Gentlemen's Agreement

The Yankees will cash in on Javier Vazquez’s type B status.  Will Doug Melvin make a similar move with Trevor Hoffman?

04:02 pm: milwaukeesgr8st

Trevor Hoffman

It’s been written that Trevor Hoffman saving his 600th career game was the highlight of the season for the 2010 Brewers.  Save 600 was definitely a thrill and I got goose bumps every time the Miller Park PA system began gonging away, but considering how irrelevant that win was to the Brewers season, save 600 might not end up being Hoffman’s biggest contribution to the Brewers organization this year. 

Hoffman is a type B free agent and were he to sign with a team prior to the Nov. 23rd deadline for offering players arbitration the Brewers would be awarded a compensation pick in the sandwich round.  The Brewers could also set themselves up to receive a compensation pick if Hoffman signed with a team after the Nov 23rd deadline, if they were to come to a gentleman’s agreement with Hoffman where he would decline the team’s offer of arbitration.  Hoffman’s stock would not be hurt by having the arbitration offer made to him because unlike with type A free agents, teams that sign type B free agents are not required to forfeit any of their draft picks.

The Arizona Diamondbacks would seem to be a good fit for Hoffman’s services.  Arizona General Manager, Kevin Towers said that his team would be crazy not to consider bringing in Hoffman to be their closer.  Towers was the longtime GM in San Diego where Hoffman accumulated 552 of his career saves and Hoffman still lives in that part of the country.

By all accounts Hoffman enjoyed his time in Milwaukee and appreciated the opportunity that the Brewers gave him in 2009 when the Padres were ready to move on.  He might be willing to help the Brewers by merely declining their offer of arbitration.

This would be a great outcome for the Brewers, as the 2011 amateur draft is said to be the best draft in years.  To that point, it’s believed that one of the reasons Bryce Harper chose to leave high school after his sophomore season and enroll in junior college was the relative strength of this 2011 draft class vs the weaker 2010 player pool.  Since the Brewers don’t have any other ranked free agents, Hoffman is their only chance to add a potential top 50 pick.  An extra pick in the 2011 draft would be great asset and give the Brewers an additional opportunity to find an impact player.  Jake Odorizzi, who will most likely be universally ranked as the Brewers #2 overall prospect this winter, was a sandwich round pick in 2008.

Hopefully Doug Melvin has already reached out to Trevor Hoffman, and should the all-time saves leader choose to continue his illustrious career in 2011 the Brewers will receive a valuable parting gift.

01:17 am: milwaukeesgr8st

Javier Vazquez

Everyone agrees that the Brewers need pitching.  You know it, I know it ,and everyone from Doug Melvin to Ryan Braun has come out and said it.  Unfortunately, almost every team needs pitching, and there is a serious lack of quality available on the free agent market.

Fortunately, the Brewers need for pitching is limited to the starting rotation.  Doug Melvin and the Brewers amateur scouts have done a good job putting together a collection of young power arms that should form a strong and cheap bullpen in 2011 and the next few years.  John Axford, Zach Braddock, Jeremy Jeffress, Mike McClendon and Brandon Kintzler will play for the minimum in 2011.  This is a strong group and the Brewers have arms like Todd Coffey, Mitch Stetter, Manny Parra, Chris Narveson and the expensive LaTroy Hawkins to round out what should be a solid bullpen.

Yovani Gallardo continues to improve and is growing into a stud, and Randy Wolf is a servicable #3/4 starter.  What the Brewers need is two starting pitchers to slot into the #1/2 and #3/4 spots in their rotation.  For most Brewers fans, this is pretty obvious.  The solution is a little less so.

Javier Vazquez should be at the top of the Brewers list this winter.  Vazquez was not good in 2010.  Nor was he very good in 2004, the first time he pitched for the Yankees.  But from 2006 to 2009 he produced between 4.8 and 6.5 WAR (Wins Above Replacement, according to  During that time, no pitcher who pitched exclusively for the Brewers produced a seasonal WAR as high as any of Vazquez’s.  Vazquez was one of the most consistent and dominant pitchers of the last decade.  from 2000-2009 he never threw less than 198 innings and he struck out 179 or more batters in every season.

I can’t say why Vazquez had such a down year in 2010.  His velocity was reportedly down, and maybe he was injured which the Brewers or any team thinking about signing him should look into.  If the Brewers can clear Vazquez medically he would be exactly the type of pitcher that the Brewers need to add to their rotation.  In 2009 Vazquez finished 4th in the NL CY Young voting with the Atlanta Braves when he pitched 219 1/3 innings with a 15-10 record, 238 strikeouts, a 2.78 ERA and he was worth 6.5 wins above the average player.  Seasons like this are rare and extremely valuable to the success of a team.

Will Javier Vazquez ever pitch as well as he did in 2009?  No.  Will Vazquez rebound in 2011 by returning the NL and getting out of homer-happy Yankee Stadium.  Almost definitely.  The ever optimistic Bill James projects Vazquez to throw 198 IP with an ERA of 3.73 with 183K.  How good would that look in the #2/3 spot in the Brewers rotation?

Obviously baseball projection isn’t an exact science and there are reasons to be concerned about Javier Vazquez’s 2010 season, but he is the type of pitcher that the Brewers need for a chance to be successful in 2011.  His 2010 season should also lower his market value and make him open to a short term deal where he can re-establish value.  Assuming Vazquez checks out physically, a 1 or 2 year deal for $7-10M has the potential to be a steal.

Here’s hoping its the Brewers that reap the rewards.

08:26 pm: milwaukeesgr8st


top 3 choices for brewers next manager…Listach, Hurdle, Cora…

05:58 pm: milwaukeesgr8st


Best wishes to Bob Uecker on a speedy recovery

02:22 pm: milwaukeesgr8st


Brewers win 20-0! That’s how you sweep a series! Braun finishes the game 3-4, HR, 2B, 5 RBI, 3R, SB & BB…simply…THE MAN

04:30 pm: milwaukeesgr8st

2010 NFL Mock Draft

I suppose it’s a little strange that the first feature post on my Brewers blog is about the NFL, but it’s Draft Day!  The NFL draft is one of the biggest sporting events of the year, and a lot of fun.

This is a tough draft to mock in terms of who the Packers will take.  The team only has one player who can legitimately play left tackle, which makes finding a backup/future replacement for Chad Clifton a priority.  Finding a young cornerback who can stay healthy and eventually take over for Al Harris and Charles Woodsen is also a priority.  The problem is that the top guys at those two spots will probably be gone when the Packers’ pick at #23 comes up.  Also, the fact that neither position is an immediate need on the field gives General Manager Ted Thompson (TT) the freedom to take the best player available.  Which might just be Charles Brown an OT from USC, who has been rising up draft boards in the eyes of scouts and could be the pick if a defensive player like OLB/DE Brandon Graham or CB Kyle Wilson doesn’t fall into TT’s lap.

As for the rest of the mock, I expect a few trades in the first round, with either Jacksonville or Buffalo either moving down or back into the first round somewhere in the 20s in order to select Tim Tebow.  Possibly finding a trade match with the Packers!  I think the Eagles are the heavy favorite to move up, possibly targeting Jason Pierre-Paul, Kyle Wilson or Earl Thomas.  That’s all I got:

1. STL - Sam Bradford, Oklahoma
2. DET - Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska
3. TB - Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma
4. WAS - Trent Williams, Oklahoma
5. KC - Eric Berry, Tennessee
6. SEA - Russell Okung, Oklahoma State
7. CLE - Kyle Wilson, Boise State
8. OAK - Anthony Davis, Rutgers
9. BUF - Brian Buluga, Iowa
10. JAC - Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State
11. DEN - Maurkice Pouncey, Florida
12. MIA - Brandon Graham, Michigan
13. SF - Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame
14. SEA - C.J. Spiller, Clemson
15. NYG - Rolando McClain, Alabama
16. TEN - Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech
17. SF - Joe Haden, Florida
18. PIT - Mike Iupati, Idaho
19. ATL - Jason Pierre-Paul, South Florida
20. HOU - Earl Thomas, Texas
21. CIN - Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma
22. NE - Demaryious Thomas, Georgia Tech
23. GB - Charles Brown, USC
24. PHI - Tyson Alualu, Cal
25. BAL - Devin McCourty, Rutgers
26. ARI - Jerry Hughes, TCU
27. DAL - Nate Allen, South Florida
28. SD - Dan Williams, Tennessee
29. NYJ - Jared Odrick, Penn State
30. MIN - Kareem Jackson, Alabama
31. IND - Rodger Saffold, Indiana
32. NO - Taylor Mays, USC

Depending on what the Packers do at #23, I think these are some players they could target later in the draft: Dexter McCluster RB Ole Miss, Jason Fox OT Miami, and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah CB/KR IUP.

04:10 pm: milwaukeesgr8st

Braun = HOF

Great piece on Braun by the highly respected prospect expert John Sickels.

01:43 pm: milwaukeesgr8st

Pure joy!  These two guys make the Brewers fun to watch.

Pure joy!  These two guys make the Brewers fun to watch.

01:36 pm: milwaukeesgr8st