With Brewers’ pitchers and catchers reporting to the spring training complex in Maryvale, AZ in just eight days, it is time for new skipper Ken Macha, GM Doug Melvin, and the rest of the Crew’s crew to think of some of the question marks heading into spring training that, hopefully, will be answered. My list, in descending order from least important to most important, starts with numbers 9 and 10:
#10. Will Rickie Weeks’ improve upon his ’08 campaign?
Weeks, 26, has just avoided arbitration by signing a one-year, $2.45 million, contract, and should be starting to approach his peak (some analyses conclude that a player peaks around age 28). Hitting just .234 last year, with 14 HR”s and 46 RBI’s in just 129 games (the most in his five seasons with Milwaukee), Weeks has yet to live up to the expectations set when he was drafted in the first round after establishing a record .473 BA for Southern University in ’03. New hitting coach Dale Sveum will likely work on all aspects of his hitting this spring…the question remains, however, if Weeks can improve…or if the Brewers will start looking for a replacement for second base for 2010.
#9. Who will be the seventh and last player in the bullpen?
We know Trevor Hoffman, David Riske, Jorge Julio, Todd Coffey, Mitch Stetter, and either Carlos Villanueva or Seth McClung are near shoo-ins to make up Ken Macha’s and Doug Melvin’s overhauled bullpen…but will the last spot be filled internally by Rule 5 pick Eduardo Morian, another internal arm, say Mark DiFelice, or will Melvin be able to add another arm from the waiver wire?