It has been a while since I last penned an article here on the great B/R, so I felt like I owed it to the readers here to break away from the old and bring in the new.

That included a completely new persona, which was to be named Tecumseh’s Alcove (I am a history major after all), but it is a lot harder to create a profile here nowadays, so what was the point when I have old reliable sitting around?

Monday Mania is a new column I’d like to start and keep writing throughout the MLB offseason. Whether or not that dream becomes a reality will have to wait a few weeks. As of right now, this article will likely take place during my History 418 class because, honestly, who doesn’t know everything about the 1920s and Great Depression all ready?

This column will contain an actual article for the week, this week focusing quickly on how to fix the Brewers, a quick note about something going on in the world of sports (today, it is the playoffs), and then the bytes columns that I am totally jacking from my man Bernie Miklasz. Plagiarism? Probably, but I’m not looking to pass this class.

As I write this, I was just given my mid-term back and received a B+. Yep, be jealous. That took some hard work…like 45 minutes of hand writing. I’m young, my hand isn’t built for that like the last generation.

So, now that you know what this column will be like and I’ve finished patting myself on the back, lets get into this.


Fixing the Brewers

Being a St. Louis Cardinals fan, writing how the Milwaukee Brewers should be fixed is not something I like. Competition. Who needs it?

But I feel obligated to atone for my smack talk and help the Brewers along with rebuilding their team.

I know the Brewers don’t feel the need to spend money, but that has to change a little bit.

The Brewers have two very good starters for the front of their rotation in Yovani Gallardo and Randy Wolf. After that, question marks run a muck and there are no good three-through-five starters.

To fix the rotation, you have to start from the back and work your way in.

And by back, I’m talking the other end of the battery (catcher) and the bullpen.

John Axford, Kameron Loe, Carlos Villanueva, Todd Coffey and LaTroy Hawkins make for a nice right hand side. That leaves the left handers to be filled.

The best route to go there is Hisanori Takahasi for the top guy from the left side. Takahasi had a good year in the bullpen and rotation, making him a strong swing-man for a team with a lack of depth in the rotation.

The second-best and third-best options, Scott Downs and Dennys Reyes, would also make sense for Brewers.

If I were Doug Melvin, I would make a strong push for both Takahasi and Downs, offering Takahasi a two-year deal worth $6.5 million and Downs a three-year deal worth $15-17 million and a mutual option worth $7 million.

Both would be lock down guys for the Brewers bullpen (or bullpen with the way it is shaped up with these seven names), and can serve other purposes.

Downs has closer experience, making him an option if Axford struggles in his first full season as closer. Takahasi can take over a rotation spot if the team needs a filler.

And before you start complaining about Downs being a Type A free agent, the Brewers have a deep system and a protected first round pick. Sacrificing a second round pick is not a big deal.

The catcher situation is next, and the best name there is Victor Martinez. Whether he becomes a free agent is not a big deal because I would not sign him. I’m a big V-Mart backer, but he is not a catcher, and definitely not the type of catcher you sign to help solidify your pitching staff.

No, I go after two names: John Buck and Gerald Laird.

Buck is no fluke. He hit 18 home runs, two less than this season, in 2007 in five fewer games and 38 fewer at-bats. Buck is good for 15-20 home runs, 45-65 runs batted in, and 18-25 doubles a season.

He isn’t a gun behind the plate, but he is a solid handler and blocker that can get by for seven innings a game.

And that is why the Brewers need Laird as well, a defensive wizard behind the plate.

Laird would be a big addition for the pitching staff, and would be a good addition towards the end of games for defensive purposes.

Combined, Buck and Laird would be one of the better catching tandems in the National League Central.

Buck should be signed to a two-year, $13 million contract with a player option for $9-11 million. Laird would be a sign of one year and $2 million with a team option for the same amount.

This leaves the rotation, which can be attacked with the best strategy: sign innings eaters.

The top target I would push to sign is Carl Pavano.

Pavano has proved his worth in Minnesota, and is worth a three-year gamble worth $12-14 million. Like Downs, Pavano is a Type A Free Agent, but that is worth the sacrifice to improve a weak rotation.

With a front three of Pavano, Gallardo and Wolf, the Brewers would be a team to fear with the offense it packs.

Javier Vazquez would be my next target.

Vazquez has pitched well in Chicago, Montreal, Arizona and Atlanta. He hasn’t pitched well in New York. Somehow, I think Vazquez can pitch in Milwaukee.

For me, I sign Vazquez to a two-year deal worth $11 million, and a team option for $10 million, which can become a player or mutual option by Vazquez reaching certain plateaus throughout both seasons.

Now, you may be asking yourselves, “Where will the Brewers get this money?”

Before I fully answer this question, I want it to be known that I’m in class and don’t have the time to dedicate to creating spreadsheets, guessing contracts to a logical amount, and adding everything up. I’m relying fully on Cot’s Baseball Contracts (I have no intention of finishing this in my next class).

I’m guessing here by looking at Cot’s but, the Brewers look to be dropping close to $40 million in salary, and my pitching additions have taken up that amount.

If I were Melvin, I would jump at all of those players during November. Signing all of those free agents right out of the gate would be huge, which I will explain in just a hot second. With the free agent dates moved up, Melvin needs to go hard at a lot of these guys, talking numbers right away.

Get those guys signed, and he can focus on the one thing he needs to do for the rest of the winter: trading Prince Fielder.

Adrian Gonzalez will not be traded this winter, making Fielder the best available bat on the market. And there will be plenty of suitors.

The best deal possible for Fielder would be the addition of first base prospect to replace Fielder right out of the gate. The rest of the deal should be one top prospect, and that is it. Make the price too high, and Melvin gets stuck with raising the payroll over $100 million.

The rest of the offseason should be dedicated to trading Fielder, re-signing Craig Counsell, and non-tendering (and re-signing to a Minor League contract) Manny Parra.


MLB Postseason

How great has this postseason been, seriously? Roy Halladay in his first ever postseason appearance throws a no-hittter. Tim Lincecum, in his first appearance, throws a shutout. The Texas Rangers win their first postseason series in team history, and the Cincinnati Reds were swept (good times there, am I right Cardinals Nation?).

The second round has been good fun as well, with both series tied at a game apiece. It doesn’t get better than this.

Unless the Rangers and Giants are battling for the title in a week. That would be better. Count me in the group that is tired of the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees.

Cliff Lee pitches against Andy Pettitte tonight, in the place where Lee dominated Game One of the World Series last year. Should be a good matchup.


Alas, this cannot be finished in one class period. The Bytes remain and will be written soon. For now, Netbook goes to sleep.


The Bytes

I don’t know about you readers, but I’m so over Brett Favre. Everything is about him, which pains me to say that this is as well. He is conceited and a narcissist. He needs to realize that the world does not revolve around him and that the Vikings are 2-3 because of him. His age is a major factor now and he needs to go away.

Does anyone else think the NBA is a joke? First you have Gilbert Arenas faking an injury to supposedly allow someone else playing time, and this after being suspended for having guns in the clubhouse and making light of it. Then you have LeBron James getting “leg cramps.”

The officials are calling fouls for whining (which will make for the highest foul calls in history as every player is a whiny baby nowadays), and yet the same officials let the players travel more than a CEO of a coast-to-coast corporation. Seriously. What. A. Joke.

If you live in the Midwest like I do, and you think the weather is crazy, don’t feel bad. You’re not the only one to think so. The weather has been steadily in the 70s for the past week, and yet the sun’s rays were vertical enough to our latitude to make it seem warmer. Today? Cold, low wind-chill, and cloudy. What’s up with this?

Music suggestions for today: Anything Tom Petty and Eddie Money, classic (70s and 80s) Eric Clapton, and you probably need a little extra boost today: The Imperial March from Star Wars. Star Wars is the best scored movie in history.

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