Welcome to our second BCB mailbag where I answer all your burning questions.
Frequent Brew Crew Baller "drezdn" asks: You're in a desert, walking along in the sand, when all of a sudden you look down... Maybe you're fed up. Maybe you want to be by yourself. Who knows? You look down and see a tortoise, Derek. It's crawling toward you. You reach down and you flip the tortoise over on its back, Derek. The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can't. Not without your help. But you're not helping... I mean: you're not helping! Why is that, Derek?
First of all, what desert and why am I there? Second what's a tortoise. It's not important, I know what you mean. Third, what do yo mean I'm not helping! Let me tell you about my mother.
"drezdn" also asks: What free agents should the Brewers sign in hopes of flipping for prospects?
It's a good question. The Cubs were very successful doing this in recent years. They'd sign a player, usually a pitcher who was either undervalued or had been performing poorly. Then they'd try to fix that player and flip him at the deadline. The problem for the Brewers is that they don't actually have a lot of room for a player like that in the rotation. Matt Garza, Jimmy Nelson, Wily Peralta, and Taylor Jungmann have a lock on four of the five spots. Then there is Zach Davies who has the inside track on the final spot.
I'd actually recommend thinking of Garza as the type of player you hope to flip at mid-season. He was terrible this year. But his velocity remained strong for him. His peripherals didn't look to far off his career norms. Now either that means he's just a bad pitcher now in the vein of Edwin Jackson or it means he can still bounce back. If Garza can return to mid-rotation form he'll be sought after. His contract is very team friendly for a mid-rotation starter.
Outside of that I'd look for second basemen and third basemen in free agency. Maybe David Freese or Daniel Murphy. Though they'll probably require a 2-3 year deal they one of them could be worth picking up anyway. Getting a good deal on a reliever can lead to the type of trade you're talking about too. Though that usually yields less of a return.
"On_Wisconsin" asks: I know it's early but can we get a starting rotation prediction? And who might be on the trading block? The obvious ones like Lind/Davis/Garza but maybe Peralta? (If they think Nelson, Jungmann, Garza, Davies, Lopez?)
As I mentioned above I think Garza, Peralta, Nelson, and Jungmann are a lock. The fifth spot could be used for a number of different possibilities. I think the two strongest possibilities are simply plugging Davies in or getting a free agent with the intent of flipping him for prospects. My guess is the spot goes to Davies.
As for the trading block I agree that Lind, Davis, and Garza are most likely. Though I don't see Garza getting moved this winter because of his poor performance and the hissy fit he threw when he was removed from the rotation. I really don't think a guy like Peralta is going to be traded. The Brewers are trying to stock pile young talent not trade it. Even though his season was disappointing Peralta has 3 years of team control remaining and the talent to rebound into a mid-rotation starter. I think it's more likely the Brewers extend him than trade him.
Also, Jorge Lopez is almost certainly going to AAA Colorado Springs next year. Taylor Jungmann is evidence that while it might not help them statistically the elevation won't wreck the Brewers young pitchers. Pitching at AAA is an important step in the development of pitching prospects and the Brewers have said they won't be afraid to send them there.
"nullact" asks: Ever been to spring training?
Unfortunately I haven't. I have heard that the area around Maryvale kind of sucks though--like bad neighborhood style--and the parks can be far away from each other. So if you do go you should look into that and renting a car if you fly there.
"roguejim" asks: Maybe it's just me, but I feel Milwaukee is starting to get a reputation as a good team to play for. Not long ago, I think the Brewers used to be at the top of players' no-trade clauses. I wonder if that's changing, and why?
I can't say for certain but it does seem that way. One of the big things was signing guys like Jeff Suppan and Randy Wolf. We like to make fun of the Suppan signing but it signaled to the free agent world that Mark Attanasio was not a Selig and that he had money to spend.
I think it also helped that guys like C.C. Sabathia and Zack Greinke went on to sign big money deals after leaving Miller Park. I don't know if the perception extended to the athletes but in fandom Miller Park is always regarded as a home run park whether that's true or not. I wonder if perhaps that was off putting to free agent pitchers. Especially guys looking for those one year rebound deals.
One thing about no-trade clauses though. Sometimes a team is put on there because a player honestly doesn't want to play there. But a lot of times it's a bargaining tactic. Players will put teams on the list they think might be interested in traded for them at some point. Usually successful teams likely to be competing. That way if a trade does get started the player can ask for a bonus in waiving the no-trade clause.
Something like this happened with Jonathan Papelbon. He had a vesting option for next year at $13 million if he finished X more games. The problem was that any team that acquired him could just pitch him in the eighth inning all the time to avoid that. So he would only waive the no-trade if a team guaranteed his option year. That's what the Nationals did. Though instead of the $13 million he'll get $11 million.
AKBrewfan asks: Is any new album this year going to be better than the new Chvrches album?
I'm sorry. I have no Earthly idea who that band is or what kind of music they play. I can tell you I'm pumped that ELO put out a new album this year completely out of the blue. Also if you want to go the indie route you should check out "The History of Sheboygan Punk Rock." I have to be honest and let you know a lot of my friends have music on there, but it's a super rad album. One of those bands--The Jetty Boys--is playing a show on the 24th in Sheboygan which should also be rad. Go check it out if you can.
Okay I'm going to have to end it there. We're over a thousand words! Sorry if I didn't get to your question. You can always ask them again. I encourage everyone to ask away in the comment section, on Facebook, and/or on Twitter. This can only last as long as you ask those question after all! We'll be back next Friday with more, hopefully.