Jeff Bianchi bunting. Pretty much sums it up. Photo: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Today it was reported, by multiple outlets, that the Brewers had agreed to bring back Alex Gonzalez to sure up the infield. This news was met with both positive and negative fan reactions. Many Brewers fans began to wonder if this meant that Jean Segura would be going back to the minors, while others wondered if Gonzalez could be a complete utility infielder like Jerry Hairston was during our 2011 playoff run. The answers to those questions seemed pretty straight forward, Jean Segura is the starting shortstop and Gonzalez has never played any position other than shortstop in his MLB career. There was one question that kept coming up that peaked my interest: What would become of Jeff Bianchi? And people were really upset about it, let me try and put this into perspective for those of you out on the ledge.
What’s really amazing about this is, many of you will have absolutely no idea who I am talking about…
Jeff Bianchi was drafted in 2005 by the Kansas City Royals. In 2010 he had Tommy John surgery on his throwing arm, which lead to his eventual designation for assignment. Then the Cubs scooped him up for a grand total of 32 days, before he was again designated for assignment. The Brewers grabbed him and plugged him into the minor league system for some infield depth. He made his major league debut last July as a member of the Brewers(wearing #14) and was not anything terribly special. Bianchi is the perfect example of “potential” clouding people’s judgement of his talent. Yes, the kid shows flashes of offensive prowess. Yes, he can play multiple positions. But is he a future starter? Nope. Is he ever going to start for the Brewers? Not a snowballs chance in hell.
The Brewers claimed Bianchi off of waivers from the Cubs, Casey McGehee style. Only this time we didn’t get the same bang for that buck. Bianchi only saw the batters box 76 times and hit a saucy .188 in those opportunities. Actually…that is pretty close to what we got from Casey McGehee towards the end there.
So for those of you who seemed to be really bummed out, let me put your minds at ease.
YES. This is the end of the Jeff Bianchi era in Milwaukee. Had he chosen to stick around for Spring Training, rather than running off to play in the World Baseball Nobody Gives A Crap, (For Italy!! I might add) he might have had a 5% chance. Now, if he had another minor league option or two, there would be no need to even write this article. Since Jeffy B made his MLB debut this past season, we could control him for another couple of years. Sadly (for some of you), he can only remain a Brewer if he is on the MLB roster and that just isn’t happening now.
As you can probably tell by my tone in this article, I could not possibly care less. No seriously, try me. Alex Gonzalez is a better player, who brings a veteran presence and some more leadership tot his fairly young team. Any of you who are crying over this turn of events, why don’t you lobby Bianchi to stay state side and give himself a chance of staying in Milwaukee. Otherwise, let it go. It was fun while it lasted, but I promise you that by this time next year you will be sitting with your buddy at a bar saying, “Whatever happened to Jeff Bianchi?”. And the odds are, neither of you will know and you will both let it go. Or you will whip out your smart phones, only to find out he is sitting in baseball limbo without any more options and no team willing to invest a major league contract in a guy who can’t hit at the major league level.
Players come and go every day in major league baseball. I will guarantee you, right now, that there will be a new “Jeff Bianchi” this season. Just like there is every season. My guess, is that it will be either Caleb Gindl in the outfield, or Scooter Gennett at 2nd base. But I will hold off talking about those two gentlemen. That is another article for another day.
Say your goodbyes Brewers fans. If you are foolish enough to watch the “World Cup of America’s Past Time”, you can say Buongiorno as he starts at shortstop for team Italy. And for the record, he was born in Pennsylvania.