2011 MLB Predictions: Where Will the Brewers Finish in the NL Central?
2011 MLB Predictions See Brewers Generally Counted Out in NL Central
With star first baseman Prince Fielder eyeing free agency in 2012, the Milwaukee Brewers knew they needed to do something drastic this offseason, and they did.
The Brewers traded for former Kansas City Royals ace Zack Greinke and former Blue Jays rock Shaun Marcum, looking to improve on a collective 4.65 ERA from their starting pitching last season, second-worst in MLB.
With the Brewers' offense, problem solved, right?
Well, not exactly.
The problem with the trades for Greinke and Marcum is they left the Brewers thin in the depth department, and the shortstop they traded for, Yuniesky Betancourt, has not looked so hot in spring training.
Not to mention outfielder Carlos Gomez, slated for the No. 2 spot in the batting order, who generally looks atrocious at the plate.
As a scout told USA Today's Steve Gardner, "SS Yuniesky Betancourt can get the ball, but he'll often throw it away. CF Carlos Gomez can also go get the ball, but what else can he do? He swings through so many pitches. He's one of those guys that just teases you, and I'm not sure you can win with them."
Not to mention Greinke, right fielder Corey Hart, LaTroy Hawkins and Manny Parra all start the season on the disabled list.
The team's pitching is going to look ugly early on, as usual.
The Brewers have a chance to contend for the NL Central, but this is looking more and more like a third-place finish to me, right behind St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds.
They basically can't afford to lost anyone for an extended period of time, and things have already gotten off to a rough start.
Of course, if Greinke isn't the same pitcher as before this season, there's little chance the Brewers win the division title.
The Brewers have done a lot to improve their image and they have improved their starting pitching considerably, but they don't have the depth or collective bullpen to oust the Cardinals and Reds.
For more on the Brewers' outlook after trading for Greinke, check out James-Stewart Meudt's piece.
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