The Brewers signed former Braves outfielder Brooks Conrad on Saturday. It is a minor league deal, in which he will be competing for the role of Mark Kotsay. This is a low stress gig for Conrad. Brooks had a really good thing going in Hotlanta. Gained a reputation for hitting game winning homers. The guy was the toast of the town going into the 2010 postseason, but then…the incident changed everything.
This signing is nothing more than the Brewers trying to add a little more depth, while keeping it on the cheap. I will always applaud moves like this. We also need to keep in mind that the Brewers have a quota to meet on players past their prime. Conrad is a 31 year old journeyman, who only has 330 career AB’s. Not really what I would look for in a solid utility player, but K-Rod went and fluffed up the original plan, so this signing is acceptable.
There are two things that I know about Brooks Conrad and they completely off-set each other. Both have lead me to declare my Neutrality for this signing.
1) Brooks Conrad was famous for late inning heroics during his time in Atlanta. In the 7th inning or later, he is a career .300 hitter with 7 HR’s. Most famously, a walk-off Grand Slam against the Reds (video above). Last season he had 3 late inning HR’s for the Braves. Brooks Conrad has been one of the most clutch pinch hitters in baseball for the past two seasons. Every time you heard his name on SportsCenter, it was for a late inning home-run or game winning hit. Brooks Conrad is the definition of a power hitter. With all that power comes a great deal of strikeouts. They are a package deal with Conrad. Let’s just say, he strikesout more than he makes contact…and leave it at that.
2) He made 3 errors in a playoff game. Just one game. Not like the entire series, one game. Somewhere in Kansas City, Yuniesky Betancourt is laughing his fool head off. I remember watching that game and feeling so awful for that guy. It probably weighed very heavily on him in 2011 and lead to his decision to come to Milwaukee. Atlanta fans were never able to let go of that anger towards him. He can have that burden lifted off of his shoulders in Milwaukee. I mean, look at what we have done with T-Plush. While we will all be aware of his little incident, we need to just let it go. It’s in the past, we have a Mark Kotsay skeleton in our closet too.
This signing does not excite me or irritate me. I have heard that Conrad is an amazing locker room guy, and you gotta like that. Worst case scenario, he doesn’t make the team. If that happens, I will lose approximately no sleep over it. However, if he makes the team, it might be nice to have some late inning mojo from a pinch hitter. Man, when was the last time we had one of those?
Spring Training starts in about a month, so I like that the team is still making moves. I would also like to see a pitcher or two signed to minor league deals. The bullpen is still very weak, in my opinion. So any options the team has to add an arm or two, they should take.
Some circles of the baseball community, believe that the market for Prince Fielder is shriveling. These same people believe that Prince could return to the Brewers and hit the market again next year. The Cubs and Mariners appear to be out of the Prince Fielder race. There has been no word from Washington Nationals camp, so negotiations must be on-going. If Prince came back for 2012…think of the possibilities. With Ramirez, Braun, Fielder, Hart, and Weeks in the same lineup, the Brewers would undoubtedly be World Series favorites. But, I can’t let my cart get in front of the horse…whatever that means. It’s nice to imagine though.