Witrado: Keeping Prince Would Be “Dumb”

August 14, 2010 Denver, CO..Prince Fielder  of the Milwaukee Brewers during the Major League Baseball game against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on August 14, 2010 in Denver, Colorado..The Brewers beat the Rockies 5-4..Aaron Salley/CSM.

Anthony Witrado of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel checked in with “The Big Show” on WSSP 1250 on Thursday to talk about the Brewers’ offseason.  Any time you pair Witrado with Sparky, you’re bound to get some stupid soundbites, and they didn’t disappoint.  A piece of the audio is available on WSSP’s site.

Among the highlights in the posted clip, we hear Sparky automatically discount Jeff Francis because he had an ERA of 5 last season, Sparky wondering why the Brewers don’t hire a consultant who travels around and watches pitchers so he can advise Doug Melvin on who to pursue (I think they call people like that “scouts”), and Sparky begging Witrado to tell him that Chris Narveson isn’t the #3 pitcher next season.  Even if you’re not from the area and have never listened to the show, I’m sure you could guess that the guy named “Sparky” is the least rational and least informed person on the show.

The main highlight of the appearance, though, came when someone else asked if the biggest risk the Brewers could take would be to negotiate a deal with Prince Fielder, or not trade him at all.  What did Good Old Tony have to say?

Witrado: “About this time last year on this show, I said ‘this is the time to trade him.’ And, you know, that ship has sailed now, and you’re kind of backed up against it, so it’s almost like you have to trade him now.”

I want to know exactly how you can be backed up against a ship that’s already sailed.

“This isn’t going to be Adam Dunn, right? Where he’s on this team all year and he walks,” Sparky asks.

Witrado: “You’ve gotta hope the Brewers aren’t that dumb. You’ve got to believe that their expectations are a little higher than the Washington Nationals.”

Okay.  Here’s the thing.

It was pretty widely reported that the Nationals wanted to re-sign Dunn.  When that fell through, they actively tried to trade him.  And they were putting out Doug Melvin quotes like “well, we’re not shopping him, but if someone makes us an offer we can’t refuse, we’ll consider it.”  No.  They pushed hard for a trade.  They asked for the moon and couldn’t find a buyer, so instead of just settling him and dealing him for the best-tasting poo platter, they decided to keep him and just collect on the compensation picks this offseason.  Considering their strong drafting history lately, that’s a good move.  This wasn’t a secret.

To me, the fact that Witrado sits there and thinks that the Nationals just refused to trade him out of stupidity makes it seem like he’s just ignorant of what’s going on around the league.  To think that, you’d have to basically ignore every single report that was out there on Dunn in late July AND not think about the value of compensation picks as opposed to a mediocre return.

That’s why it’s so troublesome when he says the Brewers would be “dumb” if they didn’t trade Prince Fielder.  Really?  They’d really be dumb if they looked over the trade offers and decided that two high compensation picks is worth more than a mediocre major league starter and an average prospect or two?  Sure, it would suck if he wasn’t traded after all this speculation, but if there’s nothing out there, I’d rather see him stay and see the Brewers bring in the pitching version of Kevin Mench.

I realize that sports talk radio isn’t exactly a place for rational thought and discussion about the future.  For the most part, fans don’t want to hear about the compensation for Fielder arriving in four or five years.  I get that.  I just wish one of the beat writers for the only paper in the city would do a better job of evaluating all the options, instead of just assuming no trade would mean a lack of intelligence.

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