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Milwaukee Brewers: Buyers Or Willing to Sell Prince Fielder at Trade Deadline?

With the Milwaukee Brewers starting to turn things around over the past few weeks,their recent performance brings up an interesting question: Will the Brewers be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline?

The worst part about their turnaround is the fact that they are still nine and a half games back of the first place Cincinnati Reds and nine games back of the wild-card leading-Mets.

Unless the Reds or Mets have a two-week collapse, it looks like the Brewers will almost certainly be sellers at the trade deadline.

The other question is who will they put on the trade block? Rumors say that teams have inquired about Carlos Villanueva and Todd Coffey, but will they put big trading chips like Corey Hart and Prince Fielder on the block?

With the way Prince Fielder has swung the bat lately (11 homers since the beginning of June), now might be the best time to trade Prince. He has given little indication that he will re-sign with the team after next year and teams like the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and San Francisco Giants would almost certainly be interested.

The Giants have enough pitching that they could afford to deal a Madison Bumgarner or Jonathan Sanchez.

With the way the Brewers pitching staff has performed this season (4.83 ERA, fourth worst in the majors), they would have to accept a deal with one of the young, up and coming starting pitchers.

Fielder would definitely bring in more than Corey Hart in a trade and if they trade Prince, they could move Corey Hart back to his natural position of first base or bring up Matt Gamel to man first.

Either way, it looks like guys like Hart, Fielder, Jim Edmonds, Coffey, Trevor Hoffman and Villanueva are movable trading pieces. If they get an offer with some young starting pitching, they have to take the deal.

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Milwaukee Brewers’ Home/Road Splits Is Strange Brew

The Milwaukee Brewers are one of the toughest teams to figure out in the league. Some games they will have a mix of great pitching and hitting, other times they will have great hitting and terrible pitching, and for some games neither the hitting nor the pitching shows up.

Their record is 11-19 at home and 17-18 on the road. Why are the Brewers so much better on the road than at home?  They have played better at home as of late, but can anybody fathom how the Brewers lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates at home last month? They have now won two in a row and have taken a series from the Los Angeles Angels at Anaheim, but nobody knows how the next week will go.

I think it’s safe to say that the Brewers will keep Corey Hart if he keeps his hitting up. Hart has almost carried the team at times and now has 17 homers, 47 RBIs, 30 runs, and is batting .263. I don’t think the Brewers will wave the red flag yet if they think they can get right back in it. Prince Fielder probably isn’t going anywhere this year either, and is now starting to heat up, with six homers in June.

Their pitching and hitting has been too inconsistent. It’s all about getting timely hits, which they have done the last two games, but they couldn’t get them on Saturday or Sunday. When the Brewers are patient and getting timely hits, they usually win the game, but when they don’t, they tend to struggle.

The best thing the Brewers have going for them is that the NL Central is wide open right now.  The Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals have failed so far to take advantage of the Brewers struggles. If they can string together a few more series wins then they can get right back in it.

The bottom line is that the Brewers have to improve their record at home. They used to be one of the toughest teams to beat at home, but for some reason they have struggled so much this year at Miller Park.

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Is Randy Wolf the Next Jeff Suppan?

A bad as Jeff Suppan was for the Brewers, it seems that Randy Wolf has been just as bad. Some people criticized Doug Melvin for Wolf’s three-year, $29.75 million contract, but the team was so desperate for pitching and the market was so bleak that he felt like he had to sign him.

Does this story seem familiar?

Back in 2006, the Brewers were also desperate for starting pitching since Ben Sheets was their ace, much like Yovani Gallardo is today. The market was terrible, so it seemed like Suppan was the best guy the Brewers could get. Suppan had an incredible post-season for the St. Louis Cardinals, so it looked like he would at least give the Brewers another solid starter in the rotation, right? Wrong.

The same thing has happened with Randy Wolf. Wolf has had a career much like Suppan. He has bounced between several teams and has a career ERA of 4.18. He hasn’t had back-to-back solid seasons since 2001-2003. He has never been a guy that batters fear before they step in the box.

Much like Suppan, the Brewers signed Wolf when he was clearly out of his prime. He had a fluky contract year for the Dodgers, pitching in the light-hitting NL West and in a pitcher’s ballpark. He is also 33 years old.

It’s hard to blame Melvin for signing Wolf since they had no reliable starter after Gallardo, but this already looks like a bad signing, and there is no turning back on this contract now.

Even if they wanted to trade Wolf, I doubt there would be many takers. He almost had as many walks as strike-outs with 49 Ks to 39 walks. Not many teams would be interested in that.

Just more bad luck for general manager Doug Melvin as he turns his attention to possibly trading Prince Fielder and Corey Hart to try and gain some kind of young starting pitching. Melvin is also trying to get anything he can for guys like Dave Bush and Doug Davis.

Good luck Mr. Melvin.

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Brewers’ Casey McGehee Punishes Cubs Once Again

You think the Cubs regret letting Casey McGehee go?

All McGehee has done since the Cubs released him is drive in 111 runs and hit close to .300. He’s also driven in six runs in six games against them this year alone.

The Brewers caught lightning in a bottle when McGehee became available to them after the Cubs put him on waivers. He was never known as a top prospect. He was a career minor-leaguer before hitting it big with the Brewers.

Milwaukee was in much need of a third baseman after Bill Hall and top prospect Mat Gamel struggled last year. McGehee delivered. He hit .301 with 16 homers and drove in 66 runs to end 2009.

What has McGehee done as an encore this year? In 55 games, he’s driven in 45 runs, tied for the NL lead with Troy Glaus. He also has nine homers, is hitting .290 and has scored 29 runs.

Last night, the Cubs were up 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth.

Carlos Marmol had a rare messy outing.

He hit Rickie Weeks to lead off the inning. He got lucky when Carlos Gomez popped up a bunt for the first out. Weeks stole second base. Prince Fielder walked. Ryan Braun grounded out, but it moved the runners up to second and third. Casey McGehee stepped up to the plate.

McGehee did what he always does: hit in the clutch.

McGehee hit a seeing-eye single up the middle and drove home Weeks and Fielder for the win.

While McGehee is driving in runs and getting clutch hits, Aramis Ramirez was struggling and is now on the disabled list.

The Cubs could sure use McGehee right now. One has to wonder where the Brewers would be this year without him.

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MLB Fantasy Baseball: Buy Atlanta Braves Closer Billy Wagner

Now is the time to try and acquire a big bat or pitcher before they take off. Now is the time to sell players that are on hot streaks before they cool off. At the end of each month, fantasy owners look at their teams and how each player has performed over the last month.

This is when players get dealt if they had a bad month or had a hot month that nobody saw coming. Now is the time to start talking with other owners and trying to make a deal to improve your team. If an owner is an unfortunate owner of Grady Sizemore (on the DL and will have knee surgery) or Kendry Morales (fractured foot after home run celebration), then now is the time to talk to them about dealing a replacement for them.

Here are players to buy and sell:



Mike Napoli (C LAA)- I discussed about picking up Napoli after his recent hot streak, but Napoli is showing no signs of slowing down. Now that Kendry Morales is possibly out for the year, the Angels are forced to move him to play him at first base once Jeff Mathis comes off the DL.

Napoli is on pace for over 30 homers this year and is one of the top hitting catchers in the league. If he is on the waiver-wire, pick him up or else try and do what you can to deal for him if you don’t have Joe Mauer or Victor Martinez. For some reason he’s still only 65 percent owned in Yahoo leagues.


Rod Barajas (C NYM)- Barajas is having a career year so far with eleven homers and 31 RBIs. Odds are he won’t keep up this rapid pace. He’s 34 years old and has never hit more than 21 homers in any season. Now is the time to sell Barajas.

First Basemen


Prince Fielder (1B MIL)- Fielder is struggling out of the gate and now is the time to do what you can to acquire him. See if you can dangle a David Ortiz or Troy Glaus and somebody for him. Both Ortiz and Glaus are off to great starts, but are great trade bait while they are hot. Packaging a few of these guys for a guy like Fielder is the type of deal you have to make if you don’t have a great first baseman.


David Ortiz (1B BOS)- Ortiz has never had a better month than in the month of May. He’s never hit more homers in any other month. The problem with Ortiz is that he still can’t hit lefties and is prone to hot and cold streaks.

I’m not saying trade him for anything, but packaging he and another player for a top first baseman might be the best thing to do with Ortiz. He’s not getting any younger and the Red Sox won’t hesitate to bench him for his cold streaks.

Second Basemen


Brandon Phillips (2B CIN)- Phillips is starting to heat up after a strong May in which he hit .310 with five homers, five stolen bases, 25 runs, and nine RBI. Now is the time to try and acquire him.


Kelly Johnson (2B AZ)- Johnson is starting to cool off after a hot start. Johnson is a very streaky player and frustrating player to own. He will probably come close to hitting 25 homers, but since he already has 12 he’s not going to be hitting too many more. Now is the time to shop him around and see what you can get for him.

Third Basemen


Pablo Sandoval (1B/3B SF)- Sandoval struggled in May, but is too good not to turn it around. See what it takes to try and get him, because when he gets hot, you will want to own him. He is very streaky and can be frustrating at times, but if you don’t have a top first or third baseman then it can’t hurt to try and acquire the “Kung Fu Panda.”


Placido Polanco (2B/3B PHI)- Polanco has cooled off after his hot start and is really only good for runs and batting average. He won’t do much else batting in the No. 2 hole. He’s valuable, but see what you can get for him before he cools off entirely.



Ben Zobrist (2B/SS/OF TB)- Zobrist was off to a terrible start, but is now finding his groove. He went from batting .241 in April to .356 in May. He’s so valuable since he can play three positions and is somebody to target in trades while you can still get him.


Alex Gonzalez (SS TOR)- This seems like an easy one to predict, but if there are any owners searching for a shortstop then see if they want Gonzalez. He may not bring back much value, but swapping him for a struggling player that is on the verge of breaking out is the move to make with Gonzalez. He won’t keep up his surprising start to the year.



Justin Upton (OF AZ)- There could never be a better time than now to try and acquire Upton. He got off to an ugly start, but is showing signs of turning things around after batting .279 in May with four homers and 15 RBI. He is still striking out too much, but he’s worth trying to acquire. He will have a huge year when it’s all said and done.


Alex Rios (OF CWS)- Rios is the number two ranked player overall over the last month and now is the time to shop him around. Rios has always had great potential, but always seems to disappoint. Rios might finish with his best numbers yet, but his value could never be higher. If you can get a more reliable hitter like an Adam Dunn then you have to pull the trigger.

Starting Pitchers


Jonathan Sanchez (SP SF)- Sanchez has gone under the radar and is quietly having his best start to the season yet. He has cut down on his walks dramatically with only 29 in 62 innings pitched. He is still striking a lot of batters out with 63. His value is down mainly because of a few bad outings and the Giants abysmal offense, but now is the time to acquire him. He has the potential of being an ace so get him before he really breaks out.


Jeff Niemann (SP TB)- Niemann is a solid pitcher, but he is not a great fantasy starter since he doesn’t get a ton of strikeouts. He has been very lucky with a .209 BAA and will probably end up with numbers similar to last year (3.94 ERA). At some point the luck has to run out so shop him around to see if anybody pulls the trigger and accepts a deal.

Relief Pitchers


Billy Wagner (RP ATL)- Now that the Braves are in first place, Wagner is getting more save opportunities. After getting two saves in April, he dominated in May with five saves, 19 Ks, and only three walks. Buy Wagner now before people start to remember how dominant he can be.


Octavio Dotel (RP PIT)- The Pirates are everybody’s favorite sellers at the trading deadline so you can expect them to sell their top players once again. Dotel is no exception and will most likely get dealt to a contender at the deadline as a set-up man.

His value is very high right now since he has salvaged his tough start with seven Saves in May and a 0.90 ERA, 14 Ks, and six walks. If you own Dotel, pick up his potential replacement, Evan Meek, and deal him to somebody who is desperate for saves.

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Corey Hart’s Power Surge Makes Him Trade Bait On Struggling Milwaukee Brewers

Corey Hart has always had potential and is a former All-Star. The 28-year old Milwaukee Brewers outfielder is having a career year so far with a league-leading 13 homers and 33 RBIs.

It’s clear that unless the Brewers get more starting pitching that they aren’t going anywhere this year. It brings up a great question that many baseball analysts have discussed: should the Brewers trade Corey Hart for a starting pitcher?

On one hand they might be able to land a top prospect pitcher or a capable pitcher that they could have in their rotation for years to come. It doesn’t look like a lot of big name hitters are going to be traded at this year’s trade deadline so Hart will definitely be a target for many teams in the playoff race.

On another hand who would fill Hart’s spot if he left? He’s only 28 and is just now entering his prime. It could be a big mistake that could haunt them for years if he becomes consistent and hits close to 30 homers each year for the next four or five years.

It is a very good topic to discuss and they should at least take a look at what they could get for Hart. They already were discussing trading him to the Mets for John Maine this past off-season, so they could obviously get a lot more than Maine now that he’s producing big numbers.

Brewers G.M. Doug Melvin needs to look at his options here, because this is one of his worst pitching staffs in years. How much longer can Melvin keep throwing out pitchers that have barely any Major League experience? The bullpen is also a mess that he needs to clean up instead of throwing guys out there like Jeff Suppan, Marco Estrada and Manny Parra.

Hart may be their biggest trading chip since Carlos Lee. Their lineup would lose his power and his ability to come through in the clutch, but if he can land a decent starting pitcher then they have to deal him.

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Brewers-Astros: Randy Wolf Gives Milwaukee Seven Strong Innings for Victory

It had been so long since a Brewers starter had gone at least seven innings that it felt like a miracle when Randy Wolf went seven strong innings to defeat the Astros in the 6-1 victory at Miller Park last night.

Wolf had been struggling mightily over his last two starts, with 12 runs allowed to the Cardinals and the Pirates. He also had been walking too many batters, with 25 in just 54.2 innings. Last night, he only had three walks with four Ks and no earned runs.

They need Wolf to be this consistent since they gave him a three-year, $29.75 million contract. He has not lived up to the contract so far, so he will need more starts like this to make GM Doug Melvin look good for signing him. Wolf definitely needs to keep cutting down on the walks in order to have more success.

This also gave the bullpen a much-needed night off after going through every reliever over the weekend. Ryan Braun hit his eighth homer of the year, and Rickie Weeks broke out of a huge slump to go 3-for-5 with a homer, two RBI, and two runs.

Is this something to build on? Brewers fans have to hope so since they have struggled so much at home this year. They have to at least win the series against Houston and then have the Mets this weekend.

They have Chris Narveson on the mound tonight, who has been one of the most consistent starters on the staff, and the Astros have their ace in Roy Oswalt. Oswalt has had the worst run support in the majors with just 2.07 average runs per start. Will Narveson make it three straight wins tonight? We shall see.

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Fantasy Baseball: Don’t Nap on Mike Napoli of the Los Angeles Angels

This is the time of year, with nearly a third of the season complete, when you start cutting the guys not producing.

Here’s looking at you, Carlos Quentin, Gordon Beckham, and Aramis Ramirez.

Sometimes fantasy owners can’t afford to be patient with some of these guys.

Why not add a red-hot slugger like David Ortiz or Jose Bautista?

You have to ride hot streaks, because once their streaks end they aren’t as intriguing. It might be hard to part with hype machines like Beckham, but it’s necessary if you want to win.

You don’t build friendships with players, so why do they care if you cut them?

Here are guys that you have to ride while they are hot before they cool off.

C: Mike Napoli (C, LAA)

To say Napoli is hot would be an understatement. He’s been on an absolute tear lately. In May alone, his numbers are .309 BA, six HRs, 14 RBI. He is still striking out way too much, with 27 Ks to just two walks, but owners shouldn’t worry about peripherals at such a weak position.

Napoli is capable of hitting 30 homers, and owners in need of power or ones who don’t have a top catcher need to grab Napoli while he’s tearing it up.

1B: David Ortiz (1B/DH, BOS)

Ortiz is still only owned in 69 percent of Yahoo! fantasy leagues. That number boggles my mind. The guy hasn’t hit this many homers (nine) in a month since May 2008. Ortiz has to be a better option than what most teams are plugging in at their utility spot. If he’s available for some reason, don’t even think about it—grab Ortiz and ride the hot streak.

2B: Alberto Callaspo (2B/3B, KC)

I never thought I would be talking about Callaspo, but here he is. He has been one of the most consistent middle infielders thus far. He batted .295 in April with four homers and 14 RBI. In May, he’s been even better with a .330 average, three homers, and 16 RBI.

There aren’t too many middle infielders that are putting up these numbers right now. Unless you have a top-tier infielder or an RBI machine like Casey McGehee, Callaspo should be owned (by you).

3B: Eric Hinske (1B/3B/OF, ATL)

Remember when Hinske won the Rookie of the Year Award? That seems like ages ago, but let’s not forget that he was terrific that year and is showing signs of returning to form. He’s playing every day in Atlanta and is showing his power stroke with four homers and 20 RBIs.

Hinske is not getting the respect he deserves, as he’s only owned in seven percent of leagues. His numbers are insane this month: .405, four HRs, 12 RBI. Go get him if you need help at one of the three positions he qualifies at.

SS: Mike Aviles (2B/SS, KC)

Apparently people still are not on the Aviles bandwagon. All he’s doing is batting .347 with two homers, four RBI, and 10 runs scored. The power and RBI will come, and he’s solid in every other category. People forget that this guy was very valuable two years ago and is only 18 percent owned.

The Royals lineup has improved since Ned Yost has taken over as the manager. Pick up Aviles if you are a Jimmy Rollins owner or have a struggling shortstop like Alexei Ramirez.

OF: Corey Hart (OF, MIL)

You want a guy who is on a power surge? Hart is your man. He has six homers in May and is playing every day with Jim Edmonds on the shelf. Hart is batting sixth and is getting plenty of RBI opportunities in that stacked Brewers lineup.

Hart has hit homers lately that haven’t even landed yet, but apparently owners have failed to take notice since he’s only 40 percent owned. Don’t make the mistake of passing him up.

SP: Ian Kennedy (SP, AZ)

For some reason, owners have not taken notice of Kennedy’s solid season so far. He’s only 36 percent owned and making the Yankees pay for trading him.

His numbers so far are 3-2, 3.24 ERA, 49:16 K:BB ratio, and a 1.10 WHIP. Those numbers aren’t worthy of being owned in more than 36 percent of leagues? You’ve got to be kidding me! Kennedy deserves to be owned in all leagues right now.

SP: Clayton Richard (SP, SD)

Richard has turned the corner and proving why the Padres traded Jake Peavy, with Richard being the main chip coming back to PETCO. He has a 2.73 ERA and has improved his control lately with only five walks in his last three starts along with 13 Ks.

Richard gets to play in the friendly confines of PETCO Park for half of his starts. Also, he gets to face a few weak offenses pitching in the NL West (Giants, anyone?). Richard deserves to be owned in more than 31 percent of leagues.

RP: Carlos Villanueva (SP/RP, MIL)

Villanueva has become the interim closer for the Brewers while Trevor Hoffman works out his issues. While it may look like manager Ken Macha will go back to Hoffman as the closer eventually, Villanueva is the closer right now despite John Axford getting a save on Sunday. That was mainly because Villanueva pitched two innings in Saturday’s extra-innings loss. He’s very valuable right now and should be owned in all leagues.

RP: Will Ohman (RP, BAL)

It looks like all of the Orioles’ closing options are on the DL, but Will Ohman will get his opportunity now to close. Ohman hasn’t allowed a run so far and has 15 Ks along with eight walks.

He won’t get too many opportunities on the lowly Orioles, but saves are saves. Ohman should get the majority of save opportunities in the short term and should be picked up if you’re desperate for saves.

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Brewers-Twins: John Axford Helps Milwaukee Steal One in Minnesota

It wasn’t pretty, but rookie reliever John Axford helped the Milwaukee Brewers close out a 4-3 victory against the Minnesota Twins to avoid a series sweep.

Axford was called upon in the ninth because Carlos Villanueva pitched two innings in Saturday’s extra innings game.

Axford got into trouble early when Orlando Hudson hit a lead-off double but was able to strike out Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer.

Then Delmon Young hit a seeing-eye single up the middle. Jim Thome pinch-hit for Brendan Harris and was walked to load the bases.

This brought up rookie shortstop, Trevor Plouffe, who was in for the injured J.J. Hardy. Plouffe ended up striking out and Axford had his first save.

An interesting sub-plot was that Trevor Hoffman came on in the eighth inning to set-up Axford and looked like a completely different pitcher.

Pitching coach Rick Peterson must have seen something in Hoffman’s delivery, because he was fooling batters and throwing strikes. He had a clean one-two-three inning and looks like he is coming back to form.

It should be just a matter of time until Hoffman gets back into his groove as the closer. If Peterson has truly fixed the problem then he deserves another shot, but it will take at least a few more clean appearances for him to regain the closer’s job.

Corey Hart continued his power surge with his ninth homer and Prince Fielder continued to heat up at the plate and crushed his seventh of the year. Rookie Marco Estrada, Zach Braddock, and Manny Parra helped the struggling pitching staff hold the Twins to two runs over the first seven innings and may have saved Ken Macha’s job for now.

Their next series is against the struggling Houston Astros, and the Brewers need to sweep them in order to get things going again. We’ll see what happens but this victory was crucial and the pitching staff gets a much needed off day today.

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Carlos Villanueva Helps Milwaukee Brewers End Streak

It was the bottom of the ninth, and manager Ken Macha was faced with a very difficult decision on who to bring out to close it out.

The Brewers had a 4-3 lead, and Trevor Hoffman was unavailable due to work on his mechanics.

Macha brought out their best reliever to date: Carlos Villanueva. Villanueva got Ronny Cedeno to fly out but then hit Ryan Doumit.

Luckily he was able to get Delwyn Young to ground into a double play to close it out. He got the only save thus far that was by a reliever other than Hoffman.

One has to wonder, will Macha stick with Villanueva, or will he have the guts to go back to Hoffman once he has worked on his “mechanics?”

Unless Villanueva implodes, I would think Macha has to stick with him. No matter what Hoffman may say, he can’t go back to Hoffman right now.

Villanueva just had a clean ninth inning, something Hoffman hasn’t done since he closed out the Padres weeks ago. How do you not stick with him?

Another positive from last night was another quality start from Chris Narveson. Narveson has been a bright spot in a struggling Brewers rotation.

He has been their second most consistent starter after ace Yovani Gallardo. He has a 4.24 ERA in May with a 3-1 record, 22 strikeouts, and only eight walks.

Also, rookie John Axford threw two scoreless innings in the seventh and the eight to give the bullpen some much needed rest. Axford looks to be a major part of the bullpen for the near future. He throws heat and can do something not too many of their relievers could do: throw clean innings.

Macha decided to shake things up a little last night as he decided to bat Prince Fielder third and Ryan Braun fourth. It didn’t really do much as Prince went 1-for-4 and Braun went hitless. Macha will probably stick with it though since they won their first in 10 games.

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