Milwaukee Brewers in the News: Dec. 29

Right Field BleachersCorrespondent IDecember 29, 2008

Brewers News

- Adam McCalvy and Dave Fultz did a season-in-review piece on the 2008 Brewers.

- The Brewers are ranked dead last in the Baseball Digest Daily Hot Stove Power Rankings. The Brewers have lost Sabathia, will likely lose Sheets, their closer retired, other bullpen arms are on their way out, a hotly speculated trade has fallen through, their top scout left the organization for a GM job and the team has made no significant moves...The ranking makes sense. I’m not down on Melvin or his staff for anything they’ve done, but I am very hungry for some good news.

- The Brewers are predicted to finish third in the NL Central with their current roster based on WAR. The roster obviously isn’t complete yet and I’d like to think they can catch the Cardinals with a few moves before the season begins.

- Keith Law says Doug Melvin is right, the compensation system is broken. More from Melvin on the subject in Buster Olney’s blog.

- The Brewers reportedly had significant interest in knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, but Dickey signed with the Twins. He felt he had the best opportunity to pitch in the Majors there. Dickey pitched in the Brewers system in Nashville, his hometown, in 2007.

- Brewers Bar thinks the Teixeira signing could be good news for Brewers fans because with Big Tex at first, the Yankees won’t look to sign Prince when he becomes a free agent.

Unfortunately, I don’t think it matters. If the Yankees want Prince, they’d probably sign him to play at DH anyway. And Prince is going to go for top dollar regardless of where he ends up. Some team will pay him more than the Brewers should. That’s why I think he’ll be traded before he hits free agency.


Rumors and Speculation

- Two of the more affordable starting pitching options are now off the market. Brad Penny signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox and Randy Johnson signed a one-year deal with the Giants. Penny’s deal reportedly includes a $5 million base salary with up to an additional $3 million in incentives.

Johnson’s deal is for $8 million. I would have been thrilled if the Brewers could have lured either to Milwaukee with similar offers, but it looks like they’ll have to look to ink lesser arms like Braden Looper or (hopefully) get in touch with Ben Sheets and bring him back to Beer Town.

- Speaking of Sheets, he hasn’t received an offer from the Rangers yet, though they are still reportedly interested in him.

- Now that the Giants have signed Johnson, they will listen to offers for Jonathan Sanchez. Sanchez is a nice young pitcher that the Brewers would certainly be interested in. The Giants need offense and the Brewers could seemingly spare a bat for a pitcher. I’m sure Doug Melvin has been on the phone with Brian Sabean, but the Giants aren’t going to move Sanchez unless they get a big offer.

- Buster Olney says the Brewers have no interest in Manny Ramirez. Good.

- Now that the Yankees have a crowded outfield after the Teixeira signing pushed Nick Swisher to the outfield, they might be looking to trade an outfielder. Matsui will likely DH most of the time. Nady will probably play one corner. Swisher or Damon will likely play the other corner.

Center field is where it gets interesting. Swisher or Damon can play center, but neither is ideal there defensively. And Cabrera underperformed offensively last year so the NY brass might not feel comfortable with him there in 2009 (hence the Cameron trade discussions).

If the Yankees were willing to swap Swisher for Cameron, would the Brewers be interested? It would create a defensive hole at center (Swisher is not a natural center fielder and Hart and Braun aren’t either, but are young enough and athletic enough to be groomed there), but Swisher is the kind of player the Brewers could use, a high OBP guy. He had a down year last year, but much of that could be credited to the fact that he was hitting in a unnatural spot (leadoff) and playing out of position (center).

He’d fit well in the No. 2 spot in the batting order in Milwaukee, taking pitches so Weeks can steal more and getting on base so Braun and Fielder can drive him in. He could also move to first if Prince is traded at some point.

Swisher is signed for three years for a total of $22 million. It’s an interesting idea and one I wouldn’t mind the Brewers exploring. Are there some burned bridges between these two teams now though?

- Former Rangers reliever Akinori Otsuka will reportedly try out for all 30 teams next month. He didn’t pitch last year and is 37 so he’ll probably come pretty cheap. He was a very good reliever before he was slowed by injury. The Mariners and Padres appear to be the teams Otsuka would like to pitch for, but the Brewers could try to lure him to Milwaukee for the right price if he proves he’s healthy.


Minor Leagues

- Brett Christopherson of the Appleton Post-Crescent penned a Timber Rattlers-themed version of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.


NL Central

- The Reds signed Willy Taveras. Taveras is overvalued because of his speed (much like Juan Pierre). I guess it’s nice that he provided 68 stolen bases last year, but that .308 OBP is pretty brutal for a top-of-the-order guy...


Other News

- Former Brewers manager Tom Trebelhorn has been brought back to manage the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes of the Class-A Northwest League’s Western Division.