Well it's 5-0 Philadelphia, top 6. In my attempt to jinx the Phils, I am going to say that the Brewers have absolutely no chance I mean NO CHANCE of coming back to tie the series at 2. That being said, since the offseason begins tomorrow, I thought I'd take a moment to discuss what looks to be a very important off season (not that there isn't an offseason that isn't important).
1. I think that's it's safe to assume that while Attanasio has shown that he's somewhat willing to open up his checkbook that there are only a limited number of teams that are going to be able to afford CC Sabathia, and we are not one of them. So immediately there goes one of our starters. Ben Sheets is also a free agent. Before we quickly decide to cut him and his nagging/bizarre injuries ass, I think it's something that we need to think a little more about. Yes he gets hurt alot, and Yes he consumes roughly 10 mil a year off our payroll, but considering that aside from CC we are returning all of our day to day pieces of a playoff roster. Also, due to Sheets slight tear and likely surgery, I imagine that his demand will not be nearly as high and therefore his price will not be nearly as high. And I'm guessing we will not be paying Gagne 10 mil again this year (if at all), so there's 10 mil off the books. To conclude my thought here, if we can get Sheets for a fair price and sign him to a short term deal (1-2 years), I say pull the trigger. As much as I dislike our style of offense they still won 90 games and made the playoffs, and having Sheets in the rotation(even if it's only half the year) will only help the cause. So if I could set up my 5 man rotation for next year it would look like this: Sheets, Gallardo, Suppan, Parra, and Bush with Villanueva and McClung being our top 2 long relievers/spot starters out of the pen.
2. In terms of the position players, I will discuss more long term hopes that I have rather than just next year. I feel that our future core should revolve around Hardy, Braun, and while I am completely hesitant after the last month I include Corey Hart in this. Braun is obvious. What can I say? He's young, a MONSTER at the plate, has converted to left field nicely, is confident and has the attitude that it takes to be a leader on and off the field. Not to mention, he was smart enough to take the long term deal offered by the Brewers organization while the gettin was good(I can't say the same about the overweight and overrated turd at 1st base). JJ is a solid hitter, and great in the field, but due to his slight lack of range I hope to see him move over to 2nd in the near future, but that will depend on the progress of Escobar in the minors. So, while he may not be an all-star he is a very solid all around player. Now in terms of Corey Hart, I have been one of his biggest critics in the past month and am almost shocked at the 180 he has done. I mean he was an all-star for pete's sake. What I like about Hart.....He plays solid defense in right, for the most part has been solid at the plate over 2 years including probably one of the higher obp's on the team, has some pop in his bat, and at the same time can swipe bases which is an area of atrition on this team.
So who needs to go?
1. A year ago my opinion was completely different, but since then my feeling on Prince Fielder is "All talk, no Action". Prince was an absolute Beast last year jacking 50 homers, and of course (likely due to his ass of an agent Scott Boras) rejected the Brewers "measley" offer of 40 mil over 5 years(i think) which shortly thereafter was accepted by Braun. Now I can somewhat understand his point. Somewhat. If he was going to consistently hit 45+ HR's every year, sure he would likely be underpaid according to market value. However, very few players have been unable to maintain that kind of consistency so I thought that it would benefit Prince to take the deal, do his work and look to break the bank 5 years down the road. Afterall, he'll only be 28-29 years old. So here we are a year later. I believe he finished with 35 HR's (-15 HR's), finished with an avg. of ~260 (-~20-30pts), was criticized by a number of his teammates, was one of the worst defensive 1st baseman in all of baseball, until just now was hitless through 4 games in the playoffs, and for the most part wasn't overly clutch at any point during the regular season.
2. Rickie Weeks - I don't really know what to say about this other than what the hell happened to this guy? Out of college he was the 2-time golden spikes award winner. He absolutely raked in AAA and was the first of this young crew to get called up because of it. And even his first year + in the bigs, he did some damage at the plate and looked to be about a .280, 20 HR, 20-30 SB player. However, a serious wrist injury seems to have really messed up his swing and comfort level at the plate. That and my theory that Yost's decision to try and turn him into a leadoff hitter hurt him. Sounds crazy, but I thought that he was too good of a slugger to go and ask him to be patient and take pitches every at bat. I think it hurt his mentality at the plate.
3. Bill Hall - Again, what the hell happened to this guy? I like his versatility. I also liked his 35 home runs 3 years ago. So was he a 1 year wonder? At this point it looks like it for he can hardly put the ball in play any more and is a 35 million dollar bench player. For a small market team, we can't afford to pay guys 7-8 million to come off the bench. No, not even Geoff Jenkins.
4. Mike Cameron - Overall, a slight disappointment....slight. He gave us pretty much what we expected coming in........20-25 homeruns and a shit ton of strikeouts (something not unlike most of our roster). We were desperate for a centerfielder, and he did ok for the most part. However, he did committ a few more errors than normal, and when they did occur they all seemed to be extremely costly. No more than game 1 of the playoffs. That error may have cost us the series. We'll never know.
So, if I was GM, I would attempt to package Prince and either Weeks or Hall. I don't think that we can deal Hall and get anything other than a bag of peanuts for him considering his contract so he will have to be a package. Weeks still has some upside (I think and hope) and comes on the cheap at this point, and again, in a 1 for 1 trade we won't get much for him. So if I had my druthers I would try and package Prince and Hall and attempt to get starting pitching (prospect potentially) and/or a centerfielder. While I like Hall's ability to play a number of positions, his contract is far too large for our small market squad and Weeks still has time to get back to his old self at the plate and improve in the field. Now, I suspect that the Quevedo roundtable would object and explain how we have Escobar waiting in the wings to play short and I agree to an extent. Yes, I think that he is our shortstop of the future and that would be perfect for moving Hardy to 2B. However, I don't think that he is quite ready at this point. And furthermore, theoretically if he is all that everyone says, and Weeks regains his form, that will give us any number of options for trades down the road. So, I think that if my master plan pans out, our biggest needs to address and question marks would be at first base (if Prince is dealt or signed by someone else) and in the outfield.....mainly in centerfield. However, our depth in the outfield seems to be a bit thin so hopefuly that can be addressed with one of our five first round picks in next year's draft.
It's disappointing how much of a 180 our offense took once the first of September hit, but they gave us a taste of the playoffs this year.......which is nice (in the Bill Murray Caddyshack voice). So, I think while we may lose the top 2 starters in our rotation, the future still looks pretty bright. It should be an interesting off season, and I look forward to see what Melvin and Attanasio put together.