Small market teams need to develop talent within their organization in order to remain consistently competitive on a yearly basis. If they are unable to do this, these teams end up overpaying for average veteran talent while remaining, at best, in mediocrity.
Unfortunately, the Milwaukee Brewers and general manager Doug Melvin don’t seem to realize this.
Since the departure of Jack Zduriencik to the Seattle Mariners in October 2008, the Brewers have struggled to draft and develop prospects. Zduriencik is credited with turning the Brewers around from bottom feeders to a playoff contender.
He is responsible for drafting the core of the Brewers 2008 wild card team including Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, J.J. Hardy, Corey Hart, Yovani Gallardo and Rickie Weeks. Matt LaPorta, another one of his selections, was used as a major trade piece in acquiring C.C. Sabathia, who led the Brewers into the playoffs.
However, since then the Brewers have only made the playoffs once, in large part to the lack of talented depth in their farm system.
The blame has to go squarely on Melvin for being unable to draft and develop and build a consistent winner. It is time for the Brewers to find someone who is capable of doing that.
The following three candidates should be taken into serious consideration and have the leadership abilities and baseball savvy to develop the Brewers into consistent playoff contenders:
Jason McLeod – Chicago Cubs – Senior V.P. of Player Development and Amateur Scouting
McLeod has an excellent eye for talent and deserves the opportunity to be a big league general manager. Despite being only 43 years old, McLeod has vast experience in amateur scouting. He was just 32 when he got his first scouting director’s gig, and his draft picks for the Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres show that he is able to evaluate talent.
With the Red Sox, his drafts landed Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz and Anthony Rizzo.
During his tenure with the Cubs, which dates back to late 2011, he has played a major role in turning one of the worst farm systems in baseball to one of the best. The Cubs have added high-end prospects such as Javier Baez, Albert Almora, Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler.
Last offseason McLeod withdrew his name from consideration for the vacant San Diego Padres general manager opening. It was a somewhat surprising move since the Padres are his hometown team, but he said that he wanted to be with the Cubs when they win.
He did say that he does wants to be a general manager in the future, but that he felt it was right to stay with the Cubs.
McLeod is an outstanding baseball mind and talent evaluator, as he has learned from one of the best in the business, Theo Epstein. McLeod would be a terrific hire for the Brewers, and there is no question that he could build a top-level farm system in no time.
Michael Girsch – St. Louis Cardinals – Assistant General Manager
Everyone talks about “The Cardinal Way,” and Girsch has been a major reason for the Cardinals success on the field. The 38-year-old has been with the Cardinals since 2006 and is in his fifth season as the assistant general manager.
He is in charge of the Baseball Development division and has been instrumental in the use of analytics and scouting reports for player acquisition decisions.
In his time with the Cardinals, they have consistently remained competitive, as they have done an outstanding job drafting and developing talent. The Cardinals aren’t big spenders in free agency. Instead they rely on homegrown talent to field a winning big league club.
The Cardinals also do an outstanding job developing young, promising pitching such as players like Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn and Trevor Rosenthal.
Girsch withdrew his candidacy for the general manager opening with the Padres last year, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want to be a big league GM. If the Brewers are serious about changing their organizational culture and the way they build their ball club, then Girsch would be a solid choice as a GM.
David Forst – Oakland Athletics – Assistant General Manager
David Forst, 38, has been a key to the success of the small market Athletics over the years as he is entering his 16th season in the organization, including his 12th as the assistant general manager.
It is difficult to see Forst leaving the A’s, since he has taken himself out of consideration for past GM openings with the Seattle Mariners and Padres, and is considered a likely successor to Billy Beane.
However, this shouldn’t stop the Brewers from taking a stab at him, and offering him beer barrels full of money, if they feel like his is the right man for the job. He is one of the most ready general managers in waiting, due to his great skill set and experience.
He has the experience working on a budget while being forced to draft and develop talent in order to consistently win. Hiring Forst might be a long shot for any organization, but there is no question that he would be a perfect fit for the Brewers.
Final Thoughts: There are a lot of talented, potential general manager candidates, but the three names that should be atop the Brewers list once they give Melvin his walking papers are Jason McLeod, Michael Girsch and David Forst. All three know what it takes to build a farm system and an organization that is consistently competing for the playoffs. Melvin has been with the Brewers since 2002, but it is time to bring in a new face with experience and fresh ideas in order to take the organization to the next level.
Only nine games into the baseball season, and Milwaukee Brewer fans are already screaming for changes. With the worst record (2-7) in baseball, and the team continuing right where they left off last season, nothing is going right, especially offensively.
The Brewers lineup is splattered with All-Stars, but through nine games they have managed to score a league worst 23 runs, including only 12 runs in their seven losses.
One player who has received an abundance of criticism is Scooter Gennett. The young second baseman is hitting .200 with one run batted in and a .259 on-base percentage, while tallying a shocking nine strikeouts in 27 at-bats.
His lack of production to begin the season already has fans fretting, wondering if the Brewers should keep him as their starting second baseman.
However, the Brewers have no other legitimate options, giving them no choice but to ride it out with Gennett and hope he hits his way out of this slump.
Over his professional career, Gennett has proven he can produce at the plate, especially at the big league level. In his first two major league seasons he has hit .300 with a .331 on-base percentage, while averaging eight homeruns and 38 RBIs per season.
He also has already shown signs of breaking out of this slump, hitting .300 in 10 at-bats in the Brewers’ last three games.
It is probably safe to say that Gennett will never be a star, but he has the talent and skill set to be a solid contributor for the Brewers for years to come.
The journey down the long and winding road that is the baseball season has just begun. With 153 games remaining, Brewer fans need to R-E-L-A-X and give Gennett some time to settle in at the plate before calling for management to make a change at second base.
Should the Brewers stick with Gennett? Feel free to follow Dan Zielinski on Twitter @DanZielinski3 to discuss.
Hey Fantasy Football players, we're still considered 'somewhat' early in the 2013 fantasy season. That being said, it's time to, at least, consider a trade or two. If you see your season slipping away, maybe, just maybe, it's time to roll the dice. Put your chips in the middle, and it may turn your season around. The waiver wires are all picked over by the 'vultures', so that's not going to help. The mark of a good trade is not only the players you send and receive, it's 'WHEN' you send and receive them. Here are some players to consider when making your season changing move. Either getting the player on the cheap or sending a player, who later will be worth a value deal:
Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson:
-Both of these players are having sub-par years. However, at some point, you would imagine, the Bucs will get there stuff together. Not to say that they will make a run at the playoffs, but they will start looking like an NFL offense. Heck, SOMEONE has to score for them. You might get a top rated RB in Martin for next to nothing...at least he 'was' rated as a top RB. Additionally, Jackson has had some monster days in a Bucs uniform, it could happen again. Send somebody a flex player for Vincent Jackson, he's probably on someone’s bench right now.
Get him while you can. Although he has had 1 big game, he still might be a 'sale priced' player. Send someone an offer, they just might bite. Big Ben is still a nice QB, and Brown is a main 'go to' guy. His stock is considered low.
-Health has been an issue for Spiller thus far. If that clears itself up, one of the top ranked RB's to start the season, might just perform as one. His value is quite low, so gamble on him, what have you got to lose? Keep in mind, you'll have to share the carries with Fred Jackson, especially at the goal line, but maybe pick up Jackson at the same time, and handcuff your league. Take a look at the combined numbers in the Bills loss to Cleveland, plenty of fantasy points between the two of them.
-One of the elite WR's coming into the season, he’s see his numbers decline in the first few weeks of the season. There is just way too much talent, and Marshall may come cheap in your league. Marshall is one of those players that you'll have to give something to get him, but hopefully the guy that has Marshall is stacked at WR, and you can send him an RB, you might come out ahead, as Marshall’s numbers are BOUND to improve...you hope.
-Especially in a PPR league, Rice can be an improvement to your team down the stretch. Health has affected his season, but as the Ravens improve, so will Rice’s numbers. You might be surprised at what it will cost you to get him.
-Here's a player that just might be on the waiver wire. Claim him if you have room, it's a good gamble. He has all the ability in the world, and the Jaguars are continually playing from behind, so the targets will be there. A REAL INEXPENSIVE GAMBLE.
-The new offense implemented in Arizona is going to take a few weeks. As the team gets to know it, Fitz's numbers WILL improve. For an elite fantasy WR, he has some lower value. See what it takes to get him.
-Remember that Gonzo did not do training camp, so it has taken him a bit longer to get into the rhythm of things. Get to the trade offer section of your league, and bounce something off your opponent. Gonzo WILL improve as the season moves along, and it's just about to happen.
-Although the Dolphins are playing well this season, it just does not appear the Wallace can be considered elite. He's a nice splashy name, and that is why you might consider trading him. He certainly has not performed, but star power name alone might get you what you need.
-Jacksonville plays from behind most every week, which takes carries away from MJD. You will have to suffer through an occassional nice game by MJD once you move him, but have no remorse, see if a player in your league still thinks it's MJD from years ago, and pull the trigger.
-If Rivers is one of two QB's on your team, and the other gets the starts, trade Rivers NOW. Don't wait, do not pass go, trade him yesterday. His value is at it's peak, as high as it has been in a few years. Can Rivers continue to put up these type numbers? Probably not. Send your buddy a trade offer, and make sure you send Rivers stats along with it. Your return will be nice.
-Can this old guy be worth something? YES, yes he can, and yes he IS worth something. Maybe more than you think. He's ONE injury from being worth virtually nothing, trade him before it happens. His stock is quite nice right now.
Now that the dust has settled for the 2013 Milwaukee Brewers, let's look ahead...it's soooo much better than looking backward. The question is, are the 2014 Brewers a playoff team? You tell me. The talent is certainly there, and with some additions, could be better. Take a look at this every day line-up:
The above line-up 'IS' a playoff batting order, and could be made better by a 1st Base addition. Health obviously is needed, but Brewers fans sure would like to see this line-up on a regular basis. However, the bigger question marks will be with the 2014 starting rotation. As of now, this would be your rotation:
Is this good enough to hit the post season? With a few fingers crossed, a big MAYBE. The Crew would have to have a few things go right, but all in all, you can't say it's a "bad" rotation. Here is where Brewers’ GM Doug Melvin has his work cut out for him. He has stepped up in the past and acquired a top of the rotation type pitcher (Greinke and Sabathia). Does he have enough in the minor league system to do it again? A 'front line' starter would certainly put the 2014 crew "over the top" and ticket them to the post season once again. The bullpen will have some turnover, but Jim Henderson, Brandon Kintzler, Tom Gorzelanny have 3 of the 7 spots locked up. The question here is, whether or not Henderson can be counted on to close games in the clutch down the stretch. Melvin has done a nice job over the years with acquiring decent bullpen arms, and there shouldn’t be much concern on this front.
Overall, the foundation is there, and Manager Ron Roenicke has his entire coaching staff returning in 2014 which will help. Bottom Line: The crew is NOT as far off as some might think. When you get to Las Vegas over the off season, put down a few bucks on the crew, you will get some good odds, and it might just pay off for you. Smile Milwaukee, The World Will Smile Back!!
So we've come to the determination that the Brewers 2013 season was a complete train wreck? Let’s not be so quick to make that judgment.
GM Doug Melvin has shown us a few things that may have been thrown into the 'pleasant surprise' category. Khris Davis is one of them. Prorate out Davis' numbers, and it shows some strong potential. Not only with regard to his power, but as of this writing, his batting average as well. Small sample size would be the other side of the argument, but for now, a notch to the good side for Melvin. Scooter Gennett has impressed. The young second baseman was somewhat overmatched the first time up, but now seems to have settled in. Whether or not he is a legit lead-off hitter remains to be seen, but Scooter looks to be a solid major leaguer. The development of Wily Peralta is a work in progress. However, he seems to be durable, taking the ball every 5 games, and learning on the job. A few tweaks here and there and Wily could find himself at the top of the rotation within 1 or 2 years. Jim Henderson has emerged to be quite reliable in the back end of the bullpen. The long time minor leaguer has stepped up and performed well. Will he pitch in the 8th or 9th inning? THAT remains to be seen, but we can agree that he’s been successful thus far. The third base position. Juan Francisco shows tremendous power, but lacks in batting average. If the organization can get Francisco to put the ball in play more consistently, Melvin may have pulled off another good to great trade. Additionally, the trade of K Rod for 3B prospect Nick Delmonico might be something to keep your eyes on. Nonetheless, Melvin saw a hole in the line-up at 3B, and addressed it. Ramirez has only 1 year left on a 3 year deal, and Melvin’s foresight may be praised within 2 years or so. Finally, the young pitchers in the organization are a work in progress. Johnny Hellweg, who struggled at the big league level, certainly has shown his talents at Triple A. If that converts to the majors, a future tandem of Peralta and Hellweg could prove to be powerful. Jimmy Nelson, Taylor Jungmann, Jed Bradley, Devin Williams, along with Fiers, Estrada, and others has the 'strength in numbers' theme to it. Finally, the position players that Melvin has massed, often times, flies under the radar. Braun and Gomez will both be here for years to come. Lucroy and Segura are mainstays and both may be better than we've seen thus far.
So, complete 'Train Wreck'? Maybe. Maybe NOT. Smile Milwaukee, The World Will Smile Back.
The 2013 trade deadline came and went, and the Brewers made just one trade. K rod was moved for 3b prospect Nicky Delmonico. A good trade, everyone will agree. However, some will not agree that Brewers GM Doug Melvin didn’t make any other trades. Is that such a bad thing? Let's examine.
With another year of Aramis Ramirez, could the crew actually get MORE for him at next year’s deadline? Maybe. Weeks value was down, and with the amount of money he makes, the Crew was going to have to pay more than they wanted to move him. He's not such a bad plan heading into next year, especially when he is batting lower in the line-up, expectations are not as high. Nori Aoki is too valuable of a piece to move, as he is under contract (team option) for next year. As like Ramirez, you could move Aoki next year, and potentially get MORE for him. Moving Gallardo or Lohse would take away 2/3 of your rotation heading into next year, instead of doing that, how about adding one more starter, and going into the 2014 campaign with Gallardo, Lohse, Peralta, and that additional signing? The bullpen returns at least 4 successful pitchers in Axford, Henderson, Gorzelanny, and Kintzler. Let's not forget about Figaro, and Marco Extrada when it comes to returning arms.
Analyzing the players returning, a person 'could' make the argument that the team will compete for the division title. I'm one of them...Smile Milwaukee, the World Will Smile Back!
Now that the 2013 season is well over the halfway mark for the crew, what do they do now? As the days go by, Brewers GM Doug Melvin has a decision to make. Does he stand pat, and go back at the 2014 season with essentially the same line-up, or does he make wholesale changes?
When you break down the contractual situations for key players, he actually could come back with: Lucroy, Ramirez, Segura, Weeks, Braun, Gomez, and Aoki. The hole will be at first base, and he could entertain the idea of Mat Gamel or Taylor Green. This line-up has been and can be very productive.
In terms of the pitching? Yo, Loshe, Peralta, and Estrada could comprise 4 of the starting pitchers in the rotation. The bullpen would have Kintzler, Axford, Henderson, Hand, and Figaro. Would it surprise fans to come back with these players, maybe, but it could happen. On the other hand, the trade potential is certainly there. Buy or sell, could have BIG ramifications for years to come. Let's enjoy this important July. Smile Milwaukee, the World will smile back.
With the season hanging on by a thread, what will Brewers GM Doug Melvin do 'IF' and when he decides to "sell" toward the trade deadline? Let’s take a look at what might be on the Brewers menu when other MLB GM's sit down to dine:
Cross your fingers on the health of the knee. Ramirez could draw some pretty decent returns, as he still has 1 year left on the existing contract. A team that grabs him, would obviously use him for their playoff push, but will have him for 2014. That being said, they might decide to deal him prior to the deadline next season, and if they don't, Ramirez could return a draft choice for them. But he would have to spend the entire season of 2014 with that club. Many options to obtain Ramirez for that team...but what's it worth? It might be a nice return for the crew.
This situation is a little more confusing, in that his health is a major concern. Would a team pony up much to get him, considering he has not played to date? The crew may have to gamble, offering him a qualifying offer. If he takes it, the Brewers are 'stuck' with him. If he does not, then compensation rules take effect. If he comes back to play a few weeks prior to the deadline, maybe a team will take a chance, but not likely.
With Yo under contract for next season, and an option for 2015, this could net the biggest return. If Melvin decides to take the next few seasons to 'rebuild', then does Yo NEED to be here? The return on Yo could be dramatic, and filled with more young rebuilding tools for the crew. There are 10 teams on his 'no trade' list to consider as well. This is maybe, the most interesting trade debate.
Again, 'if' Melvin is in re-build mode, then 2 of these 3 must go. Their value is pretty good right now. considering you pulled Henderson off the "scrap heap" as a veteran minor leaguer, Melvin needs to get something for Henderson, and in a strange justification, would be "free return" for him. The volatility of John Axford the past year may hurt his value, but the numbers certainly lately have increased any prospective trade value. A closer often times, is one of the final pieces of a rebuild plan. A $5 million 7th or 8th inning pitcher may not be worth it. Melvin should get something decent for Ax if the move is made. K Rod, on the other hand, is an interesting situation. He is indeed at the tail end of his career, and the crew should simply get what they can get, as soon as they can.
A veteran lefty specialist WILL warrant some trade value. What team WOULDN'T want him? His numbers look good, and an AA prospect is NOT out of the question. Potentially a 3rd base minor leaguer would be what I would look for.
A reliever that’s having a very good year that is under contract for next season. Probably a guy I would keep, and move him next season, but answer the phone on him. Melvin may get an offer he can't refuse.
Take what you can get, anything, any level of the minors. I doubt there is much value, considering his recent numbers, but we can always hope the crew gets something for him.
Money may have to be involved in an attempt to move Weeks. Melvin, if Weeks is in a specific trade conversation, will have to be included. It's not out of the question to move him for decent young talent, but my guess is that the crew would have to pay some of the salary the next year or so. Would be a dramatic move is Melvin pulls the trigger on such a fan favorite.
There is probably going to be some interest from other teams for Martin. However, with him under team control, I don't think he will be moved. He does have value, but he may have more value for the crew being Lucroy’s back up. He’s the insurance policy if Luc gets hurt. It would surprise me if he is moved.
Value here for sure. There is an option for next season, and it's a decent deal, but Logan Schafer is here, and could take over in right if needed. Melvin needs to ask himself if Nori is part of the future, and if the answer is no, then get a nice young prospect for him. I think he is worth that for sure, despite his age.
This could be a player that is a package deal. ONLY if there is a young 3rd Baseman involved. Watching the TV show 'Pickers', they like to "bundle" things together. Francisco would be part of a "bundle" move for Melvin. Young at 25, it's not a bad gamble to hang on to him either, just to see if it "clicks" with him. If it does, Melvin got a steal when he acquired him.
*As you can see above, Brewers GM Doug Melvin has options...and A LOT OF THEM! IF, and I said IF he decides to rebuild, he has the value to do it. If that happens, let’s all talk about it. Smile Milwaukee, the world Will Smile Back!!
Here we are on May 13, and the crew has just 1 win this month. YES, ONE win in the entire month. The 15-20 mark matches last year’s disappointing start. Is the season "snake bitten"? You tell me, I'll spell out the facts, and you make up your own mind. The following bullet points are displayed for inventory purposes, but who's keeping a list? Well...ME!
-I was hit in the head with a foul ball during spring training. Thanks to all who sent little stuffed animals, flowers, thoughts, and concerns.
-GM Doug Melvin was stung by a scorpion during spring training.
-Ron Roenicke fought a pretty bad cold during spring training.
-Ryan Braun's name popped up once again with the Bio Genesis PED story.
-Yovani Gallardo lost his mother during the off-season.
-Corey Hart has knee surgery, and will be out for at least 2 months.
-Mat Gamel is lost for the season with another ACL injury.
-Taylor Green starts the year on the DL, and is later lost for the year.
-Mark Rogers loses all sorts of velocity and command, and here in Mid-May, they are still trying to figure out what is wrong.
-Aramis Ramirez hurts knee during spring training, thus costing him playing time in which he wanted to play more during spring camp to limit his slow start history.
-A legitimate offer to free agent pitcher Ryan Dempster was turned down. Later he signs with Boston for similar offer.
-Roughly 12-13 players missed time during spring training to play in the WBC, including both catchers.
-Jeff Bianchi starts year on DL with hip injury.
-Ramirez is lost to the DL for knee injury, misses roughly a month.
-John Axford struggles, including a blown save on the opening day of the season.
-Ryan Braun misses the second series of the year with a neck strain, and the crew gets swept by Arizona.
-Chris Narveson hits the DL.
-Mike Fiers is sent to Nashville for struggling early.
-Brewers offense sets franchise record for 32 consecutive scoreless innings.
-Manager Ron Roenicke goes to hospital for a back issue.
-Tom Gorzelanny placed on DL with shoulder issues.
-A game 3 rain out in Chicago has the crew bussed back to Milwaukee because they could not line up a plane to get them to St. Louis.
-Alex Gonzalez misses time, twice, for injuries to hamstring, and being hit in the hand.
-Yovani gets arrested for suspected DUI.
-Kyle Loshe dislocated finger while running to first base.
-Jean Segura splits a fingernail during warm-ups, misses a game.
-Yovani loses velocity.
-Ricky Weeks gets off to a horrible start.
-Lucroy struggles offensively to start the year.
-The crew, as of this writing May 13, have won ONLY ONE GAME THIS MONTH!!!
-Starting pitchers, as a whole, is struggling as well in the month of May.
-Attendance has seen a marketable drop in 2013.
***The above list is in no particular order. Please feel free to notify me, on or off the air, if I have missed anything. Bad luck season? Snake bitten? Make up your own mind on this one. I, personally, am hanging in there. There is way too much talent on this team. It’s time to overcome all the challenges. As always, Smile Milwaukee, the World Will Smile Back!!
Now that the Brewers first month of the season is over, the "Digging Is Done"! After the 2-8 start, the Crew has dug themselves out of a hole and into a competitive situation. Certainly rattling off 9 victories in a row has helped, but the season has settled in, and the Brewers can move on from here. Starting pitching and the bullpen has stabilized, and now it's time to work on the offense. Injuries to both Corey Hart and Aramis Ramirez have hurt, but couple that with slow starts by Weeks, Lucroy and Braun and you find yourself in an unfavorable position.
Think about the line-up when healthy:
THIS line-up is scary for opposing pitchers. The crew needs to tread water until then, but the offense as is, CAN be better. Looks like a fun and competitive season is about to heat up. Smile Milwaukee, the World Will Smile Back!