2009 Milwaukee Brewers forecast

Once your team’s season comes to an end, it’s time to look to next year
(I’m starting to sound like a Cubs fan). Here’s my ’09 Milwaukee
Brewers position-by-position forecast including projected salaries. 
Keep in mind…I really tried hard to balance what I want them to do
and what I think they will do.

Let’s start with the rotation, shall we?

STARTING ROTATION

gallardo profile photo.jpgYOVANI GALLARDO
This
guy has ace written all over him.  He came back from a knee injury late
in ’08 to help the Brewers in the playoffs.  His stuff is electric and
his bat is way above average for a pitcher.  I can’t wait to watch this
guy for a complete season.  He’ll be only 23 by opening day.  Get to
know this guy because he’s gonna be around for awhile.

Projected 2009 salary:  750K

Manny Parra profile photo.jpgMANNY PARRA
Hard-throwing
lefty had his ups and downs in ’08.  When he figures out the mental
part of the game, look out.  Manny has “ace-quality” pitches and like
Gallardo, an above average stick.  Manny needs to figure out a way to
go deeper into games to be truly effective in the rotation.  I’ve
always liked this guy.  He and Gallardo will, in my opinion, make up
the 1-2 punch in this rotation for years.  Will probably be #3 in this
rotation for ’09.

Projected 2009 salary:  750k

Dave Bush profile photo.jpgDAVE BUSH
Steady
veteran who was vital to the Brewers push to the playoffs.  Probably a
#4 starter in this rotation in ’09.  Won Game 3 of NLDS with average
stuff and above-average determination.  Always focused on gameday, it’s
hard to get a hello out of this guy from the stands.  He’s due for
another good raise based off his value down the stretch.

Projected 2009 salary:  3.5MM

Jeff Suppan profile photo.jpgJEFF SUPPAN
Eeesh…what
a knee-jerk signing this was after his stellar ’06 season with the
Cards.  We knew what we were getting when we signed this guy…6
innings, average stuff, will keep you in the ballgame, not
overpowering, big-game pitcher.  Err, big-game pitcher?  I think not. 
Hey Jeff, where’s that Redbird magic you showed in ’06?  Hammered in
Game 4 (facing elimination) of the ’08 NLDS, this guy’s contract is an
immovable object.  (No, his fastball is not the unstoppable force)  An
MVP off the field but a dud on it, this guy is barely a fifth starter. 
Being a nice guy may win hearts, but it sure as heck doesn’t win games.

Projected 2009 salary:  12.5MM

NOTES: 
C.C.
Sabathia will not become the maverick around Milwaukee that everyone is
hoping for by signing for less.  He’s destined to go to the Yanks.  I
do not support a $20 million dollar pitcher on a team with an $80-85
million dollar payroll, anyway.  Just does not make fiscal sense to
me. 

Ben Sheets already said he wants to test the free agent
market.  Good riddance.  He was never there when we really needed him
due to weird injuries.  I think good ol’ Benny will sign with either
the Rangers or the Astros (3 yrs-40MM).

POSSIBLE FREE AGENT TARGETS:
The Brewers need a #2 pitcher.  Considering payroll limitations of a smaller market, guys like BRADEN LOOPER, BRAD PENNY and JON GARLAND could be possibilities.  I would like the Brewers to engage talks with CURT SCHILLING…that
would be interesting.  He said if he pitches he wants to start
mid-season for a contender.  A June debut for the Brewers would be
sweet.  I would like to see the Brewers entertain talks with RYAN DEMPSTER.  He’s looking for 5yrs-75MM.  DEREK LOWE
probably wants to go East-coast but that would be nice.  The Brewers
could make a trade but good starting pitching is hard to find (see Jeff
Suppan).

PREDICTION:
When C.C. SABATHIA signs with the Yankees, the Brewers will trade MIKE CAMERON to the Yankees for either IAN KENNEDY or PHIL HUGHES and an additional player.  The Brewers will then adjust their rotation accordingly to accomodate the new addition.

1st BASE

fielder profile photo.jpg
PRINCE FIELDER
The
only left handed stick currently in the starting lineup.  Much talk of
the “Prince” being dealt for pitching.  I don’t see this happening
unless they could replace his left handed bat at 1st (maybe promote Mat
Gamel or trade for Hank Blalock) and obtain pitching to boot.  Prince
is a stud at the plate and will always have a good OBP.  Below average
in the field with weight a concern of many.  He’s young, still only 24,
and has a couple productive seasons left in Milwaukee.  Due a hefty
payraise from 670k as a 1st yr. arbitration eligible ballplayer. 
Destined to be traded, eventually, just not this offseason.  Hank
Blalock would be a good replacement, though.

Projected 2009 Salary:  8MM

2nd BASE

Rickie Weeks profile photo.jpgRICKIE WEEKS
The
experts say this guy is due to breakout.  Well, we’re still waiting in
Milwaukee.  My greatest fear is that this guy will once again be
starting at 2nd base and leading off.  Maybe bringing in Ken Macha to
manage will change this one-track train of thought…boy, I hope so. 
Rickie’s fast…Ok, I’ll give him that.  Everything else is subpar. 
Potential?  Maybe.  Reality?  Bad ballplayer.  I hope I’m wrong about
him.  Last offseason, the Nationals were willing to trade us Chad
Cordero.  That’s looking good right now and Cordero is coming off an
injury. I don’t know if I can handle another season with Rickie
hacking/flailing at everything down and away.  We need to get a good
second basemen!  MARK GRUDZIELANEK, ORLANDO HUDSON, DAVID ECKSTEIN and RAY DURHAM would all be upgrades.  BRIAN ROBERTS would look good in a Brewers uniform, eh?

Projected 2009 salary:  I don’t really care at this stage of the game.

SHORTSTOP

Alcides Escobar profile photo.jpgALCIDES ESCOBAR
I
absolutely cannot wait to see this guy in ’09!  An absolute wizard in
the field…next Ozzie Smith?  Will hit major league pitching just
fine.  Future gold-glover…okay, I’m getting ahead of myself. He’s
awesome, OK?  His grand entrance will lead to J.J. Hardy moving over to
3rd base.  Will be 22 yrs. old on Opening Day ’09.  Get to know him!

Projected 2009 salary:  400k

3rd BASE

hardy profile photo.jpgJ.J. HARDY
The
coming of Escobar will move Hardy to 3rd base.  J.J. is a good
ballplayer with a great arm.  Steady at the plate with good all around
career numbers.  I’m excited to see him and Escobar on the left side of
the infield in ’09.  I’ve always liked J.J.  Solid ballplayer with good
all-around skills.  Frequently mentioned as trade bait for starting
pitching.  If they do trade him, (I don’t think they will) they better
get a good return.

Projected 2009 salary:  4.5MM

LEFT FIELD

Ryan Braun profile photo.jpgRYAN BRAUN
Absolute stud.  My favorite Brewers player.  One of the true future stars of the game.

Projected 2009 salary:  745k

CENTERFIELD

Tony Gwynn jr. profile photo.jpgTONY GWYNN, JR.
They
drafted him, they brought him through the ranks, they groomed him…now
the time comes to start using him.  Brewers fans can’t seem to figure
out why the brass won’t go with this guy in center.  Brewers brass
won’t tell us why, either.  Complete mystery.  I understand he
struggled last year in AAA.  It seems like they’re grading him on a
small sampling.  I think the guy just needs a chance.  He has good
range, he’s a left handed bat, he’s a true leadoff type and he’s a good
baserunner.  Why not?  We need all the above.

Projected 2009 salary:  500k

RIGHT FIELD

corey hart file photo.jpgCOREY HART
Corey
is a good defensive ballplayer and a good baserunner.  The problem is
that he swings at everything thrown to him.  A complete meltdown late
in the season has Brewers fans wondering what happened.  A .300 OBP is
not acceptable.  He needs to show better plate discipline and stop
giving away so many at bats.

Projected 2009 salary:  3MM

CATCHER

Jason Kendall profile photo.jpgJASON KENDALL
Absolute
rock behind the plate who set Brewers record for games caught in a
season.  Experienced a successful rebirth throwing would-be
base-stealers out in ’08.  Would like to see more offense out of this
light-hitter but I’ll take the defense and knowledge any day.
Needs to raise OBP to a level more consistent with career numbers. 

Projected 2009 salary:  4.6MM

BULLPEN

David Riske profile photo.jpgDAVID RISKE
Bit
by the injury bug in ’08, Riske was signed to a multi-year deal to
bolster a bullpen much in need.  Should bounce back to form in ’09 and
maintain an important 6th/7th inning set-up role.

Projected 2009 salary:  4.25MM

Salomon Torres profile photo.jpgSALOMON TORRES
The
Brewers should be exercising his 3.75MM option in the next few days.  I
see no reason they shouldn’t.  Torres was effective as the closer for
the majority of the season.  Melted down a bit down the stretch. 
Should be an effective 8th inning guy in ’09. 

Projected 2009 salary:  3.75MM

Carlos Villanueva profile photo.jpgCARLOS VILLANUEVA
Started
’08 in the rotation and faltered.  Moved to the bullpen and excelled. 
Very important part of the relief corps who the Brewers should look to
sign long term.  Has a great changeup and good mound presence. 
Emotional young pitcher who has proven he can handle tough situations. 
I like this guy.

Projected 2009 salary:  1MM

Seth McClung profile photo.jpgSETH McCLUNG
This
burly right hander showed guts and determination late in the season
when the team needed him the most.  Bounced between the rotation and
the bullpen, Seth is a very important piece of the puzzle for the ’09
Brewers.  My favorite pitcher on the staff, McClung will prove to be
extremely valuable toward the success of the team in ’09.

Projected 2009 salary:  1MM

Mitch Stetter profile photo.jpgMITCH STETTER
Lefty
specialist who will most likely take over the role held by Brian Shouse
the last few years.  Mitch pitched extremely well to the Phillies
lefties in the ’08 NLDS.  The question is whether he will be the only
lefty out of the bullpen or not.

Projected 2009 salary:  450k

POSSIBLE FREE AGENT/TRADE TARGETS:  I would like to see the Brewers make a push to sign any of the followng:  JUAN CRUZ, JEREMY AFFELDT, DAVID WEATHERS, BRANDON LYON and CHAD CORDERO.  I would like to see the Brewers entertain trades for either HUSTON STREET or J.J. PUTZBRIAN FUENTES might be too expensive (depends on how much $ is left to spend).  The Brewers definitely need a proven closer. 

BENCH

Bill Hall profile photo.jpgBILL HALL
If
Hall is on the team in ’09, he better be a super sub type player. 
Watching him hack and flail during the 2008 season made most Brewers
fans sick to their stomachs.  Billy posted a .224 Batting Average along
with a .293 OBP.  Unacceptable in every sense of the word.  If he’s our
starting 3rd Baseman in ’09, someone needs their head examined.  Put
him on the bench where he belongs.  By the way, his contract is a
burden so he remains unmovable.

Projected 2009 salary:  6.8MM

THE REST:  I see the Brewers bringing back MIKE RIVERA for around 500-750K to be the backup to Jason Kendall.  That will allow ANGEL SALOME
the chance for 1 more year of seasoning in AAA before his call comes. 
The Brewers should look into upgrading at 2nd Base (see Rickie Weeks). 
Bench options also could include: 
DOUG MIENTKIEWICZ, MARK KOTSAY, BRAD WILKERSON or bringing back CRAIG COUNSELL for a cheaper price.  The bench will see the most overhaul for the ’09 squad.  Your guess is as good as mine as role players come into consideration.

So, what do you think?  

5 Comments

For starters, I don’t think it’s a sure thing that the Yankees (my team) are getting CC. I hope we get him, but I wanted Santana last off-season and he went to the Mets. Sigh. You mentioned Doug Mientkiewicz as a possible bench player. He’s such a good guy and plays a great first base, always hustling. I hope you sign him. He deserves to be with a contender.

- http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Heck, I would even consider Doug Mientkiewicz as our everyday starter at 1st base if we could get good pitching in a trade for Prince Fielder. Doug is exactly the type we need. Great glove, good OBP, good contact, good guy. The Brewers have way too many guys with mediocre gloves, low OBP’s and poor plate discipline.

As far as C.C. is concerned…let me state the following:
1. Brand new stadium
2. Contending team
3. First class everything-New York
4. An offer he can’t (won’t) refuse

He’ll be in pinstripes for ’09.

Good post. Too bad Torres is retiring. That will be another big bullpen hole Doug Melvin will have to replace. Weathers could fill his old role though. Mark Grudzielanek is a good fit, but as nothing more than a utility guy. It may be hard to stop him from signing with a team like the D-Backs or Dodgers who can offer him more playing time. Like you, Weeks has been a disappointment in my mind. I thought he would have accomplished more by this point in his career. 2007 was Rickie’s breakout year but he didn’t follow it up this year. Though, now matter how big his initial expectations were, he is still a solid second baseman.

Aaron
http://districtboy.mlblogs.com/

I like what you see!

Aaron’s right, it is too bad that we are losing Torres. I read something interesting on MLB.com today that started making me think that Doug Melvin may be phoning Colorado soon. Colorado apparently isn’t dead-set on keeping Huston Street, whom they just aquired in the Holiday trade. Is this wishful thinking on my part, or can we get that done??

I agree with the Youngster on a few things.

CC’s gone! He’ll be a Yankee soon and my Milwaukee memories of him will be tarnished! The Yankee’s even got press today saying they are ready to open the checkbook on Friday. They’ll probably fedex the blank check today so it’ll hit him Friday morning!!

The only reason the cash strapped Crew took the club option on Cameron is if they knew they could deal him. Bring Gwynn up, or get some better bat out there.

I like the moving Hardy idea, but I don’t think the Brewers can get rid of Bill Hall. I see Hardy maybe moving to second if not third base. Either way Escobar is coming up, and they aren’t moving him!

BREWCRW874…

I wanted the Brew Crew to pursue Huston Street at the trade deadline last season. Scouts apparently brought back bad reports so nobody touched him. That guy was awesome in Oakland before he lost it this past year. I think he will bounce back in ’09 and would be a low-risk/high return trade for a club like the Brewers. His value is definitely low due to the abundance of relief pitching. Come on Doug Melvin, go for it! We need to replace a lot of bodies out in that bullpen.

“Happy”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: