Al's Ramblings

Monday, July 31, 2006

(7/31/2006 07:46:00 PM) - Al

Ned has announced Cordero is the closer, for now.

Personally, I'm surprised Ned put Derrick back in the role after one decent mop-up appearance. T-bow will be fine once he starts getting his breaking ball over, or is able to locate his fastball within a couple feet. 98 right down the middle is still not easy to hit, but 98 where you want it is almost unhittable.

7/31/2006 07:46:00 PM

(7/31/2006 06:46:00 PM) - Al

Ah, celebrities behaving badly in the news.

I find the notion Mel Gibson's career may be over to be hilarious. Gibson drove drunk, and also drunkenly said some anti-Jewish statements during his arrest. Some are wondering if he can overcome what occured.

Trust me, when scum of the earth child molesters can still get work and win awards, I doubt Gibson will suffer much backlash.

Meanwhile, Lindsay Lohan got a stern letter from an exec to start showing up for work. By the way, have you ever noticed single moms who go to school and work full-time never go to the hospital suffering from "exhaustion"? And construction workers, who toil in 100 degree heat for 12-14 hours never suffer from "heat exhaustion"?

I guess they just don't have the bad luck of extremely thin actresses, huh?

In the Roget's Entertainment Thesaurus, "exhaustion" is very closely related to alcohol, drugs, or an eating disorder...or 2 of the 3.

7/31/2006 06:46:00 PM

Sunday, July 30, 2006

(7/30/2006 09:18:00 PM) - Al

What is it now, 5 under .500 right now? As I said just the other day, with the rotation solid from top to bottom, this is a team that could easily win 5 in a row, 8 of 9, or 12 of 15...but there are lingering doubts if the bullpen and the offense can be consistent enough to do that.

As always, time will tell if .500 is realistic, as I'm sure Doug and the braintrust think it is. And to be honest, if they seriously think breaking even is possible, contention is as well, as I'm beginning to think 85 or 86 might be enough wins to take home the wildcard.

I really feel Robert hit the nail on the head, that while Mench (and Hart) may be a slight downgrade, Cordero and the replacement LF's should well be an upgrade. May not be much, but if the rotation stays healthy and effective, it's the best in the wildcard "race".

7/30/2006 09:18:00 PM

(7/30/2006 08:39:00 PM) - Al

I'm in the minority to say the least, but I think Cory Lidle is a more important piece to the puzzle than Abreu, as weak as the Yankees pitching is.

I also chuckle whenever I hear what a poor year Bobby is having...with a .420ish OBP. I wish we had a few guys struggling like that.

7/30/2006 08:39:00 PM

(7/30/2006 08:35:00 PM) - Al

Ronnie Belliard traded for his statistical twin, Hector Luna:

Belly---.340/.413, 753 OPS
Luna----.336/.398, 734

Ronnie may well be a bit better defensively, but the Cards sure didn't gain much in that swap.

7/30/2006 08:35:00 PM

(7/30/2006 01:55:00 PM) - Al

John McCain's son is joining the Marines. Long article at Time about it.

They do mention that few "upper-class" young adults join the military, which I have heard is kind of a partial truth, as the majority of recruits are middle class or above, but the opposite is often reported. The military has always been seen as a way for the poor to "pull themselves up", and it still is, though it's always been a very diverse melting pot.

7/30/2006 01:55:00 PM

(7/30/2006 01:44:00 PM) - Al

Abreu and Lidle to the Yankees for a former #1 draft pick, and a loogy.

I think you can put this one in the books as definitive proof that some huge contracts give negative value to pretty solid contributors.

Also, many message boards are saying Lidle was the "well known SP" that Daron Sutton mentioned the other night.

7/30/2006 01:44:00 PM

Saturday, July 29, 2006

(7/29/2006 10:23:00 PM) - Al

I took my lunch today at a popular nationwide restaurant chain, and was happy to find almost a complete USA Today from yesterday in the newspaper holders. I must say, however, I was shocked when I came across Section F...The World Series of Poker section. The main event began yesterday, and USAT found enough ad buyers to fill an entire section with poker news and features on the top players.

I always find it ironic when someone says, with complete certainty mind you, that something will never happen, or won't happen for the next 20 years. This comes up a lot when the talk comes to MLB expansion, which I think will happen as soon as a couple teams (Florida, maybe Oakland, now that MIN has apparently finally pushed it through) get new stadiums, as there are many cities which could easily support a team, led by Vegas, Portland, and perhaps the most qualified, suburban New York/New Jersey. But many people insist, beyond a shadow of a doubt, there will not be any expansion due to the struggles of the Tampa Bay and Florida franchises.

Never forget the first President Bush had an 80% approval rating after what was viewed at the time as a hugely successful Desert Storm campaign, and lost an election just a few months later. And the idea that the WSOP would grow tenfold in 3 years, now needing 4 days to get through Day 1, as the field is so big, it has to be split into 4 groups due to the size of the room and amount of dealers available.

We can all predict the future, but you never really know. The poker explosion pretty much proves that completely.

7/29/2006 10:23:00 PM

(7/29/2006 09:52:00 PM) - Al

I think Robert summed it up nicely...Bell is nothing but a decent reserve/platoon guy, but he's a lot better than Barnwell.

I think Doug is pretty much playing for pride at this point. While his public goal may be to be a playoff contender, I'd say at this point he'd be satisfied with an improvement on last year, which would be 82 victories. While David Bell isn't going to do much to put the club in contention, he could make a difference in a game or two.

One thing that's kind of odd is there was some message board talk about how the Brewers were suddenly building with mediocre veterans, and comparisons to the Royals were being made. The funny thing about that is just how untrue it is. Doug actually had excellent depth to begin the season, especially in the position player ranks; heck, I'd stack up Hall, Cirillo, Gross, and Hart with any bench in MLB. But, with Weeks, Hardy, and Koskie all out; needless to say the depth is gone. I felt there was excellent depth for the rotation as well, but Eveland and Hendrickson were not just disappointing, they were awful, and exceptionally so because both pitched stupidly. Ben H has never, that I've seen at least, thrown anywhere near a majority of curveballs, which is supposedly one of the best in AAA, and is certainly his best pitch. Instead, he has gotten hit hard with his second best pitch, his mediocre fastball. Mike Adams is a similiar enigma, good stuff, no success at all since 2004. Sadly, many of the solid backups have not come through, due to injury or ineffectiveness. Sometimes, the best laid plans simply don't work out.

We'll see if this team gets on a bit of a roll, as they now have the rotation to do so, and if Turnbow can find his confidence, the Crew can pretty much make it a 7 inning game, minimizing the weak middle relief.

7/29/2006 09:52:00 PM

(7/29/2006 11:20:00 AM) - Robert R.

It's pretty hard to muster much emotion about the Wil Laureano for David Bell trade. Bell's not good, but he's better than Barnwell. Laureano is a longshot to make the majors at best. Really, it's like instead of waiting for a player to hit waivers, the Brewers decided to throw in a player to save the waiver claim fee. The only thing it really costs the Brewers is money.

I think it's clear that the Brewers don't want to give up on this year from both the trades they made yesterday. It's perhaps misguided, but that appears to be the rationale behind their moves yesterday.

Honestly, the biggest news is Rickie Weeks likely going on the DL and possibly having surgery. You never want to see that from a promising youngster who still has some things to work on.

7/29/2006 11:20:00 AM

Friday, July 28, 2006

(7/28/2006 08:22:00 PM) - Al

Doug sounds very negative about Rickie Weeks immediate future, says surgery may be needed. At the very least, looks like he's going on the DL when the Crew adds an infielder, which appears to be David Bell (see below).

7/28/2006 08:22:00 PM

(7/28/2006 07:37:00 PM) - Al

According to the Cincinnati Post's Marc Lancaster, the Brewers might announce a trade for an infielder following Friday's game.

Since they have no idea when Corey Koskie will return, the Brewers could be picking up another third baseman. Aaron Boone and Joe Randa are a couple of possibilities.

I've been thinking Joe Randa for a while. It just makes too much sense.

Daron Sutton just said the Brewers were close to acquiring a major league starting pitcher in the previous 24 hours, and I would guess Sutton is as "in the know" as anyone.

UPDATE: Aaron Boone is being heavily mentioned, as the Tribe called up 3B Andy Marte tonnight.

UPDATE 2: Or, it might just be David Bell, whose horrible contract is almost expired, and doesn't even look that awful anymore.

7/28/2006 07:37:00 PM

(7/28/2006 06:05:00 PM) - Al

Doug Melvin was on WTMJ this afternoon and hinted another trade is very close to taking place as well. Said it could happen anytime, and made it sound like it's a "done deal", just waiting for final things, notifying the players and agents. Robert thinks it could well involve a relief pitcher being added, as he's heard Roberto Hernandez being shopped of late.

Offhand, I would agree with Robert that an even Mench/Lee swap would cost the Brewers no more than a victory the rest of the way, and that Cordero more than makes up for it. Many folks are disappointed, and the contrarian in me loves that, as casual fans don't know Mench at all, and Cordero is, as Doug pointed out today, the type of reliever that is usually not available. He is because he had a poor April, and that's fine with me.

7/28/2006 06:05:00 PM

(7/28/2006 03:38:00 PM) - Robert R.

I've been playing around with Baseball Prospectus's MLVR stat. Basically, the marginal run value per game for a player. BP has projected Carlos Lee with a MLVR of .159 for the rest of the season. Kevin Mench came into the season with a MLVR of 0.069.

Doing a little math

60 games X (0.069 - .159) = -5.4 runs

Give or take a bit.

Considering how awful the bullpen has been in July, if Cordero is effective in high leverage situations I can see a net plus for the Brewers this year. The trade is neither awful nor great, but somewhere in the middle.

7/28/2006 03:38:00 PM

(7/28/2006 01:41:00 PM) - Al

Kevin Mench

Francisco Cordero

Laynce Nix

I'm not going to bother with the youngster for now, as I'm short on time. I have two feelings about this trade. One, after hearing top prospects mentioned, I'm a bit underwhelmed. That said, I agree with Robert's feeling that this may actually be a fine trade short and long-term. Mench's career numbers can't be far from Lee's, though I assume Kevin's splits will show he's a lefty masher. I am also wondering what Cordero's contract status is. I certainly don't see us being real active, though Brady Clark would seem to be expendable, as is the reliever Cordero replaces on the 25 man...could a Clark/Kolb to the Twins deal be in the works?

Cordero is a free agent after this year as well, so whether or not the Brewers feel comfortable offering arby may well depend on how he pitches the rest of the way.

If anything, I think this deal is a statement that Doug feels the future is now and 2007. Long-term feelings are now being saved for the draft, I would say. It will be interesting to see what Doug says when the press conference takes place.

Recap of Doug's statements at the media gathering:

Likes Kevin Mench, and the fact he's Crew property through '08...will be pretty much an everyday player. Called him a good defender, which is surprising. Really likes Cordero, all-star closer, power arm, power breaking ball. Acts as if Francisco will be back in '07 (Cordero has a $5M option or a $500K buyout. He cannot be offered abry.). Asked for Mench and Cordero for Lee straight up, TEX refused because Lee is a rental, needed an OF for future, that's how Cruz, Nix, and the younger Cordero were added. Likes Laynce Nix, feels he was rushed by the Rangers (Nix has been rumored to the Crew before, I like him more than Krynzel, not as much as Gwynn.)

Both Lee and Cruz are fine people and players, hate to see them go. All business, tough decision to make. Felt he could not lose Carlos for just draft picks or prospects a year or more away. Prospects that were offered would not have been ready for the bigs until at least the end of '07, probably '08. Did say that the extension numbers were correct, no counteroffer was made. Trade allows the Brewers to go forward and still compete in '06. Have another trade offer or two on table, at least one adds salary, up to $4M, and that was possible.

Doug acts as if there is no doubt Cordero's option will be picked up for '07, and is very positive about Mench as well. One message board person said that Doug feels very confident with Turnbow and Cordero at the back of the mention of Kolb, as if he could be dealt. Obviously, someone has to be DFA'd or something before Cordero is activated. They think Nix might develop late, ala Podsednik...also, he all but skipped AAA entirely.

Lee, career---.338/.494, 832 OPS
Mench, career-.335/.480, 815

Lee vs L, L3y---.335/.454, 789
Lee vs R, L3y---.342/.521, 863

Mench vs L, L3y-.383/.601, 984
Mench vs R, L3y-.318/.453, 771

As I suspected, Mench's splits show he has not hit RHP...whether or not that's because he has been used as a platoon guy remains to be seen. Who knew Lee hit LHP at such a mediocre pace, by the way? Too bad there's so many more RHP's than LHP's, in Mench's case.

The question remains to me, what about Corey Hart?

7/28/2006 01:41:00 PM

(7/28/2006 10:37:00 AM) - Robert R.

Reports are coming in that Carlos Lee and Nelson Cruz have been traded to the Texas Rangers for relief pitcher Francisco Cordero, outfielder Kevin Mench, outfielder/"prospect" Laynce Nix, and A ball pitcher Julian Cordero.

Unless there are followup trades between now and the deadline, I can only conclude that this trade is about remaining competitive for the rest of the season rather than cashing in for the future. Francisco Cordero got off to an awful start this season, but has pitched much better lately and been one of the better closers around in previous years. You have to believe that he's replacing Turnbow as closer. There's a fair possibility that Cordero + Hart/Mench > Carlos Lee for the Brewers for the rest of the year.

As to the rest, Mench is average with a career .815 OPS. He's a major league starter, but not really a difference maker. I'm not high on Nix at all and think he has a lot in common with Krynzel, maybe a better bat but a lot worse on defense. Julian Cordero must have tools, because his secondary stats don't support him as much of a prospect. Julian Cordero is a longshot at best.

7/28/2006 10:37:00 AM

(7/28/2006 05:54:00 AM) - Al

Mark A remains positive, and mentions several teams have asked about Corey Hart.

Doug does not sound like a fella who expects to hang onto his veteran LF.

Ken Rosenthal chimes in that the Crew offered Lee a 4y/$48M extension Thursday, and were turned down, makng it more likely Lee will be dealt.

From Rotoworld:

Lee is 30 years old, has little defensive value and has never finished a season with a 900 OPS. He could easily be a $5 million-$6 million player by the third year of his next contract. The Twins, Tigers, Angels, Rangers, Cardinals, Dodgers and Astros are all expected to have interest in trading for him.

I can't argue with any of that, and if you can, you're thinking with your heart and not your head.

Aaron Gleeman doesn't think Matt Garza is going anywhere.

7/28/2006 05:54:00 AM

Thursday, July 27, 2006

(7/27/2006 09:15:00 PM) - Al

Remember, last year, Twins fans were clamoring for Francisco Liriano to be used as bait for a bat. Anyone still want to make that deal?--Jim Souhan, Star Tribune

Heh. I know many message board regulars who have mythically traded Corey Hart for guys who have long since retired, they started so long ago.

Matt Garza, 1st round pick just last year, is already in AAA and dominated in his last start. If there's a Liriano in the minors, Garza may be it. He is untouchable supposedly, but if there's a bidding war, I guess we can hope.

7/27/2006 09:15:00 PM

(7/27/2006 08:03:00 PM) - Al

Hidden in the story on the new racing sausage at

I've talked to Terry Ryan a couple of times," said Melvin, referring to the Twins general manager. "The way that they've performed, it make sense for them to get back on the phones. A month ago, it was a different scenario for them. They're the club that we're all envious of."

Melvin wouldn't tip his hand on internal discussions with Lee, who is drawing interest on the trade market because he is a power right-handed bat in his free agent year. Talks are ongoing between the Brewers and Lee's agent, Adam Katz, regarding a contract extension, but there reportedly remains a significant gap to bridge. The Brewers have made a four-year offer; Lee's agent is seeking five.

"We'll just evaluate it each day by the phone calls we get and what's available," said Melvin, who has watched the Brewers lose all four of their series since the All-Star break. "There's not much available out there when you're talking about difference-makers, but the injuries come into play now. It's disappointing that we get Tomo Ohka and Ben [Sheets] back but then we lose three-fourths of our infield. We'll make a decision soon.

That's the first time I've heard Doug be even a little bit negative. It's as if he realizes that it's not going to happen this year, despite the fact he probably had the talent to be the wildcard on 4/1/06.

At some point, 22 teams will start building for 2007, while the others prep for the playoffs. I'm sure some already have, at least a half-dozen, realistically, twice that. When the Crew loses their next game, I think Doug will as well...unless that loss doesn't come until sometime next week.

7/27/2006 08:03:00 PM

(7/27/2006 07:31:00 PM) - Al

I received an e-mail today from a person who has worked in baseball for a while and had nothing but great things to say about the proposed Dodgers' trade.

To paraphrase, he said Andy LaRoche is a leader and a solid defender in addition to smacking the ball. Not a great athlete or a big power guy, but a very good player. Meanwhile, he says Andre Ethier is smooth, both with the media and on the field, compares him to A's phenom Nick Swisher. Another hard worker, shows up early and is likely to be a plus player in the bigs.

As I said last night, the Dodgers seem like the best possibility, and fittingly, is the least likely trading partner, as LA has been terrible of late.

7/27/2006 07:31:00 PM

(7/27/2006 12:16:00 AM) - Al

Ken Rosenthal reports Doug is still thinking about it, asking about relief pitching and infielders, in addition to listening to offers about Lee.

I have to think the Crew thinks Koskie may be out for a lengthy amount of time, if they are looking at another IF pickup.

7/27/2006 12:16:00 AM

(7/27/2006 12:06:00 AM) - Al

Blogger has been in and out tonight, so I was fortunate to get the thoughts up I did. I think it will be interesting to see if the Crew just makes a minor trade or if we see 3-4 deals made, as for the first time I can recall, the Crew not only has players other teams want, but the depth to easily overcome such a loss.

I still think Tomo Ohka may be the best SP available, if Doug chooses to listen to offers for him. Barry Zito's name has now appeared, but Zito is a known flake, and honestly, if you want a solid 6 inning man, I'd prefer Ohka.

{Granted, if you need someone to win 8 starts between now and Game 162, I'd go with Barry.}

400-450 hits the past couple days, so it is obvious many folks are excited about what will happen at the deadline.

7/27/2006 12:06:00 AM

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

(7/26/2006 11:56:00 PM) - Al

Melvin supposedly asked the Dodgers for Andy LaRoche and Andre Ethier in exchange for Lee.

I've seen several folks say this is by far the best we could hope for. Looking at the incredible AAA numbers, even in the inflated western part of the PCL, I would tend to agree.



7/26/2006 11:56:00 PM

(7/26/2006 11:45:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers, according to sources, want Minor League pitcher John Danks and shortstop Joaquin Arias in exchange for Lee. That may be too steep for the Rangers if they can't keep Lee beyond this

Doug seems to be asking for two of a team's top prospects, in almost every scenario.



7/26/2006 11:45:00 PM

(7/26/2006 10:54:00 PM) - Al

ESPN Radio, per Buster Olney: Lee and Kolb to the Twins for Slowey and Perkins. Buster said he thought that Melvin would demand a package of Slowey, Garza, and Deeds.

I don't know these guys at all, but all are top ranked Twins' prospects, in a very deep system.

Matt Garza

Kevin Slowey

Glen Perkins

Doug Deeds

Deeds seems out of place, he's 24 and his numbers are just so-so. The others are outstanding pitching prospects, all three are probably on par or better than Zach Jackson.

Here is John Sickels' take on the Twins' system, by the way.

7/26/2006 10:54:00 PM

(7/26/2006 04:50:00 PM) - Robert R.

Losing 2 of 3 to the Pirates really says it all at this point. Granted, there are some overreactions going on in Brewer-fan nation this afternoon, but the play of the team in July certainly hasn't been of the quality of a contender, even in a very weak NL.

There are lots of culprits, but you have to start with the bullpen. Two saves and six blown saves in July are the key stats. Other than Turnbow and Capellan, every pitcher there looks replacable. Melvin needs to come up with about three hard throwers with control if the Brewers want to take the next step. And preferably find at least one that can throw more than an inning at a time.

The good thing for Doug Melvin is that he really only has to address pitching and he has an excellent chit in Carlos Lee to bargain with. Mike Rivera hitting the ball gives Melvin added freedom in not having to address a particular position player need. Brady Clark also looks expendable with the emergence of Gabe Gross and Clark could certainly help a team with injuries in the outfield like the Yankees or Twins. The way the Brewers are playing right now, trading Lee and Clark and getting young pitching help back might improve the team more this season than trying to flip some prospects for mediocre veteran relievers.

7/26/2006 04:50:00 PM

(7/26/2006 10:42:00 AM) - Al

It's a fresh day, and I still wonder about giving up on DLR, especially now that it would appear Tony G is only signed through 2006.

On Robert's thoughts about Sarfate, I would agree, as Dennis has looked like a reliever for at least a couple years, and is out of options, so he'll either break camp with the team in '07 or be lost. Eveland, I think, has a pair of options remaining, as he was added to the 40 last year, so his first option was used this past March, at least, that's if options and common sense were related.

All reports I have read seem to indicate Doug Melvin is asking for the moon when a call comes in. He now says it's less than a 50% chance Lee is traded, but also said that had to with how the team does. It seems to me that a club may well say yes at some point, especially after Soriano sets the market.

7/26/2006 10:42:00 AM

(7/26/2006 09:30:00 AM) - Robert R.

Dave Bush coming out of the bullpen created some amount of consternation last night. Especially since he was ineffective.

I'm not going to lay the loss totally on Ned Yost's decision to use Bush. The Brewers only scored one run. And I understand that Yost has use and injury issues to deal with.

That said, I think trying to use Bush as a starter and reliever is a mistake. Bush is a young pitcher still learning. Giving him a solid routine and role is more important than trying to give him a few innings here and there. And I understand the idea of using him in the bullpen when you're planning on skipping his turn in the rotation, but I think it's a mistake to skip his turn. Ohka and Sheets are coming back from injury and should be treated conservatively.

Whether or not the Brewers are "buyers" or "sellers" at the deadline, Melvin has to fix the bullpen. The temptation to mess up use patterns for the starters in order to compensate for the bullpen has to be removed. Other than Turnbow, every reliever has to be looked at for what they bring to the ballclub now and in the future and decisions have to be made.

7/26/2006 09:30:00 AM

(7/26/2006 09:14:00 AM) - Robert R.

I don't have nearly the problems that Al had in giving up De La Rosa because it certainly never looked like the Brewers were going to be able to find the playing time to develop him. Part of that is bad luck, cracking a nail when he had an opportunity to get some starts, and part of that is the fact that the Brewers are trying to win games more than develop talent at the present time. Corey Hart is in a similar situation, although Hart has performed at a higher level than De La Rosa. In many respects, this highlights the importance of not burning a player's options too soon.

While I don't know if De La Rosa will ever develop, going to KC where he should get a lengthy opportunity to prove himself is probably the best thing that could have happened to him. KC is at the bottom and has nothing to lose by giving players with upside playing time. It's hard to think of a better return for Graffanino. KC has done well in understanding what they have to do to rebuild in the last few weeks. They already seem to have more direction than under Allard Baird.

Graffanino will help the Brewers in the meantime, if by nothing else than giving Hall and Cirillo breathers. And he could possibly be flipped at the deadline if the Brewers start selling off players. The Brewers can also start evaluating their next crop of young pitchers who are running short on options, such as Eveland and Sarfate.

7/26/2006 09:14:00 AM

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

(7/25/2006 09:25:00 PM) - Al

Sources said the Dodgers, who have lost 11 of their past 12 games, recently discussed Lee with Milwaukee but backed away when Brewers GM Doug Melvin asked for a package that included outfielder Andre Ethier and power-hitting third base prospect Andy LaRoche.

Should someone overpay for Carlos, he's gone. If not, looks like comp picks.

7/25/2006 09:25:00 PM

(7/25/2006 07:11:00 PM) - Al

DLR dealt to KC for Tony Graffinino.

The Crew, with Weeks' out for at least a couple days (listed as day-to-day), didn't go out and pick up a middling utility IF, they probably got the best one on the market. I thought I read that Tony was attractive to a lot of teams because he was signed through 2007, but I am not positive.

My heterosexual love for DLR is well known around these parts. I feel Jorge will either have a solid career or continue as he has, up and down, good and bad. At worst, however, he should be at least a mediocre relief guy. His ceiling continues to be very, very high.

Doug Melvin says Tony was attractive due to the uncertainty and injuries in the infield, since Tony G can play all 4 IF spots.

I do like picking up a solid veteran, but I really like the pitcher the Royals picked up.

7/25/2006 07:11:00 PM

(7/25/2006 07:01:00 PM) - Al

The Royals pick up a much sought after FA pitcher in Odalis Perez, and also picks up a couple minor leaguers in exchange for...Elmer Dessens? LA even is paying all but a couple mil a year of Perez's salary, so it's kind of like the Koskie trade for the Crew.

Thus far, the big winner at the deadline is KC, how ironic is that?

7/25/2006 07:01:00 PM

(7/25/2006 03:19:00 PM) - Al

Hardball Times looks back at all the deadline trades in the last decade...and by my count, darn near every one favors the team that got the youngsters.

I've said before that I am more likely to trade for a cog or two if I am a playoff team hoping to win the Series, rather than a team a few games out of a playoff spot. That's especially so considering how expensive middle relief has been this season.

7/25/2006 03:19:00 PM

(7/25/2006 03:10:00 PM) - Al

FYI, Steve Phillips said last night he felt the Brewers would hold onto Carlos Lee and not trade him at the deadline.

I would be fine with that, and it would seem as if Doug Melvin's two options are:

1. Keep Lee, and keep negotiating, but probably get two comp picks for him.

2. Get overwhelmed by an offer and deal him.

I can't say I find anything wrong with that.

7/25/2006 03:10:00 PM

(7/25/2006 02:57:00 PM) - Al

I rarely side with celebs when it comes to disputes with the free press, though I'll be the first to admit taking pics of folks for tabloids is a pathetic way to make a living. In this case, let's think of David Arquette's "problem":

1. Apparently, Mr. Arquette is unhappy photogs are on what I assume to be public land near his house. Boo frickin' hoo.

2. Let's not forget that Arquette is wealthy beyond belief, married to the beautiful (if overly thin) Courtney Cox, and has not a speck of talent that separates him from thousands of other actors.

3. Am I alone in wondering why Arquette doesn't have a plethora of security to harass, or to stand in the way of the paparazzi?

7/25/2006 02:57:00 PM

(7/25/2006 10:58:00 AM) - Al

Second baseman Rickie Weeks left the game after two innings with what was described as "right wrist irritation." In the bottom of the second, he slid into second on a pickoff play that was ruled a balk on Pittsburgh lefty Zach Duke.

That terrifies me, as Rickie's wrist bothered him last year (though I think it was his non-throwing one, so his left), and at this second, our only reserve is Barnwell (though Cirillo could play 2B and Hart has played 3B, though not for a couple years). Going from Weeks to Barnwell for any length of time may be the largest dropoff in talent in MLB history.

7/25/2006 10:58:00 AM

(7/25/2006 10:43:00 AM) - Al

From a popular message board:

Bill Hall has 50 extra base hits in 100 games - on pace for 81 obviously. Since World War II, only 5 shortstops have ever had more extra base hits in a season than Hall's pace.

The names?

Ernie Banks
Robin Yount
Cal Ripken
Nomar Garciaparra
Alex Rodriguez

I have wondered aloud many times how people seem to overlook how Hall is doing things shortstops simply do not do. He is putting together offensive numbers that make him among the elite to ever play the defensive spot of SS.

7/25/2006 10:43:00 AM

(7/25/2006 10:29:00 AM) - Al

I'd be much happier that Harold Reynolds was fired if I knew it meant some air time for a Rob Neyer (and now that he's lost weight, how 'bout that Aaron Gleeman?) type, but sadly, all it means is some other former player telling me how good Player X is, even though we all know he sucks.

7/25/2006 10:29:00 AM

Monday, July 24, 2006

(7/24/2006 09:14:00 PM) - Al

One of the best sayings I've ever heard is fellow rambkler Robert's comment once that it isn't just coincidence "scrappy" is just one letter away from "crappy".

I'm the first to admit Rickie weeks is not yet a good defender, though he sure looks a lot better now than he did just a couple months ago. Part of that is confidence I'm sure, part of it is fewer bad hops and the like.

However, allow me to put forth this nugget: I have never seen a player so overmatched at the major league level as Chris Barnwell is. He's literally the poster boy for not paying a bit of attention to a small sample of a couple hundred AB's and also for not promoting the "hard working good guy" to be a utility guy at the next level.

FYI, my computer will not go to the internet, though I'm able to play poker online. Anyone with advice on what to do when Internet Explorer fails, e-mail me. Right now, I'm on my son's computer, much to his chagrin.

7/24/2006 09:14:00 PM

(7/24/2006 05:20:00 PM) - Al

Tiger Woods had a heckuva tourney, especially in his fragile emotional state, but to even compare it to the win of Floyd Landis, who won a 2000 mile bike race on one leg, and now has to have surgery we usually hear about with 50-60 year-olds.

I just heard someone say Landis couldn't even get on his bike from his "bad side". Incredible.

7/24/2006 05:20:00 PM

(7/24/2006 05:16:00 PM) - Al

McDougal goes to the White Sox, for a pair of minor league of which would seem to be quite good.

I like him, but I'd hate to trade a kid for a pitcher who has thrown 4 innings thus far.

This should be the start of several trades for the Royals, who have some good prospects that are just about ready, and a lot of "ok" players that would look mighty good as depth or platoon help for a contender...Stairs, Sanders, Redman, Doug M, etc.

7/24/2006 05:16:00 PM

(7/24/2006 04:28:00 PM) - Al

The Carlos Lee rumors have began:

Star Tribune reports scouts say Lee would be a perfect fit in MIN...and they're probably correct.

ESPN News is reporting the Tigers are in talks and young fireballer Humberto Sanchez is the centerpiece. Sanchez is 23 and is having his first very good year

7/24/2006 04:28:00 PM

Sunday, July 23, 2006

(7/23/2006 11:43:00 AM) - Al

No sooner than many people feel the Brewers are now a seller...Steve Phillips on Baseball Tonight said that Carlos Lee is the target of the A's, as they look to add for their playoff run.

If Lee is indeed traded, it will be very interesting to see exactly what a good slugger, having a fine year, and is a FA at the end of the season, is worth. It is a perfect storm if you will.

What would I be looking for? I am always solidly entrenched in the "best player(s) available" mindset, and this is no exception. Now, one thing I would not look for is to add anyone to the system that plays the right side of the infield, as Rickie and Prince seem set to man those spots for the next half-decade.

{On a tangent here, but how long ago was it I kept hearing there was no way Weeks would ever be a 2B in a year or two? If memory serves, that was about 45 days ago. I think of that whenever I read things like Ben Hendrickson will never be a major league pitcher. I'm not sure if he will or not, but the mere fact many don't think so makes me think he has a pretty good shot.}

But, if a team comes along and offers you a top 10 MLB prospect that happens to be a 1B or 2B, it'd be tough not to accept that in trade. Doug has said constantly that the players he wants are either major league ready or close to being so. I have confidence in him to obtain the most talent available.

7/23/2006 11:43:00 AM

Saturday, July 22, 2006

(7/22/2006 10:41:00 PM) - Al

Common sense tells me that the Brewers will make their decision after a bit of a streak in the coming weeks...and it might be something as simple as 8 out of 12. Think of the difference in the next dozen games alone:

win 8 of the next 12; 50-47
lose 8 of the next 12; 46-51--Ramblings, 7/4

Now, they're 46-52. And yes, that is quite a difference. I guessed at the time they'd be far back in both the division and wildcard race, and they are.

Doug will look to see what he can get for Lee, and may hear offers for Ohka and Clark as well. I would not be at all unwilling to hang onto Tomo and offer him arby, as I'd hate to give him a long-term deal coming off a rotator cuff tear, but I'm sure many teams will have little hesitation doing so.

7/22/2006 10:41:00 PM

(7/22/2006 10:30:00 AM) - Al

Glenn with a post that links to Ann...that seems to say that while the Madison campus has always been a bit goofy, maybe having a prof that is certifiably insane is a bit much.

The thing is, rewriting history is something that has been done over the centuries by the powers that be...and in the modern era, it seems to be the opposite, done by the fringe of the fringe.

And yes, the UW system is financed in part with tax dollars. It'd be one thing to have some loon at a stuck-up private school, but the idea of it going on at State U does seem like an abyssmal job of leadership, or lack thereof.

Maybe they can hire me to teach the youngsters that the world is flat...wait I have proof...on the internet, I read...

7/22/2006 10:30:00 AM

(7/22/2006 10:02:00 AM) - Al

If they decide to take me out of the closer role, I'll understand. They haven't talked to me about it, but I dont want to cost the team games.--Derrick Turnbow

I've politely said before Turnbow is always close to "losing it", and with this quote and his staring into the dugout last night, I think he's asked out of the closer's role. He semed to be fine last night, throwing 98 (98!!) and coming close at least with the breaking ball, but he's afraid to throw strikes.

I would say it's all but completely mental, yet I guess it doesn't make much difference. Goodness, most guys could get through 5 innings just firing it 98 up there, as long as you moved it around in and out, up and down.

7/22/2006 10:02:00 AM

(7/22/2006 09:57:00 AM) - Al

The JS with a long article about trade possibilities.

As assumed, Doug has been looking for a utility IF, relief pitching, and may well be deciding to deal Lee as the losses mount.

7/22/2006 09:57:00 AM

Friday, July 21, 2006

(7/21/2006 08:57:00 PM) - Al

Apparently, utility workers are supposed to work 24/7 in Queens.

Hey, I'm sure it sucks when you lose power for 5 days, but it ain't a war zone either. Drink your 4.227 ounces of water and suck it up.

7/21/2006 08:57:00 PM

(7/21/2006 11:05:00 AM) - Al

This has nothing to do with nothing, but this link has me asking how the Red Cross came up with the idea you should drink 4.227 ounces of water with each meal in an emergency situation.

I just did the math, and it would seem it was chosen because it is 1/8th of a liter.

UPDATE: All I can think of is if I were trapped with 90% of Americans, all I'd hear is constant complaints about why the water is warm.

UPDATE 2: Not to mention the whines of why such a high calorie food replacement bar was chosen, and how" it'll go right to my thighs".

And if you wonder about the validity of such comments, harken back to media coverage of New Orleans, 12 hours after the levee gave way.

7/21/2006 11:05:00 AM

(7/21/2006 09:56:00 AM) - Al

I sometimes post about current events, but rarely about anything but my feelings "in general".

For instance, I'm a fan of the limited government involvement, as John Stossel so eloquently told of his trip to Europe, he was able to rent a car from people he didn't know and get cash from a bank he'd never been at, because he had a Visa card...yet Florida had a tough time counting votes. Sure, you need gov't to build roads and a military, as there is little profit in either, but you get my point.

I admire Bill Gates for his efforts at "fixing" some of the problems that Africa possesses, and he has had some luck with minor ones, as I've read immunization rates are much higher now, for ailments long ago taken care of in civilized nations. However, eradicating polio is much simpler than eliminating famine, AIDS, genocide, etc, that will likely plague the continent long after Gates has spent all of Buffet's cash.

Which, in a roundabout way, leads me to Israel...sigh. Peace in the holy land is much like the weather in San Francisco (or closer to home, Duluth/Superior, where it went from 85 and humid at 3PM to 38 at 9PM the one day I spent there)...if you don't like it, just wait, it'll change. I will not pretend to understand the centuries of dislike that exist in the region, but I will admit to being firmly in the pro-Israel camp...the only nation in the world which will suffer civilan casualties and the world stands idly by and whispers they sure hope the Israelis don't retaliate.

The tanks are lined up on the Lebanon border as I type, and combat would appear to be imminent. The clips they show are always the same, but it always amazes me how often children end up in the crossfire. Of course, considering the weapons being used are in many cases, 50+ years old, I'm sure they do not have the computer guided capabilities that we have come to expect from allied forces...which sadly, also end up going off course at times as well.

It's a situation that we have seen before and will see again. Long after everyone reading this is forgotten, it is quite possible we will still be seeing the exact same thing, once or twice a decade.

7/21/2006 09:56:00 AM

(7/21/2006 08:35:00 AM) - Al

---Aaron Gleeman with his usual link report on Friday. Always a good time.

---Robert's idea about Bush is something I had thought of, but dismissed. I can't imagine the Crew finding a starter that would be any better than any of the 5 they have now...assuming Sheets and Ohka are now close to full strength. Adding Maddux to the rotation, considering his past 3 months, isn't a Doug Melvin type of move.

---Here's a thought...if Ohka is indeed healthy and has a pair of good outings before the deadline, yet the Brewers lose ground in the wildcard race...Tomo could be swapped as the best pitcher available. Other than the occasional Dontrelle Willis rumor, the names I keep hearing are Mark Redman and Paul Byrd...ouch. Don't forget how many times Doug has said you usually get max value for pitchers during the season. I would not have any problems with Helling or Villaneuva going every 5th day, especially if it landed us a top youngster. There's little doubt a 2 for 1 could easily be arranged, as Dave Krynzel is still on the 40, and has regressed even more in his 3rd season in AAA. I bet Rick Manning is offended Dave was ever compared to him, as Rick at least hit enough to spend a decade in the majors.

---I have to wonder if Brady Clark is being asked about, or maybe even being shopped. I'm a big fan of Clark, especially the way he gets on base 37% of the time, but Gross has done fine, and played well; and Hart can also play CF...and heck, Gwynn may not hit like them, but if the team truly wants to upgrade their defense, I doubt there's many better than Tony. For some teams, Clark would be a real upgrade and could add an important win or two. He'd be a perfect fit for the Twins, who have 3 OF's on the DL.

---The price of relief is indeed out of control, with the Tribe actually getting something of value for Bob Wickman, who hasn't even been average this year, and has no future. If only it were last year, we could add to the system by dealing Justin Lehr and Kane Davis. I admit, Lehr was one of my biggest disappointments thus far in '06, as I thought he and Capellan would both be very good out of the bullpen. Of course, Justin has righted the ship at AAA, a 3.50 ERA with OK secondary numbers. Maybe he'll be a guy who makes the trip off the 40 and then the rare trip back on.

7/21/2006 08:35:00 AM

Thursday, July 20, 2006

(7/20/2006 09:24:00 AM) - Robert R.

I'm going to agree with Al that the decision to use Bush in relief was curious, to put it mildly. Bush has been one of the most consistent starters on the team. It makes me wonder if a trade is in the works for another starter, perhaps that long rumored Greg Maddux deal. Or perhaps someone even better than that. There has to be more to the story than Ned Yost getting desperate.

In fact, I'll go so far as to say that if the Nationals/Reds trade is indicative, starting pitching might be a better value than relief pitching in this trade market. Put Bush in the pen and acquire an adequate reliever like Scott Williamson and the Brewers will have shored up their biggest weakness.

In any event, the bullpen is a disaster right now. A 2 - 4 road trip could have been a 4 - 2 road trip. Capellan, Shouse, and Wise are decent options although I wouldn't describe any of them as dominating, Turnbow is a total mess mechanically and someone else should close until he gets himself straightened out, Gonzalez is filler, Helling is an o.k. swingman who is probably more valuable for his versatility than his performance, and Kolb should be DFA'd. Eveland is o.k. out of the pen in non-critical situations and it might be a good place for him to develop as he seems to have done all that he can at AAA.

7/20/2006 09:24:00 AM

(7/20/2006 12:18:00 AM) - Al

Sheets was very good in Nashville tonight, 6+, 1 run, good velocity, and used all of his other pitches as well. Hopefully a blister he said he "could feel forming" does not affect his ability to pitch next week.

7/20/2006 12:18:00 AM

(7/20/2006 12:02:00 AM) - Al

The more I think about it, the more I dislike using Bush today, especially for so long. If you need him to come in and get an out, I can sorta see it, even if I'm not a big fan. However, it seems pretty obvious there were pitchers available, it's just that Yost didn't care to use them.

If you don't have any faith in Eveland, Kolb, and/or Shouse to be able to get 5 outs before they give up 2 runs...why do you have them?

Ned made what he felt was the best move, and it may have been. But, it certainly seems short-sighted, as Bush has been a dependable horse all year for the Crew. That seems like a move you make the last week of September, not mid-July...especially in hopes of getting 2 games under .500.

7/20/2006 12:02:00 AM

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

(7/19/2006 11:21:00 PM) - Al

Dennis Miller and a couple others are on a tour of some ballparks.

I love Miller's comedy, and think he'd be a great guy to have dinner with. He is incredibly self-depricating as well, my wife and I saw him in the Twin Cities years ago, when Miller was part of the Monday Night football team, for which he was often criticized. Soon after he started, someone shouted out, "How about the Vikings?", to which Miller immediately responded, "Apparently you haven't heard, I know NOTHING about football."

7/19/2006 11:21:00 PM

(7/19/2006 10:40:00 PM) - Al

Durham hit a bounder to the right side of the mound, and Turnbow instinctively stuck out his glove. The ball caromed off it and into shallow rightfield for the winning two-run single.

Before Turnbow deflected the ball, it was headed directly at Weeks, who was shading up the middle and would have had a chance to start a game-ending double play.

"We bunched up the middle on purpose to try to turn two," said Weeks. "That's just how it is."

Tough to fault Derrick for a bloop single, a high hopper double, and the above fluke. When you're going good, these things work out positively, and when they're not, they do not.

You realize in Miller Park, the above play would have been ruled an error.:)

7/19/2006 10:40:00 PM

(7/19/2006 10:15:00 PM) - Al

Shea Hillenbrand DFA'd after what sounds like a misunderstanding and an overreaction from his manager. He's not as good as his salary would indicate, but someone will pick up a decent 3B for the stretch run...sounds like the Padres are looking.

7/19/2006 10:15:00 PM

(7/19/2006 10:07:00 PM) - Al

SI with a link that reaffirms what most of us have thought; the Crew is unlikely to trade Lee, but also unlikely to extend him.

As Doug says, however, if the team goes 2-7, suddenly the once small hopes of contention get even more minute, and maybe Lee is on the market.

7/19/2006 10:07:00 PM

(7/19/2006 10:47:00 AM) - Al

Brewers manager Ned Yost said third baseman Corey Koskie was under orders to stay as quiet as possible at home while recovering from post-concussion syndrome. "We've got him watching no TV, playing no video games, reading no books," Yost said. "We're trying to limit as much brain activity as we can so it will heal."

Maybe David Puddy was trying to heal a brain injury?

7/19/2006 10:47:00 AM

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

(7/18/2006 11:10:00 PM) - Al

Quite an outing from Ohka tonight, considering it was his first in 2.5 months.

FYI, the Crew was 6-17 in games not started by one of the 5 "main" members of the rotation...wouldn't it be nice if that number is not added to anymore this year?

7/18/2006 11:10:00 PM

(7/18/2006 09:11:00 PM) - Al

I must admit, the neverending cries wanting us to sign Carlos Lee to a bloated, long-term deal is growing tiresome. I have loved Carlos' bat since he joined the club, but I realize he is what he above average offensive LF, mediocre or just slightly below on defense. He is now 30, and while he is likely to be fine the next year or two, anything beyond that is just hope. The list of corner OF who just suddenly "lost it" in their early-to-mid 30's is a long one, and many had an expensive year or two at the end of a long-term contract that made things mighty difficult for their team.

On his list of similar players, Dmitri Young and Matt Stairs both show up. Both are dependable vets, but neither worth the big bucks. On the list of similar through age 29, George Bell and Raul Mondesi appear. George was a superstar until age 30, and was done at 34. He had one good year in between. Mondesi was very good until 30, also was done at decent campaign in that stretch. And, the poster child for falloff after 3 decades is Bobby Higginson:

Higginson, career: .358/.455, 813 OPS, 163 OXS
Carlos Lee career: .337/.488, 825 OPS, 165 OXS

Higginson never once matched or bettered his career norms, in either OBP or SLG, once he turned 31.

The thing about Lee is so many of the arguments have little merit to a serious fan, but plenty to the casual one. Lee has always been an RBI man...but has always been in the middle of the lineup, so he's always had plenty of RBI opportunities. He is a bit of a plodder in the OF, but rarely makes an error either, so his shortcomings are minimal...of course, he isn't going to get better as he gets older, and he's likely to decline.

The most head shaking thing about Lee is the way people seem to think he will somehow automatically repeat his numbers from this year, even as he gets older, further past his prime, and despite the fact it simply makes little sense. You do not pay players based on what they have done, you pay them based on what you expect them to do in the future. Lee's career numbers are solid, but barely above that of an average LF in 2005:

Lee career: .337/.488, 825 OPS, 165 OXS, 99 simple runs created
Ave LF, '05: .344/.433, 777 OPS, 149 OXS, 89 src

Therefore, any decline at all would seemingly have Carlos as strikingly mediocre, and being paid far, far above that.

Finally, the kicker is that the Crew does not have the DH to fall back on. An AL team can sign Lee to an outrageous deal, and unless they have the second comings of Harold Baines or Edgar Martinez under contract as well, he can still be in the lineup every day if his knees, back, or whatever gives out. In the NL, he cannot.

Do I think Corey Hart would replace Lee without a drop off? Certainly I would not project Hart to match Lee's '06 numbers...but I also wouldn't put Corey far behind Lee's career ones either. But, at the end of the day, I'm just a humble fan. What do the real forecasts say?

Well, Baseball Prospectus system is called PECOTA, and here's what they had for '06:

Corey Hart---.347/.479
Lee, career--.337/.488

Hart's projection was the exact same as Jenkins', by the way, and nearly identical to Fielder's. We kind of take Hart for granted, as he is not a prospect like Weeks or Fielder, a can't miss, might be the best prospect in the game type...but his numbers have been outstanding, despite him always being young for his level. One note I read a few days ago was worth mentioning...this was the first all-star break Hart has enjoyed in the past 5 years...he'd been an all-star the previous 4. He has done this despite being bounced from 1B to 3B to OF. He is young and athletic, and while not a top defender, he has all the tools to develop into one.

Hey, Hart may not ever hit those projections, as impressive as he looks in limited time not withstanding. I know that. But, even if he doesn't, he seems like he'd at least be a serviceable enough LF (and, he has the arm to play RF as well) for a couple years while we find that pre-arby costs mind you. In that case, if Corey turns out to be strictly mediocre, maybe even below, let's say he's worth 20 fewer runs, which using the rule of 10, is 2 wins a year.

Carlos@$12M per...and 2 wins


Corey@$400K per...and 2 losses

It's not my money, so I'm not that concerned if Mark A spends it or banks it. My point, as I repeat frequently, is that every team has a payroll budget, whether it be $40M, $60M, or $110M. My contention is simple, I think we can spend that $11.6M much wiser and get more bang for our buck than a couple wins...and that's just in 2007. I talk about how overpaid middle relievers like Bobby Howry and Scott Eyre are, but you could have signed them, solidified innings 6-8, and still have $4M+ leftover to put into whatever area you feel still needs the help...maybe a veteran LH OF to play LF versus the tough RH SP's? You'd probably still have some leftover to add some salary at the deadline.

I'll root for Lee should he resign, and regardless, I feel the Crew is poised for the elusive 5-7 year run of contention that small market teams dream of. I think Doug Melvin is shrewd enough not to mortgage the future on an unathletic 30 year-old who is likely to just be a shadow of himself in 4-5 years, when the contract would end.

However, I don't think it'd be in the club's best interests to spend what seems to be "market value" for Lee.

7/18/2006 09:11:00 PM

(7/18/2006 08:21:00 PM) - Al

JJ is out for the year, and Zach is now in Nashville, at least on paper.

JJ has now suffered 2 incredibly fluky injuries in just over 2 years. There are exceptions to the rule, Molitor and Jenkins spring to mind, but there aren't many guys who are hurt a lot in their 20's who end up becoming healthy later in their life.

7/18/2006 08:21:00 PM

(7/18/2006 10:53:00 AM) - Al

Russ wonders if Hall is leveling off.

My answer? Yes...and he's still 5th in MLB in OPS among shortstops. Hall's only weakness is he doesn't hit like an all-star LF which is fine, as long as he's a middle infielder.

7/18/2006 10:53:00 AM

(7/18/2006 09:50:00 AM) - Al

Jonathan Chakhtoura, a 19-year-old Lebanese-American fashion design student in Boston, said he registered with the U.S. Embassy electronically to be evacuated three days ago, but he has not heard from the embassy except for an e-mail acknowledging his registration.

Chakhtoura, who would like to be back in the U.S. before classes start on Sept. 6, said he was disappointed with the way the embassy has handled the evacuation.

"Every time I call to see what's going on the lines are busy. When they answer, they say they don't know," he complained. "I am extremely disappointed. A lot of people don't know what is going on. There is so much confusion. If it's security they are worried about, then I think we will be more secure if we know what is going on."

The U.S. Navy said the cruise ship Orient Queen left Cyprus's port of Limassol for Beirut. Escorted by a U.S. destroyer, it was to join U.S. military helicopters that have ferried a few dozen U.S. citizens to a British base on Cyprus. Officials said the Orient Queen can carry 750 people at a time and it was expected to be full. A U.S. Navy destroyer, the USS Gonzales, will be available to escort the Orient Queen, the Pentagon said, although officials declined to provide times for the ship's arrival or departure from Beirut.

Well, I certainly hope my tax dollars at work can get globe-trotting, 19 year-old Jonny back home in time for "design school" (if he hadn't come out before, he just did) opening day.

It is staggering that the same people who think nothing of vacationing in areas of the world which are an insult and a car bomb away from chaos also expect the US to run to their aid when they get caught up in the way of life that is the Middle East.

And you realize, they're the same ones who build a house 10 feet from the water, don't buy insurance for it (or can't get it, because insurance companies like making money), then go begging to the feds when it inevitably floods.

7/18/2006 09:50:00 AM

(7/18/2006 09:05:00 AM) - Al

Tony Gwynn Jr. was interviewed last night before the game, and you'd be hard pressed not to be impressed with his maturity. Even when compared to Prince Fielder, also the son of a major leaguer, Tony sounds extremely intelligent and well spoken. It's tough to even comprehend that he's younger than Dave Krynzel, who hurts himself racing motorcycles, then tries to hide it from the team. Oof.

There are still many people who don't think Tony will ever hit enough to stay in the bigs, and many others who don't think he'll ever hit for enough power to be anything but a reserve. I have grown to really like Tony, and he's still just 23, so he has a few seasons until he reaches his peak. With his speed and defense, he's a fine backup even if he never does hit a whole lot, so his future would appear bright regardless.

Also, he looks exactly like a young Harold Reynolds.

7/18/2006 09:05:00 AM

(7/18/2006 12:26:00 AM) - Al

After what was arguably his best outing, Zach Jackson is almost certain to go down to AAA Nashville when Tomo Ohka is activated tomorrow.

I'm sure we'll see Zach again, and it's been a pleasure watching a young arm who has a clue.

7/18/2006 12:26:00 AM

Monday, July 17, 2006

(7/17/2006 09:35:00 PM) - Al

Omar Vizquel, 39 years old, and he still hasn't figured out it's really stupid to try to steal 3B with 2 outs...especially with Barry Bonds up.

7/17/2006 09:35:00 PM

(7/17/2006 08:08:00 PM) - Al

The Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Tigers and even the Brewers have been mentioned as clubs with a possible interest in Abreu.

Emphasis added.

Jerry Crasnick of The Rocky Mountain News with a not so hidden cut of the Crew. I like Jerry, and I doubt if it was meant in a bad way, more of a surprising way.

7/17/2006 08:08:00 PM

(7/17/2006 07:14:00 PM) - Al

I have to knock out at expiring bonus tonight, so I'll be multi-tabling it until late tonight, so I doubt I'll be posting much.

7/17/2006 07:14:00 PM

Sunday, July 16, 2006

(7/16/2006 09:09:00 PM) - Al

According to the Boston Globe, ESPN's Peter Gammons is making progress after his scary June 27 brain aneurysm. He has been able to talk -- a great sign -- and is working on being able to walk. The hope is that he can leave the hospital this week and transfer to a rehabilitation center.

Hat tip to Dave Pinto.

To be perhaps a bit too blunt, I'd say walking is a bonus after such a life threatening event. I wish Peter all the best, as he's long been one of my favorites, from way back when he covered the AL for The Sporting News. Baseball Tonight has been like watching clones of one another.

7/16/2006 09:09:00 PM

(7/16/2006 08:08:00 PM) - Al

One thing I've wondered several times, but always forgot to post...if JJ would have been injured earlier, the Crew could have gone after Brandon Phillips harder when he was DFA'd by the Indians, and Doug would look like even more of a genius.

7/16/2006 08:08:00 PM

(7/16/2006 07:31:00 PM) - Al

Much more interesting than the win today is the tidbit that the Brewers inquired about Bobby Abreu...yes, that one. No idea how serious it was, or what exactly the Brewers had in mind, but let me comment here.

1. I will have to look up how huge Bobby's contract is, but it is large to say the least. However, let me say I'd much rather pay the multi-talented Abreu $15M per season than pay Lee the rumored $12-13M he's going to get.

2. The Phillies are said to be looking for young pitching if they do cut ties with Abreu, and the Crew has several AAA pitchers that fit the bill, especially if Zach Jackson is sent down if and when Sheets returns.

Dennis Sarfate, Ben Hendrickson, Carlos V, Jackson, and Justin Lehr are about as deep a AAA rotation as exists, not to mention Dana Eveland and his sub 2 ERA which currently resides in the major league bullpen.

{pause to imagine Philly fans booing Ben H mercilessly after the tall redhead gives up a run or two}

Probably just a pie-in-the-sky notion,

{pause to go get a piece of pie}

but it sure is nice to here.

7/16/2006 07:31:00 PM

Saturday, July 15, 2006

(7/15/2006 10:35:00 PM) - Al

I wonder why Gonzalez was chosen to pitch in a blowout situation tonight. Helling and Kolb both would benefit from the work, as neither has been overly sharp. I'd be sure to get Turnbow a batter or two as well, to try and get last night's outing out of his mind.

7/15/2006 10:35:00 PM

(7/15/2006 10:24:00 PM) - Al

Yost posted another new lineup on Saturday, featuring Gross in the leadoff spot and Chris Barnwell playing second base. Barnwell replaced regular second baseman Rickie Weeks, Yost said, because Weeks is 0-for-9 with five strikeouts in his career against Arizona sinkerballer Brandon Webb.

"We're trying to find some offense right now," Yost said. "I'm trying to give our club every opportunity to score some runs."

I'll be the first to say Barnwell should start at least once every 10 games or so, as should everyone, as bench guys need to see pitching on a regular basis. But, worrying about a 9 AB sample? And more than anything, putting Barnwell in the lineup to "find some offense"? No offense to Chris, but if you ignore his outlier 2006 season, he has a career minor league OBP of .304...hardly a sparkplug.

7/15/2006 10:24:00 PM

(7/15/2006 04:06:00 PM) - Al

The parent of one of our AAA players has reported that Tony Gwynn Jr. has been called up to the Brewers...but I cannot find an official confirmation of that move. It could be part of any number of moves...though Brady Clark being traded makes as much sense as anything else. Other possibilities could be a Lee trade (unlikely), Koskie to the DL (also unlikely, as Yost said he'd be in the lineup tonight), or even a P going down.

Time will tell, but look for your info at the Brewers' site, as I'll be working this evening.

UPDATE: Koskie has post-concussion syndrome, and was DL'd.

7/15/2006 04:06:00 PM

Friday, July 14, 2006

(7/14/2006 09:33:00 PM) - Al

Early second-half thoughts:

---13th in offense, 16th in pitching, if you go by runs scored per game and ERA...and this is a team many are saying should be buyers? Heck, I'd probably say it if they won a half-dozen in a row, but seriously, this is a team that is solidly built for 2007 and beyond, has probably been luckier than any club I've ever followed.

---Back in my softball days, before consecutive years of foot injuries that ended my career; I was a classic gritty middle IF, rarely made an error, limited range, got on base a lot. However, I was always lacking in foot speed, even in my lighter days.

Let it be said though I am all but positive I never looked as awkward on the basepaths as Doug Davis did tonight. I'd rather watch someone kick a puppy than see Davis trek around the bases.

---Ohka did well yesterday in his rehab outing, and may go Tuesday. Sheets went today and was not effective, but there was no mention of pain or trouble, he will get at least one more start in the minors.

7/14/2006 09:33:00 PM

(7/14/2006 09:26:00 PM) - Al

I had not seen this before, the men's basketball team all regained their eligibility, and actually had a 3.2 GPA in the 2nd semester.

Good to see all hands on deck, though I'm a bit surprised about the practice schedule, as I would have assumed Bo could have practice anytime he wants...I would assume he could, but chooses the high road.

7/14/2006 09:26:00 PM

(7/14/2006 09:13:00 PM) - Al

Aaron Gleeman shakes his head at the Reds/Nationals swap.

I said it to an e-mailer last evening, and let me repeat it here, this deal could help Cincy this year, as the bullpen is improved. But long-term, it's a head scratcher.

7/14/2006 09:13:00 PM

Thursday, July 13, 2006

(7/13/2006 08:46:00 PM) - Al

Meanwhile, the Cap times thinks the world will end in the team doesn't extend Lee.

I can almost promise you if we sign Lee to what is being rumored to be his "market value" of 5y/$60M:

1. A promising player, quite possibly Capuano, will have to be allowed to leave as a free agent.

2. At the very latest, by July of 2008, we'll be discussing trading Lee to an AL team and "throwing in some money if we have to".

I've talked before that if you spend $12M on one player, and your overall budget is X, that leaves X-$12M to be spent on everyone else. You can't spend it twice, though the Yankees try, and then sign Sid Ponson (no way Theo sleeps tonight!) to help out. Carlos is a nice player, but he's not likely to get better as he ages, especially in the field. Even imagining Lee in 3-4 years as anything but a plodding, subpar LF is far more optimistic than I can be. The phrase "He has trouble getting around on the fastball" sounds suddenly possible.

I haven't even mentioned Corey Hart.

7/13/2006 08:46:00 PM

(7/13/2006 08:28:00 PM) - Al

The JS checks in with a pedestrian effort, which lists 10 things the Brewers have to do to contend.

To sum it up, on one message board rambler Brett said:

He should have said they need to win more games.

Actually, that's exactly what it says, with enough cliches to ensure you know Tom H wrote it. Win more on the road, beat the bad teams more, get Ohka and Sheets back healthy and effective, have {insert player here} perform better.

Heck, if the Crew would have beat the Twins or Mets one more game, they'd have the same amount of wins had they beat the Royals or Cubs. Worrying about the details is for the lawyers.

7/13/2006 08:28:00 PM

(7/13/2006 08:17:00 PM) - Al

I know this will have limited appeal, but then again, so do I! I was reading one of my investing blogs tonight and the gent said:

Near the end of the session today, I bought a water stock for the very long term, probably 6 months or more.

Whew, and to think some folks hung onto Wal Mart and IBM for 30+ years! What were they thinkin'?:)

7/13/2006 08:17:00 PM

(7/13/2006 05:56:00 PM) - Al

I'm not sure what I'm missing here, but it would appear the Reds traded Austin Kearns for...a bag of magic beans?

To be honest, I think the Reds picked up a couple solid, if unspectacular, middle relievers, but I will mirror my fellow rambler Robert in that the team that acquires the best player usually "wins" the trade, at least in the short-term. There's no doubt to me that Kearns is far and away the best player in this deal, but Felipe Lopez is the 2nd best.

Majewski and Bray could shore up the bullpen enough to help the Reds, but I'm not sure who is going to make up for the departed offense...I assume Ryan Freel will become a starter, but as it did when Bill Hall became a regular, that really weakens the Reds' depth.

Bowden has been much maligned as the Nationals' GM, but this is as lopsided a trade as I've seen in some time.

7/13/2006 05:56:00 PM

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

(7/12/2006 10:00:00 PM) - Al

A blogger with a unique blog name got to pretend he was an ex-player. The details are here...I'm torn whether this is extremely funny or kind of rude.

7/12/2006 10:00:00 PM

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

(7/11/2006 07:53:00 PM) - Al

I was just discussing the trade that sent Mark Loretta away from the Brewers ages ago. For those who have lives, here's how the deal went down, courtesy of Sean at Baseball Reference:

Traded by the Milwaukee Brewers with cash to the Houston Astros for players to be named later. The Houston Astros sent Wayne Franklin (September 3, 2002) and Keith Ginter (September 5, 2002) to the Milwaukee Brewers to complete the trade.

So, if you look at that, my first thought is the Crew did pretty darn well for a month of Lo, as he wasn't going to resign with the Crew anyway. That said, I'm sure many fans (however, few that are dedicated enough to check out this site) would say, "Hey, Loretta is an all-star, and neither one of those guys is still with us. Therefore, that trade stinks."

Of course, they'd be wrong.

Ginter had some success with the Crew, and was dealt for P Justin Lehr and OF Nelson Cruz. Lehr spent a bit of '05 in the bigs and began '06 up, but had a slump of sorts and is now in the rotation at AAA Nashville, though unlikely to return, as he's no longer on the 40. Cruz is thought of very highly by some, and is at the very least should be a reserve in the majors, probably as early as '07.

Franklin also spent some time with the Crew, and when it was decided he wasn't going to make the team in '04, he was dealt to the Giants for P Glenn Woolard and P Carlos Villanueva...and yes, that Carlos V, who has helped to stabilize the major league staff and is only 22. Woolard is no longer in the system, FYI.

For a month of a player who was gone regardless, Cruz and Villanueva (and the rights to Lehr) is quite a return, no matter how some choose to recall it.

7/11/2006 07:53:00 PM

(7/11/2006 02:03:00 PM) - Al

---A while back, perhaps 6 months or more ago, someone (I think it was Aaron Gleeman, but I'm not sure) mentioned that they couldn't understand why TV ads showed parents of young childern to be...old, usually in their 40's. The majority of parents of young children are quite young themselves, mid 20's or maybe late 20's. I kind of brushed it off as an overreaction, but in the past weeks, I've noticed an awful lot of insurance, investment, and banking commercials...showing toddlers with 50 year-old dads.

---One of the oddest things to come out the Crew's run at .500 last year was one continued statement many fans said, something along the lines of:

The Brewers have to finish .500 in order to take that next step.

I wrote this off as some sort of silly illusion, as the quest to win 90 games in 2006 or 2007 would not be affected by 78, 80, or 81 wins in 2005. But many times, I was told it was important...just because.

Allow me to say that finishing 71-91 in 2005 hasn't seemed to do a whole lot of damage to the Tigers thus far in '06.

7/11/2006 02:03:00 PM

Monday, July 10, 2006

(7/10/2006 10:06:00 PM) - Al

The future is bright for the Brewers, but they're in the mix for a playoff berth in the here and now. The rotation is about to get a boost with the anticipated returns of Ben Sheets and Tomo Ohka, and Carlos Lee remains a reliable power source. Bill Hall has been one of the year's pleasant surprises (.270 AVG/.319 OBP/.558 SLG on the season), but if the Brewers are to challenge for the division or the Wild Card, Prince Fielder must recapture his stroke.

Midseason Grade: B

So says Dayn Perry at Fox, who I've read many times and almsot always agreed with. The entire article is here.

I wonder if he thinks Carlos should be overpaid to stick around?

7/10/2006 10:06:00 PM

(7/10/2006 08:53:00 PM) - Al

Tomo and Ben both have successful rehab outings, no pain, threw all their pitches. Tomo went 6 frames, so he must be close to being ready.

7/10/2006 08:53:00 PM

(7/10/2006 05:20:00 PM) - Al

I keep forgetting to ask, how'd that World Cup final go for France?

Heh. The thing that really gets me is the seeming lack of complete hatred and disgust for Zidane, who is literally an embarassment to his species. He may not have cost his team the game, but he did cost them any chance of wining it in overtime before penalty kicks.

It may go down as one of the most selfish acts of the 21st century...granted, we got 94 years to go.

7/10/2006 05:20:00 PM

Sunday, July 09, 2006

(7/09/2006 09:19:00 PM) - Al

Creator of The Family guy, Seth McFarlane, gives a grad speech at Harvard. Part 1 is here, and the others will be below the screen.

Very, very funny.

7/09/2006 09:19:00 PM

(7/09/2006 09:09:00 PM) - Al

Saw some Brewers' related players in the Futures game, albeit a very limited amount.

Yo Gallardo--Big, strong youngster, 90-93 on the gun, decent curveball.

Ryan Braun--I was kind of disappointed, as his swing was a tad long, especially for such a top prospect. Only saw him one AB, so that's about all I got out of it.

Phillip Hughes--He is the top Yankees' prospect that was rumored to be a part of a possible Carlos Lee trade. He had a very poor inning, gave up 3 runs...but was still extremely impressive. Fastball 92-95, and a big 12-6 curveball. Perhaps best of all, he was beating hit hard, and looked the same as he did when he got the first batter easily. Confident and the anti-Ben Hendrickson.

7/09/2006 09:09:00 PM

(7/09/2006 07:12:00 PM) - Al

2 games under at the all-star break. To be honest, that could well be better than they "should" be, as if you look at their expected W/L mark, they are very fortunate to be where they are. Even those with short memories can easily recall a pair of games versus the Reds earlier this week the club was very lucky to win. Those alone would put the Crew 6 under, and much closer to where they "should" be.

I'll be back with more during the break, but I certainly don't think this team should be buyers. As I said last week, a good dozen games could change everything, but I'd be leaning towards being a seller now.

7/09/2006 07:12:00 PM

Saturday, July 08, 2006

(7/08/2006 08:55:00 PM) - Al

Dana Eveland barely glances at Pierre and he steals 3B without a throw...but K's the batter to get the 2nd out.

Eveland has a future, but it has nothing to do with his head.

7/08/2006 08:55:00 PM

(7/08/2006 08:39:00 PM) - Al

The interest in buying, selling and renovating has been a bright spot since the last months of 2005, and has confounded some people who thought the flooding would cripple the housing market for years (in New Orleans). But it is just one of many counterintuitive contrasts that are defining the area and making easy predictions unreliable.

In addition to my real stock portfolio, which is best defined as miniscule, I created some pretend ones over at, and by far, the one that has done the best is my "contrarian" one, which basically invests in companies that are despised by analysts and sold short by the rubes...I mean public. It's up the first 6 months of '06...really. Bought GM at 19, now at 30, everyone just hated GM. The real estate bubble was going to burst, they said, so I mythically invested in IVR, a real estate trust...up 20%. Disney has been stuck in a rut for 5 years, avoid it like the plague...up 20%.

So, New Orleans real estate doing well makes perfect sense to me, in a contrarian sort of way. But, to be blunt, it makes sense...most folks have cashed in on their homeowner's insurance, got market value, and now just want to be rid of it, so bargain hunters are getting $200K homes for $80-100K.

I said a long while ago that New Orleans would come out of this better than ever. It's going to take longer than I thought, but it'll happen. Ages ago, a huge fire devastated Yellowstone Park. After months of whining and bemoaning its fate, the next Summer, several rangers and wildlife experts said it had been the best thing for the dense woods, as the fire had cleared out much of the undergrowth, but not touched the most of the mature trees. The public perception, especially when emotion is involved, tends to be hellishly inaccurate.

To bring a baseball thought into this, the public is overwhelmingly in favor of extending Carlos Lee, who is in the midst of a much better than average season, and is without a doubt past his prime, ans will command a long-term deal for about $12M a year. I'll leave it at that.

7/08/2006 08:39:00 PM

(7/08/2006 07:03:00 PM) - Al

Not sure if the Brewers have been mentioned as part of a trade rumor as much as they have with Greg Maddux in the past decade. Many fans have put forth the idea that if Sheets and Ohka are able to come back, the CRew would put Maddux in the starting 5 and move Bush to the bullpen...which is just silly. Bush, at this point, is a much better pitcher, and can't be relegated to duty in which he'd get fewer innings.

The two perfect things the Crew could pick up, assuming they are buyers, of course, which is far from for sure, are a lefty reliever and a RH reliever who could step into the rotation if necessary, ala what Helling did in '05, sort of a rich man's Geremi Gonzalez, if you would.

One thing I have wondered about of late is if DLR would make it through a push for contention...if that occurs, of course. Right now, I would say Kolb is on the hot spot should the Crew add anyone (I assume Ben and Tomo would step into the rotation and take Zach J' spot, and Eveland's), and Helling would be 2nd, as he does not have the ability to go consecutive days, according to the TV team last night. If Jorge is ready to go soon, I can see him taking the place of Kolb, who could be DFA'd or DL'd, but I don't see his present as being much stronger than any reliever that would be acquired. There's no doubt that DLR would be claimed on waivers (if Mike Adams got claimed), I would say there's no doubt DLR would be claimed by a third of teams...maybe half. That said, he could then be packaged for a young player that does not require to be on the 40 man roster, or for someone with a less potential, but more likely to have a good final 2 months of '06.

7/08/2006 07:03:00 PM

Friday, July 07, 2006

(7/07/2006 08:07:00 PM) - Al

Many people just love ESPN's Bill Simmons, who I guess I would describe as a sports humorist. I just don't get it, as he's not a bit funny, and his sports knowledge, other than cliches, seems lacking as well. But, I continue to read his columns, often they come recommended by others, and I always leave disappointed. Today, this one comes along, in which he says this:

Jermaine O'Neal

If I were running an NBA team, here's the guy I would target: Good chemistry guy, total warrior, fantastic in the community, a guaranteed 22-10 every night, and he's potentially available because of some fluke injuries and Indiana's apparent desire to blow things up. Peruse the most one-sided trades from the past 25 years (Shaq, Barkley, Bernard, T-Mac, Ray Allen, C-Webb, Vince, J-Kidd, Sprewell, Alonzo, Moses, Dennis Johnson, Robert Parish, etc.) and they have one thing in common: Somebody gave up on an All-Star in his prime for reasons that had nothing to do with his talent. This looms as the next big mistake. Mark my words. I love this guy. And not just because he ran 50 feet to punch out Turtle from "Entourage" during the Artest Melee.

To me, this is a classic paragraph from Simmons, as it's everything he is...long winded, doesn't bother with the facts, and a pop culture reference that falls flat.

Good chemistry, fantastic in the community? Heh. O'Neal is a punk's punk, pond scum. As pointed out, this is one of the idiots who ran into the crowd and swung wildly at anyone in the vicinity, right? We're not talking about some engineering major who graduated from some stuck-up private school here.

Guaranteed 22/10 every night? Heh. He averaged 20 and 9 last year, and got 22 and 10...12 times in 51 games. And he's such a team guy, he has a 3-2 turnover to assist ratio...yes, that's more TO's than nice passes. I guess Joe Mauer is "guaranteed" to get 4 hits every night, huh?

Did I mention this is all in praise of a criminal who ran into the crowd and punched a fan? The stupid buffoon is lucky to not be in prison, or banned for life from the league.

7/07/2006 08:07:00 PM

(7/07/2006 05:14:00 PM) - Al

Mike Adams, DFA'd by the Mets earlier this week to clear a spot on the 40 man roster, was claimed off waivers by the Indians. Best of luck with the Tribe to Mr. Adams.

7/07/2006 05:14:00 PM

(7/07/2006 12:25:00 AM) - Al

Anyone else notice that on ESPN's painfully relentless promos for a series of kids meeting their favorite player stories on Sportscenter, a player appears to be signing the bald head of one of the kids?

Maybe I'm an old fogie, but that's hard to believe.

7/07/2006 12:25:00 AM

Thursday, July 06, 2006

(7/06/2006 11:53:00 PM) - Al

The JS says Melvin discussed Greg Maddux with the Cubs' GM, but with any luck, they also discussed picking up one of their relievers as well.

I'll be the first to point out how overpaid they are, but Bobby Howry or Scott Eyre would tell me the Crew was much more serious about contending than picking up an aging not so gracefully Maddux.

7/06/2006 11:53:00 PM

(7/06/2006 09:47:00 PM) - Al


I found your blog entry on the subsidies for unused land to be quite interesting. The example you use is quite outlandish indeed. I'm not sure how somebody with residential acreage could possibly receive money for not farming it. Are these places not zoned residential? I'm not quite sure I understand the nuts and bolts behind it.

I do know that here in Sauk County we receive money as part of some conservation plan for waterways. Basically we're paid to not grow crops on land along the Honey Creek which flows into the Wisconsin River. I really don't know what the environmental impact of growing crops on this land is, but I do know that it is some of our lowest yielding ground and the actual acreage in this program is insignificant in the grand scheme of our operation. In other words, we're more than happy to take the money and the county is happy to give it to us. Whether this is going to have any environmental impact is unclear to myself. Somebody who does know the impact feels that it is money well spent but the key is making it worthwhile for the landowner to enter such a program.

It is still perplexing that a residential lot could be a part of such a program.

Anyway, keep up the good blogging. You're always one of my daily reads.


I don't get the nuts and bolts of it either, except it's a way for the government to throw money away it doesn't have. I believe conservation is part of the supposed intent for the program I'm thinking of, but for the most part, it's a crock. Many years, landowners are still able to harvest hay or silage, albeit of a poor quality because it's harversted late, because of a hardship claim, which means it didn't rain somewhere in a large radius. So, the landowner gets paid to not get any crops, then is still able to use the land for crops...really. With the people I know, many are older, semi-retired farmers, who choose to put their worst land in the program, while renting out their best land. Often, they still raise some beef cattle, so then later, they are happy to harvest some low quality hay for the winter months.

Over the years, I've met several people in retail who share tales about a farm they know, and I've heard many tell me about blatant fraud, and no one has ever mentioned anyone getting caught. Basically, landowners get paid, then plant or rent out the land anyway, and since farmland is often fenced in or gated off, the gov't has little way of checking, short of by the air.

I'm one of those silly people who think the government should get out of the price fixing business, as it accomplishes little, and makes food more expensive for everyone.

7/06/2006 09:47:00 PM

(7/06/2006 12:26:00 AM) - Al

I can't help but wonder how tough it was for Yost and Melvin to know they had to talk with Moeller after the game today, and I can't imagine it got easier having it go 4.5 hours. Best of luck to Chad, I can't believe he'll be unemplyed long, though he may not find a major league job either.

I can't help but think these moves were decided because Doug and the braintrust seriously think the Crew can contend...and if Rivera means only a single win, 87 might make the playoffs and 86 might not.

7/06/2006 12:26:00 AM

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

(7/05/2006 11:49:00 PM) - Al

The Reds must be shaking their heads as they leave town. They easily could have won 2 of 3, and end up getting swept. Granted, their bullpen is full of holes...but so is the Crew's.

Two roster moves just announced...Dana Eveland brought back up, and Carlos V sent down...I would assume this gives the Brewers an extra reliever for the Cubs series. In a more surprising change, Chad Moeller was DFA'd and Mike Rivera was brought up. Chad has not hit for ages, but not many backup catchers do. Rivera has not really had success in the bigs either, but he is much older now and has had a nice all-around year in AAA Nashville, after a good power year in '05, though his OBP was terrible.

7/05/2006 11:49:00 PM

(7/05/2006 11:42:00 PM) - Al

State coffers will lose some $1.3 million daily in taxes with the casinos closed, but New Jersey cannot decide how to cut the $4.5 billion defecit.

I wonder if perhaps the idea of spending less money has been proposed?

And by the way, closing the big money maker...probably not the most thought out idea I've seen either.

7/05/2006 11:42:00 PM

(7/05/2006 10:17:00 PM) - Jason

Think the Brewers would like to pull back that contract extension they handed out to Derrick Turnbow in the spring?

Me too.

The reason why you don't sign relief pitchers to multi-year contracts (especially after just one good season) can be summed up by just looking at the performances of Turnbow and Matt Wise this season.

7/05/2006 10:17:00 PM

(7/05/2006 11:41:00 AM) - Al

Aaron Gleeman checks in with a gleeman-length recap of his trip to Seattle form the annual SABR convention.

7/05/2006 11:41:00 AM

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

(7/04/2006 11:40:00 PM) - Al

For quite a while, the Crew went with 13 pitchers, meaning they had an 8 man bullpen most of the time...and often a 9 man 'pen, as they had several times they skipped their ineffective worst starter.

Finally, they cut down to 12 arms, and Wise missed a few days days with his infamous salad tongs injury, Gonzalez had to sub for Davis in the rotation, and Kolb has looked so bad of late, he's reduced to mop-up duty. Also, the team has played nearly everyday, meaning they have not been able to send the 5th starter down to help out.

So, ironically, the Crew has went from 8 (or 9) relievers to 5 or 6...with one of them for the most part unavailable...due to sheer ineffectiveness.

Capellan seems to pitch at least every other day, and seems to throw in the bullpen every single game I watch. Ditto for Shouse, though he rarely goes more than an inning, and often just a hitter or two. Those two should be commended.

To be honest, while their hands have been tied, both Yost and Maddux (and I suppose Castro should get a mnetion here) deserve kudos for the way they've held the staff together.

7/04/2006 11:40:00 PM

(7/04/2006 10:21:00 PM) - Al

I got an e-mail tonight from a gent who wonders how the Crew could consider trading Carlos Lee when they're just a few games back in both the wildcard and division races...not to mention it would appear Ohka and Sheets may both be back soon.

I will say this...the NL is just weak enough that if Tomo and Ben had been healthy and effective all season, this team could be several games in front in the NL Central. That said, this is still a team that is a game below .500...and fortunate to be there:

Brewers: 42-43, 396 runs scored, 459 runs allowed, 36-49 expected record, 18-10 in one run games.

Pirates: 29-56, 398 runs scored, 443 runs allowed, 38-47 expected record, 8-25 in one run games.

The horror. Now to be fair, some of the Crew's run differential can be explained by getting blown out due to horrible starting pitching and ineffective relief work...for the most part, in blowout losses. But, the Brewers are far and away the most fortunate team in MLB at this point, having won 6 more than the runs would indicate. And while you can barely see PIT way down there in the standings...they've scored more and given up less.

One run games are a huge part of this, and while you can make the argument this is due to various skills, as well as a fine bullpen; it's also a lot of luck. Those bloops that fell in yesterday could have just as easily have been short fly outs, for example. In fact, this makes me think of last year's Washington Nationals, who were outscored, yet still in contention due to "grit", "clutch", and "other cliched terms you hear all the time that make little sense".

I have said the same thing many times regarding Lee. If Melvin feels the Brewers have little chance to contend, he'll deal Lee to the highest bidder, probably for AA/AAA talent, as any team making a run at the playoffs will not part with a whole lot of major league ready talent. Or, if Doug feels the Crew has a realistic shot at the postseason, he'll keep Carlos and offer him arby, and get two draft picks as compensation. Nothing has been said that has changed my mind, in fact, Mr. Melvin's statements have mirrored my guess thus far. In fact, look at this quote from Doug today:

Asked if he expected the Brewers to be buyers or sellers before the July 31 deadline, Melvin said, "We could be either one."

Common sense tells me that the Brewers will make their decision after a bit of a streak in the coming weeks...and it might be something as simple as 8 out of 12. Think of the difference in the next dozen games alone:

win 8 of the next 12; 50-47
lose 8 of the next 12; 46-51

In the top example, I would say the team would be a game or two out of first, and about even in the wildcard. In the other, they'd be 4-6 games out, behind several teams in each.

Top example, I would say Doug would be thinking of releasing Kolb and adding a veteran relief arm, and quite possibly a member of the rotation, unless both Ohka and Sheets continue back strong.

Should the negative event occur, Lee would be shopped and almost certainly gone, and other names, such as Clark, Wise, and Shouse may also be discussed.

The Brewers are a difficult team to read, as they have so many stats that can be shrugged off as an outlier, the obvious being 6 more wins than expected, and a frightenly poor record (5-16) in games which a season beginning member of the rotation has not taken the mound.

7/04/2006 10:21:00 PM

(7/04/2006 09:52:00 AM) - Al

Happy Birthday to the greatest nation the world has ever known. 230 years old, and still looking as lovely as ever.

I just came across this today, and it seems to serve a dual purpose on Independence Day...not only does it remind us that the freedoms we enjoy have a high price, but that we should keep in our thoughts the men and women of our military, including the citizen soldiers, members of the reserves and Guard, that are currently serving. I still think this is a wonderful idea, as it honors all currently serving quietly, yet prominently.

{I had to do a quick search for the link above, and I see it's called a rememberence table. I think just having an empty place setting would send the message just as well.}

This is an amateur video of a memorial service in Iraq, for 3 soldiers. If you do choose to view, FYI, the first minute plus is silent, so don't fiddle with your settings.

7/04/2006 09:52:00 AM

Monday, July 03, 2006

(7/03/2006 11:25:00 PM) - Al

An overlooked part of today's game was the job Turnbow and Wise did after the Reds took a 7-6 lead, limiting the damage. Also, I didn't see a single person on a message board criticize Yost for not bunting Weeks over with Hall in the 9th (I would not have either, but it's sound strategy, especially with the #3/4 hitters due up.

It never fails to amaze me how the casual fan judges by the outcome, not the decision.

7/03/2006 11:25:00 PM

(7/03/2006 11:15:00 PM) - Al

The ironic thing about the uproar over Mark Redman making the all-star team is he wasn't the best choice, albeit however, neither David Dejesus (900 OPS) or Jimmy Gobble would have wowed folks either, but at least they don't have a 5.50 ERA either.

7/03/2006 11:15:00 PM

(7/03/2006 08:47:00 PM) - Al

Record crowds for interleague games...even though some rivalry games were played in mid-May, when attendance is usually a bit less.

So, do you recall those who criticized Mr. Selig for "ruining the game"? And then said it was a "flash in the pan"?

Of course, many would still be playing with wool uniforms and parks with 15K capacity if they could.

Thank goodness Selig has had the foresight to look past the "stuck in the past" gang and always done what's best for the game. It is almost impossible to believe that 15 years ago, we had a game without drug testing, no wildcard, no revenue sharing, and a strike every time a CBA expired.

7/03/2006 08:47:00 PM

(7/03/2006 08:07:00 PM) - Al

Even though Donald R. Matthews put his sprawling new residence in the heart of rice country, he is no farmer. He is a 67-year-old asphalt contractor who wanted to build a dream house for his wife of 40 years.

Yet under a federal agriculture program approved by Congress, his 18-acre suburban lot receives about $1,300 in annual "direct payments," because years ago the land was used to grow rice.

Matthews is not alone. Nationwide, the federal government has paid at least $1.3 billion in subsidies for rice and other crops since 2000 to individuals who do no farming at all, according to an analysis of government records by The Washington Post.

As the Nebraska Guitar Militia put it: Farmin' the Government beats actual, you know, farming: "Reap what you don't sow."--Instapundit

I have two thoughts here, first of all, have any of you ever heard of a rice shortage? Gone into a Chinese place and ordered, and they say, "Ah, rice today."

Well, I guess those subsidies have done one heckuva good job, huh? Crikey.

Secondly, I know it's been said time and time again, but, a billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you're talking about real money.

I would just love to be a fly on the wall when the idea was first discussed that the free market does not work on a few, select items; yet works perfectly on everything else, and someone said, "Well then, let's start paying them to grow some stuff, and darn it, let's start paying others NOT TO GROW STUFF".

If I hear one more person getting paid handsomely to let their land sit unused...

7/03/2006 08:07:00 PM

(7/03/2006 10:50:00 AM) - Robert R.

Tough but unsurprising series over the weekend. Saturday's game was easily the most disappointing, but the Twins appear to have righted their ship, although likely too late for this year. I think every team in the majors would love to have Santana, Liriano, and Mauer as important cogs and when Terry Ryan constructs a competent offense around them, the Twins will be back in the playoffs.

The road trip really exposed the biggest problem with the Brewers. Their bullpen. It's getting to the point where Turnbow has to be brought in for multiple inning saves and combined with his frequent use that's likely to come back to bite the Brewers on occasion in August and September. Capellan, Wise and Shouse have been reasonably effective, but they aren't top notch setup men and getting from the starter to Turnbow has proved to be a problem.

Relievers are volatile from year to year, so it's not like spending money on free agents is any guarantee. But it is disappointing that after so many years of the Brewers cobbling together an effective bullpen out of spare parts, that this year the bullpen has been a definite problem when they have the opportunity to compete for the wild card in a weak NL. If Doug Melvin does not want to sell off at the deadline again, then he's going to have to address this problem. The good thing is that it's probably the easiest area to upgrade without spending a lot in terms of money or prospects.

7/03/2006 10:50:00 AM

Sunday, July 02, 2006

(7/02/2006 11:13:00 PM) - Al

---Congrats to Derrick and Carlos, and while Chris has a rather small chance, it's more than most anyone else has.

---We went to a fireworks show tonight, and while it seemed very short, it was almost the perfect length for a tired 4 year-old, whose attention span is as miniscule as that of...a 4 year-old, as about 10 seconds before the announcer thanked the crowd for showing up, Andrew said, "Hmmm, let's just go home."

We got there just as it was getting dark, so we waited about 45 minutes for the show to begin, so my wife told him "Just go ahead and run around if you want", which I found humorous...until he began running around aimlessly, and did so for almost the entire time, usually saying "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" for no particular reason.

---Gary Matthews Jr. made the all-star game? Didn't he get released a time or two?

---Dutch Boyd won a WSOP bracelet tonight, in a no-limit, shorthanded tourney that ended the first week (of about a dozen) of the Series. Boyd is one of the most despised people in poker, having been the public face of the only internet poker site that went belly up and did not get all the players their money back that I'm aware of.

---The Clerks 2 ad that's currently running is so astoundingly unfunny, it makes me wonder what exactly the requirements are for a marketing degree. Nothing like showing an ad that appeals only to the people who undoubtedly would see the movie anyway.

---So, we sat on a grassy hill above a parking lot at the fireworks. Just before they started, a pickup truck parked where there wasn't a spot, then got out and set up lawn chairs in the back of the truck, and watched them for there. It's been a couple hours, and I still can't decide if that was kinda cool, or extremely hick-like.

7/02/2006 11:13:00 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.

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

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