Milwaukee Brewers: In the News (Dec. 22)

Right Field BleachersCorrespondent IDecember 22, 2008

Brewers News

- CC Sabathia wants Cameron with him in New York. He speaks very highly of Cameron’s play and clubhouse presence:

“Cameron’s awesome. That clubhouse we had in Milwaukee, a big reason it was the way it was, was because of Cameron. He’s a guy [who's] never had a bad day in his life. He comes in every day with the same attitude and plays hard and has fun, and I think that rubs off.”

Jeff Cirillo said very similar things about Cameron in an interview with Right Field Bleachers last season:

Mike Cameron is by far the best teammate I’ve ever played with. Last year when I was in Milwaukee with Doug Melvin, I told him he’s the best player I ever played with because rain or shine, good or bad, Mike Cameron still shows up every day with the reflection of he’s appreciative of where he’s at, and that’s playing big league baseball.

The loss of Cameron the player would be tough to overcome if he was traded, but it’s becoming more and more obvious that his off-field contributions at least as difficult to replace.

- Chris Capuano continues to make progress in his recovery from his second Tommy John surgery. He says he chose to sign with the Brewers again for two reasons:

“They’re a classy organization, and I didn’t want to be sitting around until some time in February, looking for a team.”

-  Scott Thorman, who plays the corner infield and outfield spots, is dedicated to getting back to the big leagues and contributing, so much so that he says he’d even decline an invitation to participate on the Canadian team in the World Baseball Classic:

The change of scenery has Thorman pumped. He’s running and lifting weights daily and hitting the batting cage sooner and harder than usual. He has played both hot corners and patrolled the outfield in his career with the Braves. But he realizes he won’t be displacing all-star first baseman Prince Fielder with the Brew Crew.

“For me I would be looking to make the team as a pinch hitter or backup first base, third base or left field,” the former Preston High School student said. “Hopefully it’s somewhere I can make the big league club if not out of spring training, then some point through the year.”

- Brew City Sports has some fun with the Brewers offseason thus far.

- Ken Macha says his passion is more understated than that of more over-the-top managers like Lou Piniella.

- There are some comments from Josh Kusnick, the agent for several Brewer minor leaguers, in the above article as well. Josh’s blog and his openness in general is a refreshing change of pace from baseball agents.

Rumors and Speculation

- The Brewers are interested in Braden Looper. This is not surprising since the Brewers need starting pitching and Looper is a decent option that would come cheaper than any of the frontline free agents. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe said this deal was “close,” but Melvin told the Journal-Sentinel he hasn’t spoke with Looper’s agent in days. I think adding Looper would be like bringing in another Dave Bush, which, while not being a headline-grabbing move, would help improve the back end of the rotation, likely at an affordable price. My biggest concern would be the dropoff Looper would experience from having Bill Castro as his pitching coach instead of Dave Duncan. This is not to say I think Castro is a bad coach. Duncan is just notorious for taking mid-level starters and bumping their game up to the next level. 

- Cheesehead Sports takes a deeper look at Looper.

- The Yankees reportedly want nothing to do with Ben Sheets. And I continue to wait for a report that the Brewers do want something to do with him…

- Brian Fuentes’ price is going down, and the Brewers remained connected to him in rumors. I don’t get the impression the Brewers are hard after him, but they’ve probably indicated they would be interested if the price is right. The Cardinals, on the other hand, have reportedly gone after Fuentes hard, but the team is apparently now considering to drop out of the Fuentes sweepstakes. 

I don’t expect to see Fuentes in Milwaukee. He’ll get good money from the Cardinals, Angels or another team looking for a closer. Remember too that he’s a Type A free agent so the Crew would have to give up a first-round draft pick to sign him.

- A Mariners blog suggests a trade of Fielder/Hardy for Erik Bedard/Adrian Beltre/Ryan Rowland-Smith. Uh, yeah… One of the best young powerhitters in the game and one of the best young shortstops for a starter coming off an injury in the last year of his contract, an overpaid third baseman in the last year of his contract and a young lefty that projects as a middle-to-end-of-the-rotation guy.

If the Brewers trade Prince or Hardy, it will be for players they could keep on their team for a while. The only reason they’d trade them is if they don’t think they’ll be able to sign them when they become free agents (three more seasons away for Prince and two for Hardy).

Trading two key pieces of the team for one-year rentals would make no sense at all.

- Another Mariner’s blog, Bleeding Blue and Teal, more accurately sums up Brewer/Mariner rumors and speculation: “Brewers Don’t Need Washburn.” Washburn’s name seems to come up in Brewer rumors every offseason, seemingly because he’s from Wisconsin.

That’s nice and all, but he’s an average pitcher at best and is overpaid. The Brewers can find another guy to plug in to the rotation without giving up players, or if they do give up players, get a frontline starter in return.

NL Central

- Headline of the year: “Wilson: Pirates need ‘more players’ to compete.” You think so, Jack? And, come on, Pirates, just go out and sign some guys so the Pirates can be competitive! Maybe they should start with a better shortstop. The grotesquely ugly, light-hitting infielder taking up that spot now has a career .269 batting average and .312 OBP.

- The Cubs are reportedly Adam Dunn’s first choice for his free-agent destination. The Cubs, meanwhile, seem to be more interested in Milton Bradley, probably because an outfield of Soriano, Fukudome and Dunn would be among the worst in the history of baseball.

- The Pirates signed catcher Ryan Doumit to an extension.

The Cardinals signed Japanese pitcher Katsuhiko Maekawa to a minor-league deal.

Other News

- Former Brewer pitcher Graeme Lloyd, an Australian native, is now an assistant coach for the Perth Heat (an Australian baseball team). He reflects on his MLB career in the linked story from the Illawarra Mercury.

- Former Brewers AAA manager Frank Kremblas, a former Pirate, will manage the Brewers former AAA franchise, the Indianapolis Indians, which is now a Pirates affiliate.

- A Phillies blog had this to say about the possibility of the Phillies adding Derrick Turnbow:

“A healthy Turnbow would be an excellent addition to already one of the National League’s best bullpens.”

And this:

“Should he be willing to accept a role as a seventh inning reliever, the City of Brotherly Love would welcome him with open arms.”

Uh, OK… I’m pretty sure Turnbow would “accept a role as a seventh inning reliever” seeing as how he failed in the role of “please just eat an inning in this blowout so we can all go home” for the Brewers over the last couple of years and was jettisoned to the minor leagues.


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