What are the Brewers going to do this offseason? Who knows? Doug Melvin has seemed non-committal whenever he's asked about anything and nobody else is talking. Prince Fielder is yet to be traded. Rickie Weeks is yet to be re-signed. Eric Hinske chose the Braves over the Brewers. The Braves! What does it all mean? Did the top stop spinning at the end?
I don't claim to know what they are going to do or even what they could do, but I can idly speculate. That's why we're bringing you the series: What are they gonna do?
Doing nothing is what it has felt like the Brewers have done since CC Sabathia left. Sure, some of the players have changed, but the team has been basically the same. Seth McClung turned into Todd Coffey. Dave Bush turned into Dave Bush. JJ Hardy turned into Alcides Escobar. Mike Cameron turned into Casey McGehee. My 36 waist turned into a 38. The improvements have been minimal, if not non-existent, and the team has remained basically the same.
Of course, we are basically talking about two seasons here. Two seasons that were littered with bad luck, two seasons that might have gone better if pitchers could have hit their projections and two seasons where they didn't come close. Braden Looper had probably the worst season of his career. Manny Parra somehow managed to get worse at baseball, but somehow handsomer. Jeff Suppan was born. The only contribution Doug Davis brought to the team was looking like a douchebag. These weren't the best teams ever fielded, but they weren't as bad as they ended up. They should have been better. So maybe it's time for luck to be on the Brewers side. Maybe it's time to do nothing.
What would a "do nothing" team look like?
- Braun, Hart, Fielder, Weeks and McGehee remain in place
- Expected improvements from Lucroy, Cain, Escobar and Gomez
- A starting rotation of Gallardo, Wolf, Capuano, Narveson and Parra/cheap free agent
- A solid bullpen anchored by Axford, Braddock, Hawkins and Loe
Which is to say, who says that the team couldn't come back and be a winner? Maybe Manny Parra figures it out and we get a full season out of Chris Capuano while Narveson steps in and fills the Dave Bush role much better than Dave Bush. The bullpen, as it existed towards the end of last season, is pretty damn good and we should expect Braddock and Axford to combine to make a solid 1-2 punch for years to come. If everyone stays healthy this is once again an 85+ win team that with a little luck can make the playoffs, even have some room for a deadline deal and with the money not spent on pointless free agents the Brewers can spend heavily on the draft. An overlooked part of the 2010 Brewers is the fact they they spent less in the draft than any other team and that, more than the lackluster record, was their biggest failure of 2010.
Again, the problem becomes that if things go wrong then Doug Melvin can expect a one-way ticket to Canada at the end of the season no matter how good he drafts and even if a team like that did make the playoffs it wouldn't stand much of a chance, so maybe that's not the best plan either. The point is that this team, even as it sits today, is still pretty good and nothing to be ashamed of.