Brewers Anti-Hot Stove: The Veteran Invitees

Jeremy Hermida

swings so hard that even the bats tap out. Photo: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last 7 days, the Brewers bulked up the pitching staff by adding Matt Garza.  A lot has been written about him and the impact he will have on the Brewers in 2014.  That is why I have chosen NOT to write about him today, but rather on some of the older gents who will not make the squad.

For those of you coming in late, the Brewers Anti-Hot Stove was designed for me to air out my dirty laundry on Brewers signings.  Unfortunately, this segment had to be pulled due to a lack of activity.  In fact, this is only the 3rd one since it’s inception and the 2nd one shouldn’t even count because it was about a player we ended up not signing.  So you could call this the 2nd official Anti-Hot Stove article.

I have 5 players to talk about.  Won’t you join me?

Mark Reynolds – I have already touched on this signing and made my feelings fairly clear, but here is a re-cap: Reynolds is just a right-handed Juan Francisco with better defensive skills.  Terrible signing.  Would be stunned if he actually makes the club out of Arizona.  And if he does…I hope we all like strikeouts.

Lyle Overbay – Nostalgia is cool and everyone likes it…to a point.  This signing seems pretty silly since Juan Francisco already exists.  My only real problem with Overbay is his age.  Do we really need a guy who can barely walk, running the bases?  Yes, he is a doubles machine.  Yes, he can provide us with a nice insurance policy in case Francisco poops the bed.  But this signing reeks of nostalgia and that just does not fly with me.

Jeremy Hermida – This signing would have been really exciting to me if this was 2008.  In 2007, Hermida looked like he was going to be an All-Star outfielder.  A guy so powerful, that his coaches instructed him to swing more and take less walks.  In the end, that advice may have been the downfall of his career because it never got much better after that 2007 campaign.  Hermida is one of only 4 MLB players in history to hit a Grand Slam in his very first career at-bat.  Last year he spent the entire summer in the minor leagues for the Indians.  This signing is beyond pointless.  We already have a huge log-jam in the outfield, as guys like Caleb Gindl and Logan Schafer vying for more playing time.  Hermida’s best bet to make an MLB roster is as a DH on an American League team.  Once again, the Brewers have spent money to bring in a player to do nothing more than eat a few games during Spring Training.  (insert sarcasm for the next two sentences) Woo hoo.  Get those World Series tickets now!

Joe Thurston – Who cares what position this guy plays?  He is basically the Matt LaPorta of the Dodgers.  In 2001, he was the Dodgers minor league player of the year as well as Baseball America’s AAA player of the year.  That season was the high point of his career.  During the 2009 season he platooned all over the field for the Cardinals, so that is why some of you will recognize this name.  The Brewers will be the 9th team he has played for in his 11 year “career”.  The only thing that is interesting about Thurston is that he can play any position that is not pitcher or catcher.  Outside of that, I imagine the Brewers are hoping they make a Lifetime movie about his career and his time with the Brewers is an integral part to his story.  Maybe his wife leaves him, or he falls in love with the Arizona desert.  I don’t know, luckily I don’t write for the Lifetime channel so it is not my problem.  This signing is just another waste of time and money.  Ah, what do I care? I will probably have forgotten this signing entirely by June.

Pete Orr – This is the crown jewel of the Brewers “Turd Tiara”.  Pete Orr is the journeyman’s journeyman.  You are talking about a guy who can play almost any position, has little to no power, and has been able to hang around the league for the past decade.  What I do like about this deal, is that Orr was not guaranteed a trip to Spring Training.  This is smart because it means the Brewers know their limitations when it comes to trying to resurrect players careers every…single…season.  If nothing else, Orr could be a nice guy to have as part of the Triple-A organization.  Perhaps take on a mentorship role with some of the guys aspiring to play for league minimum and to get 2 or 3 AB’s a week.  So I guess he will be mentoring no one…another waste of money.

Just for fun, I had my buddy give me some Las Vegas odds on these guys making the Brewers out of Spring Training.  He has a gift for this sort of thing.

Mark Reynolds – 5:2 odds   (this is sad news indeed)

Lyle Overbay – 7:1 odds

Joe Thurston – 15:1 odds

Jeremy Hermida – 25:1 odds

Pete Orr – 50:1 odds (He said if it was his book, he would probably fo even higher on this one. No invite to ST makes it almost impossible to make the club)