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Melvin gambles with Gamel

Brewers’ GM Doug Melvin did something that could impact the future of the Milwaukee Brewers…the 2015 Brewers that is.

He will call up infielder prospect Mat Gamel from AAA Nashville on Thursday to replace the struggling Brad Nelson.

The tactical aspects of the move are simply to have a better hitting left-handed pinch-hitter for the upcoming series against the Cardinals, as well as for Gamel to serve as the DH in games in Minnesota next weekend.  Gamel might even get a start or two against a right-handed pitcher, if Bill Hall continues to hit righties poorly (.212 BA), and Craig Counsell (also a lefty that is hitting .360 versus righties) starts at shortstop over J.J. Hardy (hitting .247 against righties).  The Cardinals are slated to start three righties this weekend.  But Gamel is actually hitting lefties better this season–.425 to just .291 against righties.

The strategic implications, however, is that the Brewers have started the clock on Gamel’s MLB experience, and he’ll likely become a so-called Super Two player in ’09, which means that the Brewers will lose control over Gamel’s contracts a year earlier–in other words, Gamel’s protected six seasons with the Brewers will now run from 2009-2014 instead of 2010-2015.

Obviously, Melvin views the upcoming series against the Cardinals as critical to maintain momentum and forsees that the NL Central could wind up coming down to just a game or two at the very end.  With the Cardinals in the race, handing the Redbirds an extra loss this weekend could very easily be the difference between Milwaukee making the postseason instead of St. Louis.

Here’s hoping Melvin’s gamble pays off.

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  1. May 14, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Doesn’t the Super Two status just mean Gamel would receive an extra year of arbitration (four instead of the standard three)? I don’t think it affects the number of years the Brewers have him under their control.

  2. May 15, 2009 at 4:43 am

    Here’s the link to the language, courtesy of MLBPA:
    http://mlbplayers.mlb.com/pa/info/faq.jsp#arbitration/
    A player with three or more years of service, but less than six years, may file for salary arbitration. In addition, a player can be classified as a “Super Two” and be eligible for arbitration with less than three years of service. A player with at least two but less than three years of Major League service shall be eligible for salary arbitration if he has accumulated at least 86 days of service during the immediately preceding season and he ranks in the top 17 percent in total service in the class of Players who have at least two but less than three years of Major League service, however accumulated, but with at least 86 days of service accumulated during the immediately preceding season.
    According to this, Gamel would only be a Super Two player were he to be on the Brewers’ roster for at least 86 days…if he is on the roster through Interleague play–or from May 14 through June 25, or 43 days, and then from September 1 through October 4, or 34 days, he’d still only have 77 days of service in ’09. Of course, if someone gets injured, or they decide to keep him up longer, then he’d be eligible for arbitration in 2012; otherwise, 2013.

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