PROGRAMMING NOTE: I've got some things to take care of this morning, so today's Frosty Mug will run this afternoon instead. In the meantime, here's the latest installment of Lesser Brewers. - KL
MVBrewers is a player-by-player look at the most valuable members of the 2012 Brewers, as voted on by you. Here's our top ten:
1. Ryan Braun
2. Aramis Ramirez
3. Yovani Gallardo
4. Corey Hart
5. Norichika Aoki
6. Jonathan Lucroy
7. Carlos Gomez
8. Zack Greinke
9. Marco Estrada
10: Mike Fiers
Honorable Mentions: Martin Maldonado, Rickie Weeks, Jim Henderson, Mark Rogers, Shaun Marcum, Wily Peralta, Jean Segura, Jose Veras, John Axford, Francisco Rodriguez
Lesser Brewers: Nyjer Morgan, Travis Ishikawa, George Kottaras, Randy Wolf, Logan Schafer, Kameron Loe
The series now continues with Lesser Brewers, to cover some of the remaining Brewers that we have not covered so far. This is the eighth installment in that segment. You can see all the player profiles in the Most Valuable Brewers 2012 section.
After a year of Yuniesky Betancourt at shortstop, it seemed like anything would be better. By May, though, things might actually have been worse.
2012 was Alex Gonzalez's 14th major league season, but also his shortest. On May 5 it looked like he had stabilized the Brewer shortstop position, as he was hitting .259/.326/.457 with four home runs and 15 RBI in his first 24 games. On that day against the Giants, though, he tore his ACL and was done for the year.
The move created something of a revolving door at the position: Cesar Izturis took over the next day and hit .241/.252/.355 before being dealt to Washington. Edwin Maysonet came up from the minors and appeared in 14 games there. Waiver claim Cody Ransom appeared in 36 games at short and actually led Brewer shortstops with 16 RBI. Jeff Bianchi came up from Nashville to hit .170/.200/.383 in 13 starts at the position.
The Brewers may have settled the position for the long term by acquiring Jean Segura in the Zack Greinke trade (and he finished second on the team with 43 games played at short), but the short term still remains cloudy. Ransom, Maysonet and Izturis have all moved on and Gonzalez is a free agent, leaving the Brewers no veteran options behind Segura. Jeff Bianchi is a clear internal option for a bench job, but don't be surprised if the Brewers bring Gonzalez or another veteran player in to provide some protection in case Segura struggles.
Gonzalez had a season-high three hits and four RBI on April 21 against the Rockies, finishing a triple shy of the cycle in a game the Brewers went on to win 9-4. Here are the highlights from his performance:
Gonzalez earned $4.25 million in 2012 but did not come to the plate enough times to vest his $4 million contract option for 2013. He's a free agent this winter.