Wednesday, August 03, 2005

"My" Chat Transcript, Part I

I've had this idea for a long time now, but the Journal Sentinel beat writers have not held an internet chat in months until yesterday. What I decided to do was to answer all of the questions that were sent in.


Q: Kevin of Milwaukee - Any talk about what the Brewers payroll will be next year (and beyond . . . )?

A: Hot Rod - Mark A has recently stated that Doug Melvin was allowed to take on some extra payroll recently before the trade deadline expired. With that said, next year's payroll will definitely increase, somewhere around the $50 million mark. After next year, I would think it would increase again, but likely not as much.


Q: Ryan N of Milton - What are the chances that we see Nelson Cruz or Corey Hart starting in our outfield next year?

A: HR - I think one, if not both, will be with the team when Spring Training breaks next year. I have a sneaking suspicion that one will be in the starting lineup at some point. I think there is a good chance Carlos Lee gets traded either this offseason or at the trade deadline next year. I don't think it is possible to extend Carlos' contract after next year. He will be commanding too much in salary for it to be justified.


Q: A.J. of Milwaukee, WI - Just a comment . . . I think the Brewers should spend the money to bring in another top of the rotation starter for next season. For a change, let's get serious about contending for the postseason.

A: HR - Agreed. I don't know off the top of my head who will be available, but I'd also like to see a #2 or #3 pitcher added to go along with Sheets, Davis, and Cappy. I'd prefer a right hander, as I beleive Eveland is currently being groomed to slide into the rotation next season.


Q: Matt of West Bend - From what has been said by the new ownership, the Brewers are taking a look at the entire branding of the club. Has there been any rumblings about a logo or uniform change in the future? With the "informal" focus group at the free t-shirt night choosing the old ball and glove logo, has that accelarated the decision?

A: HR - Obviously I don't know the inner workings of the club, but I could forsee bringing back the old glove logo as an alternate uniform perhaps with the current navy blue and gold colors. Not as a permanent jersey, but for something to wear perhaps on Sunday games.


Q: Abe Jaroszewski of Mooresville, NC - Do you think that the Brewers will make any major shakeups before the season is finished i.e a late season call up, waiver trade, or a rotaion shakeup?

A: HR - I see a lot of call-ups when September 1st rolls around. You'll most likely see Fielder, Hart, Cruz, and Krynzel as position players, plus Ben Hendrickson, Jose Capellan, Mike Adams, and Jeff Bennett for the bullpen. I wouldn't expect anything different in the rotation except for maybe a spot start for the likes of Hendrickson or de la Rosa to give each of the regulars an extra day of rest.


Q: brian of scottsdale, AZ - Drew, do you expect to see either Santos or Ohka in a Brewers uniform next year?

A: HR - Ohka is all but gone next year. He's a flyball pitcher in a pitcher's park -- not a good fit if you ask me. Santos will have to prove to management that he can be lights out in spring training, otherwise he could potentially be traded days before the season starts if someone else steps up and claims a job.


Q: Justin D Hein of Santa Rosa, CA - What is the Brewers plan concerning their young players? When will Krynzel, Hart, and Fielder get to play as everyday players? And where will Clark, Lee, and Overbay be playing when they do?

A: HR - My plan would be to bring up Krynzel next season to sort of fill Magruder's role this season - be the fourth outfielder/defensive specialist/pinch runner - and to let him either sink or swim at the plate. It would be something similar to what the Crew did with Hardy this season. As far as Hart, it depends on what is done with Lee or Jenkins. It all but appears Prince will be manning first base for the next decade as Overbay will likely be traded this offseason.


Q: Edd of Layton, UT - On some of the fan forums people have complained about the Brewer's catchers and that the team needs to improve its catching. I think Moeller and Miller have handled the pitching staff extremely well. Do Brewer pitchers have confidence in their catchers and do they like throwing to them?

A: HR - I haven't heard any pitchers complain out loud about the situation. The only complaint I have with the catching is the over abundance of passed balls and wild pitches that I felt should have been handled. I think Moeller is more responsible for this than Miller. But he's a back up. It could be worse, Gary Bennett could be the back up again, or Raul Casanova, or Eddie Perez, or....ok, get the point? Catchers are a valuable commodity, the Brewers actually have 2 above average catchers for a change.


Q: nick of milwaukee - Yes or no? 1. Will J.J. Hardy ever be a 300 hitter? 2. Will Overbay be on the '06 Brewers?

A: HR - 1. Perhaps. I can see him being a .270 - .280 hitter, with maybe one career year where he hits .300. 2. Possibly, but very, very unlikely. It all depends on what they can get back for him this winter. With the lack of viable first basemen available through free agency this year, and the fact Melvin has repeatedly stated he get more value in return for position players during the offseason, I think it's a no brainer that some team will vastly overpay for his services.


Q: chris bird of franklinton la. - What will happen next year when the Brewers have two first baseman? Fielder is still not a proven player; will the Brewers roll the dice and trade a good player or can he play the outfield? I really doubt the later but what choice do they have? Overbay really is a good player the team would hate to lose and I would hate to be the GM on this one! Regards, CB

A: HR - See above answer. There is no chance either Prince or Lyle will play outfield at Miller Park. Lyle has already stated that he won't, and Prince can barely handle first base, let alone the outfield. Also, did you notice that the Crew jettisoned Junior Spivey to make room for this Rickie Weeks kid? Weeks and Fielder are both considered to be super, phenom prospects. I bet the road will be paved for Prince to play first base next year.


Q: Ryan N of Milton, Wi - Will Cirillo start getting most of that time at 3rd base and share it with Branyon when he gets back? Or will Hall also share a lot of the time there. I see a bit of a logjam for talented players in the infield.

A: HR - I couldn't agree more w/Drew's answer: Drew Olson - Ryan - When Cirillo comes back, which is still a few weeks off, I think he'll be primarily a pinch-hitter and late-inning defensive guy. I don't see him getting many starts right away.


Q: Lurch of Kenosha - When will the Brewers, and new ownership for that matter, erect a Molitor statue outside of MP? I don't understand why such a signficant franchise player, and top 10 total hits all time, is not being treated as such? Mr. Attanasio, this franchise has two HOF players. They BOTH should be honored equally in this manner.

A: HR - Let me get on that, I've got Mark A's personal cell phone number....a very good point though.


Q: Tim of Oak Creek - With Weeks scuffling a bit right now, has Yost considered dropping him in th lineup, moving Overbay to the 2 spot, Lee 3, Jenkins 4...then mix and match the rest (maybe Weeks 5th between Jenkins and Branyan)? Thanks.

A: HR - I don't think he'll be moved anywhere in the lineup. The Brewers really don't have any other possible #2 hitters. Perhaps next year or later down the road, Hardy will become that guy, but not right now.


Q: Scott of Eau Claire - Any chance the Crew will call up Nelson Cruz in September?

A: HR - Yup, I'd almost bank on it.


Q: Larry Smith of Mount Prospect, IL - What's the story on Dave Krynzel? At the start of the year it looked like he might stick with the Brewers, now he is hitting .245 in Nashville. Has his stock gone down?

A: Drew Olson - Larry - Krynzel had a terrific spring. He looked like he had turned a corner and was ready to live up to his No. 1 draft pick status. I haven't seen any Nashville games, obviously, but I don't think he's bolstering his case. He's certainly not threatening to be a starting player in Milwaukee any time soon. I could see him being a backup in the big leagues next year, but everyone had higher hopes. The good thing is that he's still young, hungry and has time to improve. Though the circumstances are different, Brady Clark didn't give up and look where it got him.


Q: Dan of Madison - Do you see the Brewers getting more involved in the free agent market this winter? What position will they be looking at?

A: HR - I think most of the re-tooling of the roster will come through trades. Look at last year...who were the free agents that signed w/the Crew? Bottalico, Cirillo, Helling? The only FA to sign of significance was Damian Miller, and a lot of that had to do with being from Wisconsin. Face it, most players don't want to come to Milwaukee, but I get the feeling that concept has been changing for the better. Look for a starting pitcher to be sought after.


Q: Dan of Madison - If the Crew were to lose Jenkins or Lee to a injury, who would get the call from AAA?

A: HR - My guess is that it would be Corey Hart straight up, or possibly platooning with Nelson Cruz. That's not something they want to think about, though. Losing one of the big sticks would be a giant blow at this point. No way either of Cruz or Hart would come close to matching their production right away.


Q: Dan of Madison - Thanks for all the great coverage of the Crew, the Madison papers do a terrible job. Do you ever get worn out by all the hotels, plane rides, eating on the road,and on and on. You have a great job, but it must get hard even for you in August.

A: HR - Yeah, I do a hell of a job, don't I!!!


Q: Ryan of Hustiford, Wi - How hot does Rickie Weeks have to get in the last 2 months of play in order to be in the running for NL ROY? Are there any other strong candidates?

A: HR - This has been a terrible year for NL ROY candidates. See my post from last week about my thoughts.


Q: Troy of New Berlin - Do you ever see Weeks and Clark switching spots in the order if Weeks cuts down on his strikeouts.

A: HR - I don't think Rickie's future is as a No. 2 hitter and it's definitely not as a leadoff guy. I think his future likes in the No. 3 spot. He has way too much power to be in the lead off spot.


Q: Dan of Madison - What are the odds that Melvin will shop Jenkins and or Lee this off season?

A: Drew Olson - Dan - He'll listen to any offers. I actually think the Giants, who have some decent young pitching, should inquire about Jenkins. They're looking for a left-handed bat and his contract isn't unmanagable for them. Rumor has it, the Giants WERE looking at him before the trade deadline, Drew!


Q: John of West Bend - Hi Drew Do you feel Weeks is truly a "can't miss" type of player? I've invested in some of his high end rookie cards and am wondering if this was a good move? Thanks

A: HR - Don't worry, you're not the only one investing in him! Once he learns to hit a breaking pitch and be able to go the other way with a pitch, you'll be reaping the rewards soon after!! We've already seen flashes of brilliance at the plate, just wait til he puts in all together.


Q: Daren of Chicago - Hi Drew. Any chance the Brewers would try to deal Jenkins (and his big salary) in the offseason, with Krynzel, N.Cruz developing well? Or is his veteran clubhouse presence too important? Just curious..thanks.

A: HR - Outside of Sheets and Weeks, I don't think anyone is untouchable. If a Jenkins deal makes the team better, Doug will pull the trigger. I also personally don't put much stock in clubhouse commradory. Besides, Sheets and Carlos Lee do a good enough job at that as it is.

Sausage Aftermath

This weekend will be one to remember...well, let's put it this way, I'll remember as much as I can!

Myself and a buddy of mine took part in the annual 5K Sausage Run/Walk on Saturday morning that was held at Miller Park. We had been planning this day for several months now.

But, we did not do it the conventional way. We were on a mission, and that mission was not to finish the race as quick as we could, let's put it like that! Below is a picture of just exactly our mission was! Make sure to take note of what is next to the cooler....

After mixing our "racing beverages and refreshments", we headed to the park to register, arriving around 8 in the morning. Once that was finished, it was only 8:15 AM, so we had 45 more minutes until the race began. Can you guess what we did? We relaxed in the Topaz (sorry buddy, it had to go sometime!) and took down our first mixer. By race time, we both were three sheets to the wind! We easily had knocked off a half liter of Jack Daniel's by the time Daron Sutton fired off his gun eighteen times to start the race.

Once the race began, we began taking down our second and final beverage. We started out strong with a brisk pace....walking, that is! You obviously don't have to imagine what our drinking pace was! Everything was going fine up until we got to make our way through Miller Park itself.

It should also be noted that we were probably the only two people in the race to use one of these, right before we went through the park:

After losing some precious seconds to handle our business, we still had a very sizeable lead on many of the walkers. We then decided to take advantage of the situation and take an absolute ton of pictures down on the infield warning track and the dugout. Many others felt obligated to do the same. But, next thing you know, we were dead last and being forced out of the stadium!!

I also had to make sure that I stepped on the grass inside the stadium as well. The ushers damn near had a heart attack when I taunted them by dangling my foot over the grass!

At this point, we realized that there was no realistic chance of us not coming in dead last. We were definitely not about to sprint, walk, or even speed walk to catch up the the next group in front of us. I'd have it no other way.

We eventually made it back to the finish line to what we thought was dead last. But somebody put us all to shame and finished many minutes after us. The results of the race can be found here.

This was my "winning" time:

....and this is me after I crossed the finish line:

All in all, it was a great day. I don't remember anything after about 4 PM, afterall, it's not like we didn't stop drinking just because the race was over!! But the highlight, or lowlight, of the event came during the award presentation ceremony. We had just finished and Daron Sutton was announcing the winners. We were booing for one of the participants so loudly that Sutton actually stopped in his tracks and made us explain why we were boing!!! And this was what came out of my mouth, "He's from Illinois!! FIB's!!!!".