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Can the Brewers contend in 2013?


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See Page 5 from the Wolf releasing thread. Here is the question in discussion:

 

... but I truly don't see how any informative Brewer fan could come to the conclusion that they are more of a contender next year than a non-contender if you had to pick a side.

I guess the part that gets at me with this comment is it too generically states any informed Brewer fan couldn't possibly make an argument that they will be a contender. I don't have the time to make a deep level argument but what about these items, that I not only believe warrant a consideration to contention but potentially make the point?

 

Our position players rank in top half of all of MLB in offensive production

 

Position = Player = AVG (Rank) / OBP (Rank) / SLG (rank)

1. C = J Luc = .325 (2) / .374 (5) / .550 (1)

2. 1B = Hart = .270 (11) / .329 (13) / .500 (6)

3. 2B = Weeks = .215 (18) / .321 (12) / .374 (14)

4. SS = Segura = Wildcard. I am unsure what is projection is for next year. But we had Cesar this year. So I will go with the over.

5. 3B = Ramirez = .286 (5) / .352 (7) / .505 (4)

6. LF = Braun = .308 (3) / .384 (3) / .602 (1)

7. CF = Gomez = .254 (13) / .303 (14) / .458 (7)

8. RF = Aoki = .281 (5) / .350 (9) / .404 (18)

 

Fielding Rank.

1. C = J Luc = .992 (15)

2. 1B = Hart = .989 (4)

3. 2B = Weeks = .975 (18)

4. SS = Segura = .979 (6) (small sample police / don’t knock it )

5. 3B = Ramirez = .973 (1)

6. LF = Braun = .974 (14)

7. CF = Gomez = .977 (19)

8. RF = Aoki = .989 (5)

 

Breaking the team down into quarters:

1. 1/2 of our team favors them being contenders. (Hitting & Fielding)

2. The bullpen side I would argue is a crap shoot every year. So in my opinion it is probably 50/50 in terms of success vs failure. In the end, I doubt they could match this years performance. So give this half of the quarter as positive (for those counting at home this adds 1/8)

3. Then we get to the starting 5.

a. The Brewers starting pitching ranks 15th in baseball ERA this year. (4.12)

b. WHIP = 1.29 (15)

c. Opponent OBP = .314 (12)

d. Opponent SLG = .421 (12)

I guess it’s hard for me to believe we are going to be substantially less next year. Wolf was atrocious and won’t be around. You can then factor in the Greinke-less rotation next year. But loosing Greinke is going to take us from middle of the road starting 5 to bottom 10? I don’t see that. Not only would his replacement need to be horrible but Wolf’s too. And even if our rotation is a flop and you count this quarter of the team as a negative that still leaves 5/8’s positive vs 3/8’s negative.

 

So if I had to pick a side I guess I would lean to contender as I don’t see us trading Ramirez / Hart / Aoki and I do see us getting Marcum back. Like I said, this is my opinion but don’t shoot me down and call me an un informed Brewers fan because I feel like we can contend with the team we have.

 

We do have a good team and we do have life in our farm system. So while yes, our 2014 / 2015 years look promising ... I don't see any indication that the 2013 Brewers have absolutely no shot at contention. Just pointing to the fact that Melvin might not go sign Greinke and others doesn't mean 2013 = Brewers suck.

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I don't think you got my drift at all, or you purposely didn't quote that whole quote to try and make it sound like I insinuated something I didn't.

 

Here is the entire quote from the Wolf thread

 

I simply said that if I had to pick the Brewers as either being a team that will contend next year, or being a team that will not contend, I would pick them as being a team that won't contend due to what Melvin has said regarding how the team will look next year with the young arms in the rotation.

 

Could they pull it off and become contender, sure, but I truly don't see how any informative Brewer fan could come to the conclusion that they are more of a contender next year than a non-contender if you had to pick a side.

 

If the bullpen is expected to be league average, I still don't see the Brewers has contending in 2013 because of the unknowns in the rotation. They will be a .500 team next year I think. If you think .500 means they're a contender, that's fine, but I don't.

said post stemmed from another poster challenging me on this post...

 

I'm basing my assumption off of what Melvin said as far as giving the young arms a shot next year and seeing what we have in them. I'm also going off of Melvin saying that this years payroll was an "over budget" payroll and that next years payroll will be between $80-$90M, not $100M like this year.

 

that, and I don't see any FA SP that the Brewers can/will sign that will make a significant enough difference in the rotation.

 

I am also assuming Fiers takes a step back. I hope he's sub 3 ERA good, but if I had to bet, I'd say he's closer to a 4 ERA next year.

 

Like I said before, I see 2013 as a year where the Brewers see what they have with their young guys, and then 2014 as a year where they plug holes and seriously contend.

 

I consider myself an informed Brewer fan. As an informed brewer fan, I cannot seriously say I think the Brewers will contend in 2013 without a lot of luck and guys playing (pitching) over their head.

 

You guys may not think I am an informed brewer fan, that's fine, but I'm just saying it how I see it.

 

If you absolutely had to make a call one way or the other on whether or not the Brewers will be contenders in 2013 or whether they won't, what would be your call?

 

Can they? of course they can, but would you assume they will going off of what you know now (going off what Melvin said) as far as who will be in the rotation and what will be on the field?

 

No one said "2013 Brewers have absolutely no shot at contention". I didn't at least. Not having Greinke is hardly my reason either.

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I'm not going to dig it up, but you did change your opinion. Its searchable on the site, so no sense in denying it. People were simply reacting to what you had said before and quoting two recent posts doesn't change what you said in the past. If you want to change your opinion, awesome. But don't act like you said this all along.
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I read the whole thing but I thought the question of can they contend is a good question. I believe they can, you believe they can't. That's fine. I just don't see how losing Greinke takes us from walking into 2012 thinking we are contenders ... to walking into 2013 as non contenders.

 

Walking into this season all the Analysts said the Brewers won't make the playoffs because they won't be able to replace Fielder. That wasn't our problem. Our bullpen stunk. In 2013, I can hear it already, analysts will be quick to say they won't make the playoffs because they don't have Greinke. I disagree with that. Not that it is your point but it aligns with your point about our starting 5 not being a positive for our ball club. When the difference between this year and next is no Greinke, I just don't feel like it moves the pendulum from contention to non contention. I just feel like that statement negatively reflects our other components for our team which are far from being a negative to the team (i.e. Hitting)

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I'm not going to dig it up, but you did change your opinion. Its searchable on the site, so no sense in denying it. People were simply reacting to what you had said before and quoting two recent posts doesn't change what you said in the past. If you want to change your opinion, awesome. But don't act like you said this all along.
don't act like I said what? that I didn't think they would compete next year? I've said it 100x over. There's never been a change on opinion. I've never changed my stance. Search for whatever you want. I don't think they will compete and I've given my reasons at nausea on why. I think it's a "see what we got" year and sets us up to compete in 2014 and beyond. That's been my stance on the issue the entire time.

 

The only difference in me saying "WE WON'T COMPETE NEXT YEAR" and "I DON'T THINK WE'll COMPETE NEXT YEAR" is context. If you want to push context, go ahead.

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I'm not going to dig it up, but you did change your opinion. Its searchable on the site, so no sense in denying it. People were simply reacting to what you had said before and quoting two recent posts doesn't change what you said in the past. If you want to change your opinion, awesome. But don't act like you said this all along.
don't act like I said what? that I didn't think they would compete next year? I've said it 100x over. There's never been a change on opinion. I've never changed my stance. Search for whatever you want. I don't think they will compete and I've given my reasons at nausea on why. I think it's a "see what we got" year and sets us up to compete in 2014 and beyond. That's been my stance on the issue the entire time.

 

The only difference in me saying "WE WON'T COMPETE NEXT YEAR" and "I DON'T THINK WE'll COMPETE NEXT YEAR" is context. If you want to push context, go ahead.

 

Yes, it was the context, and it does have meaning. Not to you, but to nearly everyone else who reacted the way they did to your post.

 

Similarly, I was questioning you saying with absolute certainty that they would not compete when you just now said you were basing that on an unknown. Again, I didn't realize you changed your opinion. You went one very specific way and, as you said, repeated it 100x over, then must have changed it later.

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I think it's a "see what we got" year and sets us up to compete in 2014 and beyond. That's been my stance on the issue the entire time.

 

Seeing what you have does not equal won't contend. It means we don't know. The part that is unknown is whether next year's pitching will be improved. Frankly it would be hard to not improve in the pen even if we kept all the same players. I would be hard pressed to think a rotation that will have some combination of three rookies, a starter who has never started a full season in the majors and a #5 starter coming back from shoulder surgery would be as good as what we had this season on paper. But paper didn't tell us Wolf would have been this brutal and Marcum would not have to spend time on the 60 day disabled list. I think the rotation will sort itself out. Mainly because we have options. Whether that pan out the way I think is far from certain but more options does reduce the odds of failure. It means we don't need every one of our pitchers to be what we hope they can be to succeed. I also think a better pen will mean the rotation will not need to be as good to compete.

The only difference in me saying "WE WON'T COMPETE NEXT YEAR" and "I DON'T THINK WE'll COMPETE NEXT YEAR" is context. If you want to push context, go ahead.

 

How can you say it's only context? Those are two very different statements. One is a definite statement and the other is a belief. I knew in 2004 we wouldn't compete the next season. Mainly because I knew what we had coming in. Fo rthe 2013 season I have no idea what level our pen or rotation will perform at. Huge difference. By definition unknowns are not able to be assessed so you cannot know they won't compete. Our rotation could end up being the next incarnation of the Oakland big three or they could be garbage. Unless you somehow know what they will do I don't know how you could declare they won't compete. Frankly I don't think Melvin knows either. I think he suspects they will be fine but he isn't sure if they will be good enough to compete right away.

There needs to be a King Thames version of the bible.
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To me, what makes this important is the Hart factor. Of course we could make the playoffs. We could also end up last in the division. The question to me is how big a chance to we have to make the playoffs, and is that chance worth potentially ending up with nothing (or a sandwich pick) for Corey Hart? If Melvin feels strongly that we will compete, then we should hold on to Hart. If he feels it's long odds to make the playoffs with our young rotation, he should shop Hart this offseason.

 

Personally, I think we should rely heavily on young players next year. That includes a lot of starting pitching, but also Schafer in CF (full time or as "soft platoon" with Gomez), Lucroy and Maldonado at C, several bullpen spots, Segura at SS, Bianchi and Green as utility guys. Any player can have up and down years, but young players can take that to extremes. While all the young players could gel quickly and shoot us to the playoffs, I think we will probably not be a playoff team next year.

 

Therefore, I'd use this offseason to prepare for a potential down year where the young guys get their feet wet, and be more prepared for a playoff run in 2014 and beyond.

"The most successful (people) know that performance over the long haul is what counts. If you can seize the day, great. But never forget that there are days yet to come."

 

~Bill Walsh

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Grunching:

 

Yes, the Brewers can contend. That's not a statement that means they will be the best team in the league or make a deep run in the playoffs, but rather one that means that I believe they have enough in place that with a couple good acquisitions and some reasonable improvements by a few players, they will have a chance to compete for a playoff spot.

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To me, what makes this important is the Hart factor. Of course we could make the playoffs. We could also end up last in the division. The question to me is how big a chance to we have to make the playoffs, and is that chance worth potentially ending up with nothing (or a sandwich pick) for Corey Hart? If Melvin feels strongly that we will compete, then we should hold on to Hart. If he feels it's long odds to make the playoffs with our young rotation, he should shop Hart this offseason.

 

Personally, I think we should rely heavily on young players next year. That includes a lot of starting pitching, but also Schafer in CF (full time or as "soft platoon" with Gomez), Lucroy and Maldonado at C, several bullpen spots, Segura at SS, Bianchi and Green as utility guys. Any player can have up and down years, but young players can take that to extremes. While all the young players could gel quickly and shoot us to the playoffs, I think we will probably not be a playoff team next year.

 

Therefore, I'd use this offseason to prepare for a potential down year where the young guys get their feet wet, and be more prepared for a playoff run in 2014 and beyond.

 

I agree with this. If we are going to say lets 100% focus on 2014 then trade Hart. And I would add Aoki into this too as I would imagine his trade value is high. And he is also a FA at the end of 2013. Another person to add to the list is Ramirez as he is coming off an awesome year and has 2 left. But then you are telling the fans you are really throwing 2013 in the air. With a focus being on 2014 as a trade of Hart / Aoki / Ramirez better net me a starting 3B and a starting pitcher.

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You can't contend with young pitching? Somebody tell Oakland quick. We know the Brewers will have Gallardo who, ace or no ace, is 44-25 over the past 3 seasons. They also have Fiers and Estrada, who didn't just get their feet wet this season, but who got their ankles and knees wet too. Folks on here totally discount Narveson, but there's no reason to think he won't be ready by spring training. Then there's a plethora of talented young/less experienced guys who'll contend for one or two spots: Rogers, Thornburg, Peralta, and even Burgos.

 

Then there is the relatively strong possibility that a veteran quality starter will be acquired in the off season via FA or trade. Melvin and Attanasio see the same lineup we see, and they aren't going to chuck a season with a lineup full of guys in their primes when there is money in the budget to add pieces.

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It's the young starting pitchers that lead me to believe the Brewers CAN compete next year. "Compete" is a highly subjective term of course. As I said in the Wolf thread, if a team projects to be around 85 wins, they have a chance to compete in my book. Others may set the threshold higher and I certainly won't call them wrong.

 

Some key updated ZiPS projections and 2013 salaries:

 

Fiers: 3.24 ERA ($0.5 mil)

Gallardo: 3.75 ERA ($7.5 mil)

Estrada: 4.13 ERA ($0.5 mil)

Peralta/Thornburg?: 4.75 ERA ($0.5 mil)

Free Agent: 4.25 ERA ($10 mil)

 

That's about a 4.0 ERA starting rotation for $19 mil. A league average starting rotation for $19 mil is awesome if that scenario plays out. It will probably give Melvin some money to bolster the bullpen and perhaps get another outfielder.

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I took a quick peak at Cot's and from my math keeping marcum, gomez, parra, loe, estrada, gamel, and the rest of the current players under contract would put us at roughly 66 million dollars payroll. Assuming we'll be 5-10 million less in payroll, that's still a good chunk of change to play with. Two veteran relievers and a good/very good starter would definitely not be out of the question. I think we can absolutely compete next year.
"Did I ever tell you how I became a Postman Abby? I don't know if you'd laugh or cry"-The Postman
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I think the Brewers can contend IF

 

1. Add 1 very good starter in FA or trade

2. Gallardo, FA, Fiers, Rogers & 5th starter (good rotation)

3. Rebuild the entire bullpen, Estrada should move to the 6th starter and you have Axford, thats about it.

4. Find a RF with a stick, the offense needs more pop, Aoki and Gomez can platoon or use a Gomez.Maldonado package to engineer a deal.

5. The money is there, this is a decent blueprint to contend in 2013.

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The Brewers lead the NL in homers and are 4th in SLG.

 

They also play in Miller Park. If you look at park adjusted numbers they are about average in SLG and generally below average in everything else.

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Therefore, I'd use this offseason to prepare for a potential down year where the young guys get their feet wet, and be more prepared for a playoff run in 2014 and beyond.
..and that's exactly what I think Doug is going to do going off that interview he did with Bill Michaels.
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You're basing what Doug is going to do in the off-season based on what he said in an interview with a local sports talk show?

 

I seem to recall going into the off-season after 2010 with the consensus being what they could get for Fielder and ended up with Greinke, Marcum & Saito.

 

GM's usually don't give away their plans to buffoons like Bill Michaels.

"I never made a mistake in my life. I thought I did once, but I was wrong." - Charles M. Schulz
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I fully expect the Brewers to actively pursue trades and free agents.

 

I'll be very surprised to see a rotation of Yo and 4 guys currently on the roster consisting of Peralta, Thornburg, Rogers, Estrada and Fiers.

"I never made a mistake in my life. I thought I did once, but I was wrong." - Charles M. Schulz
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Why not see what you have in your min wage farm guys first?

 

Who says Peralta/Thornburg/Rogers couldn't turn out to be studs like Fiers has shown?

 

Trade or pay big $$$ for a big time FA and just not even give the young arms a chance? Not a very smart move at all for a small/mid-market team.

 

After we see what we have in those guys in 2013, I'm all aboard with trading and signing FA's to fill whatever holes have to be filled, but in 2013, I want to see what we have with our tendered guys. Even if just one of them pans out big time it's huge. Imagine if two of them pan out? Think of the money that can be saved on an SP that could go to a lineup bat or somewhere else?

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I'll be very surprised to see a rotation of Yo and 4 guys currently on the roster consisting of Peralta, Thornburg, Rogers, Estrada and Fiers.

 

I expect Melvin to sign one veteran "bounceback candidate" SP to a one-year deal. Gallardo, Fiers, "Bounceback candidate," {two guys from the long list of young pitching available}

 

You can't contend with young pitching? Somebody tell Oakland quick.

 

Who said that? Young players can be more up-and-down and they are harder to predict because they don't have as good a track record as someone who has logged innings in the MLB. There is definitely a chance that the young pitchers pitch well, but there is a chance they won't.

 

The question to me is: "From what we will know heading into this offseason, is it worth it to mortgage some of the future on the Brewers' playoff chances in 2013, or is it better to hold back a bit to get a better read on where we stand?" We can still make a playoff run even if we don't "go all in." We can still end up with a sub-.500 record even if we do "go all in." The way I see the playoff chances, I'd rather we lean towards moves that will help us for many years rather than what will help us for one year.

 

We also just gained some financial flexibility by trading Greinke for three young, high-upside guys rather than extending him. I don't want to see us destroy that financial flexibility this offseason. Doing something like signing Greinke and extending Hart this offseason could very easily land us in the situation the Red Sox just found themselves, where we would have to dump good players for nothing just to free up salary. I don't want us in that situation.

"The most successful (people) know that performance over the long haul is what counts. If you can seize the day, great. But never forget that there are days yet to come."

 

~Bill Walsh

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The way I see the playoff chances, I'd rather we lean towards moves that will help us for many years rather than what will help us for one year.

 

We also just gained some financial flexibility by trading Greinke for three young, high-upside guys rather than extending him. I don't want to see us destroy that financial flexibility this offseason. Doing something like signing Greinke and extending Hart this offseason could very easily land us in the situation the Red Sox just found themselves, where we would have to dump good players for nothing just to free up salary. I don't want us in that situation.

^ this

 

You can't contend with young pitching? Somebody tell Oakland quick.

 

Who said that?

He is insinuating that I did, but I didn't.

 

I just said that in 2013 with a bunch of young guys in the rotation, there's just too many xfactors to expect the team to be a legit playoff team. In my mind, if just one of the young SP's pans out next year, along with Gallardo and Fiers, 2014 will be looking awesome, but you need to give those guys the opportunity next year to sink or swim first. Not giving them the opportunity and signing a FA or trading for a SP could very easily lead to what Monty is getting at. Maybe 2 or even all 3 of them (Peralta/Rogers/Thornburg) pan out nicely next year and the Brewers seriously contend, that would be awesome, but I think it's a bit too much to ask for or to assume for.

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The Brewers lead the NL in homers and are 4th in SLG.

 

They also play in Miller Park. If you look at park adjusted numbers they are about average in SLG and generally below average in everything else.

 

Well unless they stop playing at Miller Park next year, it really shouldn't be an issue.

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