Alex Gonzalez looks good at Shortstop…too bad he is a first baseman now. Photo: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Welcome to a new segment I am calling…Lou’s Brewers Banalities. If you are not sure what exactly a banality is, it is just a fancy way of saying “old news” or “cliché”. Essentially, once a month I am going to lay out a couple of Brewers issues or topics that may be a little played out, but then I will give them my spin. I have been told that my spin is sometimes stupid, uneducated, and even immature. Be that as it may, with ST winding down there are some things I want to address. If you can stomach my nonsense a few times a month, this should be no different.
Banality #1 – The starting rotation
I have no issue with the rotation Roenicke has rolled out (Gallardo, Estrada, Peralta, Narveson, and Fiers). These are the 5 guys who should be starters. You could argue for Mark Rogers…although I am not sure how at this point. After watching Fiers get vaporized yesterday against the White Sox, I do have some concerns about the back end of the rotation. Gallardo, Estrada, and Peralta are all going to win at least 12 games this season. I have seen enough of them this spring to know that they will be a solid front end group. Chris Narveson and Mike Fiers have not done enough this March to make me feel comfortable about their upcoming season. Sure, Narvs looked pretty solid on Wednesday (a perfect game through 4.2 innings) but how well is that elbow going to hold up over a 5 month season? We also need to keep in mind that Chris’ best season is a 12-9 record, paired with a sophisticated 4.99 ERA. On the other side of the coin, Fiers has not looked good at all. I watched yesterdays “game” (if you want to call it that) and he was awful. Not just kind of bad, like if Jeff Suppan and Francisco Rodriguez had a kid. His control was nowhere to be found, he had as much velocity as a grapefruit used in a slow pitch softball game, and when he did get a pitch over the plate it went home with a fan. As of this morning, he is sporting a lethargic 6.98 ERA with a 2-1 record. In hindsight, last spring Fiers posted an 11.25 ERA…so he is improving…I guess. The fact remains that we have all been concerned about the starting rotation since the end of last season, in my mind…there is no reason to be any less scared today.
Banality #2 – The Bullpen
Let me start by saying that if Donovan Hand is not in that bullpen on Opening Day, just because Mark Rogers is out of options…I am going to be Django pissed off. In 11 innings of work, Hand has given up 0 runs on 7 hits, 4 K’s and a walk. Meanwhile, Rogers has a 7.50 ERA in just 6 innings of work, paired with 10 walks. 10 WALKS!!!! That is just shy of 2 walks per inning. Regardless of how talented the guy is, why would you put him in your bullpen over a guy like Hand? I am sorry, but if Mark Rogers was going to be a major league pitcher it would have happened by now. There are too many young pitching arms potentially going to waste. That’s right, I…Louis Charles Olsen do not believe that Mark Rogers is, nor will he ever be, a major league talent. If I were a betting man, RRR’s bullpen will look something like this: John Axford, Burke Badenhop, Michael Gonzalez, Jim Henderson, Brandon Kintzler, and Mark Rogers. In my moderately humble opinion, Josh Stinson or Mr. Hand are both undeniably better options for the bullpen than Rogers is. If you want the bullpen to be better than it was in 2012, keep Rogers out and put Stinson and Hand in. End of conversation.
Banality #3 – First Base
What can I say about this position that hasn’t already been said about “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters”…it’s so sad that you can’t help but laugh. Losing Corey Hart and then Mat Gamel, really threw a major wrench into this Spring Training. First we thought Hunter Morris was the answer, he was awful…so he is back to the minors. Then we considered Bobby Crosby, cut. Now we are looking at Alex Gonzalez, who has never started a game at 1st base in his life until this ST. We are also looking at platooning two catchers at first base, Martin Maldonado and Blake Lalli. The problem with this scenario is that…we have no true 1st baseman. If Corey Hart does not heal the way we are hoping, this could turn into one of the biggest blunders in franchise history. Both Maldonado and Lalli have been able to adapt to the position (although both have only played there in 2 games), but Gonzalez has played 8 games there and is getting noticeably more comfortable. This poses the question, “will Gonzalez be able to fill that void every day?” The answer is no. You see, the Brewers also have no infield depth. Inevitably, Marty and Blake will be platooning as the back-up first baseman and back-up catcher. In the past, the Brewers have carried 3 catchers on the roster and it kind of worked out. This is obviously a horse of a more purpley tone. While this arrangement could work out beautifully, until we start wearing our sunglasses at night again (see what I did there? It was a reference to that other Corey Hart guy), it could also be one of the biggest debacles since the Gagne experiment.
Banality #4 – Lack of Sweet Brewers Hats
This is something unrelated to the team itself, but something I found frustrating none the less. I recently thought that I had lost my Brewers hat. Before you say, “quit being such a puss Lou and get a new one”, you have to understand that this was a one of a kind hat. In the two years since I received it as a Birthday present, I have not seen one like it. Nor can I find it on-line to re-purchase it. Since I believed it lost in the black-hole of my new house, I began looking for a new one. Aside from the Youniform winner design (The Barrelman), there are no unique or exciting Brewers hats. It is either the new logo, the mb glove logo, or the horrific Richie Sexson/Jeff Cirillo era hats. This is unacceptable. Just because we are quite possibly the smallest market team, does not mean that we should be banished from having an awesome variety of ball caps!! Luckily for me, I found my hat just yesterday. When we have our “RtB Brewers weekend getaway” there will be plenty of pictures of me in this hat and then you will all understand, but what about those poor souls who crave unique one of a kind apparel? Are they doomed to baseball hat purgatory? We aren’t the Red Sox…and have only had one logo for 100 years. We are the Brewers damn it!!! And we have had many, many, many logos.