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.