Dear Doug Melvin
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.