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Posts Tagged ‘Doug Melvin’

Doug Davis Signing a Steal

January 20, 2010 1 comment

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=doug+davis&iid=5014565″ src=”3/c/6/8/Diamondbacks_vs_Mariners_622a.JPG?adImageId=9335400&imageId=5014565″ width=”234″ height=”203″ /]Adam McCalvy broke the news via Twitter: Doug Davis is returning to Milwaukee. McCalvy notes that Double D will earn a base salary of $4.25 million in 2010, with a mutual option for 2011 worth $6.5 million (or a $1 million buyout). Looks like the rumors about the Brewers being close to signing another starter turned out to be true.

There will be a lot of groans from casual fans when they hear the knews, but to me, there’s really no argument — this is a great, great deal. Does Davis have poor peripheral stats? Sure, but he always has. I poked fun at Doug Melvin’s comments a few days ago about his “new thing” being pitchers who throw a lot of quality innings. Say what you want about Doug Davis, but he fits that mold better than Jeff Suppan or Braden Looper.

Is he going to drive us nuts with a ton of walks? Sure. I can almost guarantee you that I’ll gripe about it in a post at some point during the 2010 season. But he’s also going to put up a lot of good innings, and he’s going to be doing it at an obscenely cheap salary compared to what he’s been making.

Davis made $8.75 million with the Diamondbacks last year. Not only will the $4.25 million he’ll be making this year be less than he’s earned every year since leaving Milwaukee, but it’s actually less money than what the Brewers paid Looper last year in a very similar deal. Even if this signing doesn’t work out, I’d be hard pressed to call it a bad signing. Like Looper’s deal, at worst it’s a one-year commitment, and the Brewers will be free to explore better options next offseason if they so choose.

Maybe it’s just a case of classic Offseason Optimism, but I really like the way the rotation looks heading into next season. Gallardo-Wolf-Davis-Bush-Suppan/Parra, while unspectacular, is still a pretty big improvement over last year’s staff. At the very least, the week won’t pass at a snail’s pace while we wait for Yo’s next start.

Considering what the pitching market looked like at the start of the season, getting Davis on this kind of deal should be considered a win for Doug Melvin & Co. — at least for the time being. At the very least, we know what we’re going to get. No more signing Cardinals castoffs and hoping there’s still some Dave Duncan pixie dust left (here’s looking at you, Joel Piniero). No more looking at injury risks, hoping they’re ready to throw off a mound by May. Signing Davis at least gives the Brewers a better idea of what the rotation will look like heading into camp in less than a month, and perhaps even puts some pressure on Dave Bush to avoid arbitration.

Melvin’s “New Thing”

January 16, 2010 1 comment

Tom Haudricourt crammed a lot of information into his recent blog post about the Brewers’ pursuit for pitching. Among topics discussed were Mark Mulder (they’ll talk contract once Mulder can throw off a mound), Ben Sheets (sending scouts to his throwing session), and Doug Davis (both sides are interested). There was one quote from Doug Melvin that did catch my eye, though, and it was a doozy that might fire up the guys at Fire Doug Melvin:

“Our new thing is that we’re not just looking for innings. We’re looking for quality innings. We like our offense and our bullpen. We just need quality innings from our starters.”

Admittedly, I don’t have the experience that Doug Melvin has. I’m just a guy who likes watching and writing about my favorite baseball team. But to me, saying that your “new thing” is “looking for quality innings” is like saying your “new thing” is looking for people who can hit or catch the ball. Isn’t this something that you should have been looking for all along?

We all know that Melvin has always had a fascination with innings eaters. When Jeff Suppan was signed, one of the things that Melvin was most attracted to was his ability to throw a lot of innings. It was also a factor in the Braden Looper signing last year — the fact that Looper was so cheap and could throw so many innings was seen as a bonus. Seeing his pitching staffs over the past few years get torpedoed by injury problems probably only made him want a rotation of innings eaters even more.

Of course, last season we saw what putting together a rotation of innings eaters without regard to the quality of those innings gets you. Braden Looper ate a lot of innings, but gave up a lot of home runs while doing it. Mike Burns ate innings as an injury replacement, but did it while pitching below replacement level. When Suppan and Dave Bush weren’t injured, they ate innings while pitching like they were. While the Brewers did have injuries in their rotation last season, things were so bad when everyone was healthy that it was pretty clear that something needed to be done this offseason to upgrade the rotation.

So far, we’ve seen that. Randy Wolf will pitch just as many innings as Looper did last year — if not more, due to less short outings — and likely do so without walking a couple guys before giving up a home run. If the Brewers sign someone like Doug Davis or Jarrod Washburn to a one year deal, they’ll likely represent an improvement over some of Manny Parra’s rough outings last season. While it’s nice for Melvin to acknowledge the change in philosophy, it’s a little disturbing to hear what the previous philosophy was.

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Heyman: Macha Likely to Return

September 23, 2009 1 comment

According to SI.com’s Jon Heyman, Ken Macha is expected to return as manager of the Milwaukee Brewers next season, with one caveat — he likely won’t be getting an extension.

That would make Macha a lame duck manager in 2010, which would go against everything we’ve come to expect from GM Doug Melvin.  We’re talking about the guy who quietly gave Ned Yost a (largely undeserved) contract extension after the 2007 collapse just to avoid having Yost enter the 2008 season in the last year of his deal.

While Macha seems to be returning, Heyman’s source makes it seem like that won’t be the case for pitching coach Chris Bosio.  It makes sense that Bosio would be given an interview and a chance to keep the job in the offseason, but we’re being given the impression that he won’t be brought back.  Whether or not that’s fair is up to debate — as interim pitching coach, it’s certainly not Bosio’s fault that the team had little-to-no starting pitching depth, but he’s the easy target for “improvement.”

Considering how the team has struggled to get comfortable under Macha’s watch, it’s hard to feel good about this report.  The only comfort to be gained is that Macha should and probably will be on a very short leash on 2010. 

Sometimes Different Doesn’t Equal Better

September 16, 2009 1 comment

When a team struggles, it’s a natural reaction to point to the manager as the root of the problem.  They’re simultaneously the most visible and most expendable part of the front office, and it’s become common to associate any success or failure with the manager’s decision making.  For the most part, that’s why firing your manager is step number one in proving to your fans that you’re trying to improve.

Sometimes, the change helps.  Buck Showalter was fired by both the New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the next year, his old teams won the World Series.  More often than not, though, having a new face in the dugout doesn’t change anything.  Sometimes, it can even make matters worse.

I bring this up because the Brewers are in danger of becoming one of “those teams” — an organization that’s quick to fire its manager whenever things go south instead of working to actually fix the problem. 

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McGehee’s Future Uncertain

September 13, 2009 2 comments

As a 26-year old rookie, Casey McGehee is finally getting a chance to contribute at the major league level.  This year, he’s made the most of it, hitting .306/.367/.522 in 291 at-bats, with 15 home runs and 57 RBI.  Despite the strong year, a big question still remains — is Casey McGehee for real?

Forgive the skeptics, because they have good reason.  His BABIP is at .330, much higher than the league average, leading many to believe that McGehee’s impressive numbers are largely lucky.  To put it simply, more balls are falling in for hits than they should, and it’s leading to some inflated statistics.  This seems to be confirmed by McGehee’s unspectacular numbers in the minors…while McGehee is currently sporting a pretty spiffy .890 OPS, he’s never OPS’ed higher than .776 in the Cubs’ minor league system.

Is it possible that McGehee is simply a late bloomer who’s finally figured it all out?  Sure.  But it’s also possible that the Brewers have another Bill Hall on their hands. 

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Hoffman, Cameron Among Brewers Placed on Waivers

August 26, 2009 1 comment

With just over a month to go in the season and the Brewers 11 games out of the NL Central lead and 10.5 games out of the wildcard, it appears that Doug Melvin is ready to call it quits on the 2009 season.  According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Brewers have placed a number of veterans on the waiver wire to gauge interest in possible trades. 

Rosenthal’s source says that Trevor Hoffman, Mike Cameron, Craig Counsell, Jason Kendall, Braden Looper, and Felipe Lopez were all put onto waivers on Tuesday.  All six players could potentially be free agents following the season, so they would likely be one-month rentals for their new teams.  As a result, it doesn’t seem like Melvin is likely to actually make a deal — anything he would get in return would have to be better than what he could get from the possible compensation picks in next year’s draft, and not many teams would be willing to give up a sandwich pick-level talent for one month’s worth of production.

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Class of 2009 Finalized with Few Headaches

The deadline for signing 2009 draft picks has come and gone, and with all the concentration on whether or not the Nationals could get Stephen Strasburg to sign (they did), it was easy to lose track of how the Brewers did in signing their own picks.

With so many high draft picks — they had two supplemental picks, as well as an extra second rounder — it was important to not only fill the system with great talent, but also get that talent under contract.  For the most part, it appears the Brewers did an excellent job on both accounts.

While there were some questions on the signability of a few players, Bruce Seid and Doug Melvin managed to sign each of their first 23 picks, and 32 of 53 overall.  A number of them signed soon after the draft, including first rounder Eric Arnett, but questions about outfielder Kentrail Davis, pitcher Brooks Hall, and shortstop Ryan “Scooter” Gennett.  Those three did end up signing, albeit over slot and at the last minute.

As Adam McCalvy reported, the Brewers shelled out over $2 million combined for those three players, with $1.2 million of it going to Davis, a Scott Boras client.  That’s more than the Brewers gave Arnett as their first pick — the righty from Indiana got a $1.197 million signing bonus.  Hall, a big righty who was committed to South Carolina, required a $700,000 bonus to be lured away from the Gamecocks.  Gennett was also committed to a national powerhouse — Florida State — but was signed for what’s believed to be over $200,000.

While the big league team has certainly been disappointing this year, it’s great to see the front office doing such a good job keeping the cupboards full in the minors.  For a small-market team that can’t compete in the free agent market, it’s important to keep the prospects coming through the pipeline.  Not only do these new prospects repesent the Brewers of tomorrow, they can also become valuable trade chips — just take a look at what Matt LaPorta was able to provide despite never playing for the big league club.

This was an especially important draft class for the Brewers, who have been short on pitching talent at nearly every level.  The additions of Arnett, Hall, Kyle Heckathorn, and others will hopefully bolster the organizational depth.  With other high picks like Jeremy Jeffress and Mike Jones flaming out (so far), the club desperately needs someone from this class (or last year’s) to step up as a top pitching prospect — something the Brewers haven’t had since Manny Parra and Yovani Gallardo.  As the old saying goes, though, there’s no such thing as a can’t-miss pitching prospect.

For a full list of the Brewers’ draft picks and to see who signed, head on over to Brewerfan.net’s draft selection and signing thread.