Adam McCalvy posted interesting words after an uneventful Brewers day:
Don't be surprised if free agent 1B Corey Hart makes his decision tonight. #Brewers still in play.
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) December 11, 2013
Given that the Brewers have consistently been named in contingency trade plans with the Mets and Marlins, perhaps it is not surprising that Hart’s decision might come soon. Such a move would solidify the largest remaining question about the Brewers’ roster.
According to a new blog post from Tom Haudricourt, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke isn’t looking for any further explanation from outfielder Ryan Braun in regards to his suspension last year for buying performance enhancing drugs from the Biogenesis clinic.
As far as Braun being less than forthcoming about details of his PED use, Roenicke said, “I don’t think there’s much there. I think with him going back to Milwaukee a couple of weeks ago was a nice step. But the more I think about it, anything he says at this point about what happened is never going to satisfy everybody. All it’s going to do is start up new controversy. It’s going to come across negative to somebody in the press, in the news.”
“I don’t get what the reason is that everybody needs to know exactly what happened. I don’t understand that part of it. Everybody knows he did some things he shouldn’t have done and we move on.”
Roenicke certainly isn’t wrong about the fact that anything Braun says isn’t going to satisfy a lot of people, that much should be painfully obvious at this point. Still, he’s fooling himself if he really thinks Braun can just avoid the media that is going to descend on him and it’ll be OK. There is only so much he and the team can protect Braun from, so Braun is going to have to do everything in his power to take that responsibility off the team when possible or risk the whole situation becoming an ongoing melodramatic mess.
- Ryan Topp
The Angels-Diamondbacks-White Sox three-way deal is official, according to Nick Piecoro. Arizona is getting Trumbo and a PTBNL each from the Angels and White Sox, with the players presumably still PTBNLs because the players are eligible for the upcoming Rule 5 draft and could be scooped up by another team. The Angels get Skaggs and Santiago, while the only player Chicago is acquiring is Eaton.
With Trumbo in the fold, logic would dictate that Arizona is now out on Shin-Soo Choo, but this is Kevin Towers and the deal for Trumbo defies logic itself, so who knows.
- Jaymes Langrehr
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel‘s Tom Haudricourt jumps in on the Brewers’ second day of the Winter Meetings, and clarifies a few key issues:
(1) According to Haudricourt’s Twitter, there is no substance to any rumors involving Weeks, Aramis Ramirez, and Morrison.
(2) The Brewers’ primary option at 1B appears to be Hart:
#Brewers would not trade for a first baseman unless they get a definite no from Corey Hart. And they are hoping for answer very soon.
— Tom (@Haudricourt) December 10, 2013
The Brewers are simply waiting for an answer on Hart.
(3) Haudricourt also gives some teeth to the rumor that the Brewers are looking for a veteran reliever, although previous quotes about the club’s limited payroll and potential inability to address 1B and relief pitching might be expected to apply. Interestingly enough, Haudricourt’s JSOnline blog includes details about plans to send some starting pitching depth arms into the bullpen, as well as plans about David Goforth and Kevin Schackelford.
- Nicholas Zettel
The day has been slow on Brewers news, but there’s a potential three-team deal that’s dominating the rumor mill. The Angels have been pushing hard to deal slugger Mark Trumbo during this year’s meetings, and it looks like the Diamondbacks are falling in love with the idea of adding Trumbo’s power to their lineup. ESPN’s Keith Law tweeted that he heard Arizona would send Tyler Skaggs back to the Angels and outfielder Adam Eaton to the White Sox. Chicago would send Hector Santiago to the Angels as part of the three-way deal. Updated reports from Steve Gilbert and Nick Piecoro have the Diamondbacks getting a prospect each from the Angels and White Sox in addition to Trumbo.
Trumbo would presumably play left field for the Diamondbacks, with Paul Goldschmidt locked into first base. Trumbo and Goldschmidt would make for an intimidating 1-2 punch when it comes to raw power, but Trumbo’s problems getting on-base are well-documented, and he’s severely limited defensively. The Angels getting Skaggs would be a bit of a re-do, as Skaggs was originally an Angels prospect that was dealt to Arizona as a PTBNL in the blockbuster Dan Haren trade of 2010. Eaton was a Baseball America Top-100 prospect heading into the 2013 season, but a sprained UCL in his left elbow kept him on the shelf until mid-July. When he came back, the 24-year-old put up a disappointing .252/.314/.360 line, and it appears the Diamondbacks now favor A.J. Pollock over him.
While the three teams involved seem to feel like they’re getting close, nothing is done yet. Three-team deals are very difficult to pull off, but if the Angels can get two major-league quality starting pitchers for Trumbo, this is a trade that would have to be considered a success.
- Jaymes Langrehr
It appears that there is a unique disjoint on the Brewers’ 1B issue. MLBTradeRumors reported this morning that the Brewers prefer Hart to Ike Davis. However, there are other sources that insist the Brewers are in on Davis talks:
— Fantasy Furnace (@fantasyfurnace) December 10, 2013
Perhaps this is a sign of simply conflicting information, or perhaps it is a confirmation that the Brewers have a few different contingencies. The balance between those contingencies will probably determine which 1B option the Brewers acquire.
Apparently, there are some rumors that Rickie Weeks could be involved in a Logan Morrison deal. Given the salary-dump nature of Weeks’s situation, this would be quite a rumor…
— Shane Miller (@ShaneMiller27) December 10, 2013
-Nicholas Zettel (h/t Steve Garczynski)
[Morning Update / Day One Recap]
The first day of MLB’s Winter Meetings featured a cycle of first base rumors involving the Brewers, but ultimately resulted in little more than tire-kicking and speculation. The club reportedly met with representation from Corey Hart‘s camp, but there is a question about whether or not the club is even talking numbers with their camp. Two hot first base rumors include the Marlins’ Logan Morrison and the Mets’ Ike Davis. The Brewers were, at times, rumored to be involved with both players, again for nothing more than what seemed to be tire-kicking. Tom Haurdicourt reported that GM Doug Melvin said about Hart:
“We just met with him and have an understanding of where they want to be,” Melvin said. “A bit more of an update as to where they’re at and we want to go. We have to make decisions based off what we think they’re looking for.”
“I think he was sincere about less money. It’s just how much less?” Melvin said. “Right now, some of our negotiations are basically in words and not numbers.”
This feels like the type of meetings where one move could define the remainder of the Brewers’ steps. One wonders if a relief-pitching move occurs first, if the club will then opt for a Davis or Morrison trade. On the other hand, a deal with Hart could potentially impact the club’s ability to sign a reliever. (It is worth noting that early in the morning, Haudricourt reported that the Brewers and Hart are mutually interested, but the substance of the quotes about not talking money remains the same).
Around baseball, there were a couple of big stories unfolding late Monday, including heated discussions about outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and Nelson Cruz. Excellent right-hander Roy Halladay also retired.
-It turns out Nelson Cruz has had quite the journey since the Rangers placed him on waivers several years ago. Although Melvin is frequently criticized by some fans for trading Cruz years ago, the Rangers also waived Cruz to send him to their minor league system. After every team in the MLB passed on Cruz, he worked on a mechanical adjustment, hammered 135 home runs in five years, and was included in the Biogenesis scandal. Now, the corner outfielder has also reportedly turned down a $75 million offer, according to Ryan Divish.
-Former Brewers Scouting Dirtector and Special Assistant Jack Zduriencik is having quite an offseason in Seattle. After four consecutive losing seasons, Zduriencik aggressively signed Robinson Cano, and has also apparently offered a contract to Cruz. If you’re following the Dodgers’ outfield trade speculation, Jack Moore makes a good case that Matt Kemp is the most likely trading chip, and he also notes that Seattle is reportedly connected with Kemp talks.
Zduriencik’s big name grab is quite a contrast from what made him famous as an executive in Milwaukee. The man who was responsible for drafting Milwaukee’s competitive core is now apparently in solid win-now mode in Seattle. Given the potential strength of the AL West, especially Texas and Oakland, this offseason push reminds me of the Toronto Blue Jays’ big offseason last year. It will be interesting to see, with $75 million back in his pockets, what Zduriencik does this offseason.
(By the way, Seattle Times published an absolutely worthwhile, juicy feature on the Mariners’ front office struggles. This one has everything in it, and will make your morning coffee a bit spicier.)
-Halladay’s retirement is big news because rather than push through his recent injuries and build on his legacy, he’s retiring with his legacy largely in tact. It is worth noting the extent to which injuries forced Halladay to retire; he told MLB.com:
“Speaking with doctors, they feel like, at this point, if I can step away and take some of that high-level pressure off of it, it will hopefully allow me to do some regular things and help out with the kids’ teams.”
His one bad, full season in 2012 won’t wipe out the fact that he was the very best starter in the National League after the Phillies traded for him for the 2010 season. In fact, Halladay lead the Senior Circuit in runs prevented in both 2010 and 2011.
Halladay’s legacy is that of a solid ace, but it will be interesting to see where he falls on future Hall of Fame ballots. His overall career is short, like that of Pedro Martinez, but he also doesn’t have some of the rough years of Mike Mussina or even Curt Schilling. Judging careers from their first full season to their last full season, here’s how Halladay stacks up against a few of the Key RHP from the last two decades, and recent HOF ballots:
|G. Maddux (’87-’08)||353-223||4977.3||132|
|R. Clemens (’84-’06)||348-178||4817.7||143|
|M. Mussina (’92-’08)||266-148||3475.0||122|
|K. Brown (’89-’04)||205-136||3154.7||130|
|C. Schilling (’92-’07)||212-135||3116||130|
|T. Hudson (’99-’13)||205-111||2813.7||124|
|P. Martinez (’93-’08)||214-98||2774.7||154|
|R. Halladay (’99-’12)||198-100||2673.3||134|
By comparison, Halladay should probably rightfully be remembered as the very best right-hander of his era. Here are the next ten right-handed starters (after Halladay and Tim Hudson) that are active leaders in ERA+, according to Baseball-Reference:
|R. Oswalt (’01-’11)||159-93||2154||133|
|C. Zambrano (’02-’12)||131-89||1951.3||121|
|J. Verlander (’06-’13)||137-75||1760.7||128|
|F. Hernandez (’06-’13)||106-82||1740.3||126|
|M. Cain (’06-’13)||91-87||1674.7||118|
|Z. Greinke (’04-’13)||106-82||1669.7||116|
|J. Weaver (’06-’13)||113-60||1474.7||127|
|A. Wainwright (’07-’13)||97-56||1237.7||128|
|H. Kuroda (’08-’13)||68-70||1120||118|
|A. Sanchez (’06-’13)||62-59||1051||117|
In terms of age and production, Felix Hernandez has the best chance to eclipse Halladay from this era of righties. If Jered Weaver and Justin Verlander share Halladay’s success into their mid-30s, they could also eclipse Halladay. But, it is worth comparing Halladay to these ten starters to note that, in his era Halladay really was matched by few — if any — righties.
- Nicholas Zettel
[Late Last Night]
Just couldn’t pass these tweets up. The first is from breakout star reporter (and high school senior) Chris Cotillo:
Source: 6 teams now seriously in on Yuniesky Betancourt. #Marlins are one of them, and seem like a great fit.
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) December 10, 2013
I think Ken Woolums spoke for us all when he tweeted:
Yuniesky Betancourt has to be the best clubhouse guy ever. He just has to be
— Ken Woolums (@Wooly9109) December 10, 2013
- Ryan Topp