When the 2012 Milwaukee Brewers take the field at Miller Park on April 6, 2012 for opening day against the St. Louis Cardinals, whom they lost to in the 2011 NLCS, their first baseman will not be Prince Fielder. In a recent interview, Brewers GM Doug Melvin talked about what he will attempt to do this offseason in an effort to lead the Brewers back to the postseason. However it will be tough to do that without Prince and he knows that signing him will be just as tough.
Melvin avoided talking about Fielder however he didn’t stop himself from talking about the organization’s depth at first base. “Those options include prospects Mat Gamel and Taylor Green, as well as current third baseman Casey McGehee, who struggled and ended up being benched through the postseason. Hart, who began his career in the minors playing first, would not be an option there, Melvin said.” (ESPN)
It seems apparent that despite the fact Melvin knows he might lose his first baseman slugger to a team with much deeper pockets than Milwaukee, he is confident that he can pull a Billy Beane and replace Fielder with what he has. If Melvin can get his third baseman Casey McGehee to produce like he did back in 2010, he might already have solved half of his problem. The second half would require him to either call up a prospect or sign a free agent not named Prince Fielder. The third baseman market this offseason is pretty weak however there are many opportunities for Melvin if he chooses to move McGehee over and other GMs alike to strike gold. Names like Aramis Ramirez, Jorge Cantu, Casey Blake, Eric Chavez, and Mark DeRosa are all most likely going to be available this winter and despite their recent injury history, they all could be small risk big reward candidates for the Brewers at either third or first base.
While the Brewers could use Fielder’s bat next season I personally think that they could do without him. They recently locked up who I think their best player is Ryan Braun to a long term contract and I think if they let Fielder go, then Braun will help out a little more. If they can get McGehee to go back to the player I thought he would be when I drafted him this past year in fantasy baseball, then right now they already have two 30+ homer 100+ rbi sluggers in their lineup. Don’t forget, their pitching staff isn’t to shabby, and instead of locking up Fielder maybe they can sign a starting pitcher. It’s not like they don’t already have one of the best top three starting pitcher combinations in the game today…
Other news around the league:
The Cardinals took game one of the World Sereis last night which I think might actually change my prediction. If the Cardinals can win again tonight then I will officially change my World Series prediction for the last time this year to the Cardinals. However if Texas wins, then to my belief, this series is all but over as Texas will be facing the Cardinals for three straight games in Arlington. Game two starts tonight at 8:05 eastern as Texas starter Colby Lewis takes the mound against Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia.
The Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox are reportedly on “the five yard line” according to a source with knowledge of the negotiations involving current Red Sox GM Theo Epstein. The Red Sox reportedly wanted Cubs starter Matt Garza in exchange for Epstein however the Cubs said no. The biggest factor of these negotiations was who the Red Sox would receive as compensation. The Red Sox apparently also asked for Cubs phenom Starlin Castro however the Cubs don’t seem to be willing to give up a major leaguer for the GM. In an ESPN article (http://es.pn/qOYpFu) sources reported that Padres GM Jed Hoyer talked to the Padres ownership about going to Chicago to work with his old colleague Theo Epstein. Hoyer reportedly told the Padres that he wouldn’t go if he was given a five year contract extension however instead the Padres gave him permission to join Theo in Chicago.
UPDATE 10/20: The deal is all but done however there are a couple interesting things about it. Theo Epstein who many thought would be the new GM for the Cubs will actually be the new President of Baseball Operations. So in a sense he will be completely running the team. Jed Hoyer will be leaving San Diego and will be the new GM of the Cubs while Josh Byrnes will fill the void that Jed Hoyer will leave in San Diego.
UPDATE 10/22: The deal is now official however there won’t be a press conference until the next World Series travel day which is on 10/25. Theo Epstein is the new President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs and Jed Hoyer the current Padres GM will most likely be the new Cubs GM. Ben Cherington will be the new Red Sox GM. Compensation is still being worked out.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw was recently awarded the Warren Spahn award as the league’s best lefty starter which adds more to his NL Cy Young case seeing as his biggest competitor is lefty Cliff Lee from Philadelphia. If Clayton Kershaw doesn’t win the NL Cy Young then I would hope that in return McCourt sold the Dodgers to someone fast because the sooner he gets out of LA, the sooner baseball fans begin returning to see games at the diamond of the west coast, Dodger Stadium.