Before I get started, I would like to say the following things, just so there are no misunderstandings.
I am a life-long Brewers fan and this is not the Brewers year.
While the Brewers may well make the playoffs this year, they should not be buyers. Felipe Lopez was a great move to fill the void left by Rickie Weeks to make an honest, yet inexpensive push to the playoffs.
But, unless the Doug Melvin finds a buyer for Billy Hall, the Brewers should stand pat, keep Gamel in AAA, and wait.
If the Brewers are going to win a World Series with this batch of players, patience will be the key.
Next year might not even be the Brewers year, but, 2011 will be for sure.
After next year, Suppan’s $12 million comes off the books. By 2011, Gamel and Alcides Escobar will have landed in the MLB. Some of the current crop of low prospects will have made a name for themselves in the minors. Lawrie and the like playing under AA ball will be AAA players, waiting to come up (theoretically).
This is when the Brewers will make their move.
Fielder will be in his contract year. Hart will be a more well-rounded hitter (or gone). Braun will be an established perennial all star (as if he isn't already). Weeks will be near his peak, assuming he can stay healthy. Oh, and Gallardo will be a bona fide ace by 2011. Parra will hopefully be a No. 2 or No. 3 starter, and if not, then at least a reliable five starter.
What the Brewers need to do for the rest of this year and next is look to fill the long term gaps: Catcher, and the pitching.
At the moment, Kendall is 35 years old, the Brewers ‘pen won’t stick together and isn’t all that great, and they need to find at least two starters. Though by 2011, hopefully Villanueva will be a legit closer and flame-throwing Jeffress will have stopped chronically smoking weed.
Remember those prospects I was referencing earlier? This is where they come into play.
Catcher Angel Salome will hopefully have improved defensively enough to play big boy ball. Lawrie could become a compelling backup, or trade bait, if not a starter. Everyone not on the 25-man roster, or the players that aren’t in a position to contribute in case of emergency goes.
Sell the farm.
The Brewers have been building an excellent farm system for the past several years, and in 2011, the Brewers will sell as many of these prospects as possible to get the pitching they need long term, or fill other holes that may arise between now and then.
The Brewers may not have been fully knowledgeable of it, but they’ve been building to win it all in 2011.
The Cubs are starting to age, and by 2011, they will have been sold off and rebuilding, whether through free agency or the draft.
2011 won’t be the Cubs year.
The Astros are already an older team full of parts that don’t make a contender. For 2011, unless something completely unexpected happens, they won’t be there.
St. Louis is the most unpredictable team from now to 2011, they could or could not have Pujols. All together though, other than Rasmus, they seem to be an aging team as well.
That leaves the Reds to contend with the Brewers in 2011, as the hapless Pirates, I’ll assume, will remain hapless. However, the Brewers will have a deeper farm system to deal, and won’t have Dusty Baker, who doesn’t like having people on base as they clog the base paths (yes, he actually said that).
So there you have it folks.
Yes, the Brewers may well make the playoffs this year and in 2010, but 2011 is the year of the beer. Doc Halladay, and everyone else being sold high this year should be passed on by Melvin and company. The near future, at least, looks good for Mil-Town.
And yes, I understand that this is all based on the assumption that none of the key Brewers suffer major set backs