Dear Doug Melvin

by JohnBowen

Dear Doug Melvin,

I’m a lifelong Brewers fan…everyone knows that.

And I gotta tell you, I love what you put together with this team. We haven’t won a championship and we’ve actually only made the playoffs twice since you came around…but considering how long a drought we were in before you showed up and what a bad place we were in at the time you were hired (56-106, last in the 2002 NL Central) – I think it’s fair to say that you’ve done a pretty damn good job as GM.

2011 was a special year to be a Brewers fan. We won our first division title in 29 years, we won a playoff series, and our franchise player was named MVP.

2012 has not been a particularly special year. We sit at 44-50, 10.5 games out of first and 7.5 out of the wild card. And that’s not your fault! The Tigers outbid us by 114 million dollars for Prince – signing him might’ve bankrupted the team! You brought in some decent worthwhile talent with which I thought we could contend. Unfortunately, much of that talent got hurt. Mat Gamel finally got his shot to play in the bigs and got hurt faster than Ben Sheets at a UFC event. Sure-handed Alex Gonzalez, a significant upgrade over Yuniesky Betancourt, got hurt as well. Shaun Marcum has been down since June 14. Then catcher Jonathon Lucroy, who put together an MVP-caliber first quarter season, went down in some freak accident involving his wife, a bed, and some luggage. I’m rather happy I don’t know all the details on that one.

So, bottom line is that we’ve been forced to trot several Nashville Sounds out to play…Edwin Maysonet, Cody Ransom, Martin Maldonado, Taylor Green…hell, Cesar Izturis has gotten 134 plate appearances this year. Cesar Izturis! A guy with a career OPS+ of 64! That’s really bad!

And that’s not even including the apparent after-effects of last year’s injury on Rickie Weeks who’s rocking a .195/.308/.340 line to go along with simply atrocious defense.

But listen, Dougy – oh mustachioed front office king – the season is lost. Yes, I know what the Cardinals pulled off last year. I know what the Rockies pulled off in 2007 (side note, what is it about Matt Holliday?). And I know that there’s an extra wild card this season. And I also know, because I have a basic understanding of probability and small sample sizes, that just getting to the post-season guarantees you a statistically significant shot at a title.

But, I must reiterate: the season is lost. The Brew Crew has been outscored as a team, so it’s not like any major regression is to be expected. Gamel isn’t coming back. Gonzalez isn’t coming back. The last 94 games aren’t coming back. It’s time to make like France, and wave the white flag of surrender. A magical run would be great, but managing your team according to statistical improbabilities is a bad call – and the mark of a former general manager. You said yourself that you would try and get back into the race and see where we were after a 9 game stretch against NL Central opponents. Well, we got swept by Cincy and are playoff odds now sit at just 3.3%. Or, roughly 1/30th as good as Pedro Martinez’s odds of getting a hit at the plate.

It’s time to sell.

First off, there’s Zack Greinke. His price is coming down due to a loss of compensation picks, but there are some desperate teams out there hoping to break droughts; that should inflate his price back up a little. He’s not signing that 5 year, 100 million dollar offer; I don’t think you expected him to. He’s going to test the FA market and probably make far more than that, just like Sabathia and Fielder did when you offered the exact same deal. If Baltimore or Pittsburgh or Oakland consider themselves as desperate for a winner as you did in 2008, then you know you’ll get a big haul (but hopefully those prospects amount to more than Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley).

Next up, Corey Hart. He’s gone after next year, and I’m just giving you a quick heads-up: 2013 won’t be our year either. Hart is a powerful right-handed bat who can probably yield a return from a pitcher-heavy team in search of a bat – the Indians, A’s, Dodgers, and Giants all spring to mind. Plus, he has an extra year before free agency. Plus, Hart has shown some proficiency at first base…other than the Giants, those teams I mentioned are employing some laughable characters to play that position.

Aramis Ramirez – again, I don’t blame you for this signing one bit; there was plenty of reason to be optimistic going into 2012. But, he’s signed for a lot of money through 2014. Like I said, this isn’t our year, 2013 won’t be our year, and while 2014 could be our year, Ramirez will be 37, so it won’t be his. Rumors have circulated that the Dodgers are interested, and remember: Ned Coletti is an idiot, and a sucker for old veterans (hence his acquisition of Juan Uribe for whatever reason).

Francisco Rodriguez – it’s the time of year when seemingly everyone needs bullpen help, and you’re dangling the all-time single season saves leader. K-Rod has the track record that other teams are looking for (just as we were last season), and he would represent a nice little savings if you could dump him off on someone else. Then they can decide whether or not to play arbitration chicken.

Shaun Marcum might be re-signable after the season for the right price, something I wouldn’t have imagined a couple months ago. And there’s no need to trade Rickie Weeks either – his value is about as low as it can get (which is the absolute worst time to sell). As far as “crafty lefty” Randy Wolf – trade him if you can, but I doubt you’ll get much more than a barrel of baseballs and an ESPN insider subscription. Just a hunch.

I’ve lived through almost 20 losing seasons; I can deal with a couple more. I love miracles, but, analytically speaking, the worst thing you can do is let this team be dug into another decade-plus of futility.

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66 Responses to “Dear Doug Melvin”

  1. Raul Says:

    No arguments here. Move em all.

  2. JohnBowen Says:

    They just blew a 3-run 9th inning lead.

    Fucking incredible.

  3. Chuck Says:

    The list for Greinke appears to be shrinking..

    Atlanta may be his only option at this point.

    The Dodgers are out because of Dempster.

    With Hamels signed, the Rangers are now looking at Josh Johnson.

    With Dempster the Dodgers first choice, the Red Sox are hot for Matt Garza, and the Angels have had talks with Tampa about James Shields.

    Unless the Brewers are just flat planning on giving him away, Greinke’s destination list has one name on it.

  4. JohnBowen Says:

    And I think the Brewers are asking too much right now. Julio Teheran isn’t worth a half-season of Zack Greinke.

    Unless the Braves think they can re-sign him, keeping in mind that he spurred a 5-year, 100 million dollar deal from the Crew.

  5. Raul Says:

    Greinke back to the Royals.
    I just want Cam to lose it

  6. Brautigan Says:

    LOL @ Raul.

  7. Chuck Says:

    “I just want Cam to lose it..”

    Wait til he finds out the Royals are trying to trade Butler.

  8. JohnBowen Says:

    Don’t the Royals expect to be competing in 2013-2015? I would just hold onto the guy if that’s the case.

  9. JohnBowen Says:

    Is Billy Butler’s nickname really “Country Breakfast” ? Really?

  10. Chuck Says:

    No idea…I heard possibly Butler to Pittsburgh yesterday.

  11. JohnBowen Says:

    I could see that.

  12. Patrick Says:

    Then Butler will have to buy a glove.

    They gave up Melky for the worst pitcher in baseball.

    Jonathan Sanchez; 1-7, 8.01 era, 57 IP, 71 H, 48 BB! only 41 K, and probably the first guy to have a WHIP over 2.0 in both leagues

    If KC didn’t make that trade they would probably be over .500 right now.

    The guys that they don’t trade, like Dyson and Francoeur have some of the worst stats I’ve ever seen for starting OF.

    Dyson,243 PA, .624 OPS,.313 SLG and 7 RBI.

    Francoeur isnt any better, .248/.283/.371 for a .654 OPS with 66 K and only 16 BB in 385 PA! Oh, and 27 RBI for a middle of the order guy!

    When I did my RBI rate stat(RPR) a few years back(08′ stats I believe), the 2 worst guys in the majors were Francoeur and Figgins. The 3 worst that I’ve found this year? Francoeur, Figgins and Dyson.

    So that’s 2 of your OF spots with Gordon in left for most of the year. I realize Cain has been hurt, but stil, that’s 2 OF who should be utility players or gone, and the front office deems Melky Cabrera expendable, your first player in years to get 200 hits.

    Now look at Butler, the guys who are hitting in front of him are under .300 OBP collectively, but Butler has 58 RBI, on pace for close to 100, he’s actually close to the league lead in RPR. So being KC, that would make sense that he would be the guy that they trade.

    Poor Cameron and poor KC fans.

  13. Raul Says:

    KC should have a good offense next year.
    It’ll be a little worse without Butler. But their issue is pitching.

  14. Patrick Says:

    I’m sorry, that’s supposed to say just over .300

  15. Raul Says:

    Patrick, I don’t blame them for trading Melky. He had career year written all over him

  16. Patrick Says:

    Assuming Hosmer gets better, Cain stays healthy and Myers is as advertised, they could be OK.

    Pitching is always their issue but I don’t think it’s a surprise that Sanchez got shelled in the AL, he couldn’t throw strikes before KC traded for him.

    I think they are poor evaluators of pitchers and what is important on the field.

  17. Patrick Says:

    Raul, I didn’t see it that way. Here’s a kid who learns to play on the Yankees when everyone else his age was in the minors and he held his own year after year.

    Then he turns 27 and he’s already a seasoned vet and his talent, physicality and experience collide. Melky is reminding me of Bobby Abreu.

  18. JohnBowen Says:

    Agreed @15, that was what I was thinking at the time, and I certainly thought Sanchez was better than this. Apparently not.

  19. JohnBowen Says:

    “Melky is reminding me of Bobby Abreu.”

    Lol, you’re gonna have to elaborate there.

  20. Patrick Says:

    *granted, without the plate discipline

  21. Raul Says:

    Melky reminds me of Abreu too. Both brown Spanish guys that are a bit pudgy with little HR power

    #SelfInflictedStereotypes

  22. Patrick Says:

    OK, I predict a 5 year run of Melky hitting over .300, 200 H, about 20 HR, 20 SB, 100 R, 90-100 RBI.

    The difference OBP., where Abreu is always close to .400, Melky will probably be around .370

    I’d say Melky is much better with the glove and arm strength though.

    And they both look a little too fat to be as good and fast as they are.

  23. Raul Says:

    I will say this, there were times when Melky showed some great ability when he was in New York. He had some great clutch hits and could get streaky.

    But I never imagined a .350 hitter. Never.

  24. Patrick Says:

    lol Raul, we could go that way too!

  25. Raul Says:

    I’ll tell ya tho…I have no idea what the hell the Phillies are thinking.

    All that money they committed to Hamels, Lee and Howard.
    It’s going to be really ugly.

  26. Patrick Says:

    He played so much for the Yanks that people tended to forget he was barely a man. They started expecting too much too soon.

    In retrospect, he would sure look good in Gardner’s/Ichiro’s spot.

  27. Raul Says:

    I can’t think of a more overrated trade candidate in recent years than Chase Headley.

  28. Patrick Says:

    That would be another good article, rating all of the $100M+ contracts. They rarely work. Look what the Yanks have to pay for a .270, 20 HR guy(ARod). Howard splits his achilles. Lee is up and down.

    Sabathia has been about the only guy who has been consistently good.

  29. Bob Says:

    Speaking of KC and Hosmer, about 15 months ago, people were saying Hosmer was going to be joining the Pujols’s and Gonnzalez as a premier 1bman. Fast forward to late July 2012. Is it Anthony Rizzo, and not Hosmer, who will be the next great first baseman? I say yes.

  30. Chuck Says:

    “OK, I predict a 5 year run of Melky hitting over .300, 200 H, about 20 HR, 20 SB, 100 R, 90-100 RBI.”

    I’ll take that bet.

  31. Chuck Says:

    “Is it Anthony Rizzo, and not Hosmer, who will be the next great first baseman? I say yes.”

    Signed, Lars Anderson.

    When their respective careers are over, Anthony Rizzo will be able to tell his kids he played against Eric Hosmer.

  32. Patrick Says:

    OK Chuck, but 2 of them are almost in the books.

    Bob, you’re probably right about Rizzo, especially in Wrigley as opposed to KC.

  33. Raul Says:

    I don’t think Hosmer projected as a superstar type of player. He won’t reach Pujols status.
    But I can see him go .290/.390/.550 with 22-ish HR and 35-40 doubles.

  34. Patrick Says:

    Rizzo is more compact than Lars but we will see. It’s only 1 time around the league for Rizzo so we’ll see how the next time works out. They did give him a good number though, 44.

  35. Bob Says:

    Rizzo was selected in the 6th round.
    Hosmer was selected 3rd overall.

  36. Raul Says:

    I’m not too great with jersey numbers anymore.

    #44 was Reggie Jackson, I think.

  37. Chuck Says:

    I’m sorry, but if you thought Melky Cabrera was capable of even two thirds of what he’s doing now, then head down the hall, first door on the left..there’s a cup waiting for you to piss in.

  38. Chuck Says:

    “#44 was Reggie Jackson, I think.”

    Hank Aaron.

  39. Bob Says:

    I keep mulling over the thought of writing an article here saying that the Rockies, in their attempt to get younger ( especially at 1st base) should make a play for Lars for some fair prospect to give the Sox. But then I wonder if this type of article is worthy of this group.
    So I will make the suggestion in the comments section.

  40. Raul Says:

    I thought Melky would always be a 4th outfielder in NY. But it I had to guess his ceiling, I would have told you .295/.355/.440

    I know that batting average seems high but Melky always had good bat control.

  41. Raul Says:

    Bob, write your articles. How bad could they be?
    Remember that Shaun Payne wrote for this site…

  42. Chuck Says:

    #39,

    Anything would be worthy, Bob..give it a go.

    #41..LOL…

  43. Bob Says:

    @ Raul. Fair enough. I need to delve into the Rockies system. Of course this comes at a time when John just became prolific and swamped us with a half-dozen new articles/threads.

  44. Bob Says:

    @ Chuck. Rock and roll.

  45. Chuck Says:

    I’d like to see Patrick repost his RPR again..that was an interesting read.

    Now that most of the ahemmoronsahem have left, we can have a more intelligent conversation, instead of 350 comments of “RBI’s suck”.

    Although Shaun’s inability to grasp what Patrick was saying may have been the funniest thing I’ve seen on the ‘net ever.

  46. Raul Says:

    Anyone thought that Josh Willingham would have a season this good?

  47. Chuck Says:

    Write it and send it, Bob.

    If John is busy I can post it and vice versa, and can space it if need be.

  48. Chuck Says:

    To make room for Ryan Roberts on their roster, the Rays DFA’d Hideki Matsui.

  49. Raul Says:

    Roberts may not be that much better, but at least he can move around better than Matsui.

    All in all, Godzilla had a successful career in the Majors. Not many Japanese players can say that.

  50. Bob Says:

    Cal Ripken’s mom, who was abducted, is now safe. Just getting details on Yahoo.

  51. Bob Says:

    ESPN has the story as well.

  52. Raul Says:

    Wow

  53. JohnBowen Says:

    @28, I wrote an article today where I went through the 100+ million dollar pitching contracts.

    The 100+ million dollar contracts to Carlos Lee and Alfonso Soriano write their own jokes.

  54. Chuck Says:

    Add another one to the list John..the Hamels contract is official..6/144.

  55. JohnBowen Says:

    Right, that’s what the article is in reference to. Under “Daily Discussion”

  56. Brautigan Says:

    @ Bob #29. You do realize that Freddie Freeman is younger than Rizzo and has 35 career homeruns to Rizzo’s 5. His line is .276/.337/.453 and I believe he is having a bit of a “sophomore slump” (I expected a little bit more production from him this year). However, he is pretty consistent, especially when you compare his line to Rizzo’s (career line .211/.304/.344).

  57. Bob Says:

    Braut, I knew Freeman was younger than Rizzo. I just knew that Rizzo had a homer today, and combined with someone mentioning Hosmer, just did a mini-comparison of those two.
    But in the spirit of player comparisons (Trout vs Harper, Trout vs. Mays, Rizzo vs. Hosmer etc) I will say that Rizzo will have better numbers than Freeman 5 years from now.
    And if I am wrong, perhaps we can meet someday between Oregon and Ct, and your gin based drink will be on me.

  58. Brautigan Says:

    That’s an intriguing bet Bob.

    I’ll do it. Mostly because I like the idea of having a gin drink, and it sounds like yet another adventure.

  59. Patrick Says:

    @45 Maybe I’ll work on a RPR update while in Chicago. That thread really did get hijacked by repeatedly debating with Shaun that 2+2 really is 4. Hossrex and John Q were really getting under my skin as well. :-)

  60. Chuck Says:

    John Q said he left here because of me.

    I thanked him for making the site better.

  61. Patrick Says:

    Jeez, he said that? lol, he was pretty thin skinned and he swilled the acronym kool aid, but I liked him.

  62. Chuck Says:

    He still posts on High Heat Stats..(replacement for BR’s blog).

    I appreciated him trying to learn about advanced stats, especially at his advanced age, but it was evident (which he admitted) that he didn’t fully understand how to apply what he had learned.

    He was thin skinned, but that’s his fault..the best way to not have people think your stupid is to not say stupid things.

    He does seem much more comfortable with sabermetrics now and sounds much smarter..can’t say the same for Shaun, however.

  63. Raul Says:

    The problem with some people is a refusal to admit when they are wrong.

    If you believe something and someone disagrees, you can defend it in spite of anything. And if your belief is genuine, people will respect it even if they think you’re wrong.

    The problem is when people stick to their guns when it’s obvious they are wrong and just don’t want to acknowledge it. People can then sense you’re full of it and they will take you to town.

  64. Chuck Says:

    It’s not sabermetrics, it’s sabermatricians.

    I’ve been saying that all along.

    At the time, John knew less about WAR then I did, but he argued like he invented the goddamn thing.

    The thing that really PO’d me about him was he is closer to our age and learned the game the same way..then acted like sabermetrics was the best invention since the condom and his condescending “I’m smarter than you because I know what VORP is” made me crazy.

  65. Patrick Says:

    I’ll check High Heat out. Thanks

    Raul, good post, that sums it up what these blogs are all about.

    I’ve said it before, I like they idea of sabermetrics, as long as the stats consist of measurable events.

    VORP and WAR and any other “complete value under one roof” stat does not meet this criteria. When it’s touted as a scientific advancement, for some reason, it really pisses me off.

    Maybe I should talk to a counselor or something.

  66. Chuck Says:

    Doug Melvin” “There is a 100% chance Zack Greinke will be traded before Tuesday”.

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