Saturday, December 4, 2010

Odds the Brewers will Take Care of Business

(Thorzul welcomes a guest post, weighing in on the chances of the 2011 Brewers.)

Finishing last season well behind in the Central, with a record of 77 wins and 85 losses, it’s no secret that the Milwaukee Brewers have some serious work to do this offseason if they hope to compete with St. Louis and Cincinnati in their division.
A big part of the Brewers’ needs is their starting pitching and possibly bringing some outside talent in, but the team also has plenty of decisions to make about players already on the roster.

Currently, there are eight players on the Brewers’ roster eligible for salary arbitration. This means that, if Milwaukee were to keep them on, they would be looking at notable pay raises. Needless to say, this puts the Brewers a little bit behind the 8 ball.
They’re not exactly a small-market team, but to think they’re New York or Boston is also a stretch. So, what are the odds that the Brewers keep their existing players instead of rebooting in the free agent pool?

Well, the good news is that players and teams can usually settle these arbitration issues and make everyone happy. Rickie Weeks and Todd Coffey are good examples, as they’re about to be eligible for the third and final time before their respective free agency year comes up. They’re likely to stay and to stay for a small markup.

Prince Fielder is another issue for the Brewers, and one they will need to address. With uberagent Scott Boras trying to milk Milwaukee for all they’re worth, Fielder’s 2010 number of 10.5 million might have to climb up to 15 at a minimum to keep him on.

The odds are fairly good, however, that the Brewers will get a deal done with Fielder. So close to competing in their division, Milwaukee doesn’t seem the type to gamble. Instead of hitting up the blackjack sites or rolling the dice, the odds say Prince will be handed a sizeable crown.

Righty Kameron Loe, lefty Manny Parra and utility extraordinaire Joe Inglett are up for arbitration for the first time, while CF Carlos Gomez and the righty Carlos Villanueva are up for their second time.

Parra didn’t have a stellar year, but he’s still a valuable member of the Brewers’ bullpen. His salary of $440k will undoubtedly rise a bit in order to keep him on. So it looks like a safe bet that the Brewers will keep him around.

Gomez, on the other hand, was already making $1.1 million and didn’t produce anywhere near what the club expected. Lorenzo Cain is hot on his heels, and Carlos should be trying to up his .242 average before expecting any sort of raise.

Arbitration usually works out for ball clubs. The salaries are not guaranteed until spring training is over, so realistically the Brewers can take a chance with Gomez and get out on the cheap if they don’t find anything worth holding on to.

If you check out any reputable sportsbook or online casinos for USA players, you’ll probably find that the Brewers’ odds are fairly horrible for winning the Central next year. This is something that everyone knows – they need big help.

The best thing the Brewers can do is to take care of Fielder, lock up their pitching, and then try to lure in another big pitcher and a big bat to help them compete through trade or through a big-money acquisition.


Milwaukee Southpaw said...

To be honest, I think it would be a big mistake to keep Fielder into the season - if they have another bad first half they won't get much for him because everyone will know we have to trade him.

The big question with Weeks is what to do after this season - he might command a big contract with another good season, and we do have Lawrie coming up through the minors. Personally, I'm hoping Rickie sticks around for the long-term.

Keeping Loe is a must. Parra I'm somewhat indifferent to, but given how hard it is to locate good pitching I think he should get one more shot at what will probably be a very reasonable price.

Gomez, I say good riddance. It seemed like his attitude was awful last year, and I was very impressed by Cain's bat - every time he hits the ball he seems to hit line drives!

I can't see a starter of any real significance coming on board unless it is part of a Fielder trade. I really do think this team could contend in 2011 if they did pull a Fielder for top starter trade. There would still be plenty of offense with Braun, Weeks, Hart,and McGehee, not to mention that Cain and Lucroy both showed promise at the plate, and with Fielder gone we could finally see what Gamel can really do. Gallardo is a top starter, and Wolf actually did REALLY well in the second half (no one noticed because they were so far out of contention), so if you add a third good starter to go along with decent back of the rotation guys like Bush and Narveson (and Capuano?) I think you have enough to contend in a division without a truly dominant team.

Sharpe said...

Fielder will absolutely never be signed to a long term deal.

Best we can hope for is an offseason trade still (crossing my fingers).

After that it's hope he propels us to the playoffs and take the picks when he signs elsewhere in the offseason.

At this point the trade value on Fielder is something like 50 cents on the dollar, so I don't see him getting moved. Teams like to cite his bad body, defense, and penchant for taking swings at players, in his dugout, or chasing them down in the visiting clubhouse after that game. Prince did the Milwaukee front office no favors last year.