Offseason In Review: Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers are next in our Offseason In Review series.

Major League Signings

  • Randy Wolf, SP: three years, $29.75MM.  Includes $10MM club option for 2013 with a $1.5MM buyout.
  • Trevor Hoffman, RP: one year, $8MM.  Includes $7MM+ mutual option for 2011 with a $500K buyout.
  • LaTroy Hawkins, RP: two years, $7.5MM. 
  • Doug Davis, SP: one year, $5.25MM.  Includes $6.5MM mutual option for 2011 with a $1MM buyout.
  • Gregg Zaun, C: one year, $2.15MM.  Includes $2.25MM club option for 2011 with a $250K buyout.
  • Craig Counsell, IF: one year, $2.1MM.
  • Claudio Vargas, RP: one year, $900K.
  • Total spend: $55.65MM.

Notable Minor League Signings

Trades and Claims

Notable Losses

Summary

Brewers GM Doug Melvin was active in free agency this offseason, adding seven players for over $55MM.  The focus was understandably on pitching, as the Brewers finished 15th in the NL with a 4.83 ERA in 2009.  $35MM was committed to the rotation for lefties Wolf and Davis, with a hefty $15.5MM going to the back end of the bullpen.

The Brewers' finances were limited in part by a pair of free agent pitching mistakes Melvin made previously, Jeff Suppan and David Riske.  Melvin was again aggressive in giving an extra year each to Wolf and Hawkins.  The latest additions at least come with better peripheral stats.  Bullpen-wise, the 37-year-old Hawkins and 42-year-old Hoffman received top of the market money.  Risky expenditures, but at least the Brewers weren't alone in making sizeable free agent reliever commitments.

The problem with the rotation upgrades is that the Brewers' rotation is still ugly after Yovani Gallardo and Wolf.  Playing around with CHONE's innings projections for the team's expected six starters (and limiting Suppan's impact) gives me a projected rotation ERA of 4.46.  That would've ranked ninth in the NL last year.

Given his desire to spend his available funds on pitching, Melvin swapped Hardy for Gomez and allowed Cameron to leave.  The Brewers had the best available shortstop in Hardy, but four years of Gomez is a solid return.  Even in 2010, Gomez might be Cameron's equal.

Can the 2010 Brewers bash their way to a division title?  They've got monsters in Braun and Fielder, but the keys might be a healthy season from Weeks and minimal regression from McGehee.


27 Responses to Offseason In Review: Milwaukee Brewers Leave a Reply

  1. The Brewers have a pretty decent team, but I don’t think they can stack up against other potential Wild Card teams like the Rockies, D’Backs, and Braves.

  2. TwinsVet 5 years ago

    Those bullpens signings look atrocious when you consider the pricetag, age, and likelihood to regress or sustain injury.

    In an offseason with deep closers, it’s hard to say they spent wisely.

  3. Holy_Roman_Emperor 5 years ago

    The pitching is still mostly crap besides Gallardo………………

    Wolf and Hoffman are overrated and old, respectively, and they spent way too much on both of them. Neither the rotation or bullpen are deep and/or have talent at the back ends, end of story.

    Fielder and Braun aren’t as good as Pujols/Holliday/Ludwick, so the offense can’t compensate.

    • boof3000 5 years ago

      Braun/Fielder are better offensively than Pujols/Holliday, sorry.

    • STL_Bulldog 5 years ago

      The Card’s definitely have the better starting staff. Bullpen… who knows. I, for one, don’t have much confidence in anyone outside of Trever Miller.

      I don’t buy the Fielder/Brawn comment. Pujols is Pujols, but speaking strictly in terms of offense, Fielder isn’t THAT far behind. He’s as dangerous as they come. Braun (again, offensively) is better than Holliday. Ludwick is a wild card. A lot depends on whether or not he’s 2008 Ludwick or 2009 Ludwick, or somewhere in between.

      I just don’t think the Brewer’s offense is that far behind the Cardinals. Of course, like any team, both have many variables that could close or widen the gap.

      • Holy_Roman_Emperor 5 years ago

        I disagree about the Brewers’ offence being better then STL………………..

        Thanks to losing secondary players like Cameron and Hardy, and the regression of Corey Hart, Fielder and Braun are increasingly isolated in that lineup.

        You basically have an uncertain Rickie Weeks, and then a bunch of players who are filler or who are unproven to be consistent, like Gomez, McGhee, Escobar, Zaun, and so on, so on……………… I’ll take STL any day.

        • orbrewer 5 years ago

          The Pujols/Holliday combo is even more isolated in the Cardinals lineup than Fielder/Braun is in the Brewers.

          With the Cardinals you have an uncertain Colby Rasmus, and then a bunch of players who are filler or who are unproven to be consistent, like Ludwick, Freese, Ryan, Schumaker, and so on, so on……………..

        • orbrewer 5 years ago

          With the Cardinals, you basically have an uncertain Colby Rasmus, and then a bunch of players who are filler or who are unproven to be consistent, like Freese, Schumaker, Ludwick, Ryan, and so on, so on………………….

          • Holy_Roman_Emperor 5 years ago

            You also have Pujols, Holliday, Molina, Carpenter, Wainwright………….

            Also Ludwick, who had more RBI’s than either Braun or Fielder in 2008, and surpassed Fielder in HR’s and tied Braun in that said year.

          • orbrewer 5 years ago

            You’re going to try to compare Ludwick to Braun and Fielder? A better comparison would be Corey Hart. Ludwick had a career year in 2008 (an OPS over 150 points higher than his career number).

      • Ricky Bones 5 years ago

        Not only is Pujols better offensively than Fielder, but his defense is vastly superior to Tubby’s which adds even further value to his offensive output. Same holds true for Holliday’s defense over Braun’s. Holliday isn’t so far behind Braun in offensive capabilities that the defense makes no difference.

    • ajoconnor1 5 years ago

      How can you say Hoffman is overrated when he just saved 37 of 41 save opportunities with a 1.83 E.R.A.? I do agree Wolf is being overpaid though.

      • Holy_Roman_Emperor 5 years ago

        Actually, I said that Wolf was overrated(and overpaid,) and that Hoffman was just overpaid.

        Hoffman is still pretty good, but he’s chugging along on a smoke-and-mirrors act which I fully expect to implode at any second.

        When Hoffman implodes, wtf is plan B for the B-crew, Jorge Julio ????

        • ajoconnor1 5 years ago

          If Hoffman hasn’t imploded in his first 17 years, I doubt he will in his 18th. His stuff has already declined but he has shown he can still get batters out because of his changeup and deception.

          And plan-B would be Hawkins, who posted a 2.13 ERA last season. You might want to do some research about the Brewers before you talk.

          • Holy_Roman_Emperor 5 years ago

            The same Hawkins who ran the closer-comedy debacle for the Cubs for all of those years. Sure !!!!!

            Sounds like good times to me.

          • ajoconnor1 5 years ago

            Again, you might want to do some research before you say stuff. By “all those years,” I’m guessing you mean the 1 year and 21 games he played with the Cubs. He posted a 2.63 ERA and 25 saves in his one full year in Chicago.

            Maybe for my number one closer I wouldn’t want those numbers, but as a backup I don’t consider that to be too bad. Especially considering he had a strong year last year, which is probably a better indicator of how he will do this year.

  4. Ry_the_Stunner 5 years ago

    You really think Gomez can put up similar stats to Cameron? Besides being fast, he’s a very very weak offensive threat.

    • I didn’t really think this until I saw the CHONE projections for the pair. I agree that there is a leap of faith there though since Gomez has never posted a .300 OBP.

      • Ricky Bones 5 years ago

        As the saying goes, you can’t steal first.

  5. bigpat 5 years ago

    Carlos Gomez is one of the worst everyday players in the league, in my opinion. Maybe he will break out some time, but I won’t be holding my breath.

    I really don’t know what the Brewers will do. The 1-2 punch of Fielder and Braun is great, but the supporting cast isn’t great. Was Weeks really breaking out last season before he got hurt? And is that what we can expect from him going forward? Is Corey Hart really as bad as he was last season, and is Casey McGahee really that good?

    Also, I don’t think Wolf can replicate the season he had last year. His luck will catch up to him and I can see him putting up an ERA in the high 3’s or low 4’s. Same thing with Davis. I think they have too many question marks to be a playoff team.

    • orbrewer 5 years ago

      An ERA in the high 3’s or low 4’s for Wolf and Davis puts Milwaukee in the playoffs. An ERA of 4.00 would be over a run lower than the starters put up last season. That would easily be enough to go from 80 wins to 88+ wins.

  6. thelaser69 5 years ago

    You could put in the minor league signings section Mark DiFelice. He pitched in something like 50 games out of the ‘pen last year and did pretty well, but lost this season to surgury. Brewers released him and signed him to a minor league deal.

    Also, just something to take note of is the deferment of 4 million dollars of Wolf’s salary for this season. That isn’t on Cot’s, but you can google it.

  7. Wrek305 5 years ago

    Pig Fielder is there only legit hitter.. Braun is far from being anything close to legit

    • R_y_a_n 5 years ago

      Seriously hope that is sarcasm.

    • losingfaithinmightymelvin 5 years ago

      Where’s the dislike button when you need one. Do some research on Braun and you will sing a different tune. Also there is a difference between there, their and, they’re. Buy a dictionary or thesaurus before you post next time.

      • Yankees420 5 years ago

        Hey grammar police, you should probably look in that dictionary you told patchjohnson to buy because there is a big difference between a dictionary and a thesaurus.

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