Al's Ramblings

Thursday, November 21, 2002

(11/21/2002 04:48:00 PM) - Al

Just saw today that the Crew added Francisco Campos to the 40 man, while allowing Paul Stewart to leave as a minor league FA, in effect, because they did not want to add him to the 40 man. I know Melvin said he viewed Paul as a 5th starter/long man type...then what exactly is Campos, other than several years older? Also, the Twins took Deardorff off their 40 man, he must have clearded waivers, as they sent him to AAA. Brilliant use of the system, it's the exact way we got George Perez from TOR last year. Teams should do it more, i'm not sure why they don't.

11/21/2002 04:48:00 PM

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

(11/20/2002 10:17:00 AM) - Al

Updates will be limited, sporadic, or nonexistant until Xmas. Let's hope for a few more trades like the deal that brought us Kinney and Valentin in the meantime.

11/20/2002 10:17:00 AM

Monday, November 18, 2002

(11/18/2002 11:43:00 AM) - Al

I'm not a fan of Barry Alvarez, the Badgers' football coach, and never have been. He has had success on the field over the years, and has maintained his gruff, mean demeanor off it. But recently, I believe his mentality has been made plain to see. In the past 45 days, he has had three of his marquee players involved in a variety of offenses, involving drugs, a stabbing, etc. In each case, Alvarez has said he would rather let the system work its course. This past weekend, a reserve tight end was charged with being a drunken college student. He was suspended. I'm not sure if hypocrisy is a crime, but it should be. A double standard exists, and it is simple: If you're good, I don't care. If you're not, you're hurting the team. This clod is an embarassment to the university and the state.

I don't think a better example exists of a guy getting away with crap because he has had success over the years. What a total idiot.

11/18/2002 11:43:00 AM

Sunday, November 17, 2002

(11/17/2002 05:59:00 PM) - Al

Melvin also announced his first trade, a two-player deal with the Minnesota Twins. The Brewers acquired right-handed pitcher Matt Kinney and catcher Javier Valentin from the Twins in exchange for minor-league pitchers Matt Yeatman and Gerry Oakes.

Doug looks like he may be reading, as both Kinney and Valentin have been mentioned as talent laden players who were "blocked" in the Twins system, and I believe are both out of options. Personally, I feel both Javier and Cody McKay are better than any catcher we trotted out in '02, and I know damn well both are infinite times more worthy a roster spot than sub 600 OPS Jorge Fabergas. Kinney is a true "top prospect", and the timing is impeccable...we're getting Kinney after his worst season. Buy low, sell high.

Of course, what often occurs is the exact opposite, people buy their stock at its peak, and acquire their players after a career best, likely never to be matched year. I assume all Matt has to do is be healthy to be assured of a roster spot in '03, while Javier has a good chance as well. I like Yeatman, but Kinney has more talent, and is further along. If Doug's trades are all going to be intelligent deals like this, we'll be in good shape in a few years. Talent for talent, yet it's a classic GM that gets a former diamond for the price of a truckload of coal. Hopefully, he'll follow the same plan and deal guys like Chad Fox and Jeff D'Amico after rare healthy seasons, rather than hoping against hope that the health will continue.

Doug's off to a fine start.

11/17/2002 05:59:00 PM

(11/17/2002 05:42:00 PM) - Al

Back in town for a couple days, then gone for 2-3 weeks. I am in the dark about all things at this moment, not even sure if Ronnie Belliard is still on the team, or who the new coaches are. Back after checking out the news.

11/17/2002 05:42:00 PM

(11/17/2002 05:40:00 PM) - Al


Love the site, I've been a stathead since my youth in Oklahoma, and I now live between Rhinelander and Wausau, up in your neck of the woods. Growing up without a team, I happily adopted the Brewers, though they aren't the Yankees. My question is simple. Why do you think sop many folks totally ignore things like OPS and walk around with their heads in the sand, muttering things about how we need to add speed at the top of the lineup? Also, what's your Ronnie Belliard quotient right now? Want him back, not, and why?



Thanks for reading and the note. Speed at the top of the lineup is nice to have, but it is near meaningless (or negative) if the guy, like Sanchez, gets thrown out a lot and/or picked off. Alex still had a decent rookie season, but he isn't half as good as you'd believe looking at .290 with 40 steals. Why is it so slow to catch on?

Other than the obvious ignorance response, you gotta remember Bill James has been writing about various numbers for 25 years, and many fans are clueless. Casual fans don't care, and the media (Drew Olson) doesn't understand the game enough to give the MVP award to the best offensive player AND the best defensive SS in the AL. As I've written, ANA gets credit for everything EXCEPT the fact they had a good OPS, they had the best run differential in the AL, and all you hear is how they struck out less. Does it mater KC K'd least in '01 and still sucked? Nope. The Yankees K'd the most, and were excellent offensively...but let's not let the facts get in the way.

I'd put Ronnie Belliard in the everyday '03 lineup at 2B myself, but not sure if that'll happen. With the AL 2B hole, I would assume he'd have no trouble finding a job, but whether he'd get playing time is a question.

11/17/2002 05:40:00 PM

Monday, November 11, 2002

(11/11/2002 06:46:00 PM) - Al

Blurbs on each of the three minor league FA's the Crew recently signed:

Cody McKay is a 28 year-old lefty hitting catcher from the OAK organization. He was added to the 40 man roster, so he seems to have been in high demand and/or very highly thought of by Melvin. Last year in Sacremento, he posted numbers of .288/.337/.439, which I'd translate to about .265/.310/.395...a 705 OPS, horrible for anyone that isn't a catcher. Some comparisons:

Ave C------.250/.315/.379, 694 OPS
Machado-.261/.316/.379, 695 OPS
Bako------..235/.295/.329, 624 OPS

A 705 OPS would be a huge step up for us, especially considering it is above average and it's much better than the higher paid Bako put together. McKay will be cheap and likely form an effective platoon with Machado.

He isn't perfect, as he only walked once every 15 AB's, less than the 10% you'd like to see. He only hit into 4 DP's however, which seems to indicate he is a pure flyball hitter, or fast out of the box (insert cliched but necessary "for a catcher" here).

Again, this shows me that there are a lot of role players, even OK starters, available as minor league free agents. I'd a lot rather pay $300K for McKay than $1-1.5 mil for a Geoff Zaun/Bill Haselman type.

Others signed include Scott Seabol, a 1B/3B for the Yankees AAA Columbus team. Scott used to be a highly thought of prospect, but is now 26 and had a .259/.309/.437 2002 campaign. AAA fellas who get out 69% of the time do nothing for me. Hopefully, this is a twofold move: adding AAA depth and going after a former wunderkid hoping to strike "lightning in a bottle", both legit reasons for this signing. If this was a move to possibly address the MIL 3B hole, or improve the bench, it reeks of poor judgement.

Finally, Brooks Kieschnick, a 30 year-old P/1B/3B/OF. According to Melvin, he will be used as a middle reliever, and possible PH. Personally, I feel Doug has it backwards. Brooks can flat out smack the ball for power, compiling a .275/.320/.540 line in '02. I believe he was a Ken Phelps all-star a couple years ago. As a utility guy, a 25th man, this fella has value, as he could be used as a mop-up man in out of reach games to save the bullpen. However, as a pitcher, he seems to have heart, with very limited stuff. While he did put together a 2.59 ERA in 30 innings, he K'd 9 men, an astoundingly low rate of 2.7 per 9 innings. If we're looking at a rate that low in a world in which Ryan Christensen leads off and Ryan Thompson hits clean-up, wait 'til those guys are batting 7th and 8th. Brooks would seem to have very little chance for success as a pitcher, while as a hitter, he would be a poor man's Izzy Alcantara, who we cut loose for chuckling, if I recall.

My God, if I wouldn't have lived through it, the Royster regime seems funnier than a UPN sitcom.

Neither Brooks nor Scott have much chance of sticking on the April 25-man roster, and appear to be Indy types; while Cody is a favorite to at least be a reserve in MIL.

11/11/2002 06:46:00 PM

(11/11/2002 06:41:00 PM) - Al

Looks like the rest of Ned Yost's staff will be named tomorrow. So far, we have Bill Castro back as the bullpen coach, Butch Wynegar as the hitting instructor, and Mike Maddux as pitching coach. I have no opinion, except to say they have minor league backgrounds, which tells me they love the game. I'm just glad to see anyone who isn't in it to try and stumble his way into a major league GM job, after sucking miserably as an assistant GM. Gammons had some nice words for the Maddux hire.

Rumor has it Bobby Dews is one of the hires, he's the bullpen coach in ATL. I find it refreshing Ned actually has done lots of phone interviews, rather than just hiring his drinking buddies, or hiring a couple TV announcers.

11/11/2002 06:41:00 PM

Sunday, November 10, 2002

(11/10/2002 10:06:00 PM) - Al

Nice to be back in our recently sold house, let's all bow our heads to the overinflated Twin Cities housing market. A couple thoughts that have crossed my mind on non-baseball issues.

Did anyone catch Bill Maher on CNN Election Night? Seriously, the man looked to have aged 15 years since last I saw him in the Spring. He looked to be painfully thin, and possessed a very old face. Not sure if it was the lighting, make-up (or lack thereof), or if he's been ill.

Actually, the election night festivities were very entertaining to me. Seeing Republicans bubble over with happiness, and Democrats shaking their heads in disbelief and disgust was odd, as there tends to be more checks and balances, some wins, some defeats. I did have to chuckle at a couple references that the '04 Presidential race was all but over. Ah, the short memories. It was only a bit over a decade ago President Bush was basking in the afterglow of 80% approval ratings, brought about by a decisive Desert Storm victory. Alas, the economy soured, and a very little known Southern governor (in '90) had won the White House.

Someone the night after pointed out that no Senator had won the Presidency since JFK in '60, yet all the Democratic "top prospects" for 2004 are Senators, or former Senators; when we should be looking at governors and such. The names I keep hearing are Gore & Kerrey. Funny thing is, the Georgia governor was the leading contender...and he lost the other night. One of the most obvious things I learned in Poli Sci is still rarely mentioned...that since the end of WW2, only 4 Dems have won the White House. 2 were Southern governors, one was JFK, and one (LBJ) many would argue rode JFK's coattails into office (and was a Southerner). Many years, the South vote as a straight Republican bloc, and it seems the best bet to avoid that is to have a native son on the ballot.

I was far from Georgia, but the idea that the Republican party attacked Sen. Cleeland as "being weak" on defense and homeland security, and that he voted against the Bush plan, borders on insane...and hellishly gutsy. Those who say genius and insanity are very similiar have proof right there. Cleeland, for those who do not know, is a triple amputee, who left three limbs in Vietnam, is as decorated a soldier as exists. He did support the Democratic homeland plan, and thus did not support the Bush version. Still, that seems like an ad that the public would see through a mile away.

Steve Largent couldn't win the governor's chair in Oklahoma, despite the elephant party's incredible nationwide success. Considering OK also were considering, ahem, banning cockfighting a mere century after the rest of the civilized world, maybe he should consider that a compliment. Lewis Black on Comedy Central said rumor has it they may be ready to ban molasses smuggling and endentured servitude soon as well:) I worked with a guy who said, in all seriousness, that the Deep South was stranger than any foreign country he'd visited. Louisiana was always his punchline state, but from here, the Sooner State is right there with 'em.

Some pot smoking legalization were voted down as well, despite huge money coming in to promote the idea, as well as gay marriage ideas. I can't say I am for or against either, as I'm pretty libertarian on most social issues. But, it certainly seems the public isn't nearly as excited about such things as the media makes them out to be. Anyone else surprised potheads didn't turn out in force to support the measure? Who we kidding, dependability and potheads don't really "go together".

11/10/2002 10:06:00 PM

(11/10/2002 07:51:00 PM) - Al

Tony Muser named bench coach of the Padres, Davey Lopes 1B coach.

So, how many times do you s'pose managers have thought, "oh, if only I knew what the bumbling Tony Muser would do"? Tony Muser couldn't run a pitching staff for years in KC, and his teams were always horrific on the bases and in the field, according to Rob Neyer at least. As little as the 1B coach does, my dog could do a fine job, but you might as well get a guy willing to actually COACH before the game. Lopes was an outstanding baserunner, and apparently thought his players would learn through osmosis.

Good luck SD.

11/10/2002 07:51:00 PM

(11/10/2002 06:05:00 PM) - Al

I just rolled into town. Will get some new thoughts up later tonight and in the next few days.

11/10/2002 06:05:00 PM

These are the good old days. Some folks are just too busy wishing the streets were paved with gold to enjoy the good times.

Whatever strikes me as interesting, and serious Milwaukee Brewers thoughts. If you are a believer in respecting OBP, throwing strikes, and keeping the ball in the park, you may have found the place you've been searching for. I believe in low taxes, small government, and am not afraid to be labeled patriotic. If you are interested in sausage race results, walk up music, or professional wrestling, you may wish to click elsewhere.

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