I love what the Brewers decided to do in the offseason. They had, like, one prospect. He just sat by himself and read while the other non-prospects were running into each other. On the major league roster, they had a ton of offensive talent, but this was the last year the were going to have them all together -- Prince Fielder would make another $100 million man with Ryan Braun, and, really, it's Milwaukee. As a metropolitan area, it's just below Redding-Shasta in population. Solid attendance or no, it's not really a market that can support a couple of $100 million players. Just a guess.
So the Brewers blew it up. They knew that the prospect or two they had weren't enough to make a winning team after Fielder left, so they traded for Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum. A good offense suddenly had a very impressive rotation in front of it. They also just agreed to pay a bunch of money to Francisco Rodriguez, which the Mets were more than happy to let them do. With the pieces filled in, the Brewers can finally look at their roster and feel convinced that they can stand toe to toe with the Pirates.
Going completely all-in on a win-now philosophy isn't something you see a lot. Sure, you'll see teams give up a lot of their top prospects in order to improve, but rarely do you see a team decide that every single prospect in their system -- plus a young position player already in their lineup -- is a little rare. In retrospect, I wouldn't do anything to screw up the chances that 2010 would have happened just how it did, but as a thought exercise, what could the 2004 or 2005 Giants looked like if the Giants would have done the same?
Out: Matt Cain, Noah Lowry, Brian Wilson, Jonathan Sanchez
In: Like, Ryan Church and Esteban Loaiza or some crap
Just a guess. But if the Giants foresaw the post-2004 collapse, and tried to prevent it by trading away their top-10 prospects, it would have been the Hindenburg, but filled with orphans and puppies. Bonds got hurt, and it's not like the Giants were going to replace Mike Matheny or Edgardo Alfonzo. In retrospect, the offense was doomed from the start, and going for a 2011 Brewers strategy would have left behind some serious scorched earth.
It's working for the Brewers, though. Good for them. It's a cool strategy that I never, ever, ever want to see my GM employ because it would freak me out too much. Soooo much riding on one season.
Hitter to watch
Nyjer Morgan is sort of crazy, so that's always worth watching. But he's also having a crazy, crazy season. He has 209 plate appearances ... and five walks. That's sub-Felizian. More of an Eliezer Alfonzo line, really.
The craziest part, other than Morgan, is that he's hitting .333/.366/.481 -- it's working. He's hitting for average, he's hitting for a little power, and he's zipping around the bases and field. It offends the stat nerd in me, but it impresses the straw-hatted old-timer in me.
Pitcher to watch
Year ERA GS IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB 2011 4.84 15 87.1 87 56 47 13 18 114 81 1.202 9.0 1.3 1.9 11.7 6.33
Just the weirdest stat line ever. Come to our side, Zack. You'd be 4-4, but at least our guys can catch a ball.