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MLB ’05 Recap: Milwaukee Brewers

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This is Part 1 of a 30-part series of team-by-team analyses of
the 2005 MLB Season. Bookmark http://www.futonreport.net/ for
the upcoming schedule as well as all past reports.

The Brewers were a very, very average team. And, given their past performances, they are very, very happy about that.

Given the previous three seasons they were in the cellar of the largest division in baseball, a third place finish and .500 record is an accomplishment for this young team.

The marquee move the previous year was Carlos Lee, who they acquired from the White Sox in exchange for base-thief Scott Podsednik. What they lost in speed they gained in power, as the man known as El Caballo (.265 avg., 32 HR, 114 RBI) filled a year-old void created by the departure of Richie Sexson. When Sexy left, they weren’t gettin’ any … home runs.

One-man doubles factory Lyle Overbay (.267, 19 HR, 72 RBI) was the subject of some light trading rumors, as many teams were scrambling for a quality offensive first baseman. And with Prince Fielder as the heir apparent to that seat, Overbay may be the gatekeeper to more promising talent, although last year’s numbers were not nearly as eye-popping as his breakout 2004 year, which included an NL-high 53 doubles.

Geoff Jenkins is becoming the elder statesman in this franchise. The 30-year-old Jenkins (.292, 25, 86) is one of the veteran leaders on this young squad, and any success next year will hinge on his performance.

Ben Sheets left the season early in August and another month in May, so his number (10-9, 3.33 ERA) were not those we are akin to seeing from the former Olympic team gold medalist.

Chris Capuano (18-12, 3.99 ERA) and Doug Davis (11-11, 3.83 ERA) emerged as the two dominant forces in an otherwise good rotation, and Derrick Turnbow (39 saves) helped anchor a modest bullpen. The entire pitching staff put together a respectable team ERA; in fact, they were only one of six NL teams with one under 4.00.

This team shows nothing but promise for 2006. Even if this same team takes the field next year, only one player is older than 33 (catcher Damian Miller). Owner Mark Attanasio shelled out $8.5 million’s option for Lee’s ’06 option and he is not afraid to spend a little more to get the right personnel in to be competitive. With another pitcher, another batter and contributions from Fielder and the blossoming young’uns, this team could push 90 wins.

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  • http://www.djradiohead.com DJRadiohead

    The Brew Crew needs to trade Overbay for a middle reliever and a used copy of the The Book of Mormon so “The Fresh Prince of Joe Davis” can get some playing time. Overbay will look pretty good to somebody once the Konerko derby is over.

    (Fielder used to play AA ball here in Huntsville)

    The Brewers problem as presently constructed is no one can have a down year and no one can get hurt for them to make any noise. A healthy Sheets in that rotation might have made the team an interesting squad in the Wild Card hunt.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    Really, they should have traded Overbay this year when he was still a hot commodity. Next year he’ll be yesterday’s news, another .285 hitter with modest power.

  • http://www.djradiohead.com DJRadiohead

    The market for Lyle was never going to be lucrative no matter what. They either need to trade him or tell him he’s a backup. Either way, Fielder needs to play.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    What about Boston? Kevin Millar and John Olerud will both file for free agency, and Overbay’s power numbers could take a spike with Pesky’s Pole in sight.

  • DJRadiohead

    Olerud is 97 and will retire. Millar is a moron. That’s beside the point.

    Having said all that, Overbay makes sense at the right price. Boston (if Manny is still in Boston) doesn’t need a masher. They need solid, dependable production. Overbay could slap doubles around Fenway and drive in some runs.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    Bottom line, there’s always a market for a productive first baseman who won’t put you back $5 million a year.

  • http://aqualung@bresnan.net MCH

    Maybe they could bring Gorman Thomas out of retirement….

  • DJRadiohead

    But why trade for somebody else’s “Not Quite An Impact 1B” when your system probably as 12 of them? Milwaukee should try to move him. They just have to understand they aren’t getting anything other than room for Prince.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    How about trading Overbay for a “wily” veteran first baseman who can take Prince under his wing?

    Maybe someone likea John Olerud or a Tino Martinez who they can say, “Look, Prince is our future. We want you to teach him everything you know. You’ll get 200 at-bats. If you have a resurgent year, we’ll try to trade you to a contending team.”

  • DJRadiohead

    Olerud and Martinez are both FAs. I think it would be wise for MILW to trade Overbay and sign that type of player as a mentor.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    Agreed.