I woke up on Wednesday morning and it was just another normal hump day (not with ladies, kiddies, but rather a middling midweek day. Get your mind out the gutter, this is a family blog). I went to work, only 30ish minutes late, and had a cup of coffee. Then I checked out the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel website and the MLB Rumors website, as I do every day, and found some shock and awe news that would make G Dubs 43 blush (not really, but you get the analogy). Roster shenanigans were abound and I quickly stopped focusing on work to figure this out and discuss with my compadres. So jump with me and we’ll analyze your new look True Blue Brew Crew.
First, the Crew fired pitching coach Bill Castro. And I’m not going to lie, I have a little beef with that move. I understand the pitching staff is awful. In fact, it’s atrocious. Damn near dead last in almost every category and dropping with each 3-run bomb that my man Mark DiFelice gives up. Castro was the bullpen coach for 17 years. A loyal servant and good baseball man. You give him the promotion to pitching coach. You hand him Gallardo and four schmucks and expect what? The 1948 Boston Braves?? I legitimately wonder if Jeff Suppan could make the Wisconsin High School All-State First Team. Seriously. He throws 85 with some movement, has trouble with location and his slider isn’t good enough to scare anyone. Good high school players might rip this guy to pieces. Braden Looper only gets wins because the offense gives him 9 runs of support per start – and he still loses half the time. Manny Parra will be good – but he’s young and everyone knows you can’t development that consistency in half a season. But what’s done is done. He was replaced by Chris Bosio, a kinda sweet old major leaguer who played in the Mil. If we’re going that route though, I demand Ricky Bones or Mike Fetters. Mike Fetters was fuckin’ sweet.
In another move almost as surprising as firing Castro, the Crew sent starting shortstop and former All-Star J.J. Hardy and his fantastic soulpatch down to AAA Nashville. While this likely devastates the females of the 414, women down in Nashville have to be swooning. But fear not, because this is a 3-week demotion at the very longest. Hardy has been a mainstay in the lineup for almost five years, but he was having easily his worst season as a Brewer in 2009. There are plenty of reasons for this move. He was hitting .229 at the time of his demotion and he had been visibly losing confidence with each passing day. J.J. will have three weeks to relax in AAA ball, play every day without worrying about hurting the major league club and he will definitely return to the Brewers on Sept. 1 when the rosters expand to 40 players for the final month.
It also gives Milwaukee a chance to get an extended look at shortstop prospect/resident badass Alcides Escobar. He’s been one of the most highly touted prospects in the minors for a few years now, and he’ll get regular time at short until Hardy returns. Escobar is a great hitter, a wizard in the field and a terror on the bases. Lastly, and most shady of all, Hardy was 20 days away from accruing five years of MLB service time, at which point he’d be able to refuse a minor league assignment. And if a player spends those five years without going to the minors for 20 consecutive days, he retains all rights as a free agent after year five. The Sept. 1 callups? You guessed it. 20 days from Wednesday. So Hardy will lose much of his bargaining power when it comes to the end of his contract in 2011. Hey, we’re in tough times, but damn man, that’s bogus. Oh well, go sock some Nashville dingers and get your ass back up the bigs.
For shits and giggles, the Crew also designated Bill Hall for assignment (DFA for short). In layman’s terms, Hall has 10 days to accept the trip back to the minors. If he chooses not to go that route, the Brewers must trade or release him. And since Hall has an absurdly large contract for someone hitting .201 and in a 2-year long slump, a trade will not happen unless another general manager gets sloshed on tequila and Doug Melvin takes advantage. In all likelihood, Hall will be released. It is a monstrous hit on the Brewers’ salary cap, as they’ll still have to pay him, but they evidently find that option better than keeping Hall in the organization. So, sayanora, Big Monday Bill. It was a good ride. Albeit, a good ride filled with you whiffing at sliders low and away.
After all that action, the Brewers responded with fire and passion and …
What’s that? They lost to the Padres again? At home? Well, shit.