You probably read that and scratch your head. What?? Aren’t you a Brewers fan? Why would you be happy at how bad they are playing. Well here are several points as to why I am happy:
- For those of you who are still upset at Ron Roenicke, he may not make it to June. Heck, he might even resign as it looks like already he is running out of ideas on how to fix this anemic offense. Do not be fooled by the 1 year extension they gave Roenicke before the season. That was all PR so that he was not a lame duck coach going into this season.
- Doug Melvin is in the last year of his contract. At this point if this keeps going the same path, he will not be in the same role. There is talk he may retire from the GM job. This poor start might accelerate that talk or give management a reason to part ways with him.
- Carlos Gomez injured his hamstring last week in St. Louis, Scooter Gennett hurt his hand in some freak shower accident Sunday in Pittsburgh, and Jonathon Lucroy got hurt in a freak broken toe injury Monday night in Milwaukee. All are on the DL. Is that bad? Yes. However how can you get upset when none of these players mentioned were setting the earth on fire offensively? It is not like they were hitting right now. The entire team can’t hit minus two or three players. And even so, the entire team including those two players can’t hit with RISP (Runners in scoring position). The team is last in many offensive categories where that is supposed to be the strength. The players on the DL forces you to bring up players from AAA to not only spark this pathetic offense, but you can now see what you have for pieces next year and beyond. This leads me to:
The Brewers have $54 million coming off the books after this season. Why I liked the status quo in the off-season despite many fans being angered by it, is that you have the same pieces to be competitive in a tough NL Central. Now that it looks like early you are not going anywhere, you get a great head start trading all these players in the last year of their contract for prospects on other teams. This includes Aramis Ramirez, Kyle Lohse, Gerardo Parra, Jonathon Broxton, and Neal Cotts (43 million right there). And if nobody wants say Aramis Ramirez, you can plan his retirement party early by releasing him.
(If you can’t tell already I never ever really like the signing of him coming here. Leadership was a major issue last year and not once did I think he offered any when the team was scuffling even though he has that experience).
You see some people who do not watch a ton of baseball will react and say the team sucks, I am done, and will never go to another game. However if you watch as much baseball as I do, you realize that EVERY franchise has a year(s) where nothing works out as planned. The Cardinals did in the late 90s and the Yankees (who are a favorite to finish last in the AL East) are possibly going through that now. Brewers actually look like they will be quickly eliminated due to bad offense and major injuries if they do not start turning this around immediately in the next 2-4 weeks. Heck, they may be double digits games back in their own division before April 30 due to a early heavy all NL Central schedule!
In these cases, it is essential for the long term success of the franchise to blow it up and start over. You see, the Brewers are in a better position than say the Philadelphia Phillies or New York Yankees. Those franchises are kind of stuck. Bad contracts and aging players that nobody wants.
The Braves are more like the Brewers. While they sort of threw in the towel before the season started, they realized they had players to make them competitive but not enough talent to make the playoffs this season. So they decided to trade some of their talent who was expendable and will build around prospects they got in return and franchise players.
The Brewers have aging players but all their aging players are at the end of their contract. So it is more likely for a team in the playoff hunt to call you for a rent a player come June or July. In turn, the Brewers will most likely get prospects. That is a weakness in the franchise currently.
Now these prospects may not turn out but it looks like long term if Jean Segura’s last season was not a trend, they got a good return for Zack Greinke in 2012. Ironically that was the last time the Brewers were buried by a poor 1st half start. And while I heard the same comments in 2012, the Brewers played much better after these trades to finish above .500 that year.
Young guys were brought up with something to prove and once the pressure of winning was relaxed, they played much better as an entire unit. Right now you can read the pressure on most of the team that they have to play perfect baseball in order to have a chance to win. Don’t let the post game comments fool you, The team is playing with no confidence.
Additionally the Brewers are the smallest franchise in baseball market size. Ryan Braun’s 105 million extension does not even kick in until next year and looks like a terrible contract now. The Brewers will be able to sign a major free agent or two next year, but they have to balance their team with team friendly contracts. So to be bad now, you get to audition players you get via trades and move minor players up to audition them for next year. The Brewers did that in 2012 and 2013 which set them up for a much better 2014.
The past several years from 2007 to 2014 was a great run. The core players of Braun, Hardy, Fielder, Hart, Gallardo, and others that came up provided two playoff appearances, a year where the franchise went all in winning 96 games, and appeared to have tons of fun taking the fans on an incredible ride. However it almost seemed with the Gallardo trade that era of Brewers baseball has now come to an end. Now would be the time to start over, make some popcorn, and enjoy the prospect call up war that your rivals the Cubs and Cardinals appear to be starting.
Plus there is always the joy of hearing Bob Uecker call games in the summer!