It may not actually be Christmas Day, but for most Brewer fans, you would never be able to convince them otherwise today.
In a day that is already being labeled "Black Wednesday," the Milwaukee Brewers decided to stop accepting poor performance and made the moves to prove it.
Pitching Coach Bill Castro was fired, not even a full year into his first opportunity as a major league pitching coach. Castro becomes the scapegoat for a pitching staff that ranks 15th in the National League with a 4.84 ERA.
Castro is replaced by former Brewers' starter, Chris Bosio. Bosio has been serving as the pitching coach for the Nashville Sounds, where his staff had the second best ERA in the Pacific Coast League.
The second move saw the Brewers try to cut ties with a player who has been the epitome of under-performing for the last three years. Despite the giant contract, the Brewers released Bill Hall.
Hall is batting a horrible .201 with six home runs and 24 RBI in 214 at-bats this year. The Brewers now have 10 days to trade Hall, release him, or have him accept a minor league assignment.
Hall is slated to make $8.4 million next season, so don't expect anyone to claim him. Dumping his salary completely is a huge statement from the front office as an admission of a bad signing.
To replace Hall, the Brewers called up outfielder Jason Bourgeois from Nashville. Bourgeois is hitting .316 with 26 extra-base hits, 41 RBI, and 36 steals in 105 games this season.
The biggest and perhaps most shocking news came when JJ Hardy was sent to the minors, and Alcides Escobar was called up to replace him. For anyone that reads me on a regular basis, you know that today is a great day for me.
Hardy has been simply awful this year. He is hitting .229 with 11 home runs and 45 RBI in 371 at-bats this year. He's also made several bad plays in the field and lacks the range Escobar has.
Escobar was labeled the most exciting player in the minors in 2008, and he will finally get a chance to play full-time for the Brewers. He has been the team's top prospect since Matt LaPorta was traded last season.
Escobar is hitting .298 with 34 extra-base hits, 34 RBI, and 42 stolen bases in 109 games this year. He is a better defensive player as well. He has drawn comparisons to Omar Vizquel at shortstop.
Bourgeois isn't likely to play nearly as much as Escobar, but if he did, the two would give the Brewers an insanely fast one-two punch at the top of the order.
Although these moves are coming much too late to make a serious run for the playoffs in 2009, the groundwork has been laid for a bit of a retooling and renewed push for 2010. In a season that seems wasted to Brewer fans, they can now look forward to the future, which just became a bit brighter.
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