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BCB Mailbag #15: Root, root, root for the underdogs

Have YOU any questions you want/need answered? How about some answers you want questioned??? Well go ahead and leave them in the comments and perhaps you get a present in next Friday's BCB Mailbag!

Tom Hauck/Getty Images

AKBrewFan remembers to ask, "I can't believe I didn't think to ask this last week, but what are the Brewers odds of winning the Cactus League title?"

Well after today's victory the Brewers are now officially 3-0 (UWM game doesn't count). So I think the odds are pretty squarely 1:1. There's no way they ever lose a Cactus Competition again! I did the mmath. (If you spell a word wrong it's technically not lying, right?)

jorgejuliomachado asks, "Do any of you have press passes to Brewers games?"

He he he. If you follow the BCB Twitter account you'll know why that's funny.

roguejim asks, "Since we're in full rebuilding mode now, what criteria are appropriate for determining if 2016 will be a successful season?"

This is an excellent question. I can't remember if I saw this before or after I made it the Fan Post Community Question, but I'll just assume I got the idea from you. Thanks! There were some excellent Fan Post responses which I encourage everyone to check out. We'll post some to the Front Page this weekend.

In my mind it'll be a good season if we see some progress from some of the younger players, including guys like Jimmy Nelson and Wily Peralta that have been with the club for a while; guys like Jonathan Villar and Rymer Liriano who are the post hype guys; and guys like Jorge Lopez and Orlando Arcia who are the up-and-comers.

I'd also like to see David Stearns make some more trades. But it's hard to decide what qualifies as a success in that arena. Some of the national sites did offseason grades for each team and they docked the Brewers points for not trading Lucroy and Smith. But what if they just weren't getting good offers? So I can't say the Brewers wouldn't be successful if they don't trade player X--though I do think they kind of have to trade Lucroy before the season ends or they'll have to sell pretty low, so maybe in this case it would be a failure. But if they don't trade Smith this year, it might mean they're waiting until the winter to maximize his trade value.

stigmo asks, "I won the drawing to buy Opening Day tickets this year. I couldn't be more excited. What should I do, grill, know, and look for to optimize the experience? Or is it just the same as a regular game, except extra special because it's the first one?"

I can't remember the last time I made it to opening day. Might have been last year or the year before, but I don't really remember the experience. That early in April it might be a bit too cold to tailgate. I mean, you certainly can. I've definitely done it. But you're going to want to dress warm and bring some extra layers for when you're just sitting around the parking lot.

I don't think the Brewers run any special promotions during the first game of the year. Maybe I'm wrong. I'd keep an eye out though. I know one year they were giving free samples of Miller Fortune--yes it's gross but it was free! So like any good Wisconsin resident of legal drinking age I went around the stadium getting free samples at every stand. I was feeling pretty all right by game time.

Snowdarc asks, "Let's pretend Braun, Lucroy,and Smith are all playing lights out at the deadline. Do you try to move them as a package, do you keep one of them to move in the offseason?"

I think Lucroy and Smith are probably too valuable to move together. We've been hearing reports that teams were already balking at the Brewers asking price for Lucroy--though that's probably other GM's using the media to play games. So I would look to move them separately to maximize the overall return.

Ryan Braun is a special case. Ignoring the PED suspension for the moment, the back and, to a lesser degree, the thumb remain pretty big questions. And those questions represent significant obstacles to any trade. But, by playing a full season and quelling those injury concerns Ryan Braun could solidify his trade value. If he gets traded I think it will be next offseason. Given his suspension and the size of the contract, the Brewers will always have to eat some money in the deal. But with another successful season I do think it will be possible to move Braun for real prospects.

I can't even guess what each might bring back in a hypothetical trade. Too many variables. But I think Lucroy probably has the most trade value, followed by Smith--perhaps closely if he can continue dominating in the first half, and finally Ryan Braun.

AKBrewfan asks, "There's a new Master of Orion game coming out. Will it be nearly as good as MOO2? Will it be nearly as terrible as MOO3?"

I actually have never played a Master of Orion game. I know something about them though. And I've heard from those whose opinions I trust that this new game is pretty solid, and at the very least better than MOO3. But I don't have any first hand info to provide. Am I mistaken that this new MOO game is an early access title? I'm not the biggest fan of early access. Too easy for a developer to fail to finish a game or release a broken game and never fix it. Not saying that's happening or will happen here. Just do your due diligence before buying.

Has anyone played "The Last Federation"? Bought it while back based on a review I read. Haven't played it yet. It's sort of a space 4X game.

ThatOneGuy1337 asks, "How do you feel about Pokémon's 20th anniversary?"

Old. I feel old! But if Nintendo is doing something special for the anniversary I'm unaware. I heard they announced a new one. But I haven't played a Pokemon game since Red and Blue. Had tons of fun though.

Jeo asks, "Who will be this years Notsay, Noverbay ect? The person BCB hates all year (in addition to Yuni) warranted or not."

I'm not sure. Maybe Garza because of the way things ended last year? It'll be interesting to see how things play out since we know they're rebuilding and therefore not really attempting to compete.

SANDYTOLAN asks, "If the Astros make a move for Lucroy, would they be willing to part with AJ Reed?"

We discussed this a bit in the comments because I forgot where I was. But to me, a guy like AJ Reed could come up mid-season for the Astros and have an impact. Then start for them for the next 6 years, potentially providing 3+ WAR for them every year. As good as Lucroy is, I don't think a team would part with a guy like that.

Same goes for Lucas Giolitio with the Nationals, Joey Gallo with the Rangers, and Blake Snell with the Rays. Talent that good and that close to the majors typically doesn't change hands. You suggested adding Will Smith to the deal, but I don't think that would change things enough for those teams. Also, even if they were open to that deal, it might be the wrong move to burn the two best trade pieces in one transaction. You might have to settle for a bit less upside in a single prospect, but trading them separately might net the Brewers 6-8 good prospects. I think spreading the net that wide is worth the trade off in ceiling--and they'd still get at least one really good prospect in each deal.

From Twitter:

Depends on who you ask, but I think they'll call him up this year and probably around June. I've seen some suggest he won't play much at all this year, so the Brewers can further manipulate his service clock so that they'd have six years starting in 2018 instead of 2017. But for that to work they'd have to hold him down until the Super 2 cutoff passes in 2017. Which means they'd have to wait until May of 2017. That seems too extreme to me. He's 100% ready defensively. And he might be pretty close to ready offensively. Keeping him down for a year longer than they need to seems counter production. So yeah, barring any setbacks I think June is a good estimate.

Maybe? I'm not entirely certain. Reports I've read suggest he might be able to handle it defensively. Even if we are just talking about fringe average (45) defense I think it would be worth it to try. But I am worried the Brewers don't see him as a center fielder. If they don't though, I'm not sure what chance he has to really figure things out in a part time role. This is the "position battles" I'll be following closest this spring.

A golden retriever of course. They can teach it to fetch people beers. It'll be awesome.

I saw McCalvy tweet something about Counsell looking at Jonathan Villar leading off. I'd be fine with that. There aren't a lot of great options right now so I'm not worried about optimization--which generally doesn't change things all that much anyway. But the reason why I'd be cool with Villar leading off is because it means he'd get a ton of plate appearances which is exactly what a guy like him--and Rymer Liriano--need if they're ever going to figure things out at the major league level--if they ever do at all.

I think those are both great options. Domingo Santana has the chance to be Khris Davis with above average defense. If you know how much I like Davis, you'll know that's a compliment. I think Corey Knebel has the chance to be the Brewers best reliever. He's moved quickly since being drafted and could really take off in what will be his first full season at the major league level. Villar and Liriano could take off too. Maybe Cecchini if he gets a chance. And I'm interested to see what Chase Anderson does and if he can maintain his velocity gains. Really, if you're okay with watching some losing baseball, there's still a lot to look forward to this year. It's fun rooting for underdogs.