Al's Ramblings

Saturday, December 31, 2005

(12/31/2005 11:45:00 PM) - Al

As the current year comes to a close, I took a night off from the bonus grind to play a tournament with some old "points" at Full Tilt, the very site I promote over on the sidebar.

As with the links I have over there, I do not put up just anyone who asks. For whatever reason, I decided long ago to only post links that I check out often, and would say is one I would recommend.

I rarely play at Full Tilt, for reasons I won't get into here, but allow me to say it certainly isn't due to the software. I've been in my tourney now for about 2 hours, playing for an entry fee "ticket" to another tournament, and not a single glitch, "timeout", hesitation, or pause.

Simply put, it is the best poker site out there, and it isn't even close. If you play online, or are looking to begin (now there's a resolution you can keep!), click here or on the sidebar and take a gander at the magnificent tables, and the speed and ease in which the operation takes place. They still match your first deposit 100%, and they have limits as low as 5c/10c, as well as practice tables where you can play for fun or to practice.

Maybe you'll even see me there, as I intend to take part in their Ironman challenge, so I will be there 28 straight days, I hope.

12/31/2005 11:45:00 PM

(12/31/2005 06:43:00 PM) - Al

I find it difficult to believe that anyone that doesn't like Rachael Ray is even tolerable to spend 5 minutes with. Sure, she's a bit too perky, but if that's a person's biggest problem, that's OK.

I never knew she posed for FHM either [yes, they're safe for work viewing]. She's kinda cute, but I am always surprised of all the talk about her looks...she's a regular woman in her mid 30's.

12/31/2005 06:43:00 PM

Friday, December 30, 2005

(12/30/2005 09:14:00 AM) - Al

Well written post about how much the Blue Jays have improved...not to mention they will get more help for their plethora of 1B/3B they have left to deal.

What's ironic to me is the Pirates signing of Joe Randa, which Robert discussed below, keeps them out of the mix for a Shea Hillenbrand/Eric Hinske, either of whom I'd prefer to Randa, especially on a team like PIT, unlikely to contend in '06. Spending $4M and barely improving the team is a painful thing to have to watch.

12/30/2005 09:14:00 AM

Thursday, December 29, 2005

(12/29/2005 08:43:00 AM) - Robert R.

The Pirates are about to sign Joe Randa to a one year deal of approximately $4 million.

As a one year stopgap, you could certainly do worse. Randa is coming off a .276/.335/.452 year which is very close to the NL average for a third baseman in 2005 of .274/.344/.442. It pushes Freddy Sanchez into a utility role or over to second, but he's probably more suited to being a middle infielder/utility player anyways.

The problem with the signing is where it fits in the big picture. Technically, the Pirates are probably a better team in 2006, but they've only improved marginally and look like they're headed towards another 75-win type season. The Pirates have a poor offense surrounding Jason Bay and their attempts to fix it are to bring in Sean Casey and Joe Randa? I suppose they could try to flip Randa for a prospect at the deadline, but the Pirates' track record in that department is dismal. If you could see how this signing fit into a larger plan, that would be one thing, but this just looks like a "we're not going to be bad enough to get the GM fired" type of move.

Joe Randa is still a useful player in the right circumstances, Minnesota for instance. And he's not signed for too much or for too long. I just don't see the point in the big picture for Pittsburgh as Randa isn't a huge upgrade over Sanchez. It's not a bad signing necessarily, just one that has minimal impact.

12/29/2005 08:43:00 AM

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

(12/28/2005 07:25:00 PM) - Al

The Mets sign Chad Bradford, 1y/$1.4M.

I really liked the idea of adding Chad, but in the past, Melvin has often chosen to add velocity. The money was certainly "fair" for a reliever of his experience and past success. I did hear that his back injury was considered to be serious, and that he may just retire...maybe there was some hesitation about that as well.

12/28/2005 07:25:00 PM

(12/28/2005 06:31:00 PM) - Al

Mike Hunt pretty much echoes my thoughts on the city of Milwaukee needed new arena.

Money quote:

It took Darrell Bevell less time to get to the end zone against UCLA in the Rose Bowl than it did for this dawdling town to act on the Bradley Center, and that was a gift. The Pettits nearly got carpal tunnel syndrome from perpetually holding pen over check while the so-called city leadership nearly blew it by wringing its indecisive hands over the details.

The city is pretty much known for pathetic "leadership" throughout the Midwest. One drive on I94 will show you all you need to know about what the city has done in the past two decades...nothing. Abandoned warehouses and factories dot the landscape, and give those driving through a far worse picture of the city than is deserved. My goodness, just try and find the casino if you've never been there before, it's like a needle in a haystack. With only one real tourist attraction, you'd think they'd find $50 in the budget to put up a few signs.

12/28/2005 06:31:00 PM

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

(12/27/2005 07:51:00 PM) - Al

Co-host Matt Lauer: "Pain at the pump. Gas prices are going sky high. I paid $2.94 a gallon over the weekend to fill up the car."

Co-host Katie Couric: "It’s ridiculous. I had to take out a loan to fill up my minivan. It’s crazy."

— Exchange at the top of NBC’s Today, August 15. Couric makes about $15,000,000 a year.

How big is Katie's gas tank?

12/27/2005 07:51:00 PM

(12/27/2005 09:35:00 AM) - Al

The Rangers did not learn the lesson of Chan Ho Park.

4y/$48M to a 31 year-old that is the carbon copy of Tomo Ohka?


Tomo Ohka
Kevin Millwood

That's not quite fair, as Millwood has been more of an innings eater than Ohka, but Kevin is also just a season removed from posting a 4.85 ERA, and being forced to sign a one year deal with the Indians.

I wish the Rangers luck...they're going to need it.

12/27/2005 09:35:00 AM

(12/27/2005 09:15:00 AM) - Al

This is one of the stranger stories I can imagine. You always like to think there was some sort of mixup, but...

UPDATE: This link now states Reardon is saying medication caused him to flip out.

12/27/2005 09:15:00 AM

Sunday, December 25, 2005

(12/25/2005 11:12:00 AM) - Al

Courtesy of Dave Pinto's database, we find out that over the past 4 seasons, Johnny Damon hit .342/.440 away from Fenway Park. Hmmm...

Damon---.342/.440, 782 OPS, 150 OXS, 90 simple runs created.
Ave CF--.337/.422, 759 OPS, 142 OXS, 85 src

I'll be the first to admit the Yankees have a very potent offensive lineup, but Damon is 32 and barely above average...and is making $13M per. As long as they keep throwing away resources on mediocrity, they will have less to spend on true improvements.

12/25/2005 11:12:00 AM

Saturday, December 24, 2005

(12/24/2005 09:44:00 PM) - Al

Friend of Ramblings John Strain tells of finding sad news as he searched for a way to punish himself next year. It's a good way to remind yourself to be thankful for all you have this Xmas.

I am spending my holiday eve watching Miss Congeniality 2 and playing poker online (if it makes you feel better about humanity, the tables are indeed slower tonight, only about 60% of the tables available as last night). My wife has been enjoying both the first and second airings of A Christmas Story, a yuletide classic if one ever existed.

I haven't checked to see if my favorite Xmas episode is on, as I honestly can't recall what cable network airs MASH, though I would guess Hallmark. I assume it's considered too depressing, as I've never seen it on during the holidays, but it's still my pick (although the Festivus Seinfeld improves every time I see it). I just looked it up, it's called Death Takes A Holiday, written and directed by Mike Farrell (BJ), first aired in 1980, about the surgeons trying to keep a fatally injured soldier alive until 12/26, so his family will not have to recall Christmas as a day their son/father/husband died.

Doug Melvin is on vacation until after the first of the year, so it is unlikely there will be much news of note from Miller Park. Until next time, have a safe and happy holiday. A special thank you to those who serve and defend the greatest nation in the history of the world and our interests.

12/24/2005 09:44:00 PM

Friday, December 23, 2005

(12/23/2005 10:37:00 PM) - Al

If something presents itself, we'll surely take a look at it, but as of right now, we think we've addressed our needs as we head into the offseason.--Allan Baird, Royals' GM

Someone remind me of this quote mid-summer in '06, will you, please?

12/23/2005 10:37:00 PM

(12/23/2005 11:22:00 AM) - Al

I guess the bubble has burst and the players still available are now being signed for less than what you'd expect.

Mark Bellhorn signs for $800K with SD. Mark is a decent 2B, but would have been an outstanding utility guy.

Matt Lawton signs with the Mariners, incentive laden deal with a $400K base. Lawton hits very well on turf, but is still a nice 4th OF/bat off the bench guy. It should be noted Lawton tested positive late last year and admitted he took steroids, and his agent said only 2 off the 8 teams Matt wanted to play for said they were not interested.

12/23/2005 11:22:00 AM

(12/23/2005 10:32:00 AM) - Al

Kelly Shoppach, long sought after AAA C for the Red Sox by many Brewers' fans, may still be available, as the Sox signed generic backup John Flaherty, in what would seem to be the epitome of an anti-Epstein move.

Shoppach is a walks and homers guy, as shown by his low BA (.243 in AAA), but his 820 OPS in AAA makes him an offensive weapon as a reserve, whose ceiling is high enough to start someday.

12/23/2005 10:32:00 AM

(12/23/2005 12:01:00 AM) - Al

Happy Festivus to all!!!!!!!!!!!!

12/23/2005 12:01:00 AM

Thursday, December 22, 2005

(12/22/2005 06:46:00 PM) - Al

I have to clear a bonus tonight that requires me to play 665 raked hands before midnight, so due to time restrictions, I will be 5 tabling it, while watching the TBS Seinfeld holiday episodes, highlighted by the famous Festivus episode.

Even for a multi-tasker like myself, that leaves little time to took me about 10 minutes to write this short post.:)

12/22/2005 06:46:00 PM

(12/22/2005 05:29:00 PM) - Al

Allow me to say that I'm embarassed by the Royals "moves", and I don't even have any rooting interest in them.

KC chasing a 38 year-old to play RF is absurd on so many levels, it pains me to have to type it. Reggie would at least have some trade value at the deadline, unlike Elarton and Doug M, who were signed the other day (actually, I would have loved to have signed Doug M as a defensive replacement for Prince if he were a RH hitter, but for nowhere near what the Royals paid him). Mark G, while very overpaid, also has some trade value.

12/22/2005 05:29:00 PM

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

(12/21/2005 11:18:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers complete a minor trade today, acquiring Chris DeMaria from KC. Doug says he is basically AAA insurance, which tells me the Crew likes him more than Jeff Bennett.

Towards the end of the JS link, it says the Crew is interested in Joe Borowski and Shiggy Hasegawa, two vets who were non-tendered. I still am a fan of Bradford over either of them, but it's tough not to like picking up an experienced arm inexpensively.

12/21/2005 11:18:00 PM

(12/21/2005 11:29:00 AM) - Al

List of non-tenders can be found here.

The one name that jumped out at me, especially with Doug's constant talk of adding a veteran reliever, is Chad Bradford, a sinkerballer who has been a fine RH relief pitcher for the A's for a long time. He's much better than many of the guys who have been getting $3-4M per, but he may go for less, due to his lack of velocity.

12/21/2005 11:29:00 AM

(12/21/2005 10:57:00 AM) - Al

Minor Brewers' happenings galore:

Kolb was non-tendered, and the team seems to expect to know soon if he'll be back with the team, as Doug hints that there will not be a lot of negotiating.

In a move I was surprised by, Jeff Bennett also became a FA, though the team will try to bring him back for a lesser amount. Jeff made $240K last year in AAA, and apparently, the braintrust expects him to spend time in AAA again, and doesn't want tom pay him $250K to do so. Bennett is a decent middle reliever, but so is Kane Davis, who the Crew resigned yesterday, and was available on waivers last year. Bennett is younger and may have a bit of ceiling, but would likely be wise to go to camp for an organization with less pitching depth.

Russ Branyan also resigns, though to a non-guaranteed contract, which says Russ would like to be back, and the Crew isn't sure he fits in. Rumors persist he will be dealt for a LH reliever, though those have quieted of late.

12/21/2005 10:57:00 AM

(12/21/2005 10:56:00 AM) - Robert R.

The Yankees signed Johnny Damon to a 4 year, $52 million deal.

So now the Yankees lineup looks something like this:

FA First Baseman/DH - My guess is Scott Hatteberg

Damon is overpaid and the Yankees could collapse under the weight of age, but right now they have a very formidable offense. As long as their pitching staff is somewhere in the neighborhood of average they should be favorites to win the AL East.

They're not efficient and any halfway competent GM should be able to build a championship caliber offense given $100 million to spend on offensive players, but money is no object to the Yankees and they have assembled one of the best possible offensive lineups. The fact that they've been so inefficient in assembling the team is why they could get knocked off in the playoffs again. Especially if their starting rotation falters.

12/21/2005 10:56:00 AM

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

(12/20/2005 07:52:00 PM) - Al

Somewhere, Aaron Gleeman is laughing.

And I remember when $5.33M a year got you more than a platoon CF...who plays LF/RF.

Jacque Jones signs with the Cubs for 3 years. His similiar players at Baseball Reference include Torri Hunter, Mel Hall, Troy O'Leary, and Ivan Calderon...all players that aren't worth big money either.

.327/.455 = $5M? Maybe I missed something and Jacque is now a catcher.:)

12/20/2005 07:52:00 PM

Monday, December 19, 2005

(12/19/2005 07:03:00 PM) - Al

Added to the sidebar, JJ Hardy's 2005 "split", after he made his adjustment; as well as our friend Brett's e-mail.

What I find very funny is that you will be lucky to find a single 2006 projection (other than mine) for JJ even close to his results after he went back to his old style of hitting.

12/19/2005 07:03:00 PM

Sunday, December 18, 2005

(12/18/2005 10:24:00 AM) - Al

Tom H says the Crew and Dan Kolb seem to be at a standoff, as the market for relievers seems to get a bit more out of whack every day. The Crew won't offer him arby, and Kolb appears like he wants to compare the benefits of pitching at home and making less versus making top dollar elsewhere.

12/18/2005 10:24:00 AM

Saturday, December 17, 2005

(12/17/2005 10:44:00 AM) - Robert R.

Another periodic play review.

This week I saw the Milwaukee Rep's production of Laughing Stock. Laughing Stock is a recently written comedy play, 2001, that follows the season of a Summer stock company. It's light entertainment for the holidays mixing farce, some minor satire, and a good bit of nostalgia and sentimentality into an agreeable package. Complete with the Capra-esque singing of Auld Lang Syne at the end.

No one should ever confuse this with a great play, although the farcial nature of a performance of Dracula that's beyond the means of the company has its great moments, but it is solidly entertaining and well performed. And the Milwaukee Rep did a great job with the set design.

12/17/2005 10:44:00 AM

(12/17/2005 10:28:00 AM) - Robert R.

A couple of random thoughts, with all the money flying around, MLB appears to be in very good shape financially. And this is with the Yankees being relatively quiet.

Kansas City has more money committed to the four free agents they signed yesterday than the Florida Marlins have for their whole team. I bet the Marlins win more games too.

Scott Elarton is getting $4 million per year? I said it elsewhere, but Ohka is looking more affordable every day.

So far, I think the Brewers have gained ground on the rest of the NL Central this offseason. Pierre helps the Cubs since the bar in centerfield was set historically low, but that's the only significant positive addition I've seen in the division.

12/17/2005 10:28:00 AM

(12/17/2005 12:19:00 AM) - Al

I like Jarrod Washburn, but at 4y/$35M+...not so much. Let's not forget, he's 31 now.

12/17/2005 12:19:00 AM

Friday, December 16, 2005

(12/16/2005 11:06:00 AM) - Al

It simply amazes me teams continue to hand a starting spot to Tony Batista, who struggles to "not get out" 70% of the time.

And Aaron Gleeman isn't too happy that team is the Twins.

12/16/2005 11:06:00 AM

(12/16/2005 10:07:00 AM) - Al

The Kansas City Royals...afraid to rebuild the right way.

They should get some credit for avoiding long-term deals with any of these bastions of mediocrity, but the mere fact they are chasing Jacque Jones, a weak hitting, should be platooned, corner OF that hits like a CF, makes me think they are simply
signing players to sign players.

Every once in a while, someone will suggest a salary floor, so teams cannot accept revenue sharing money and pocket it. However, the '06 Royals are a perfect example of how silly a floor is. Forcing teams to spend money is as moronic as KC wasting money on these vets, in a quest to win 65 games.

At this point in the success cycle, the Royals should be chasing after the best minor league free agents, and looking to acquire good young players that are blocked at the big league level, or have fallen out of favor (remember, just 3 years ago, Dave Ortiz was non-tendered by the Twins) with their current teams. Doug M and Mark G won't embarass the team on the field, but they won't make them any better in 2008 & 2009 either, which is when the team should be building for. In fact, signing these players effectively keeps the Royals from giving playing time to a "nugget", a Podsednik/Brady Clark/Dan Kolb/Doug Davis type. Doug Melvin gets a lot of credit for finding guys like this on the waiver wire, but a lot of credit should go to simple opportunity. The Brewers gave chances to lots of players because their talent was at the low levels of the minors. Right now, the Crew only has a couple 25 man roster spots open, so a "nugget" will be harder to find in '06 (though I would point to Gabe Gross and Jason Kerschner). The Royals have the spots, but appear unwilling to use them on any player that just might have a ceiling.

This actually reminds me of a classic Dean Taylor move. It is very difficult to rebuild your club back into contention if you are afraid to rebuild.

Kansas City hasn't accomplished anything except putting together the most difficult to spell right side of the infield I can imagine.

12/16/2005 10:07:00 AM

Thursday, December 15, 2005

(12/15/2005 07:32:00 PM) - Al

Our friend John Strain tells us how the classic Charlie Brown Xmas show almost never made it on the air. I had never heard that before.

12/15/2005 07:32:00 PM

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

(12/13/2005 07:58:00 PM) - Al

We did our annual Toys for Tots shopping for the holiday season. This is especially fun the past couple years because our now 3 year-old has helped us pick out the gifts. Listening to Andrew explain why a little boy or girl would like a certain toy is priceless.

I've noticed the stores look a lot "lighter" this year than in the past, as for the most part, I think retailers have figured out that carrying excess inventory into the new year is financial suicide. Even if each store takes an extra $100K worth of product, if a chain has 500 stores, that's $50M tied up in merch that probably never even hit the floor during the Xmas season.

Wal Mart may well be setting the standard for years to come with their aggressive techniques this past month. After all but sitting out the deals bonanza in 2004, WM has slashed prices and increased advertising this year, and showed a 4.3% sales hike in November, which given their volume, means they sold about a bijillion dollars more stuff.:) It seems obvious that most 2nd and 3rd tier companies will follow WM's lead next year, which means the margins will be tighter and there will be more pressure on the buyers and marketing teams to work together and find the right mix.

12/13/2005 07:58:00 PM

(12/13/2005 07:06:00 PM) - Al

Milton Bradley to the A's.

I find it difficult to believe the prospect the Dodgers got will ever be better than the troubled Bradley. I actually have more dificulty with Milton's brittle body than his temper, as no one has ever accused him of not playing hard, to my knowledge at least.

12/13/2005 07:06:00 PM

(12/13/2005 03:24:00 PM) - Al

All the military branches hit their goals last month, though none of us know how realistic those goals are.

The one thing I will say is I sure don't hear much about this compared to the months when they missed their goals last year...

12/13/2005 03:24:00 PM

(12/13/2005 03:19:00 PM) - Al

Some folks are upset New Orleans is going to have a scaled back Mardi Gras in 2006.

Personally, I think what the city and area need is a full scale, bigger than ever celebration, to maximize every single possible dollar is spent. The city is out of money, and they need food, drink, and room revenue desperately.

Those who fail to see that seem to be out of touch with the whole "money" thing.

12/13/2005 03:19:00 PM

(12/13/2005 01:20:00 PM) - Al

Painfully unnewsy chat, courtesy of Haudricourt.

His apparent love of Nelson Cruz makes me like Corey Hart even more.:)

12/13/2005 01:20:00 PM

Monday, December 12, 2005

(12/12/2005 08:32:00 PM) - Al

I gotta agree with Ann on this one.

This is a very bad case for groups to select to rally for their cause. The vast majority of Americans look at this fella and wonder why he's been allowed to live so long. If I was going to choose a person as a martyr, I think I'd avoid the "shot his victim in the back" stigma.

12/12/2005 08:32:00 PM

Sunday, December 11, 2005

(12/11/2005 11:50:00 AM) - Brett

I'm going to disagree with Al a little bit on the Red Sox. Theo's going to be going back there, with what has been described as "GM power without the tite" - apparently he's going to be a consultant. They're going to be fine, I think. That offense is still going to be solid. Manny won't be traded, Ortiz is in his prime, Varitek can hit, Nixon too. I don't think Mike Lowell's going to revert back to pre-2005 form, but he is still a very solid fielder, and Youkilis' OBP is finally going to get a chance. He'll definitely get on more than Renteria in the #2 spot, meaning even more runs scored for them - this is assuming Damon comes back (I don't think 4/40 makes a ton of sense, but they can absorb it). If Damon's not back, I'd guess Youkilis would lead off. They've also got Andy Marte (whom I know Al isn't as high on as I am), dependent on his injury situation - there were reports of a torn UCL, which could mean he would miss the entire season, that the Red Sox were already aware of. Then they traded a knuckleball catcher to the Padres for an excellent 2B in Loretta, who is also going to be a perfect fit for that ballpark. If they bring up Pedroia to play SS, that's yet another solid OBP source in that lineup.

On the run prevention side, the team got better with the additions of Beckett and Mota. I'd guess Foulke comes back at the very least effective. The bullpen is loaded to the gills with guys that are able to work multiple innings. If Schilling can come back and at least eat innings, and if Papelbon slides into the rotation with ease as I expect him to, this teams pitching is going to be greatly improved. My guess is that this is a 100 win team, at the very least 95. It's the Yankees that are running in place, and the Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Devil Rays (how odd does that sound?) moving forward.

In the front office, it wasn't just Theo that thought out of the box. Lucchino and Henry at the very top have the same beliefs regarding the building of the roster - that's why they hired Theo after Beane spurned them. And I think the co-GM idea is a solid one, when the parties involved are solid minds like Ben Cherington and Jed Hoyer. Throw in an excellent "Baseball Man" in Bill Lajoie, as well as Bill James, and "consultant" Theo and you're looking at what is still the finest collection of minds in baseball. Even without a GM in the truest sense, they made what I would deem a killing at the winter meetings, dumping Renteria being the best thing they've done all offseason.

12/11/2005 11:50:00 AM

Saturday, December 10, 2005

(12/10/2005 08:28:00 PM) - Al

Some simple, yet extremely effective financial advice from Jane Galt. Check it out if you are willing to change your habits and have 10 minutes to read the whole thing.

12/10/2005 08:28:00 PM

(12/10/2005 07:17:00 PM) - Al

You can almost read the articles about the downfall of the Red Sox already, can't you? They give up on Renteria after one subpar season, and have no one to replace him with. They now plan on playing a pair of 3B, because they have no 1B. They have offered Johnny Damon 4y/$40M, and apparently fail to understand he's just a mediocre, aging CF.

I feel as if after watching Theo think out of the box for two seasons, we are now back to seeing them try and win with RH sluggers and RH pitchers.

By the way, they seem to think co-GM's is a fine idea...oof.

12/10/2005 07:17:00 PM

(12/10/2005 12:10:00 AM) - Al

I keep forgetting to mention I'm all but positive those that wonder about Dave Bush would be just giddy if he had been 11-5 rather than 5-11. W/L isn't totally unimportant, I usually just look at wins, but it is a team dependent stat.

Speaking of which, I just read Dave's ERA was 3.50 last year in his games that weren't versus the Red Sox or Yankees. I don't think the Crew plays either one next year.:)

12/10/2005 12:10:00 AM

Thursday, December 08, 2005

(12/08/2005 09:45:00 PM) - Al

Quick hits...

---I hate to lose Ty as the PTBNL, but if the Crew thought a lot of him, they'd have protected him on the 40. He's a classic "you can't teach velocity" guy, and has projected as a reliever as early as next year.

---Looking at the Crew's roster, as well as the continued talk of "flexibility", if a trade is to be made, it is easy to see a couple young relievers (Jeff Bennett, Mike Adams, Jorge de la Rosa) being traded for a veteran, maybe somewhat overpaid reliever.

---I see at least one more addition, and maybe even a pair.

---Doug made public today he had no interest in Washburn. He wasn't kidding, I guess.

---Finally, a non-baseball related thought...this is one of the funniest things I've read in quite some time. I can only imagine that many of the people involved simply have little desire to work Xmas Day, which I understand. On the same note, church workers never get a weekend off either, so no wonder they're cranky.:)

12/08/2005 09:45:00 PM

(12/08/2005 06:12:00 PM) - Al

Wow, over 1100 hits thus far today, about double the previous known high.

Thanks for checking us out on the day after the Overbay trade, I hope you liked what you saw.

12/08/2005 06:12:00 PM

(12/08/2005 03:07:00 PM) - Brett

Starting off, Ty Taubenheim was the PTBNL from the Brewers. Nothing major in my opinion, as he looks like the kind of guy that's going to struggle adjusting up the organizational ladder. Apparently everyone else thought that way as well, as he went unpicked in the Rule 5.

Since the deal happened while I slept, waiting for my alarm to wake me up at 3:30 AM, I might was well chime in on the rest of it, as well. I've been a big fan of Dave Bush since he was in college at Wake Forest, and he's done fairly well thus far at the major league level. I think it's pretty safe to pencil him in as the 5th starter and feel pretty good about it. He's going to be at least average, and more importantly cheap for the next few years. The thing I like about him most is that he didn't pitch until high school and he closed in college. He has a very low mileage arm, and from everything I've seen, clean mechanics to go with it. He's seems to be of the Ohka ilk, and there's nothing to complain about there, he's not going to K a bunch of guys, but he won't walk them. His GB/FB isn't great, but it's not awful.

Jackson is the guy the deal revolves around for me. He was my favorite guy being mentioned - he's a tall lefty, with good, groundball stuff, and a Top 10 prospect to boot. He's polished, he's also got good mechanics, he was a first round pick out of college. What's not to like about that? There was even an "organizational source" that said he could be with the Brewers next season. I'd doubt it, but I don't think he needs more than half a season at AAA before he's ready. He has a much higher upside than Bush, and it's easy to see him in the rotation full-time in 2007, if not August 2006 if Ohka is moved at the deadline. This team just became incredibly deep at starting pitcher, and it was already deep. The thing I've been harping on is that if the Brewers are going to contend for the Wild Card in 2006 it's going to revolve around pitching depth. Mission accomplished, at least with the starters. Kolb was a step closer with the relievers.

Gross is intriguing. He was a first rounder (Toronto's #11 prospect in the BA Handbook), as Al mentioned, he's toolsy, yet refined in his approach at the plate. The first thing that came to mind when I saw the numbers was "Ben Grieve with defense". He's a taker and raker, but his power isn't all the way there, and he's been accused of being "too passive" by scouts. He also fits the Grieve mold in that he struggles against LHP, and would be a platoon guy. That said, I'm thrilled to have him as a Brewer, and likely the 4th OF - after a couple years of Magruder you almost have to be.

All-in-all, this is the kind of deal you expect Melvin to make. It's vintage, really. He strengthens his team while dealing from a strength, with young talented players that either figure into the future plans of the organization or can easily be used to sweeten a deal in the future. Something tells me he's not done dealing, as there's an almost uncomfortable amount of corner OF depth. For me, the needs that remain are for a LH reliever (Chris Hammond, Joey Eischen?) and a versatile utility infielder (Bellhorn, D'Angelo Jimenez?). Stay tuned.

12/08/2005 03:07:00 PM

(12/08/2005 02:56:00 PM) - Robert R.

I don't have much to add to the previous analysis of the Overbay trade, except to say that it's rare that you can make a deal that makes you better in the short term, Bush vs. Obermueller, Santos and Glover, better in the long term, Zach Jackson, and cheaper. If you hit two out of three, that's usually a sign of a pretty good trade.

12/08/2005 02:56:00 PM

(12/08/2005 01:23:00 AM) - Al

First of all, thanks to Sir Melvin (and the MLB paperwork process) for delaying the trade until I got done with work.:)

From the sounds of it, Doug has his sights set on at least one more pitcher. As I see it, our major league and AAA depth at pitcher and OF may be as good as any team in the bigs. While we don't have that kind of depth in the INF, Prince, Rickie, and JJ aren't going anywhere, and Bill Hall is our #1 reserve at both 2B and SS, even though he's our 3B, as of this second.

I would look to see some relievers traded, as guys like Justin Lehr and Kane Davis are unlikely to have options, and I see them on the outside looking in...and Doug keeps saying he wants more pitching.

I'm off to bed. Hopefully, you'll hear from someone else before me, as I work during the day tomorrow. Also, the Rule 5 draft takes place, though the Crew now has 40 on their 40 man, meaning they are unlikely to make a move.

12/08/2005 01:23:00 AM

(12/08/2005 01:17:00 AM) - Al

"We wanted a left-handed-hitting outfielder who could come off the bench and Gross gives us that," said Melvin. "He was the final piece to get the deal done.

Looks like Gabe Gross goes into camp as the 4th OF, with Hart having the inside track to making the team as well, probably playing against many LHP's to protect Prince Fielder.

12/08/2005 01:17:00 AM

(12/08/2005 12:31:00 AM) - Al

From the Toronto Star:

The Jays sent pitcher Dave Bush, minor-league hurler Zach Jackson and outfielder Gabe Gross to the Brewers in return for the lefty-hitting Overbay, who hit .276 with 19 homers and 72 runs batted in last season. Overbay marks a definite upgrade for the team at first base, with a .373 on-base and .450 slugging percentage in his first three big-league seasons.

Toronto had offered a number of two-player packages to the Brewers, but had to stick with this deal hard all day after Milwaukee began shopping Overbay to the Boston Red Sox for pitcher Matt Clement. That potential deal began to unravel late in the day as Boston balked at kicking in any of Clement's hefty salary.

"We had to throw the extra player in because they were negotiating with another team," a Jays source said late last night as the paperwork for the deal was being finalized. "If we didn't do it we were going to lose him."

Toronto originally had offered Bush and infielder Shea Hillenbrand, but later perked Milwaukee's interest by adding red-hot pitching prospect Jackson to the mix. The trade was sealed when the Jays agreed to throw in Gross, the No. 1 draft pick of former Toronto GM Gord Ash - now an assistant GM with the Brewers - into the deal.

Easy to believe Gord Ash likes Gross as much as I do, at least as a reserve OF. Jackson appears to be prize, odd since Bush is only 26 and has had success in the bigs in his year plus.

12/08/2005 12:31:00 AM

(12/08/2005 12:26:00 AM) - Al

The Brewers also will send Toronto a minor league player after the Rule 5 draft of unprotected players today.--JS

So there is a prospect heading to TOR, but a minor one, as the Crew did not think enough of them to protect them on the 40 man for the Rule 5 draft.

In Doug we trust...once agian, he appears to have received more than we thought he would, even though as with Sexson, everyone knew he was going to trade the player.

Kudos, Mr. Melvin.

12/08/2005 12:26:00 AM

(12/08/2005 12:23:00 AM) - Al

Batter's Box has many TOR comments about the trade, and for the most part, they feel they gave up far too much, especially Jackson.

12/08/2005 12:23:00 AM

(12/08/2005 12:03:00 AM) - Al

The JS checks in, mentions a PTBNL, and not Gross. No mention of a prospect going to TOR except in the original Fox story, hopefully an error as they rushed it online.

12/08/2005 12:03:00 AM

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

(12/07/2005 11:48:00 PM) - Al

Quick hits:

---Gabe Gross was a QB in college. He may well have the athletic ability to play some CF as well as the corners. If he does, that makes him a solid reserve OF.

---No mention of a prospect to be named in the story at the Brewers' site. Hopefully, the Fox story had that incorrect.

12/07/2005 11:48:00 PM

(12/07/2005 11:43:00 PM) - Al

An hour after the trade was made public, and nothing on the JS site yet.


12/07/2005 11:43:00 PM

(12/07/2005 11:27:00 PM) - Al

I wrote about Dave Bush last night. After 1.5 seasons in the bigs, appears to be a good bottom of the rotation guy, with the potential to move up to a #2 SP. Not a high K guy, but walks only 2 per 9 innings, and has a career K/BB ratio of 2.5-1, which is very good. Will likely step right into the final spot in the rotation, bumping Helling to long relief.

Dave's career numbers can be found here.

12/07/2005 11:27:00 PM

(12/07/2005 11:21:00 PM) - Al

Zach Jackson is a big (6-5, 220) LHP who will be 23 next May. Also a #1 pick, he pitched excellent in high A and AA, and struggled a bit in AAA in '05, likely rushed. Very high K numbers, must be a hard thrower. In some eyes, he was the Jays' best pitching prospect at the time he was dealt. Ceiling appears very high, probably becomes the top SP in the farm system immediately.

I assume Zach will start the '06 campaign at AAA Nashville.

12/07/2005 11:21:00 PM

(12/07/2005 11:09:00 PM) - Al

Gabe Gross is a lefty hitting corner OF, who has always produced in AAA, but has not done well in the majors, albeit in small samples. I assume he is out of options, as he is 26. Outstanding OBP in AAA, .380, walks about once every 7 AB's. I think he was likely going to be removed from the 40 man in TOR, and Doug liked him, so he was included in the deal. At best, he is a throw-in, as Bush and Jackson are the big names. Still, as a LH OF, he may well be on the Opening Day roster next April, probably along with Hart as a reserve OF.

A former #1 pick, as well, by the way.

12/07/2005 11:09:00 PM

(12/07/2005 11:05:00 PM) - Al


Fox Sports is reporting a deal has been completed, Overbay and a prospect for Dave Bush, LHP Zach Jackson, and OF Gabe Gross.

12/07/2005 11:05:00 PM

(12/07/2005 10:50:00 PM) - Al

Thanks for updating Ramblings whuile I worked today, Brett, if you wish to make a comment to Brett, I will add his e-mail to the sidebar in the next day or so.

I'm not surprised by the Kolb deal, as it makes sense for all involved. As Brett points out, Doug Melvin simply makes smart trades. I may be tyhe only one, but I still think Obermueller will spend a half decade in the bigs.

I feel better knowing the Crew isn't looking at Hillenbrand as anything but eventual trade bait. I'm a big fan of Kyle Lohse compared to most, and while I think JC Romero makes far too much money, he's a bargain if you look at what relievers are getting this offseason.

12/07/2005 10:50:00 PM

(12/07/2005 06:59:00 PM) - Brett

From the MJS:

The Brewers continued to work on a much bigger deal involving first baseman Lyle Overbay that could involve two other clubs before all is said and done. Toronto continues to push for a deal with Overbay and have offered first baseman/third baseman Shea Hillenbrand and a young pitcher, perhaps right-hander Dave Bush or a top minor league prospect such as David Percy or Zach Jackson.

The Brewers are looking primarily for pitching help, however, and would look to send Hillenbrand to another club, possibly Minnesota. The Twins are looking for offense and are shopping pitchers such as starter Kyle Lohse and left-handed reliever J.C. Romero.

That sounds like a deal to me. Haudricourt managed to spell Purcey's name wrong, but he's a nice pitcher, as is Jackson.


Jackson is the more polished of the two, and is thought to have the cleaner mechanics. Purcey is a higher-ceiling guy, but he's a year older than Jackson and not as polished. Both are college picthers, as has become policy under Ricciardi in Toronto.

If Hillenbrand was going to be a part of the Toronto deal, it was obvious he wasn't going to be long for Milwaukee, and Minnesota is a good fit for him. Romero definitely fills a need. I continue to be amazed by Doug Melvin, as he has now turned Wes Obermueller into Jose Capellan, and hopefully Lyle Overbay into a top 10 prospect and a rock solid LH reliever.

12/07/2005 06:59:00 PM

(12/07/2005 05:51:00 PM) - Brett

The Brewers trade Obermueller to the Braves for Dan Kolb, according to MLB Radio.

I like it, anything to remove the temptation of Obermueller starting games again. Obviously Kolb struggled tremendously last season, but he still throws groundballs and keeps the ball in the park. His hit rate was way up last season, and his walks ticked up a little. Such a low risk move that could pay off tremendously, by teaming Kolb back up with Maddux.

MJS Update:

First, the Brewers must reach agreement on a contract with Kolb before the Dec. 20 date for tendering contracts for next season. Teams are not allowed to cut a player’s salary more than 20% and Kolb made $3.5 million last year.

The Brewers plan to reach an agreement with Kolb on a much lower salary, non-tender him on Dec. 20, then make the contract official afterward. Kolb’s agent, Scott Boras, is known for driving tough deals but the Brewers talked with Kolb on the telephone and know he wants to return.

"I think Danny might drive this one a little bit," said general manager Doug Melvin. "We talked to Danny and he was pretty excited. He was in Las Vegas celebrating his anniversary and said this was a great anniversary present."

12/07/2005 05:51:00 PM

(12/07/2005 11:32:00 AM) - Al

The latest rumor floating around is Overbay to TOR for Dave Bush and Shea Hillenbrand. I'm not sure if Shea would be dealt right away, as he doesn't seem to fit in anywhere, as he makes too much money $4M+) to be some sort of 1B/3B reserve.

Stay tuned.

12/07/2005 11:32:00 AM

(12/07/2005 09:37:00 AM) - Robert R.

The Cubs are reportedly acquiring Juan Pierre for pitchers Sergio Mitre, Renyel Pinto and Ricky Nolasco.

This is definitely a balancing of short term vs. long term benefits as Pinto and Nolasco are well regarded as pitching prospects. Still, some of the best pitching prospects have flamed out, so there's definitely some risk on the Marlins part.

For the Cubs, this deal is all about 2006 since they have Felix Pie waiting in the wings. Due to his lack of power, Pierre is probably no better than average for a centerfielder, but he does represent a big increase over what the Cubs got out of centerfield and the leadoff position in 2005 which had to be at historically low levels. Especially if Pierre can bounce back closer to his 2003 and 2004 numbers. And maybe it's just me, but I think Pierre for one year at around $3 to $4 million is a lot better deal than Damon for 4 years, $40 plus million. Especially for a team like the Cubs that can afford to drop $3 to $4 million on decent relief pitchers.

This deal will probably get blasted a fair bit in sabremetric circles, but it does make the Cubs better in 2006. Probably not good enough to challenge for the division or the wild card, but it does make the Brewers' job more difficult.

12/07/2005 09:37:00 AM

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

(12/06/2005 10:26:00 PM) - Al

A popular name in the proposed Lyle to TOR trade is Brandon League, who was rated as TOR's best prospect last year. He was a HS pick, 2nd round of '01, had an outstanding 2004 in AA, took a bit of a step back last season.

Of course, much of the excitement might be folks looking forward to the inevitable Bush/League puns.:)

If a deal goes down, I'll see it in the AM. I'm out for tonight.

12/06/2005 10:26:00 PM

(12/06/2005 10:05:00 PM) - Al

Just a quick update on Dave Bush, he has only walked 2.1 batters per 9 innings in his career. I wish he were a bit more of a ground ball pitcher, but he meets the classic defintion of a good young pitcher, big and tall, throws 90+, has had success at every level.

12/06/2005 10:05:00 PM

(12/06/2005 09:33:00 PM) - Al

Adam McAlvey checks in with his recap of the day.

He mentions Washburn may have an offer on the table from DC for 4y/$40M...what the Nationals offered Burnett. Either Ash or Melvin come right out and say there's no way they can go that high.

Adam says BOS, TOR, and PIT were all seriously after Overbay. Tonight, Sean Casey was dealt to the Pirates, so that leaves the Sox and Jays.

12/06/2005 09:33:00 PM

(12/06/2005 09:11:00 PM) - Al

Hat tip to Ajay, a preview of Tom H's JS article tomorrow.

If TOR ends up with Overbay, it looks like we'd receive Dave Bush and a prospect close to being ready for the big leagues.

I like Bush, his NL translated ERA would have been about 4 last year, and he'll be 26 next season. He was a 2nd round draft pick in '02, so he is a highly thought of prospect, and has been for some time. TOR does have a fine rotation, with Burnett, Halladay, Lilly, Chacin, and Towers; so Bush could well be expendable. He fits my asking price for Lyle, a #4 SP with the potential to be a #2.

Time will tell.

12/06/2005 09:11:00 PM

(12/06/2005 08:08:00 AM) - Al

AJ Burnett appears ready to sign with TOR for 5y/$55M, rather than his boyhood team, SL, which offered him 4y/$40M.

Is a 10% increase really worth it in your mind? Is it that extra year? This is a very curious decision by Burnett, to say the least.

12/06/2005 08:08:00 AM

Monday, December 05, 2005

(12/05/2005 10:04:00 PM) - Al

I feel like I'm telling myself a story, as Blogger seems to be 100% down, as not one of the normal weblogs that I read powered by Blogger have allowed me to get in tonight. That said, I'm assuming it will be up someday.

Money quote from the Brewers' own site:

"We've had conversations with them," Melvin said of the Pirates. "They're in the market for bats."

Melvin would not be interested in right-handed starters Kip Wells or Josh Fogg, both of whom are heading into contract years. But Pittsburgh has a stable of talented young pitchers that could make a deal possible.

"We're reluctant to trade for a guy we're only going to have for one year," Melvin said. "Whoever gets Overbay will get him for three years."

Notice there was no "if" in that last sentence. Whether it was a slip or simply Doug being an up front Canadian, we will soon learn, I suppose.

12/05/2005 10:04:00 PM

(12/05/2005 05:51:00 PM) - Al

I've been unable to check the actual Ramblings' page today, so I hope you are able to view the page tonight.

Lyle Overbay is still a member of the Crew as I type this, but the original number of teams interested (either 4 or 5) seems to be growing, so I will list all the teams I have heard rumors of the past couple weeks:

San Francisco

{gap in interest level here}


With that teams rumored to have interest, it's difficult to believe one won't make an offer Doug likes enough to pull the trigger.

12/05/2005 05:51:00 PM

Sunday, December 04, 2005

(12/04/2005 10:37:00 PM) - Al


One thing about the Yankee's losing money. We don't know what the other related companies made for the Yankees owners. I suspect that the YES Network made more than enough to cover the operational loses for the Yankees.


Good point, Rod. Not sure if that makes up the entire $50-80M, however.

12/04/2005 10:37:00 PM

(12/04/2005 10:11:00 PM) - Al

They are able to cover reading, writing, and arithmetic, but they don't have a fine arts program.

That quote was from a college student on the news tonight. I found it very funny when I heard it on the early news tonight while I was on break at work, in a "he actually meant it" sort of way. The earnest young man actually was discussing a school in Thailand, full of kids rescued from the huge sex trade in that nation.

I admire his devotion, but the way he just lumped the subjects together was amusing.

12/04/2005 10:11:00 PM

(12/04/2005 10:02:00 PM) - Al


Don't you think Dan Kolb makes a lot of sense to sign to a contract? He is a free agent and fits the veteran mold Doug Melvin seems to be searching for?


I have discussed this before, and had kind of forgot about Kolb. If he is healthy, yes, it makes a lot of sense.

12/04/2005 10:02:00 PM

(12/04/2005 09:47:00 PM) - Al

So, I see on ESPN that Paul Byrd signed with the Indians. As I await the page to load, I think to myself, Byrd is worth about $3M per, maybe $3.5M, so he probably got $5-6M per season.

Nope, 2y/$14.25M.


12/04/2005 09:47:00 PM

(12/04/2005 11:02:00 AM) - Al


So, links aside, who do you think will end up getting Overbay, and what will the Crew get in return?


As I said to another Jason yesterday, Lyle is certainly better off renting than buying right now. Rumor has it CIN is dangling Sean Casey now, but with 4-6 teams in the mix for Overbay, I can barely imagine him being with us next April.

From the limited knowledge I have, my best guess would be San Francisco, although I keep going back to Toronto. Doug is known to love young pitchers, and most of the highly thought of ones in our system took a step back last year, due to injury or just ineffectiveness (with Capellan being the lone bright spot, albeit in the lesser role of being a reliever). SF has two outstanding young pitchers, Noah Lowry and Matt Cain. Cain is said to be untouchable by many, but his presence may allow the Giants to consider dealing Lowry, as they don't have room for two kids in the rotation. TOR also has a plethora of hard throwers that are near major league ready.

I will say this as well, because it's just as easy to put it here as anywhere else...I think the Brewers will trade Lyle AND make some other move. I have been watching Sir Melvin for 3+ years now, and he's just been too quiet about Washburn. Maybe I'm thinking with my heart and not my head, but if Jarrod is willing to accept less than current market value, especuially now that the Angels will not be offering him arby, I cannot fathom the Crew not talking to him.

I am also not convinced that Davis and Ohka will not be dangled. Both are unspectacular, but solid pitchers, who could slide into any rotation in baseball. If young arms are involved in the final Overbay deal, or a name like Washburn or Clement is added, a spot could open. Given what pitchers are getting, Ohka may ask for $5-6M in arby...and he just might get it.

Should be an interesting week, at the very least.

12/04/2005 11:02:00 AM

(12/04/2005 11:00:00 AM) - Al

What's especially funny to me about the Yankees losing huge money in '05 is the fact that everyone is spending like the Yankees this offseason.

I believe that's what they call irony.

12/04/2005 11:00:00 AM

Saturday, December 03, 2005

(12/03/2005 09:30:00 PM) - Al

With prices soaring for relief pitchers, Melvin will wait to see what's left when the smoke clears. He's looking for veteran set-up types, and there are plenty on the free-agent market, including Hector Carrasco, Rudy Seanez, Russ Springer, Chris Hammond, Jim Mecir and Paul Quantrill.--JS

Another obviously written early (Carrasco signed a bloated deal before it was posted)article tells us Doug has in mind many of the same "types" he always signs, low risk, high reward vets. I like both Mecir and Hammond quite a bit, but not even at half of what Carrasco got from the Angels.

UPDATE: Another name on the list, Russ Springer, signed today for $750K. That's about right for solid, unspectacular middle relief...which is why Carrasco signing for 4 times that continues to boggle my mind.

12/03/2005 09:30:00 PM

(12/03/2005 07:43:00 PM) - Al

BA checks in with a free article on the top names in the Rule 5 draft.

If the Brewers make a selection, I would guess it would be a pitcher that they feel is close to major league ready that they can "hide" as the 12th man in '06.

On that note, Casey Daigle, Chance Douglass, or Bob Zimmerman make as much sense as anyone.

If Daigle sounds familiar, he is married to Jennie Finch. FYI, when I googled Finch to verify her name spelling, it turns out she and Daigle are expecting their first child in the Spring.

12/03/2005 07:43:00 PM

Friday, December 02, 2005

(12/02/2005 11:37:00 PM) - Al

Doug's belief that Overbay will be back is down to "better than 50%". That's going down mighty quick, and some other notes in this article at the official site.


Melvin is not trying to be evasive. Teams' interest in Overbay is fluctuating due to other factors, including the availability of other first basemen like Travis Lee and John Olerud.

No offense to Lee and Overbay, who are certainly better hitters than me, but they in no way are everyday major league 1B. There seems little doubt Overbay is the best 1B available right now.

The Brewers would like to add a veteran or two to a mostly young roster -- "a Kent Mercker-type," Melvin said, referring to the Reds lefty reliever.

I wonder if Mercker is available?

If the Brewers can find a good trade for Overbay, or any other player for that matter, Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash would likely want pitching in return. The team is expected to hang onto arbitration-eligible right-hander Tomo Ohka, giving it a respectable starting rotation, but the bullpen has some holes.

"The bullpen is what we would like to focus on," Melvin said between meetings on Wednesday. "Right now, we're still narrowing down the teams that we feel we might be compatible with. I'd like to get pitching back, but a lot of clubs don't want to part with pitching."

I would imagine Turnbow and Wise are locked into bullpen spots, and I have also assumed Capellan and Lehr have inside tracks for spots as well, especially Jose. I still have hopes Helling will open the season in the 'pen, with a name like Washburn or Matt Clement taking that last starter's spot. Apparently, Doug is looking for at least one more quality arm to be handed a spot in the bullpen as well.

12/02/2005 11:37:00 PM

(12/02/2005 11:27:00 PM) - Al

In the same article as the laughable Carrasco signing, the Angels said they will not offer arbitration to Jarrod Washburn, meaning the team that signs him (as long as they wait until 12/8 or so) will not have to relinquish their first round pick as compensation. If the Brewers do have interest, that is great news. If they don't, never mind.:)

12/02/2005 11:27:00 PM

(12/02/2005 11:15:00 PM) - Al

The Angels sign Hector Carrasco to a 2y/$6.1M contract.

Hector has been a mediocre reliever his entire career. I don't think any team would be embarassed to have him on their staff, as he is a major league caliber pitcher even at 36. But, to even pretend this guy is worthy of $3M+ a year is as crazy as it gets.

Let's look at his ERA the past 7 campaigns, shall we?


Apparently, the Angels feel 1998-2004 (he did not pitch in '03) were the flukes, and 2005's very nice numbers are the true gauge of his talent.

This is the same team that waived Derrick Turnbow and Bobby Jenks last offseason. To say they have no clue is offensive to those with no clue.

12/02/2005 11:15:00 PM

(12/02/2005 10:43:00 AM) - Al

Seth e-mails me and says there is a new website designed to get Bert Blyleven into the Hall of Fame, which he richly deserves.

You can check it out here.

12/02/2005 10:43:00 AM

Thursday, December 01, 2005

(12/01/2005 09:07:00 PM) - Al


Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin told on Wednesday that he is in serious discussions with four clubs about Lyle Overbay heading into the Winter Meetings, but Melvin still said it's 70-75 percent likely that Overbay will be back in a Brewers uniform in 2006. If the Brewers decide to deal Overbay, it would open the position for top prospect Prince Fielder. The list of interested clubs is believed to include the Blue Jays, Giants and perhaps the Orioles, who also missed out on Konerko.

As some message board folks have pointed out, Doug said 80% just a while ago...

12/01/2005 09:07:00 PM

(12/01/2005 08:17:00 PM) - Al

Jason Kerschner signs a minor league deal with a camp invite.

Looks to be a loogy with quite a bit of big league experience. I will repeat what I read on a message board about him:

Despite a lot of major league innings, I've never heard of him.

Some quick hits looking at his numbers:

Appears to be the rare lefty reliever that throws strikes. Only 37 walks in 100 big league innings, that's 3.32 BB per 9 innings...and I have to assume he's probably been asked to walk a few RH batters intentionally. In 262 AAA innings, he has only walked 65, a 2.23BB/9 ratio, excellent.

His career ERA is 4.21...about a third of a run lower than Scott Eyre, who if you will recall, signed with the Cubs last week for a kijillion dollars.

UPDATE: Check out his splits versus LH hitters from 2002-4:

.272/.328, 600 OPS against in 128 AB's, 7 BB, 25 K

Simply put, in his major league career, LH hitters, including many feared middle-of-the-order types, have hit at a level weaker than most reserve catchers.

This might well end up being the "nugget" Doug and Gord are credited for much of next season.

At the very least, it certainly confirms my original suspicions that it's difficult to look at the Eyre signing and not think it is hellishly bad.

12/01/2005 08:17:00 PM

(12/01/2005 07:31:00 PM) - Al

I'm watching the Brewers winter season ticket kickoff on FSN. Thoughts...

...The "new" Sunday uniforms look to be a carbon copy of the "old" ball and glove logo, pinstriped home whites. I'm not really into uniforms like some, and the proof of that is my favorite logo remains the "crossed bats" version that replaced the ball and glove.

...I really like Gord Ash, because he's built a lot like me.:)

...Every time Doug Melvin speaks about a starting pitcher, he seems to go out of his way to avoid even pretending to have any interest in Jarrod Washburn, despite the fact Washburn has said publicly he would like to play in MIL. Of course, none of us have any idea if Doug is being truthful or not, but the same thought keeps occuring to me...could it be that Jarrod and the Crew already have some sort of handshake deal, and the Crew is just waiting and hoping that the Angels sign a free agent or add some payroll through a trade, and then decide they can't offer Washburn arbitration, as they don't want to risk an $8M loss on a player they have little use for?

Or, it could be that Melvin truly has no interest in him.:)

...Dale Sveum looks like he could easily put a uniform on and play 9 innings. He looks to be in better shape than many pitchers.

...When you look at the sleepers that might make the roster in a utility spot (Trent Durrington's 25th man spot would appear to be wide open), Gord Ash mentioned Zach Sorenson's ability to play all over the field (compared him to Bill Hall), Brent Abernathy, who signed as a minor league free agent, and I believe a player named Moore, who I'll have to look up, as the name doesn't ring a bell.

UPDATE: He must have said Brian Dallimore, the older utility IF.

All in all, a nice, unnewsy hour, but it was good to see some players, watch some highlights, and hear how unbridled optimism sounds. By far the quote worth repeating of the evening was Gorman Thomas:

Bill Hall can be as good as anyone.

I believe they were discussing Rickie Weeks, so if I am correct, that is high praise indeed.

The only other thing worth mentioning is the fact Ned Yost said both Ben Sheets and Weeks are recovering fine from surgery.

Hopefully, this could turn into a monthly offseason program, as only 3 shows, November, December, and January would require a couple players travel, as the other shows could be done from spring training.

12/01/2005 07:31:00 PM

(12/01/2005 06:39:00 AM) - Al

Paul Konerko ending up wiht his old team, the White Sox, means the FA market for 1B is just about empty now. CWS ended up with two of the 1B that were "available", Konerko and Thome (by trade). Should be plenty of teams, including those that could not afford either of those two, or Delgado, interested in Overbay.

Don't forget, FSN has on the unveiling of the new Brewers' unis tonight at 7.

12/01/2005 06:39:00 AM

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.

The Ramblings' manifesto can be found here.

I'm happy to pay taxes to help the helpless. I don't like paying taxes to help the clueless. Look at the Occupy movement...I'm forced to pay taxes to help those whose plight I delight in.--Dennis Miller

If you choose the path of terror, your life will be empty, and your life will be brief.--President Trump

Never have lives less lived been more chronicled.--Dennis Miller

I’m going to plead with you, do not cross us. Because if you do, the survivors will write about what we do here for 10,000 years.--Mad Dog Mattis

I have never understood why it is "greed" to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else's money.--Thomas Sowell

Ramblings makes me want to poke my eyes out with a sharp stick.--Marxist sympathizer (one of Ramblings' proudest moments)

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Al is @suitedconnect on Twitter

Al's WTMJ appearance from July, 2015 with Justin

Al's postseason WTMJ appearance with Justin


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