Feb 26, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Mat Gamel (24) during photo day at Maryvale Baseball Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Is Mat Gamel Finished as a Milwaukee Brewer?


If there’s a baseball player with worse luck than Mat Gamel, I have yet to find him.

The Brewers first baseman is set to miss the 2013 season after tearing his surgically repaired anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee for the second consecutive year, which brings up a thought-provoking question: Are his days in Milwaukee coming to an end?

Gamel, 27, has yet to reach his full potential as a major league ballplayer and is on the verge of following the dangerous path of Matt LaPorta – another former top Brewers prospect who failed to transfer his minor-league game to the next level. Gamel owns a career .304 batting average with 105 home runs and 503 RBI’s across seven minor league seasons. However, his major league stats tell a different story. In 106 games, he has produced an inexcusable .229 batting average and has 27 fewer hits than strikeouts.

To be fair, Gamel was never given a chance to be an everyday player until the departure of Prince Fielder in 2012. But when his opportunity arose, an unforseen ACL tear squashed it after only 21 games. The same goes for 2013 – another shot to prove his capabilities, another knee letdown.

Milwaukee will have a difficult decision on their hands, a decision that will be made easier if they re-sign free agent-to-be Corey Hart. If Hart returns in 2014, Gamel would either be waived or placed on the bench, occasionally filling in at first base and in the outfield. Hunter Morris would then become his main competition, which would make Gamel the underdog. The young first base prospect has the tools to be what Gamel and LaPorta never were; successful. Another scenario the Brewers may attempt is to dangle him as trade bait and see if any teams bite. There has to be at least one general manager who still has faith in him.

Gamel will have to start from square one after re-tearing his ACL. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Gamel, who is making somewhere around $500,000 this season, will be arbitration eligible at the end of the year, but don’t be surprised if the Brewers refuse to offer him a contract. Although he will come at a very low cost, Doug Melvin may still not be willing to pay him anymore than they already have, since they have yet to get the bang for their buck (not to mention Morris will be even cheaper).

Mat Gamel’s career as a Milwaukee Brewer may be coming to an end, due to lack of production and a whole bunch of bad luck. His potential is still there, but I for one, am sick of waiting for it to show up. Hopefully with Hart stationed at first and Morris in the wings, I won’t have to bide my time much longer.

 

Would you like to see Mat Gamel back with the Brewers in 2014? Leave comments and questions below! Follow Justin and @ReviewngTheBrew on Twitter. Be sure to like us on Facebook, too.

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Tags: Corey Hart Hunter Morris Mat Gamel Milwaukee Brewers

  • http://twitter.com/william92371 William Gregory

    I think giving up on Mat would be foolish. Everything is predicated on his being able to make a recovery from what is now his second ACL tear, but if he can get healthy, he’d at the very least be a nice left handed bat with some pop off the bench next season. Outside of Hunter Morris, who might now get an extended look for first base during spring training, and maybe Scooter Gennett as a utility infielder, there’s nobody else in Nashville or Huntsville that is really pushing their way to the Major League level.

    Give him a chance to rehab (this time preferably with the team trainers), and give him one more chance.

    • Justin Schultz

      Thanks for the comment. You bring up a good point about how there’s really nobody pushing their way to the Majors, but time has to got be running out for Gamel.