Friday, January 16, 2009

Badger's Woes Continue for Bo Ryan's Team

The Badgers woes continue Thursday night at home vs. Minnesota. The badgers have only lost 3 times in the Kohl center since Bo Ryan took over as head coach. The game was a bitter sweet disappointment. I had the opportunity to watch most of the game, and although it was entertaining and exciting, it was missing something. Well a win for the badgers is one, but it almost seemed like at the end of the game, the badgers forgot how to play the game. Minnesota’s press defense was just too much for the badgers down the stretch.

The Badger started out cold, finding them down early, but soon took control of the game. At one point going on a 16-2 run. The game seemed like it was going to all one sided. At half the badgers were up by 10 and things were looking good. With about 3 minutes to go in the game everything went south for Bucky. Minnesota’s press defense shut down any kind of momentum that the badgers were carrying. Minnesota’s Lawrence Westbrook, cousin of Philadelphia Eagle’s running back, hit a 3 pointer with 2 sec in the game to send the game into overtime. The badgers had not answer in overtime and the game was over.

Although the Badgers are 12-5 overall and 3-2 in the conference, defending the big ten title will be a tough challenge for the men in red. The Badgers have not been ranked since the beginning of the season, and with 4 teams from the big 10 being ranked (Michigan State, Purdue, Michigan, Minnesota) the road looks a little bleak. Coming off a tough loss to Purdue on the 11th of Jan, the Badger now on a 2 game skid going to Iowa need to find themselves and continue to work hard to turn this season around. Although 12-5 sounds and looks good on paper, that record won’t hold up. I just don’t believe that the badgers are strong enough to compete in a stacked big 10 conference this year.

I’ve been a Badger fan for all my life, but I was trying to remember the last time I thought that they didn’t have a shot at winning the big 10 title. Umm, can’t think of one. This year is a little different. I just don’t see the senior leadership out of the players that need to be setting an example. Marcus Landry, great player, I just don’t think that he does it for me on this team. Joe Krabbenhoft is a solid presence, but doesn’t pose as a real threat. There are some positives. Were a real young team this year with a log of talent that just needs experience.

I would be willing to bet you that Bo Ryan will work some magic and we will see this team in hunt for the title, he always does. And I don’t expect anything to change this year either. With 13 games left on the regular season schedule anything is possible. That’s all for now.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Should Fielder be traded??

Lots of buzz going around about Price Fielder and should he be traded for starting pitching. I have very mixed opinions about this matter and everyday I feel different, but I think I've come to a decision and am ready to share it.

Its no surprise that the "Prince" is a very fitting name for the young gentle giant. The couple years he's been in the league he has had quite a presence for the crew. From the huge shifts opposing teams put on when he's at the plate to the whole controversy of should prince eat a cheeseburger, there's been a lot of talk. But non bigger than should he be traded. Last year I felt he was in a sophomore slump, if you can consider him a sophomore. Coming off a huge year where he hit 50 home runs and had huge expectations coming into 2008, I felt like he hit a wall. Was not the same guy we saw the year before, different attitude, not happy with himself, or his contract. He publicly said that he was not happy with his 1 year deal and he felt like he kinda got screwed and his comment eventually screwed him. As most of you know, Fielder was horrible the beginning of the year. He ended the year with 34 dingers and in my book turned out to be just average.

Now in no way shape or form is this guy not worth the money that he is asking, the question becomes, is the money good enough for him?? There have been numbers thrown about how much he is expected to make, and if no deal is done, he may end up with arbitration money, and I think the fan's want to see a contract done. If he's going to be here, sign the kid to a deal and lets move on. We have enough drama with Brett Favre, and I'm pretty sure he's in NY now. Not to compare the two, but no one likes the dog and pony show, I mean no one. Well, maybe somebody, but not me.

Here's the thing if you try and sign him to a multi year deal, do we even know if he wants to stay here in Milwaukee? I believe he has made it pretty clear that he is going to leave here in 2011 when his arbitration ends. If that's the case, get rid of him now. If he doesn't want to play here, it could turn out to be like Manram. Who knows. In agreement with him not wanting to stay here, there are some issues of why he shouldn't stay here. His weight could be an issue for some people, his defense could also be an issue. It could be argued that both his weight and his defense show that he would be better suited for a AL team, just like his daddy. Whenever Prince comes to the plate, I'm always thinking Home run. He is a dead pull hitter and generally is swinging for the fence. That's great and all, but when we need a base hit to win the game, I think your mentality should change a little. I just don't see him as a base hit clutch hitter, and that's OK, but the Brewers need to take that into effect when they think about signing him. Since Prince came onto the scene sports writers everywhere have classified him as a "pure hitter." To me, that's screaming AL. One last issue that is pretty heavy, no pun intended, is if Prince leaves, who is going to protect Ryan Braun, and I don't mean on water street. You take a big bat out of the line up and I guarantee Braunys walks increase next year. And to mind, we don't have anyone right now to fill that spot.

So here's what I think. Right now, the free agent market is pretty much dried up. All the big names have been swallowed up by the Yankees. I say, we let him take arbitration money, and see how the season plays out, make him an offer he can't refuse. Starting pitching you ask, well there's still a possibility that Ben Sheets comes back, and Bam, were basically the team we had at the start of 2008. And from what I remember people were saying pretty good things about the crew last year. Starting pitching will come in time, and if you have to make a big trade to get it, you better ask yourself, how bad do we need starting pitching. I just don't see letting a guy like Fielder walk out the door. And for who?? Pure hitters just don't show up on Doug Melvin's doorstep everyday. Make the kid happy and give him the money and lets focus on getting back to the playoffs in 2009!!!

Friday, January 9, 2009

First Brewers outlook for 2009

It has not been officially announced as of yet, but Trevor Hoffman has decided to leave the sunny hill of San Diego and come to the brew town for a 1 year deal. $6 million contract with no option for 2010. $1.5 in incentives will make this contract what he was paid last year in San Diego. Only signing a one year deal was an advantage to Hoffman who wants to find out if he likes Milwaukee and can decide from there.

Signing a closer poses a lot of questions for Melvin. Why go get a closer to finish out games, when we have no one to get us to the 9th inning?? Now I'm not saying that I have little faith in our starting pitching(anyone who knows my personality knows that I'm extremely sarcastic), but I do have some concerns. Putting the Franchise on the shoulders on a young pitcher who just came off major knee surgery is risky. Can Yovani Gallardo fill that void, I think he can. He has proven that he can handle pressure, he deserves to be our ace. After the starting spot, our rotation looks kind rocky. Its kind of like putting names in a hat and hoping that the name you pick is going to have a decent day. Don't get me wrong but the 4 others I have in mind have had some good games. Some, is the key word. Here's what my rotation looks like for 2009.

1. Yovani Gallardo. Young talent with a huge upside. He was injured most of last year, but made an incredible comeback to pitch in game 1 of the NLDS. He's my #1.

2. Manny Parra. Manny is 1 more year away from being a great pitcher. Hes got all the right tools, just needs some experience. He's the only lefty in my rotation.

3. Dave Bush. Bush has made an leap in my book. His run at a no hitter last year was one for the ages. He grew up a lot in that game. Again, young talent, but semi inconsistent.

4. Jeff Suppan. I'm not the biggest fan of Jeff, but his contract says that he needs to be a starter, but not really worthy of starting rotation. NLCS MVP in 06 is the only he can claim too. His stamina is not what is used to be, but what he brings to the rotation, is experience. He has pitched in pressure situations, he's been to the world series and knows what it takes. He's almost like an old Honda. Still runs great, but has its issues.

5. I've put a lot of thought into this last spot. I saw him pitch a couple times last year and his stuff was great. He's tall and red, and knows how to hit. Seth McClung rounds out my rotation. He's probably not the best for the spot, but he is the best option we have right now. The only beef I have with this guy is, he is really hit or miss. He started his career with Tampa bay as a starter, and then was sent to AAA where he was converted into a closer. There was talk of Seth going back to that starter role, but we know now that he will not obtain that role.

The next thing I would like to talk about is our defense. There are some positions that need to be addressed this year from last. Here's my thoughts.

1B. Prince Fielder. Lots of speculation over this guy the past 2 years. Is he overweight, should he be eating meat, is he worth the money?? Tons of questions that need to be answered. Flat out, the guy can hit the hell out of a baseball, no doubt. But can he be consistent. I don't think so. Every time he comes to the plate, I'm hoping for a home run, cause his average speaks for itself. His defense is kinda the same way, spoty at best. Our best bet for 2009 is to try and package him up for starting pitching. He is eligible for arbitration this year and is going to cost the crew a ton of money. He's kinda arrogant and his agent, man what a dick. My solution is bring rookie Matt Gamel up and stick him at first. We still keep a lefty bat, and shotty defense, but he's not as much as a risk at first than at his natural position at 3B. Save's the crew some cash and still keeps a good bat in the rotation. Hell, he could be great at first, who knows.

2B. Ricky Weeks has gotten some attention as well. Is he the man to be our second baseman. When Ray Durham was brought onto the team last year, it put some pressure on young weeks, but he did improve down the stretch last year. He stays at that second and hopefully can learn from his mistakes in 08 and step up.

SS. JJ Hardy has been under some scrutiny lately like everybody else. He is still my SS. Hardy is one of the faces of the organization and he needs to remain there. Clutch hitter he has turned out to be and his average was lights out last year. Alcides Escobar is our other option. Untested but they say this kid is for real. Hardy will be the starter for the year, as I think he should, but there may be some changes if Escobar is for real. Ultimately I fell that keeping both these guys on the diamond is going to key. I don't care who plays short and who plays 3rd, they both need to play.

3B. Bill Hall is out, and either JJ or Escobar needs to play here. Depending on what happens with Fielder this year, we may see Gamel getting some playing time here as well.

OF. Our outfield is pretty well set with Mike Cameron not going to NY as of yet. Still not sure of that. Ryan Braun, enough said, Corey Hard in Right field is a solid bet. He does however scare me when he forgets how to hit the ball. Two times last year Hart was in a horrible slump where he looked like a little leager. He has been branded as a swing at the first pitch kinda guy. He is a good hitter when he stops thinking about what he's doing. Mike Cameron I still feel is a stop gap for something. I don't think he is as good as he once was. Gold glove or not, I will always remember him making 2 horrible plays last year in the first game of the NLDS. Two fly balls that looked easy, although I know they weren't, but a play that a Gold Glover should have made.

Ken Macha is our new manager, and I don't know enough about the guy to make a good opinion on him. I know he came from Oakland where he had some good teams. He's a Pittsburgh guy which we all know is good(not sarcastic). Keeping Dale Sveume was a very smart move. I don't think he was right for the manager, he seems to quite and has personal relationship with some players and that would not have worked out if he was the manager. I guess we will find out what Ken can do for Milwaukee.

This bullpen is ever changing, I will have an update in a couple weeks when its more set in stone. Overall this year is going to be the same as last. I think you need to go out and get Ben Sheets. Sign him to a year deal and work it out from there. We need another solid starter in the rotation. On second thought, if you do get Sheets, you need to get another arm to back up Sheets when he's injured for 10 games. Poking a little fun at old Ben. That's it for now.