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Safarte, Eveland, Thatcher -- Latest: Thatcher to Minors


Tbadder

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Are the Brewers undersetimating their minor league pitchers? Or is this a case of do-nothings turning it around after a kick in the pants out of an organization? Something else?

 

I tend to think it's just the fact that guys are in the minors too long and are "bored". I think it's a big rush going from the minors to the bigs before a September call up. I have a feeling we may be adding Steve Bray to this list in the not so distant future.

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You know you might have something there. Each of those guys must have known they had major league stuff and the club really never gave them a fair shot, except maybe Eveland. Maybe being in the minors that long takes the edge off, maybe they do start thinking "we'll I guess I'll never get there." In any case those three do make a small case that maybe the Crew should take a few more chances, although I know it's difficult when your team might be a contender.
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At the same time, remember, good teams lose solid players. Two anchors in recent bullpens were Angels property (Wise and Tbow), and the ChiSox closer was with the Angels. Yet the Angels haven't missed them much
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At the same time, remember, good teams lose solid players. Two anchors in recent bullpens were Angels property (Wise and Tbow), and the ChiSox closer was with the Angels. Yet the Angels haven't missed them much

 

I guess what bothers me is how we lost some of those guys. The Doug Davis trade was a bad trade, the Linebrink trade may turn out to be bad (depends on the picks), and lettings Sarfate go for King are three moves that weren't good.

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A fair chance?

 

The only one who didn't get a call up was Thatcher.

 

Sarfarte's WHIP was close to 2, how could the big club call him up in the middle of a playoff chase, what roll would he have had.

 

Consistency was always the issue with Eveland and Sarfarte, not the pure stuff, go back and look at Dennis' career game by game, it's a true roller coaster ride.

 

I wish all 3 success, I always have.

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."

- Plato

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."

- Plato

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Sarfarte's WHIP was close to 2, how could the big club call him up in the middle of a playoff chase, what roll would he have had.

 

It's not that Sarfate wasn't called up in 2007 it's that the Brewers essentially gave him away by removing him from the 40 man for a few innings of Ray King. That move didn't make sense to me at the time and it still doesn't. IIRC King wouldn't have even been able to be on the playoff roster so he was strictly a short-term answer. The Brewers shuffled Sarfate around from a relief to a starter and I think that's part of the problem he had. I think he may have found a nice niche as a relief pitcher.

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He was a minor league free agent after the season, and I highly doubt he would have signed back. I got the feeling reading his father's (step father?) comments here on the site that the family wasn't too thrilled with the Brewers. I always felt he was gone regardless, so that move didn't bother me. Some guys with that kind of stuff figure it out eventually, some don't. He had plenty of opportunity here and didn't make the most of it, I hope he finds consistency and goes on to have a nice career. He's always had an electric arm.

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."

- Plato

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."

- Plato

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He was a minor league free agent after the season, and I highly doubt he would have signed back. I got the feeling reading his father's (step father?) comments here on the site that the family wasn't too thrilled with the Brewers. I always felt he was gone regardless, so that move didn't bother me. Some guys with that kind of stuff figure it out eventually, some don't. He had plenty of opportunity here and didn't make the most of it, I hope he finds consistency and goes on to have a nice career. He's always had an electric arm.

 

You could say the same about some of the Brewers that did choose to come back - Nix, Nelson, and Mike Jones if IIRC. Those comments by Sarfate's dad or step-dad don't really reflect what Dennis thought of the Milwaukee organization. He was bummed after he was removed from the 40-man roster and I really don't think he hated the Brewers organization or anything of that nature. I think letting him go was the wrong move and even though you "highly doubt" he would've been back it's just not a good plan to give up an arm like that for a rental in King. Sarfate has played in the bigs ever since his release and I think to a certain extent you could make the argument that the Brewers didn't give him the chance, but time will tell I guess.

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Are the Brewers undersetimating their minor league pitchers? Or is this a case of do-nothings turning it around after a kick in the pants out of an organization? Something else?

We're in the strange position now where our cast-offs are getting playing time with other teams who are out of contention (Eveland, Sarfate), whereas we used to be the bottom feeders. There are, as a result, going to be the "ones that got away".

 

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We're in the strange position now where our cast-offs are getting playing time with other teams who are out of contention (Eveland, Sarfate), whereas we used to be the bottom feeders. There are, as a result, going to be the "ones that got away".

 

I agree with you Brian, but the thing that gets me about 2007 is letting Thatcher and Sarfate go (in a trade and one released) in a year where the bullpen was really worn down. If the MLB bullpen is in fine shape all of 2008, there will be some players moved because there simply isn't room. I don't know if this was the case last year especially with the injuries that also happened towards the end of the year.

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I agree that it was disappointing to see Sarfate and Thatcher not given much of a chance. It did seem obvious that the Brewers had pretty much run out of patience with Sarfate since he just couldn't cut down on the walks, but he had the kind of arm you didn't give up on (an approach they seem to take now with Seth McClung). Thatcher was the exact opposite, all results with questionable stuff yet his productivity didn't earn him an opportunity to prove himself with the big-league team, a team that clearly had bullpen issues last year.

 

Now, I understand the Brewers were in playoff chase and that changes who you offer opportunities to and who you don't. I can somewhat agree with the circumstances that led to Sarfate to moving on, but I think Thatcher deserved some kind of a chance to prove himself, and fortunately for him he received that chance from the moment the trade for Linebrink was made.

 

Eveland is a tough one since the Brewers clearly had to give up some talented arms to make that trade happen, a trade that of course looks pretty bad at this point in time. It always takes more than what is necessary to acquire a catcher (Einar Diaz for Travis Hafner anyone?).

 

Given all of this, DHonks makes an excellent point about how good teams are bound to lose good players.

 

I'm not so sure that the team is underestimating their own players, but hopefully Melvin has reflected upon these moves and realized the amount of talented young arms he has given up the past couple of years for virtually nothing outside of draft picks.

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There are, as a result, going to be the "ones that got away".

 

Yeah, it's an awesome double-edged sword. We lose some good talent, but we don't suck so bad we're clamoring around the waiver wire waiting for Gary Glover. I'd rather we lose a few guys who go on to be starters somewhere than be forced to get excited about Adrian Hernandez.

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Thatcher was the exact opposite, all results with questionable stuff yet his productivity didn't earn him an opportunity to prove himself with the big-league team, a team that clearly had bullpen issues last year.

 

I understand your point here, but I hate giving up a lefty out of the pen. I guess Thatcher was more "proven' than Garrison and Inman and more major league ready. I'm not saying he'll be a great guy out of the bullpen, but it was surprising to give up on a lefty that close to the bigs especially with Shouse getting up there in age (maybe he'll be around as long as Orosco). I guess maybe the Brewers valued Stetter over Thatcher long-term?

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JJ Hardy, I think you misunderstood my point. I was bummed to see Thatcher go, especially since he wasn't given a chance to perform. By no means was I trying to take anything away from him, just pointing out that his pure stuff wasn't as good as that of Sarfate and Eveland, the two other pitchers mentioned in the title of this thread. I agree with your assessment that I think the Brewers may have valued Mitch Stetter over Thatcher long-term, or at least felt comfortable knowing they had two potential lefty specialists.
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JJ Hardy, I think you misunderstood my point.

 

I don't think I did and sorry if my previous post looked like I did. I agree with you that Sarfate and Eveland had better "stuff". Thatcher's stuff isn't as electric as Sarfate's, but being a lefty always helps and they have value. I don't recall, but was there any word about why Thatcher was included in the San Diego deal? Did the Padres really want him or was he more or less a throw in?

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If we are always going to have an inning eating long man (Dessens, Spurling, McClung) then why not give it to someone like Sarfate, Thatcher, or Bray?
How isn't McClung someone like Sarfate? There both 27, they both throw smoke, they both struggle with command. The 2 differences are, while McClung was getting knocked around in the bigs as a starting pitcher, Sarfate was doing the same in AA, and McClung was dominant in AAA last year (sub 2 ERA, 93 Ks in 80 innings) while Sarfate struggled.

 

 

Also, Sarfate presently has a 5.79 ERA, thanks to giving up 3 runs on a hit and 4 BB, hit 1 batter, and threw a wild pitch in his last outing. Unfortunately,this looks like the same old Dennis. I will wonder out loud where his manager was during this fiasco.

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The problem with "some good ones get away" is that this is an organization that has never produced a plethora of pitchers. You'd expect that the Crew would lose some good position players, some like Carbbe. But pitchers? This organization needs every pitcher it can get. I agree, Thatcher not getting a shot was diabolical, and Melvin and his minions need to be held accountable for that. I understand the Safarte and Eveland point of view, and really can't argue about it. But wouldn't you really have both of them than Jeff Weaver right now?
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JJ Hardy, I said you misunderstood my point because I agree with you, and you make it sound as though we're arguing two different things.

 

The with the "some good ones get away" is that this is an organization that has never produced a plethora of pitchers. You'd expect that the Crew would lose some good position players, some like Carbbe. But pitchers? This organization needs every pitcher it can get. I agree, Thatcher not getting a shot was diabolical, and Melvin and his minions need to be held accountable for that. I understand the Safarte and Eveland point of view, and really can't argue about it. But wouldn't you really have both of them than Jeff Weaver right now?

 

This is a very good point Tbadder, and I think the overall premise of this thread.

 

Although it is hard to say "wouldn't you rather have Eveland and/or Sarfate over Weaver" because it goes a lot deeper than that. Eveland obviously was used to get Estrada, who was used to get Mota. I absolutely would much rather have Eveland over either of those guys, but what is done is done. Eveland was used to acquire some players that Doug Melvin thought would improve the ballclub, and unfortunately they didn't.

 

Sarfate was moved to open a roster spot for a questionable acquisition.

 

Thatcher was moved in an attempt to improve last year's bullpen when Thatcher himself could have provided that fix.

 

I guess to me it boils down not to analyzing talent for talent, but looking at the trades that were made (again) in which these young players were moved. I know there are some draft picks involved with acquiring Linebrink, but overall the trades to acquire him and Estrada/Vargas were pretty poor.

 

Who knows, maybe that is why Melvin was hesitant to make a trade this offseason being a little gun-shy, and instead used free agency to address the overall team needs.

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JJ Hardy, I said you misunderstood my point because I agree with you, and you make it sound as though we're arguing two different things.

 

I'm not trying to argue anything with you. I undertand that he was under the radar and wasn't given the chance as the others and that coupled with the fact that he's a lefty is somewhat hard to swallow. I think we're agreeing here.

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One must also recognize that one of the purposes of a farm system is to provide trade chits for the big league team. When the big league bullpen was struggling, they used minor leaguers to attempt to plug the hole...that's what contending teams do. Sarfate, for example, was given chances in the majors and in AAA to establish himself as a reliable reliever. If Sarfate had taken the opportunity offered him, he could have been pitching in Milwaukee down the stretch last year...since he hadn't done so, the team felt it needed to get Linebrink and King. You could argue the same for Eveland, perhaps...he and a number of young and even not-so-young pitchers (eg Jackson, Hendrickson, Demaria) were given shots in 2006, and Villaneuva is the only one that performed well enough to establish himself as part of the club's future. Eveland stunk in the majors then, and while the team liked his arm they also apparently felt they had better options. Sarfate and Capellan were neither good nor terrible in 2006, but both played themselves out of the team's plans in other ways.

 

Now I will confess that I wasn't a big fan of either the Davis / Estrada deal, in which we lost Eveland, nor of the Linebrink deal, in which we lost Thatcher. And you might claim that it's unfair to base anything on the first month of a young pitcher's career. But Sarfate has always struggled with control, and the team had clearly decided to move on. (He could have been a free agent anyway, right?)

 

Ultimately you have to recognize that not every prospect is going to play a role in Milwaukee. Now that the team has higher ambitions, some of them are going to be traded for a pinch hitter or a situational lefty...and that's just the price we pay for success.

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Sarfate, for example, was given chances in the majors and in AAA to establish himself as a reliable reliever. If Sarfate had taken the opportunity offered him, he could have been pitching in Milwaukee down the stretch last year...since he hadn't done so, the team felt it needed to get Linebrink and King.

 

I understand the minor league chances, but he had chances to establish himself in Milwaukee? He pitched 8 1/3 innings in 8 games. If that's how much it takes to show yourself, then Prince Fielder is awful since he's struggled a bit in 2008. His numbers aren't actually that bad in Milwaukee. While I'm not saying Sarfate is great I do believe that there comes a point and time that boredom creeps in or the thought that you'll never get to the show plays in the back of your mind. I really don't think Milwaukee gave him a fair shot in the big leagues, but I do agree he had his chances in the minors. Letting him go for a short-term fix that wasn't even eligible for the playoff roster still strikes me as strange.

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When you have a spotty minor league track record like he did, you aren't going to get extended chances to prove yourself... you simply haven't earned that right. Hendrickson earned it, Eveland earned it, Latin Cappy earned it, I thought Thatcher was on his way to earning it.... Sarfarte did not do anything in his minor league career to warrant an extended big league stay, it's that simple. What GM would call up a reliever into a struggling bullpen that has a worse WHIP than anyone currently in that pen at AAA? If you were the GM JJ would you have done it at the time? I don't remember you posting anywhere that Sarfarte was a possible solution to our bullpen woes.

 

People would have been calling for Dennis' head the first time he walked in a run, and it would have happened. The pitchers that the Brewers called up in Spurling, Balfour, Cappy all outpitched Sarfarte on the same team over the course of the last 3 years and look how they faired... limited success elsewhere does not mean the Brewers made a mistake, sometimes an organizational change helps the light go on for a player.

 

Good teams simply don't have the luxury of allowing players to work through their issues, they have to find players that will perform right now. These guys that have success late in their careers in almost all cases have passed through 2 or 3 organizations. Eveland is now on his second organization since the Brewers, it's not like he went to Arizona and set the world on fire... Of the 3 listed, Thatcher is only one that I felt the organization missed the boat on, but he's not really a Melvin guy IMO so I can see where he was somewhat easy to trade away.

 

Let's not use highsight to over analyze what could have been when players have limited success with another organization. The current regime here in Milwaukee has hit on many more players than they've missed on, and that's about all you can ask for. No GM or organization is going to be perfect, human performance is just too unpredictable to expect perfection.

 

edit. if Nix and Nelson... 2 role players at AAA are the best you can do, the arguement you're making has many holes in it.

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."

- Plato

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."

- Plato

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