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Should the Brewers just rebuild?


Oldcity

I'm not one of the people freaking out because the Brewers haven't done much this off-season. I had no interest in DM handing out the contracts that Dempster, Sanchez, or Jackson got. But, because the price of FA pitching was that high, it seems like it is going to be very difficult to reach the playoffs.

 

The Reds have really improved, and I see them as the clear favorite to win the division. The Caridinals are also ahead of the Brewers at this point. Without a 2/3 starter, it's very unlikely the Brewers will be able to hang with those teams, and I'm not interested in giving up another Brett Lawrie (not that we have one) to get one.

 

So, I'm wondering if the Brewers shouldn't go for a rebuild with an eye on 2014-2015.

 

They could trade Hart and Ramirez for near-MLB-ready players, like in the Greinke trade. This appeals to me because the Brewers would finally be selling high on a player while there's enough team control left to actually acquire good players, as opposed to waiting until the trade deadline of the player's final season.

 

If you trade those two, you might as well deal Weeks, Axford, and Gomez as well.

 

By trading all those players, you should easily be able to acquire a 3B and 2B of the future and either another OF or more SP. If they can land guys around the same proximity to the big leagues as Segura was, 2013 would be a year of growing pains, and possibly 2014 as well, but this would be a quicker turnaround than most rebuilding projects tend to be.

 

Looking at their chances this season, I'm starting to think this would be the best option. The one thing holding me back, of course, is essentially wasting two years of Ryan Braun's prime. But that's something that they'd be doing anyway if they finished around .500 again.

 

Not that I expect the Brewers to do this, of course. I don't think Mark A. would allow it.

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I posted in another thread that they are already basically undergoing a half rebuild. They are spending very little money on the pitching staff right now, and the young guys are getting a shot. The good thing is that if these young arms can come through a bit as they did late in the season and the offense comes somewhere close to last year, this team could be OK. To more specifically answer your question, I'd say no. I'm not in favor of breaking up the offensive core at this point.
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I feel like the rebuilding began last year when we called up Mike Fiers and Martin Maldonado. With the injuries to Narveson, Marcum, and Lucroy, we were kind of forced into rebuild mode. Of course, we didn't officially wave the white flag until we traded Zack Greinke away and went with a rotation of Gallardo-Wolf-Estrada-Fiers-Rogers. But then we dropped Wolf and replaced a pitcher limited by innings, Mark Rogers, with Wily Peralta. We could have easily gone with a rotation of Gallardo-Marcum-Wolf-Estrada-Fiers, but we went young instead. It also continued when we dropped Cody Ransom and essentially dropped Cesar Izturis so we could start Jean Segura and give Jeff Bianchi some time.

 

It may not have looked like a rebuilding job since we got really good after all of this stuff happened, but we got significantly younger in the process. Alex Gonzalez and Cesar Izturis have been replaced by Jean Segura and Jeff Bianchi. George Kottaras has been replaced by Martin Maldonado. Nyjer Morgan has been replaced by Logan Schafer. Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum, and Randy Wolf have been replaced with Mike Fiers, Mark Rogers, Marco Estrada, and Wily Peralta. Francisco Rodriguez has been replaced by Brandon Kintzler and Jim Henderson (I know Henderson is not young, but outside of a few die-hards here, just about nobody had heard of him before the All Star break last year).

 

It's hard to go into full rebuild mode when the new guys from the team last year put together a spectacular last two months of baseball. If they can play almost as good for the entire year this year as they did in August and September last year, the Brewers will be contenders. But there's no doubt the team has already started a rebuilding process.

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I posted in another thread that they are already basically undergoing a half rebuild. They are spending very little money on the pitching staff right now, and the young guys are getting a shot.

 

The "half-rebuild" scares me. I see them not being good enough to make the playoffs, but not bad enough to justify selling off pieces for the future. Therefore, no playoffs in 2013, but no big pieces for the future, either.

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I think what Logan is saying is that we need to see what we have with the young pitching before deciding which of those two ways to go. The upside of Peralta/Rogers/Fiers/Estrada is definite contenders with the Brewers offense behind them. But if Rogers fails to stay healthy, Fiers looks more like September than July, and Peralta has trouble finding the strike zone then they need to choose the rebuild path. We won't know those answers until at least June.

Yeah pretty much. We have a pretty good idea what to expect out of Estrada and Gallardo but behind them we have about 6 or more guys who we need to let start and see what we have. The upside of those guys is a possible Division Champion. The downside is probably about a .500 team.

 

I think we have to take into consideration what the guys we would trade could bring back. Hart, Ramirez, Gomez and Weeks would be the guys that would probably be the ones to trade. Would those guys bring back anything useful in trade. Would those guys bring back anything significant enough to make it worth trading them compared to just letting them play and hoping the young pitchers pitch well? Braun isn't getting any younger.

Fan is short for fanatic.

I blame Wang.

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I've been on the fence on this. I would trade Hart, but, I'm in the thought that the teams that would use Hart have been getting less and less. Mariners signing Ibanez, Indians with Swisher, then you have the Angels and DBacks with better OFs looking to be traded in terms of either talent and or/ current contract.

The reasoning behind trading Hart is you have a Platoon type 1b with Gamel/Green depending who's hitting to replace Hart with. That's the only move I see where it's not tearing the team down to being rebuilt.

 

Gomez, I don't know if trading him now or at deadline matters. I feel should he be anything like 2012 by the deadline, a team would overpay on a playoff run/ key cf injured, that would also likely be in position to just extend his contract. So the draft pick compensation doesn't bother them, the Brewers though should get a better return though since they are losing the pick compensation

 

Ramirez. I think he falls under the same above with Gomez. Trade Deadline for a playoff run team who has an injured 3b/or huge need for a 3b bat.

 

Weeks, I just don't see being traded. You have him for 3more years(most likely) I don't think Gennet will be a decent replacement over Weeks bat. I could see Gennett being traded away this year as a key cog in a deal for a team with 2b needs for say a 2b in the minors who is 3years away from being ML ready with a higher upside than Scooter.

As much as I kinda hate Weeks role in the lineup, only one who thinks 8th suits him well ahead of the pitcher, he does provide a solid bat at reasonable enough price.

 

The issue at hand with every trade away of any of these players is your taking apart a #1 NL offense in 2012. An offense that I believe should be a lil bit better with Segura,Weeks back around .265BA, Lucroy not missing time, Hart at 1b, Aoki at RF. That's 5batters that should equal or increase their production from their position. Leaves Braun,Gomez,Ramirez as the only 3 who could decline.

 

Wouldn't you want to see a full year's of this lineup and what they can do?

Side note then there's the QO draft pick compensation. I can see Brewers doing it to both Gomez and Hart. Keeping payroll down this year to compensate for that next year should both take it on. Then you have a Season's worth of evaluation on the SP staff and maybe they are set, maybe there's only a player to be added. Add that player for 2014 and you are in a full playoff run with all these pieces together.

Otherwise those two walk, you get 2 added picks for 2014 you can sell Ramirez/Weeks and go forward from there.

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The only thing that needs to be rebuilt is the rotation and it's not like it's in total shambles. The team doesn't have all kinds of holes that need to be filled. In fact the only places they are lacking talent (SS and SP) they already have young players in place. So I really don't know what they could/should try to rebuild anyway.
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If the young pitching steps up the team is in good shape so I don't think a full rebuild is warranted. We can't do a true rebuild because it wastes the rest of Ryan Braun unless we trade him which loses the fan base. Most prospects take at least 1 year in the majors to really start to pan out so the only deal that makes any kind of sense is Hart for someone who can be up and help this season. We already have enough young pitching so can't really trade for that, don't want to trade Hart for a RP so that leaves a deal of Hart for a major league ready position player as the only deal I think makes sense. Not exactly an easy deal to find.

 

I think they see how the young pitching does the first half of the season, if it keeps us in it we just go for it, if it looks bad we trade our last seasons assets mid season.

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I think the Brewers need to be careful because they have a lot of money invested in a small number of players. That's really what has happened them this offseason. Not saying they'd give Edwin Jackson 4 years at $15 million a year but they haven't even really been able to address their bullpen other than Gorzelany. I'd be ok trading Hart for either another high upside arm or a young minor league third basemen who can replace Ramirez in a year or two. Third base is yet another desolate position in the minor leagues. I also don't think Hart is a good future investment given his age and the fact we have a couple of capable looking replacements. The Indians got a steal for Choo and the Brewers should be looking for that kind of deal with Hart.

 

Overall I think pretty much everyone will agree that 2013's success will depend heavily on the young guys like Rogers, Fiers, and Peralta, the bullpen, and guys like Segura and Gomez being able to hold their own. While I don't think we should necessarily give up on 2013 already, I think that we are set up better for long term success than we have been in the past and I'd like to see them continue to go in that direction by trading Hart.

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I really don't think a lack of major off-season acquisition is reason to think they need to go all-in on rebuilding. Why?

 

- The Brewers already have a top-level offense AND young guys in the rotation after Yo who've all shown some knack for MLB success AND an improved bullpen.

- The moves they've made aren't exciting (Badenhop & Gorzelanny, not to mention TONS of addition-by-subtraction moves), but what matters more is that the players are good in the regular season, not just exciting in the winter (notice how so many Mets & Cubs moves typically don't pan out well once the games count).

 

I think the team's potentially extremely well-positioned. Why?

 

- They very well could add a player or two into the mix at (relatively) bargain pricing once January hits (see: Saito signing in 2011).

- They're not loaded with role players who have inflexible contract situations (see: 2012 bullpen).

- They have a couple last-contract-year guys (Hart, Gomez) who might be attractive enough to other teams to net a decent return AND they have guys in-house who could step in right away to replace them (Gamel & Schafer, respectively).

- The payroll's low enough overall that there's plenty of room in Mark A.'s wallet to make a major-payroll addition later if the right circumstances (standings) & opportunity (deal) arise.

 

All that said, even if I was inclined to go the total rebuilding route, there are nearly 2 months before ST begins and lots of things that could still happen. Why decide now just because other teams are coming to mostly-ridiculous contract terms? I commend Melvin for playing it smart & not overreacting. No GM wins 'em all, but Melvin's pretty shrewd and he has great "equity" in my book to have earned the benefit of a few hundred doubts in terms of my respect for his wisdom & judgement.

 

. . . As one example, Melvin may already know that the trade market would bear a very inequitable return on Corey Hart, so there's no point in considering such a move. . . . OR Melvin may already know that there is a market and has a decent sense of what it'd take for him to trade Hart away, and that if he waits enough longer, some team will likely come around to meeting what DM feels is an acceptable amount of talent/potential in return. . . OR Melvin just knows that pending-FA Hart is a potentially nice trade card to have up his sleeve for later should the right need arise. . . . SOOOOO . . . . is the lack of action at this point a reason to "pack in" any hope of 2013 contention based on today's version of the roster? I just couldn't buy that it is.

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I don't think we are quite ready to go into rebuilding mode yet. But I understand the argument. I wondered whether that was the thing to do last summer. And while I could understand rebuilding, I think we have to see what we have in 2013 before we declare a fire sale. Here's why.

 

1. We have the top ranked offense in the NL. We should be good again. Yes, some guys will regress, but others should improve. Even if the team as a whole regresses a little bit offensively, we should still score a lot of runs.

 

2. I don't think the team really knows what kinds of pitchers they have with Estrada and Fiers. These guys are probably the keys to 2013. They pitched quite well in 2012. Can they do it again over 30+ starts? I don't think anyone knows that answer. But if they can, you have a trio of pitchers (including Yo) who could produce 3.60-3.80 ERAs. There's no 'ace' in that trio, but that would be a really solid group of pitchers to rely upon. If these three could anchor the rotation, you can afford to figure out the other two spots with your young guys (and adding a back of the rotation arm might help mitigate the downside of your #5 starter). If even one of the three rookies (Peralta, Rogers, Thornburg) can then emerge as a reliable back of the rotation guy (or better), you have a staff that can be around league average. Combine that with a good offense, minimal injuries, and a bit of luck, you can contend

 

In the end, I think we have to see how Fiers, Estrada, Peralta, Rogers and Thornburg turn out. All have question marks. But they are not without promise.

 

A low payroll will also allow the team to make a few moves in season, if something is needed.

 

Things could very well blow up on the team, in which case you probably need to revisit the idea of rebuilding - but not without 2-3 months of really seeing how good (or bad) we can be in 2013.

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Things don't have to be black or white - go "all in" or tear things down to rebuild.

 

I'm an advocate of trading tradeable guys on the final year of their contract when the team has enough question marks/warts that it isn't really expected to win the division. This is one of those years where if everything goes right we could be a playoff team, but we shouldn't really expect to be a playoff team. We also do not have the resources (in money or prospects) to "go all in" by picking up some stud players to fill the holes in the roster.

 

Therefore, I look at the roster and see who is in the last year of their "team control" that could potentially have some trade value and find Hart and Gomez. Both will be gone after this season, so we wouldn't be giving away any of the future by trading either of these guys. The decision then is whether receiving the benefit of one year of the marginal difference between Hart and Gomez vs their likely replacements (Gamel and Schafer) is more important for the franchise than receiving what we would in trade for Hart and/or Gomez while playing Gamel and Schafer.

 

I personally think that given a full season, the difference between Gomez and Schafer isn't that great. A year ago people would've given Gomez away, and now people act like he's essential to the team. Schafer's ready, and the salivating going on over Upton and Bourn leads me to believe that there could actually be some trade value there, so if we can get some decent value for Gomez, trade him.

 

Hart is more difficult because he's a better, more established player than Gomez, but that also means he'd bring back more in trade. It is certainly likely that Hart will outperform Gamel in 2013, so we'd probably be taking a small step back for one season but I wouldn't call that a rebuild. I would take any top prospect back, I wouldn't limit myself to "a top pitcher who can help the 2013 team." I worry that Melvin will only trade Hart if he can get an MLB-ready young starter, and that may not happen. Our farm needs talent across the board, so I'd be happy to get a top talent at nearly any position.

 

I think trading some guys when they're tradeable, close to exiting via free agency, and you aren't expected to win is what allows teams to keep from ever having to go through a rebuild. Conversly, we're at the point where if we continue to try to patch things up and see what the season brings, we will find ourselves in a position where a full rebuild could become necessary.

"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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This offseason is mostly about getting payroll flexibility, something they haven't had the past two seasons.

 

Doug has done well acquiring three top pitchers through trade in recent year, CC, Greinke, Marcum. But that's pretty rare these days and not a strategy a small market team can count on long term. Neither is signing top line FA pitchers. So, they are doing what they must for long term success: growing their own pitchers and giving them a chance.

 

If midseason they have a shot at the wild card, Doug could have some payroll flexibility to add a pitcher or two. If they are struggling, then guys like Ramirez and Hart can be moved, setting up more flexibility for 2014.

 

The Brewers have built one of the best fan base's in MLB. They need to keep fielding competitive teams to keep the fans coming in; it's the best source of income given the paltry broadcast contracts. Letting attendance drop below 2 million while going through a several season rebuild will cripple the franchise financially for the rest of Braun's contract.

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Monty... I really don't think we need a whole lot of help in the pitching department in our minor league system. Over the years, we have made this a moderate strength. There are 5-7 pitchers from A+ up that might become major league starting pitcher. I think our main weakness in the minors is our upper level position players especially 3rd base, shortstop and catcher.
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Monty... I really don't think we need a whole lot of help in the pitching department in our minor league system. Over the years, we have made this a moderate strength. There are 5-7 pitchers from A+ up that might become major league starting pitcher. I think our main weakness in the minors is our upper level position players especially 3rd base, shortstop and catcher.

and 2B and corner OF. Really almost every single position. We have Schafer in CF and the rest are all pretty far off except maybe 1B.

Fan is short for fanatic.

I blame Wang.

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Monty... I really don't think we need a whole lot of help in the pitching department in our minor league system. Over the years, we have made this a moderate strength. There are 5-7 pitchers from A+ up that might become major league starting pitcher. I think our main weakness in the minors is our upper level position players especially 3rd base, shortstop and catcher.

 

I agree, which is why I question why some people are insistant on only trading Hart if we get a young starting pitcher in return. Sure, if Baltimore loses their mind and trades us Dylan Bundy for Hart, I'd jump at it, but since that's not realistic, I'd be happy if we landed a really good young position prospect in return for Hart. Maybe that allows us the ability in the future to look at trading someone else as they get closer to free agency and the stud position prospect we got for Hart is MLB ready.

 

I'd say that if we trade Hart, we just look for the best young talent we could get in return. I'd probably look for someone who projects to help the Brewers at the MLB level in 2014, or maybe mid-season 2013 if we decide to sell, but who would start 2013 in the minors. We got Segura and two high-upside pitchers for a couple months of Greinke. If we could get something like that talent level for a full year of Hart, I'd be happy.

"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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I could get into the let's-play-GM analysis on all of this, but from just an in-the-moment fan perspective this team as currently constructed seems like it should really be a heck of a lot of fun to just root for, with a pretty solid punchers chance of putting together a run at the playoffs. So for that reason and from that perspective, I say "no".
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If midseason they have a shot at the wild card, Doug could have some payroll flexibility to add a pitcher or two. If they are struggling, then guys like Ramirez and Hart can be moved, setting up more flexibility for 2014.

 

I agree with this, they are set-up to move in one direction or another based on how the first 90 games turn out. I am most looking forward to seeing what the pitching staff can produce this year, and while there will be some struggles, the Brewers should have a much better idea of what they have in hand for the future. I selfishly would like to see them circle 2015 as the "all-in" WS contender roster and make all personnel decisions with that in mind, but I realize that isn't going to happen.

Not just “at Night” anymore.
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1. We have the top ranked offense in the NL. We should be good again. Yes, some guys will regress, but others should improve. Even if the team as a whole regresses a little bit offensively, we should still score a lot of runs.

The Brewers had the best OPS of any NL team, but also played in a very offense-friendly park. By OPS+, the Giants & Cards (107) were tied for first, with the Nats & Crew (102) tied behind them. Now, I realize that's a bit nit-picky, but I think it's important to remember when evaluating the '13 incarnation of the Brewers. Their home OPS was .809, while their road OPS was just .716.

 

A guy like Weeks should probably be expected to hit to his career norms, Segura should take a step forward, and Lucroy hopefully will play a full season... but then on the flip side you have Ramirez entering his age-35 season, and Carlos "who am I as a hitter" Gomez. Nori Aoki -- will he replicate his success, or emulate Nyjer Morgan '11-->'12 & not be able to sustain a high enough AVG to be a net positive player? Maldonado is another offensive question mark (although I'm pretty sold on his '12 results matching up with his swing & approach at the plate). Weeks/Hart/Ramirez/Gomez/Lucroy(if only for the position he plays) are fair to significant injury risks.

 

I'd guess/project that the Brewers will have one of the best offenses in the 2013 NL. However, I don't think it's necessarily a talented enough offense to just assume it'll be top tier again because it was in 2012... and I worry that many fans, & more importantly -- Melvin, might be making that assumption

 

Monty... I really don't think we need a whole lot of help in the pitching department in our minor league system. Over the years, we have made this a moderate strength. There are 5-7 pitchers from A+ up that might become major league starting pitcher.

I agree completely that the org. has gone from having a barren wasteland of MiLB pitching to having a solid arsenal. However, the flame-out rate of young pitchers is so high that "solid"/"moderate strength" isn't good enough, imo, to write off concerns. I'd venture to guess that nearly every MLB team has 5-7 pitchers in the minors that might become big-league starters -- I don't think that makes the Brewers anything aside from average or slightly better. The org. lacks any #1 type of young pitcher, and frankly I wouldn't be content with the state of the farm's pitching stable unless there were two or more of those guys.

 

With the numerous concerns I've laid out in this post, I agree with monty57 & others that dealing Hart & Gomez should be a top priority (assuming good returns) for Melvin this offseason. Obviously if the market is cold on either, you don't want to trade him just because. But Hart especially has more value to the Brewers through trade than keeping him. You don't have to rebuild, but you do need to re-load.

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