Feb 18, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin speaks to the media during MLB media day at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Gold Star for Doug Melvin

Today, instead of blaming the General Manager we will offer praise. What better way to acknowledge someone than giving them a fake gold star? Doug Melvin is receiving a gold star for his moves last off-season.

After a very quiet start last off-season, Melvin and the Brewers made a series of moves that have had a direct impact on their success up to this point.

The Norichika Aoki for Will Smith Trade

I was not very familiar with Will Smith, but knowing Khris Davis deserved a chance, I liked the idea of giving Aoki an opportunity. I did not expect to receive a strong lefty with a 0.94 ERA after 28 innings with five years of control left. Smith is going to have his rough patches, but he isn’t going anywhere and could be part of the starting rotation sooner than later. Plus, Fresh Prince jokes for five years!

Bringing Back Francisco Rodriguez (K-Rod)

Many thought the closer job was Jim Henderson’s to lose, but Rodriguez won the job and was given an opportunity. What he did with that opportunity now has fans wondering what a proper extension would be to ensure we have K-Rod for more than just this year.

The Mark Reynolds / Lyle Overbay First Base Platoon

It’s hard to know how much was suave dealing and how much was luck. If any move was luck it was signing these two for next to nothing and expecting production. Reynolds (and Overbay to a lesser degree) has provided pop (13 HRs, 28 RBIs) in the lineup and pretty good defense. Reynolds can also play third (nice when your third baseman is often hurt). His WAR of 1.0 is already a great improvement over last year’s negative WAR at first. Did I mention his low salary?

Biggest Free Agent Signing Ever: Matt Garza

At least by dollars, Garza was the biggest signing ever. So far he has been average, posting 4-4 win/loss with an ERA over 4.00, but he continues to eat up innings (80 innings in 13 games) and is getting stronger. Not too mention how having Garza in the 3 spot strengthens 4 and 5 positions, giving the team one of the better five-man rotations in Brewer history.

I’m still shocked some of these decisions have worked, but am glad they have. Will Melvin make the right moves at mid-season? I sure hope so, if not I’m taking away his gold star.

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