02
Jul 12

Oof: Talking Brewers with Al’s Ramblings

Sometimes we just like to talk about baseball. No jokes, no fashion judgement, just plain old baseball talk. For that we call upon Al Bethke of Al's Ramblings. He talks a lot about politics (and Meghan McCain's looks) on his blog, but when he talks baseball there are few who can match his intelligence and rationality.

VINCE: The talk of the fanbase right now has moved past the point of contention in 2012 and moved firmly into "let's trade all of our assets and rebuild for the future." You know, because contending in 2013 isn't possible apparently. (Not to be too simplistic, but if Axford/K-Rod have 4 losses instead of 9 they are over .500. Just saying.) Now I'm all about maximizing value on potential free agents in the trade market, but I have my concerns.

  1. 85 wins is still not out of the question and I think Wild Card #2 might have 85 wins. Of course this could all change over the next week, but I still think it is possible. Just not all that probable. There have just been too many games that could have easily gone the opposite way for me to give up now.
  2. What message would trading Greinke and Hart or Greinke and Marcum send to potential season ticket renewals for 2013? I could honestly care less how rich Mark A does or does not get (one of the few bright spots of the Brewers play this season is the amount of cheap tickets available on Stubhub), but I have become accustomed to the Brewers having a healthy budget and I'd love to see that continue. A Yo--Fiers-Estrada-Wolf-? rotation wouldn't exactly send fans racing to the ticket window.
  3. And this is the big one: I think this team is clearly capable of contending in 2013, but that will be really hard to do while replacing two starting pitchers. Trading Greinke and Marcum not only raises the white flag for 2012, but possibly for 2013 as well. One can be replaced (a Fiers or Peralta for Marcum swap seems almost too easy), but both is a different story.

I think we are both contrarian when it comes to matters of the 25 man roster, but how do you see the trade market panning out? Specifically Zack Greinke. His issues have been well documented (by you), but despite those issues there is no replacement that will be found on the free agent market or in the farm system that can even come close to what he has produced. (When he is "on" at least.) Should they look to spend some money to keep him? I hate spending big money on pitchers, but this is about as similar to when CC left as you're going to get. Some pitchers are worth that risk. Well, as long as that risk isn't for too many years. Continue reading →


21
Apr 10

Rickie Weeks: All Star

I take my All-Star ballot pretty seriously. When I am casting my All-Star ballot I consider who is the best this year and who is the best historically. Ichiro gets my vote every time because he is a first ballot Hall of Famer and an All-Star game without Ichiro is like sex without waffles. As much as I may personally hate Alex Rodriguez for being a tremendous douche, I normally vote for him because he is the best at his position. However, when it comes to my favorite players I am a bit bias. I voted for Mike Cameron last season, every time and despite him being injured at the time of voting I voted for Rickie Weeks every time. The All Star Game is a time for your favorite players, hopefully the best players to shine on the biggest possible stage and that's why this year I say we vote Rickie Weeks on the team.

I know that people have mixed feelings about Rickie Weeks. He's a letdown for a #1 pick, he's injury prone and he's not that good of a defender. That's fine, you are all entitled to your opinion but the truth is you can't ignore the facts. You're not CNN (joke © Al's Ramblings). Before he got injured last season Rickie Weeks was the Brewers MVP. In just 37 games he hit 9 homeruns and had an OPS of .857. He was on pace for a monster season. His detractors said that it was just a fluke, but so far this season he has picked up right where he left off. While these early season numbers that shouldn't be taken too seriously, it's hard to ignore his two homeruns and 1.046 OPS. If this was a movie now would be about the time that Morpheus says that "he is starting to believe." Rickie Weeks is figuring this out and he is making a huge difference in this Brewers lineup.

Will this last forever? I don't know. Will he still be a Brewer in a couple seasons with Brett Lawrie playing the same position and hitting well in the minors? I don't know. What I do know is that so far this season he is one of the few bright spots on the team and I think it's about time we reward him for it. Hell, we rewarded Corey Hart for it and he wasn't nearly this good. (Yeah, I said it.) How do we reward Rickie? How can we possibly let Rickie Weeks know that we appreciate everything he is doing? How can we let Rickie know that we like him, we really really like him?

WE ARE GOING TO MAKE RICKIE WEEKS AN ALL-STAR Continue reading →


09
Nov 09

Carlos Gomez: Miller Park Drunk vs Al’s Ramblings

Twins Go Go Gomez BaseballI've been reading Al's Ramblings over the weekend and I was shocked at how Al was slowly convincing himself that he really liked this trade. I mean, this is the same guy who thought Corey Hart would be a good center field option and now he's down with a .287 on base percentage? This didn't seem right to me so I shot him an email and decided to engage in a little conversation with him (like we did before). Here's what we came up with. Beware nerdy baseball talk ahead.

MPD: Alright Al I have a bone to pick with you about this Hardy/Gomez trade. Sure, it's a cheap alternative who is great at defense (just like the cheap alternative that is great at defense we have at shortstop), but you of all people should hate this trade. After all you are the one who is constantly talking up the excellence of OXS in predicting runs and you are the one who takes joy in the failures of Jack Wilson. Now, you're okay with a lineup where 1/3 of the players in it have a combined OPS of 650-700 (and that's without including the pitcher.) Seriously, look at this group as it stands now: Continue reading →


06
Nov 09

Carlos Gomez: What the people are saying

Royals Twins BaseballI don't want to talk about Carlos Gomez. Not tonight. Let me just say that my first word was "gross" when I heard about it. GROSS as in "b. Offensive; disgusting." Yeah.

So I'm not talking about this. To properly explain my feelings I will post a few things that other people have said about this trade and you can get where I am coming from.

Bernie's Crew

Carlos Gomez is a young player who swings at too many pitches at the plate.  This handcuffs him from taking too many walks and also causes quite a high strikeout rate.  From personal experience, Gomez also rarely makes solid contact at the plate, either.

In all aspects, he is a black hole offensively.

Dave Cameron

To acquire Hardy, the Twins gave up Gomez, an outstanding defender in his own right. Milwaukee apparently wanted a premium defender to replace Mike Cameron in center field, but they’re taking a pretty big hit offensively in the swap. Gomez strikes out too often to make the slap hitting gig work, and his inability to bunt himself on base in 2009 caused his average to sink to unacceptable levels.

Even with his elite range in the outfield, Gomez is going to have to improve offensively in order to be worth a starting job. With infields taking away the bunt, he’s going to have to get himself on base in other ways, because it’s nearly impossible to justify starting an outfielder with a .286 career wOBA when you’re trying to make the playoffs.

Tom Haudriourt

J.J. Hardy is a good player who had a down year. I'm not sure what Carlos Gomez is. Thus far, a pretty big underachiever.

The Hardball Times

Gomez has been a poor hitter, but is still just 23 with plenty of possible fruitful years ahead of him. The cachet here that the Brewers liked was his defense, which should help the Brewers and their flyball pitching staff. A leap forward offensively may be a long shot to ask for, but perhaps Doug Melvin is hopeful Gomez can experience a Michael Bourn-type breakout.

Rob Neyer

Yes, he's just now turning 24. But however young, you'd like to see a bit of progress, right? Gomez's seasonal OBPs: .288, .296, .287. That looks like a guy who just doesn't get it, at all. Sure, he did much better while still just a baby in both Double- and Triple-A, but those seasons are starting to seem like a long time ago.

Doug Melvin

"He's still learning; he has areas to work on,"

Aaron Gleeman

I'm far from convinced that Gomez will develop into an above-average hitter, but combined with his defense even something as modest as .275/.325/.400 would make him All-Star caliber.

Robert @ Al's Ramblings

It's not just a bad OPS, every indication is that he has a horrible approach at the plate. His terrible OBPs are the result of a terrible approach at the plate. 4:1 K to BB rates tell me that he has no clue what's a strike and what's a ball. Nobody develops really until they stop swinging at balls and start swinging at strikes. Batters like that are just too easy to get out. See Jeff Francoeur. Or Corey Patterson.

Sabernomics

The down side is that one injury, and this kid is toast. He can’t move over to a corner. You’ve just got to hope he learns how to hit (unlikely) or stays healthy.

Twins GM Bill Smith

He's still learning to play the game.


Alright, fine. I'll say something. This isn't an outright terrible trade. It saves the Brewers a lot of money and that helps them. My favorite player was expensive. Sorry. He was expensive because he was good. This guy is better than Cameron at defense so he's probably an upgrade, but he's just not good at hitting and unless they go out and get some really awesome pitchers it's going to be pretty hard to sell me that this was a good idea. Why? Look what the bottom part of our lineup might look like:

6. Kendall (or new catcher)
7. Gomez
8. Escobar
9. Pitcher

That's not even including the suddenly average Corey Hart or whoever ends up playing third (does McGehee decline? does Gamel stumble?). As of today this lineup leans more on Braun, Fielder and to a lesser extent Weeks/McGehee/Hart than ever before. One wrong move and then what? Our defense will be great, but does that even matter when the team is giving up homeruns? (Which, by the way, gave up more than any other team last year.) Sure we save money, but if we spend it on Jarrod Washburn (Jeff Suppan 2.0) or some other mediocore piece of crap then who gives a rip?

Look, the Yankees and Phillies just played in the World Series. Yes, they both have more money than us, but you know what? They each led their league in homeruns. (The Brewers were third.) What does that tell you? The homerun is king and they've removed 35 homeruns from last year's team for two guys who will play better defense, but will be lucky to hit 10 combined. Can this really be considered a good thing?


14
Sep 09

Anatomy of a Play

In case you missed the Brewers game yesterday (and I am guessing you probably did), Alcides Escobar made probably the best play I have seen all year. I described it on twitter as "alcides with a play jj is incapable of dreaming about" and later Al's Ramblings said basically the same thing (I would link to the post but Al has a terrible CMS that won't allow it). If you didn't see it or just want to watch it again, here it is.

Whenever you see a play like that you are awestruck and filled with questions. How did he do that? What was going through his mind on the play? Well, luckily for you I have the upgraded version of MLB.tv which includes a new feature called mind reading which I have transcribed for your enjoyment. Continue reading →

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