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Monday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while learning a new language.

Good morning and welcome to the offseason. The Brewers wasted no time getting going, as Ken Macha has already been informed he will not be retained for next season, according to Colin Fly of the AP (FanShot). Macha finished his Brewer career with a 157-167 record, a pair of third place finishes and one fake twitter account. Doug Melvin and Gord Ash helped Macha move out of his Miller Park office this morning. After that, Macha talked to Anthony Witrado one last time and discussed high expectations and his relationships with Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder.

Keith Law says it wasn't Macha's fault that this team didn't win, citing the lack of pitching. That's probably true, but the fact that the Brewer bandwagon had flat tires doesn't mean we should ignore the fact that the battery was also dead. Macha might land on his feet, though. There's already speculation that he'll be the next manager of the Pirates, who are expected to fire John Russell today.

So, moving forward, it's time to start considering possibilities for the job. Keep Turning Up the Heat! wants someone who will think outside the box. Bob Nightengale of USA Today has a list of potential first time managerial candidates, including former Brewer player and coach Ted Simmons.

Back on the field, the Brewers found a handful of ways to make yesterday's season finale interesting. Ryan Braun was pulled early for failing to run out a popup, Corey Hart was thrown out trying to steal home, and Lorenzo Cain picked up four hits to tie a career high.

If you're curious, here are the Brewer leaders in four hit games this season:

Player
Four hit games
Total games
Jim Edmonds
3
73
Ryan Braun
3
157
Lorenzo Cain
2
43
Casey McGehee
2
157
Rickie Weeks
2
160
Prince Fielder
1
161
Corey Hart
1
145
Carlos Gomez
1
97
Jody Gerut
1
32
Gregg Zaun
1
28

Other notes from the field:

  • Rickie Weeks was hit by a pitch Friday (tying the franchise record with 25) and Ryan Braun was hit Saturday, leaving the Brewers one plunking short of tying their franchise record. No HBP were delivered yesterday, however, so the record stands. Follow the links for more from Plunk Everyone.
  • Matt Maloney, Francisco Cordero and Jay Bruce are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
  • Here are the MLB.com video highlights.
  • With the loss, the Brewers finish the season in third place at 77-85, 14 games behind the Reds.

Prince Fielder went 0-for-4 yesterday in what might be his final game as a Brewer. After the game, he admitted it took him a while to adjust to the way he was being pitched this season. All told, his season turned around pretty nicely after his first 26 games:

Date
AVG
OBP
SLG
On May 4
.232
.361
.364
Since
.267
.408
.493

Corey Hart finished his season with a 3-for-5 day and his 34th double, driving in both Brewer runs to finish the season with 102 RBI. After the game he told The Official Site that he's pleased with his season and is looking forward to not having to worry about his contract status this offseason.

Looking back another day, Saturday's game featured one of the poorer instant replay decisions in recent memory, as a fan reached over the fence and hit Lorenzo Cain's glove while trying to catch a Jay Bruce fly ball. The umpires ruled it a home run on the field, then looked at replay and confirmed the decision. Wezen-ball has an animated gif of the event. Take a look and decide for yourself, but I think the fact that the umpires were given the benefit of an extra look and still got the call clearly wrong is mind-boggling.

Looking ahead, the Brewers now have some time on their hands to start working on their offseason decisions. Adam McCalvy reminds us that Dave Bush, Chris Capuano, Doug Davis, Trevor Hoffman and Gregg Zaun are expected to become free agents (the Brewers are expected to decline options for Davis, Hoffman and Zaun), and Todd Coffey, Kameron Loe, Carlos Villanueva, Manny Parra, Prince Fielder, Carlos Gomez, Joe Inglett and Rickie Weeks will be eligible for arbitration.

Trevor Hoffman told Tom Haudricourt he knows he won't be back with the Brewers, but will wait and see if the opportunity to close again presents itself. Hoffman will turn 43 in October.

Mark Rogers wasn't able to finish off the hitless debut season, but he was still pretty impressive (1.80 ERA, 11 K in 10 innings) this September. Jim Callis of Baseball America noted the relative rarity of Rogers' comeback from major shoulder surgery, and suggested him as a possible closer. Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar noted that Rogers' 126 innings this season were a career high, and predicts the Brewers will have him open 2011 in AAA where they can better control his workload.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Jeffress also had a pretty good debut month, allowing just three earned runs over ten innings with eight strikeouts. MLB Depth Charts listed him as one of their September Debuts That Could Stick.

Another day, another post mortem: Brewers Daily has End of Season Awards.

It's a BA-heavy day in the minors:

  • Baseball America's list of the top 20 prospects from the 2010 Midwest League is out and features just one Brewer: Pitcher Jake Odorizzi is #8.
  • Jim Callis of BA noted that the Midwest League has 16 teams, so there were a lot of prospects to consider.
  • BA has also shifted stances on Kyle Heckathorn a bit. Midwest League managers rated Heckathorn's changeup as the best in the league, but apparently scouts weren't as impressed. Chris Mehring wants to know when scouts saw him pitch. Heckathorn's strikeout numbers were a little low (90 in 124 IP), but he managed to keep his ERA under 3 and limit opposing batters to three home runs in 25 appearances, so it's hard to get too worried about it.
  • And BA also released their Classification All Stars: Brandan Katin and Mat Gamel made the AAA team, Odorizzi was the lone Brewer to make the squad from low-A and Cody Hawn represented the rookies.

If you weren't around this weekend, you might have missed this post from Noah taking a look at a change in Yovani Gallardo's release point that coincided with a relatively notable dip in his stats. It's worth a look.

Around baseball:

Astros: Are expected to exercise their club option for outfielder Jason Michaels, but will not exercise infielder Geoff Blum's option.
Diamondbacks: Are expected to remove the "interim" tag from manager Kirk Gibson.
Dodgers: Catcher Brad Ausmus retired following the season's final game.
Red Sox: Third baseman Mike Lowell retired following the season's final game.
Royals: Exercised their club option on outfielder David DeJesus, who will earn $6 million in 2011.

As one might expect, the Brewers make a fair number of appearances (but not many positive) in Jayson Stark's wrap-up of this seasons strangest moments.

So who are you rooting for this postseason? If you're still considering the options, I'd like to present this note for consideration: The Rangers display this while they're at the plate to keep fans from starting the wave.

Instead of stopping the wave at Target Field, the Twins are picking a fight with the Timberwolves over a sign they've displayed on the nearby Target Center.

It's possible a late nominee for "Injury of the Year" might actually be the best one: Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts will undergo a CAT scan this week to check for signs of a concussion. He's not sure exactly when the injury occurred, but acknowledges it's possible he did it by hitting himself in the helmet with his bat on Monday.

Piling on the Pirates is too easy but I couldn't let this note pass me by: Pittsburgh went 17-64 on the road this season, tying the worst road record in the 162 game era. They went 40-41 at home.

Today in sabermetrics: One of the challenges in using Wins Above Replacement (WAR) to evaluate players is the discrepancy between the inputs used to calculate the stat at FanGraphs and Baseball Reference. In a two part series, Dave Cameron of FanGraphs explains why his site uses FIP as an element in WAR for pitchers.

Happy birthday over the weekend to:

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to change.

Drink up.