As I do every Wednesday on Twitter, I ask for questions for the upcoming mailbag. This week, I added that I was taking “literally anything and I’m not kidding”, hoping to get some gems. And you guys responded. And it was beautiful. Kind of like the mentally irreversible image of Ryan Braun obtrusively entering your living room via a $45 million wink.
Normally I can only get to three or four questions in this space, but, as a general reference, I like good things and I like funny things, and so I’m answering every question I got this week, broken off into subcategories: Yuni B questions, actually pertinent questions, barely pertinent questions, and the completely irrelevant questions (my personal favorites).
Yuni B, a recurring theme
“Who would you rather have at 1st, Yuni B or Tony P? What are the odds the 1st baseman has more WAR than both?” -@BadgerNoonan
The biased, subjective, lets-his-emotions-make-the-decisions-for-him side of Curt wanted to immediately jump to a conclusion and say T Plush, who was signed Tuesday by the Indians. But the fourth grader in me said to make a Venn diagram. So that’s exactly what I did.
After physically spending the time to make that diagram, I realized two things: 1) Winter break needs to end. Soon. 2) “Yuni B Jones” was the worst and that we should never forget that.
So I’m taking T Plush, and I’m honestly afraid to answer the second part of that question, but I’ll say the odds are favorable. Maybe 5:3. Nyjer doesn’t play first and neither does Juan Francisco, apparently, after watching him last season, but Francisco’s a better hitter.
“How much physical pain & humiliation would you be willing to endure if it guaranteed Yuni B never returns to MIL?” -@2ndHS
Ever been locked in a room with nothing but yourself (tied to a chair, because of course) and a TV that plays endless Skip Bayless clips for 24 hours? Yeah, that.
Questions That Are Actually Pertinent
“Tell me why not Jeff Baker?” -@rcon14
Your answer would probably be the same as mine. In case you weren’t aware, minor league contracts with an invite to major league spring training are possibly the singular things that make my perennially-mediocre, small-market chops salivate most. He’s more qualified than the other right-handed option at first in Sean Halton at the plate, with a 143 wRC+ last year. His defense is well below replacement level and has been since he was first moved to first in 2011. He hit lefties .304/.407/.667 last season and struggled mightily against righties, so a platoon with Francisco would conceivably work well. I like Sean Halton and I would like to see him get a shot and I don’t want to hurt his feelings or anything, but I think Baker gives the Brewers a more valuable first baseman at this point.
So I say, “Why not Jeff Baker?”
“ More likely lefty to break camp with the team: Zach Duke or Wei-Chung Wang?” -@Ginger_Thor
Wang is a long shot to make the roster at this point and the Duke signing Wednesday didn’t help that out. He’s a 21-year-old Taiwanese prospect with only one year of professional pitching. It’s not completely out of the realm of possibility he breaks camp with the Brewers, especially seeing as how the team will have to lose him if he doesn’t remain on the major league roster throughout 2014. He’s listed at 160 pounds on Baseball Reference and the highest level of pitching he’s faced is rookie ball. So I’m going to go with Duke.
“Which FA left do you see the Brewers most likely signing” -@Flyerboy10
Right now, the Brewers are presumably still looking into relief pitchers and, in addition to that, it’s probably safe to say that they’re not out of the running for a first baseman, either. I like Jeff Baker as an option for first base, but the front office hasn’t been very assertive to take any risks–major or minor–at the position. The Duke signing added another potential lefty to the pen to go along with Tom Gorzelanny, Smith, and Wang, so it’s likely that they won’t bring another southpaw reliever aboard. It’s hard to target one guy that I think the Brewers will sign, but I like Luis Ayala, who posted a 3.27 ERA in an injury-shortened season last year and is looking for $1-2 million. Up until now, the Brewers haven’t shown much interest in him, at least known to us. Put your pitchforks down, please, because my final answer is Carlos Marmol.
“If you had the option next year, do you stretch out Hellweg as a starter in AAA or do you give in to the inevitable and start him in the major league pen?” -@laabstyler
At this point, the best option for Johnny Hellweg is to continue to develop in AAA, but he may be needed as a power arm in the bullpen. The Brewers seem to still view him as a starter and look to be committed to that option until it either works or it doesn’t work. I’m confident that we’ll see him toe the rubber to start a game at some point in 2014, but definitely not to begin the season, as the fifth starter spot is coming down to Smith or Tyler Thornburg. If I had the option and still had the same interest level that the Brewers do in using Hellweg, who FanGraphs rated as the system’s fourth-top prospect, as a starter in the future, I’d continue to work on his development in the minors. His biggest issue is his command, which isn’t something you want to deal with in a guy whose job is to pitch one inning.
Barely Pertinent Questions
“What do you think RRR’s favorite song is?” -@Ben_Oehler
Presented without commented: The Bunting Song
“Has this been the worst off season, or the absolute worst off season?” -@Enrico_Palazzo_
Well the Zach Duke signing was the most excitement I’ve had over the Brewers since they flopped on getting a protected first-round draft pick, the Packers are eliminated, Wisconsin continued the annual tradition of losing on New Year’s, and I think the Bucks are on strike, so there’s not much help coming via distractions. So I’d say the worst.
“Should the Brewers offer $10 in swag in May as a preemptive strike?” -@brewfangrb
Well I mean if they’re not gonna spend it on a free agent, then I might as well get me another Yuni B shirsey.
“If Brewers players are illnesses, who would be the most annoying ones?” -@KyleAshauer
First off, this reminds me of one of the most underrated baseball movie quotes of all time:
“Losing is a disease. As contagious as polio. Losing is a disease. As contagious as syphillis. Losing is a disease. As contagious as the bubonic plague, attacking one, but infecting all.” -The Natural
Rickie Weeks would be the cold, because, every year as much as you to avoid it, it finds a way to catch you again and you’re stuck inside for a while with nothing you can do about.
Just kidding. Love you, Rickie.
Heat-related illnesses are definitely Scooter Gennett. Because you can pick those up doing gritty jobs outside, like construction work and those not-gritty office workers don’t suffer from those hazards. Also, I just wanted a way to throw in the name Scoots McGee again.
In former Brewers, Yuni B is chicken pox. You catch it once, suffer through the agony, give it off to someone else for it to be their problem, and then you think you’re done with it. But there’s the small percentage that catch it twice and there’s nothing you can do about it except cry the whole time. Miss you, Yuni.
Completely Irrelevant Questions
“Is this the best question I can ask?” -@timcyoung
I don’t know, am I Steve Smith?
“Why do you use a Brazilian URL shortener?” -@I_Bleed_Beer
Pay the man, Shirley.
To get involved with the weekly DoU Twitter Mailbag, follow Curt on Twitter @CyrtHogg. Each Wednesday he opens the forum for questions to be answered in the Thursday Mailbag.