Tuesday, April 17, 2007
In Ned We Trust
I am just taking an opportunity in this post to vent a little bit. "Anger" is too strong a word, but I have definitely had it with these stupid mailbag questions being politely answered by Adam McCalvy on Brewers.com. They're the same damn three questions: (1) Why are we platooning Jenkins and/or why haven't we traded him? (2) Why don't we call up _____ from the minors? (3) Why is Bill Hall in Center Field?
Here's the deal. The Brewers have not shown this much promise since the early 90s, and as much as a I love Ricky Bones and Dave Nilsson, this is a much more exciting group, due to in large part Manager Ned Yost. Yost, along with Doug Melvin, Gord Ash, and Mark Attanasio have basically been the Holy Trinity...err, "Quadrilogy" of the Crew the past 5 years, and we have to trust in what these people are doing. There is no room with my team and my sport for "armchair quarterbacks." The salary cap and developmental systems are much more complicated in baseball than in any other sport aside from possibly hockey, so cool it. The Brewers have continually shown in the past 5 years that they want to put a quality product on the field every year and are legitimately trying to win a championship - and so have a lot of other small market teams, incidently. Attanasio has more than tripled the Brewers' payroll since he took over, and Melvin, aside from maybe the recent Clark-for-Dessens deal, has engineered some of the greatest trades ever; see Sexson trade, Podsednik trade, Lee trade, Overbay trade, Davis trade, etc. The trades are so good that we even end up getting good players for players we acquired years earlier in later trades! We aren't just trading players away from prospects as we used to, and the prospects we have and/or have traded for are now all coming into fruition, thanks in large part to the tutilage of Ned Yost & Co.
Well, I can provide a plethora of examples backing my team's upper management, but back to the issue at hand. In response to the three oft-repeated assinine questions, these are the summaries of what McCalvy (and myself, for what it's worth) have to say:
(1) Jenkins signed a big contract with us because he has faith in our team and that means something, and also is still more capable than probably all of our other outfielders. Hall and Gwynn will eventually surpass him, and Mench, Gross, Nix, and Hart are definitely not capable of being everyday players right now. Jenks is notoriously known for going on incredible hot streaks, much like he is at the beginning of this season hitting around .350 with 3 HR, so don't cry to me about his 1-32 slumps that he gets. Take the good with the bad; he is also a stellar defensive player, by the way. Adma Dunn is the exact same type of player - hits for power, .250 average, good eye at the plate, strikes out a lot, cannon for an arm, a solid 5-hitter. I've lived in Cincinnati for 3 years, and I only wish that someday that Jenkins can be as adored in Milwaukee as Dunn is here; hopefully this occurs soon and not post-tenure.
(2) The reason that players like Fielder, Weeks, Hardy, Sheets, Hall, etc. are all playing good and getting increasingly better is because of the Brewers' spectacular farm system and because they were not rushed. The Brewers don't want to see players like Braun and Gallardo, etc. play 3 seasons and be done. These players will get their chances. The fact that Gwynn got to play in The Show this year this early tells me that the management knows and sees something I don't, and this is definitely my player to watch this season for the Crew.
(3) Hall has had 35 at-bats and 21 total outfield chances to date, and for every play he doesn't make, he makes a great one due to his outstanding athletic ability. He WILL be a good center fielder. Give him a mask and some pads and throw him behind the dish - he's just that good of an athlete that I see him adapting anywhere he's placed. The man hits walk-off homeruns with pink bats for God's sake! Seeing how much Hall improved at shortstop over the past 4 years, I have no doubt he can improve that much in CF. And let's not forget of another famous Brewer who moved from SS to CF. It takes time. Picturing an outfield with Jenkins, Gwynn, Hart, and Hall next season already has me really excited.
From now on people, trust in the staff and take Adam McCalvy's word for it. The Brewers will get the Wild Card this year, no thanks to your stupid questions. Do what Milwaukee fans are good at - stay positive and hope for the best (and tailgate). We've been called lots of bad things here in Wisconsin, but one has never been "band-wagon fans." Go Crew!
LAST NIGHT'S RESULTS:
Brewers W (7-5)
Reds L (7-6)