Offseason In Review: Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers are next in our Offseason In Review series.

Major League Signings

International Signings

  • Elvis Rubio, Estervin Matos

Notable Minor League Signings

Extensions

Trades and Claims

Notable Losses

Summary

In recent years, Doug Melvin's attempts to bolster the Brewers' rotation with free agents have fallen short, and the 2010-11 market didn't offer much front-end pitching anyway.  So Melvin pulled off a near-impossible feat: he traded for a pair of high quality starters, including two years of control for each.  He also hired Ron Roenicke as the team's new manager and extended Weeks one year shy of free agency.  

First Melvin dealt for Marcum, giving up only one player in Lawrie.  Lawrie's bat makes him a top 40 prospect in the eyes of most experts, so the price was significant.  Melvin again showed a willingness to move one of his recent first-round draft picks, as he did with Matt LaPorta in the '08 trade for C.C. Sabathia.  This time, the Brewers got more than a rental.

Greinke

Melvin wasn't done; he aimed to take his rotation from good to great by acquiring Greinke.  As I mentioned in the Royals offseason in review, it was surprising to see the Brewers acquire Greinke without sending a top 50 prospect or equivalent young Major Leaguer.  Sure, the two trades gutted the Brewers' farm system, but I'm a big supporter of trading prospects in the name of winning now.  If you're a team that can't afford to bid on Cliff Lee, this strategy is a strong alternative.  The Brewers have a strong rotation, and the entire group will be back for the 2012 season.

The Brewers' offense ranked fourth in the NL last year, and the only change was swapping out one offensively-challenged shortstop for another.  When Corey Hart returns the team should have enough offense, though in keeping with his "all-in" mindset it'd be great to see Melvin go after Jose Reyes this summer.  Center field was another potential weakness, but the Brewers commendably bought low on Morgan to provide Carlos Gomez with some competition.

Melvin opted not to spend money on the bullpen, instead importing Saito, Mitre, and Green.  The pen could be a weakness, especially if closer John Axford continues to falter.  On the plus side, LaTroy Hawkins is close to returning.  The one questionable trade Melvin made this winter was shipping Villanueva to the Blue Jays for cash.  Unless this trade was unofficially part of the Marcum deal, I don't understand why Melvin would move a decent reliever for cash.

One day before an arbitration hearing, the Brewers agreed to a four-year extension with Weeks.  The Brewers added three free agent years at $10-11MM salaries, plus a 2015 option that vests based on Weeks' health.  On one hand, this is a scary investment for a player coming off his first fully healthy season.  He's endured surgeries on both wrists as well as a thumb and knee.  On the other hand, the Brewers know Weeks' health better than anyone, and if he repeated his 2010 season they wouldn't have been able to sign him for three years and $31MM.

The Brewers are currently one of four NL Central teams sporting an 8-8 record.  My pick for the NL pennant, they'll get a big boost when Greinke and Hart come off the DL.  Hopefully Melvin continues to be aggressive this year, because even with a strong rotation in 2012 the club will likely be without Fielder.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.


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23 Comments on "Offseason In Review: Milwaukee Brewers"


4 years 4 months ago

Jose Reyes? That’s news to me, but I say go for it!

4 years 4 months ago

Dear Zach.

Basketball is fun to play, but your a baseball player. If you wish to play a pick up game, go to your local Game Stop and pick up the newest NBA 2K11 and play an exhibition game.

AmericanMovieFan
4 years 4 months ago

Why is there no mention of Prince Fielder’s rather massive $15.5MM price tag? That surely affected things a bit and leaves a question mark come 2012, does it not?

4 years 4 months ago

Not following…that salary was predictable probably years ago.

NL_East_Rivalry
4 years 4 months ago

I think he is getting Off-Season Review and Contract Issues mistaken.

Guess Brewers can spend more money next year if raises don’t take all of that “massive” 15.5.

jwredsox
4 years 4 months ago

“Lawrie’s bat makes him a top 40 prospect in the eyes of most experts”

*Lawrie’s bat at 2B makes him a top 40 prospect. Not top 40 when they realize he’s likely an OFer.

jwredsox
4 years 4 months ago

And shouldn’t acquiring Yuniesky be categorized as a “notable loss”?

PhnxCrew
4 years 4 months ago

I agree there is no way reyes goes to milwaukee. There is a chance that some one like peralta/ heckathorn steps up, but a position player would be needed too and every one outside of gamel (who won’t be traded) is hurt. No way i would trade rogers as I still see this guy replacing wolf next year and with health becoming a dominant pitcher. As far as the bullpen, they’ll be fine with or without axford. Many options for closer in saito, loe, braddock, (or my personal favorite kintzler). Btw how is this team tied for first after 0-4, then a sweep from the nats?

NL_East_Rivalry
4 years 4 months ago

You’d be surprised what can be had for cheap. Go look at the Roy Oswalt trade. Not saying those guys were that great, but it all depends on how the other teams are biting. Brewers can’t get in a bidding war obviously, but if they act earlier than anyone else they may have a chance.

alexchicago14
4 years 4 months ago

chuckled when i saw doug davis’s name

4 years 4 months ago

Once again, BA had Escobar at 12 before the 2010 season. 12! The dude had one bad year at the plate in the Majors. He definitely would still qualify as a ‘top 50′ equivalent…

4 years 4 months ago

I do think we have the resources to get Reyes if we wanted to but I don’t think Melvin would spend what it would take to get him. But if the Brewers really wanted to upgrade the D at SS, we happen to be close with the GM in Seattle and we might be able to pry away Brenden Ryan by mid season being the Mariners would probably be out of it by then. Jack might want to dump salary. If your a (True Blue) baseball fan and have been watching it as long as I have, you’d see that this Brewers is no joke and when we address the SS problem and when (Morgan finally takes over in CF), the Brewers will no doubt contend for a World Series Championship!!! GO BREWERS……..

4 years 4 months ago

The Brewer’s defense is terrible. Their entire infield is below average at best and the outfield collectively have noodles for arms. I am afraid this will come and bite them in the long run. Melvin needs to think about shoring up the defense if he ever hopes to win the NL Central.

4 years 4 months ago

Once Hart comes back their outfield arms should be some of the better in the ML. Gomez is a gold glove caliber outfielder but he can’t hit. If he can put it together at the plate then outfield D shouldn’t even be questioned.

As far as infield goes, McGehee and Fielder have made incredible strides on D and should no longer be considered reliabilities. Weeks is better than average as well.

4 years 4 months ago

What about trading Prince now? Is Gamels ready now? Maybe swing a deal for Reyes and some prospects for Prince. I know that would hurt the power aspect but it would be a pretty sweet lineup:

Reyes
Weeks
Hart
Braun
McGehee
Gamels
Gomez/Morgan
Nieves/Lucroy
Pitcher

4 years 4 months ago

Trading a rental for a rental, and downgrading no less? I think Melvin is a little smarter than that.

4 years 4 months ago

If Jemile Weeks wouldn’t have gone to college we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

4 years 4 months ago

Since the Brewers have exactly ZERO prospects in BA’s top 100, I would say that Reyes to the Brewers is a complete pipe dream.

4 years 4 months ago

Well first off Reyes isn’t going to bring back much of a package for a partial season but the Brewers farm system isn’t nearly as bad as BA suggests, it is just talent that is still in the A/AA level instead of major league ready talent. Pitchers like Peralta, Rivas, Scarpetta and Heckathorn still have value as do hitters like Gennett and Davis. Rogers and Gamels could have a lot of value if they are doing well by the trade deadline and healthy.

I don’t really think the Brewers will go after Reyes though because they aren’t anywhere close to ‘all in’ like is always suggested. The only player they lose next year is Fielder and they will likely replace him with Gamel who should improve the defense. Then they sign an upgrade at SS and they have replaced at least half the value of Fielder right there without spending as much on Fielder as they are this year. Losing him will hurt the team but it isn’t anywhere near an all in situation.

4 years 4 months ago

Since Reyes will be a Type A FA, he will bring back at least the value of a 1rst and 1rst supplemental, or he won’t be dealt. It’s that simple.

4 years 4 months ago

Teixeira was once rented for Kotchman and Marek…

notsureifsrs
4 years 4 months ago

sure, but at the time of that trade kotchman was a highly regarded young player (13th overall 1st round draft pick) with stellar defense and a .362 wOBA the previous season

NL_East_Rivalry
4 years 4 months ago

Even a year later, Kotchman was traded for Adam. Not to mention, we still have Marek.