Yes, I think there is a lot to be positive about for our local baseball team and it’s future. I predicted they would win between 68-72 games and they won 73, with one stud major-leaguer (Ryan Braun) in the line-up at season’s end.
I think GM David Stearns and his front office pals did a nice job making trades and pick-ups. Some of the moves were downright steals. Some of his moves were good for both sides, which I personally think that is the way trades should be made.
But we won’t really be able to judge several deals for at least two-three years because of the young kids involved like SS Isan Diaz, C Jacob Nottingham, RHP Bubba Derby, RHP Phil Bickford, C Andrew Susac, OF Lewis Brinson, RHP Luis Ortiz and OF Ryan Cordell to name a few of the new arrivals in 2016.
I also think Craig Counsell did an excellent job of managing and keeping his team playing hard – heck, even winning – down the stretch, when some teams would have thrown in the towel. Even though some of the teams already clinched a playoff spot, a win is a win.
These kids were smart enough to realize they were playing for their baseball future and I credit them for that.
Some thoughts I have on next season.
Please don’t play Jonathan Villar at third base on a regular basis. You either make the play or you don’t at third base and I don’t feel he has the reaction time to play there. He could be either the second baseman or trade bait. He had a terrific season and it was one of Stearns’ best moves.
Please find a regular third baseman so Hernan Perez can be the ‘super utility’ guy that Counsell wants. I was very upset when he was taken off the roster last year and said so on my twitter account. But I’m glad he accepted the offer as a non-roster player and came back. He is better four day a week guy than a regular.
Chris Carter tied for first in home runs and games played with Nolan Arenado, Colorado’s superb third baseman. Another excellent signing. So he strikes out. Like former manager George Bamberger said, it’s better than hitting into a double play. Also looking forward to see how Orlando Arcia plays starting the season with the big club.
Keon Broxton was also my pick to start in center last spring. I’m glad on his third trip down he fixed his swing and had a great second half. Domingo Santana needs to stay healthy and that gives you two young starters, with a list of studs a phone call away. I think Brinson could break camp as a regular.
The Brewers have a catcher who can field but not hit in Martin Maldonado. He needs to be the backup. I’m hoping they either pick up a free agent or give Susac, formerly Buster Posey’s backup, a chance.
There are plenty of bullpen bodies on hand, led by Tyler Thornburg. Junior Guerra, another steal by Stearns, and Zach Davies, were solid, but must prove their performance was real. Just look at Taylor Jungmann and Jimmy Nelson if you don’t understand where I’m coming from. I still like both of those young men, though, and I hope they bounce back.
The pitcher I really like is LHP Josh Hader. He could be a fun pitcher to watch and a big part of the future and should have had a look in September. It will be fun in the spring to see some of these young men pitch.
Matt Garza needs to be traded (given away) because this a rebuilding team. Wily Peralta got his act together in the second half and I would also move him in the right deal this winter.
Finally there is the Braun situation.
You can keep him, which I don’t have a problem with, because despite his contract, the Brewers made money this year. He is their best hitter. Period.
Or you can trade him, but hopefully you would get more than four lower level prospects. He needs to bring you a ‘real’ major league starter – pitcher or hitter – or you don’t trade him.
One of the worst things you can do is bring in a ‘cancer’ and that is what Yasiel Puig is. This young clubhouse doesn’t need that. Everything Stearns has done in my book will go right out the window if he would bring a player like Puig here.
I am really looking forward to see the tweaks in the off-season the Brewers will make.
They get a C+ for their first year of rebuilding. I’m impressed.