all sorts of peeps we know to come out to Sun Prairie/Portage on Saturday, 2/27, for a ski weekend at Cascade, followed by a party back at the “lodge” (i.e., our residence) about 30 minutes to the south. More details to come soon.
- Speaking of event planning, it’s time to think about Brewers baseball (even though I hope to get *plenty* of skiing in before opening day). I’ll add some other details about possible outing(s) to the Brewers 2010 page in the next couple days.
- I just realized that the Mozilla project Sea Monkey just recently came out with a 2.0 release. They say there’s a better/easier extension system with this version, so I’m going to give it a go; if I can get most of my Firefox and Thunderbird extensions to work with SM, that would be cool.
OK, I should probably return some phone calls. Have a good weekend!