Nothing–and I mean nothing–has happened with the Brewers since before Christmas (well, okay, I think there have been some Spring Training ticket sales announced or something). So I’m going to rip-off…er, borrow…the questions and responses from Adam McCalvy’s Q&A from Monday:
“…Who do you see in the rotation and what happens to the (rest)?
…I went with Ben Sheets, Jeff Suppan, Yovani Gallardo, Carlos Villanueva and then “TBA” from a list of Dave Bush, Chris Capuano, Manny Parra and Claudio Vargas. Villanueva was a bit of a guess, given his success early in 2007 in a bullpen role, but general manager Doug Melvin made a pretty strong statement before the holidays that he intends to return Villanueva to a starting role for 2008.
…I would bet the house that Melvin & Co. will trade a pitcher or two or three before the start of Spring Training.
Me: I’m not as sure about Villanueva…simply because, the Brewers are going to be paying another pitcher a whole lot more money. And I would take the bet, too. Well, okay, Melvin will be able to move one pitcher, but not all three. I think McCalvy is being a bit of a homer thinking that Vargas and Capuano have a whole lot more value than they do. Jeff Weaver and Bartolo Colon can still be had for about the same money…and without forfeiting a player. Weaver may be washed up, but Colon is likely worth a gamble.
…Jason Kendall was given Gabe Gross’ number at his press conference. Did Gross switch numbers?
…Yes, Kendall got No. 18 and Gross switched to No. 14.
Me: I sure hope Kendall gave him some dough for it. Glad to see that Gabe Gross is the bigger man, here. Strike one against Kendall in my book.
Melvin seems totally uninspired by what is available in terms of corner outfielders, and has talked up a Gross or Tony Gwynn Jr. platoon with Joe Dillon in left field. I am guessing that there is one significant move left to be made that will cause left field to come into focus.
Me: McCalvy is indulging in some wishful thinking. I think most “significant” moves have been made already, unless another team gets stuck with a huge salary via arbitration. Capuano, Vargas, or Bush are not going to get us a Brad Hawpe or Alexis Rios. The Brewers would have to give up either Yovani Gallardo, Manny Parra, or Carlos Villanueva to get a Mark Teahen caliber player. Everything I’ve read says that Melvin won’t rob Peter to pay Paul.
What (about Brian) Shouse? Has he signed a new contract as of yet?
Shouse is arbitration-eligible, but expected to be a big part of the 2008 bullpen. He’s had two outstanding seasons since a 2006 trade from Texas (one of Melvin’s most underrated moves, if you ask me, was getting Shouse for Enrique Cruz), and you’re right about the person he is off the field. He’ll be 40 before the end of the season, but his arm looks like it has some life left.
Me: I could see a team wanting Shouse thrown in for a trade for an outfielder, simply because he’s effective, a southpaw, and relatively affordable. Shouse was one of the brighter spots of the bullpen in ’07…and I’d like to see him back for the Brewers in ’08.
Speaking of 2008: Happy New Year to everyone…2008 is shaping up to be the year of the Brewers.