Introducing your Nashville Sounds 1st baseman….wait, it’s your Nashville Sounds 3rd baseman, Mat Gamel. These days it’s hard to keep track, and makes me wonder what, exactly, is Mat Gamel’s role with the Nashville Sounds and the Milwaukee Brewers? When Spring Training camp broke, Gamel appeared to be the Nashville Sounds everyday 1st baseman, and the answer to the question “who will replace Prince Fielder after the 2011 season?” (Let’s face it, retaining Fielder is a dream that most likely won’t come true). Barring a trade or acquisition for a 1st baseman, Gamel would be a logical choice.
Gamel began the season with the Nashville Sounds as the everyday 1st baseman, and has played well at that position. In 62 games, he’s committed 8 errors (1 in every 13 games). Considering this is his first year as the starting 1st baseman, that’s not too bad; of course with time, I would expect the errors to go down as he becomes more comfortable in that position. However, I’m not sure how that’s going to happen, now that he has moved over 3rd base. (The switch occurred after Gamel was sent back down to Nashville after the Minnesota series). Now I’m left to wonder if he is our future 3rd baseman….
As many would speculate, Gamel’s switch to 3rd base is due to the slump that (Casey) McGehee has been enduring this season. (It’s only a slump fans, and McGehee has shown signs that there may an end in sight). Gamel does have experience as a Major League 3rd baseman, but not a positive one. In 2009, he committed 7 errors in 27 games fielding 3rd base at the Major League level. Of course, this was probably due to his inexperience and, possibly, age at the time (he was a mere 24 years old). I believe he was rushed in ’09 due to the lack of production from (Bill) Hall and the eventual injury of (Rickie) Weeks. Could he be ready now? Am I to speculate that Gamel is now the future 3rd baseman for the Brewers, which leaves me to wonder what will happen once Fielder is gone? Does Gamel get switched again? Or, and I’m reaching here, could Gamel become the next (Craig) Counsel, a versatile infielder?
Whatever the Brewers front office decides to do with Gamel, they should make a decision sooner, rather than later. Moving him from position to position could possibly leave him in the minors longer than he deserves to be. Pick a position, whether it’s 1st or 3rd, and let him excel in that position. I, as a fan, am ready to see Gamel as an everyday player in the Majors. Not just a “call-up” for interleague play and the final month(s) of the season.