Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Brewers Will Finish in Last Place in 2013

Just 5 days from now, the Pirates will embark on the 2013 season attempting to halt their epic losing streak before it is eligible to drink.  Personally, I think they'll do it (83 wins is my prediction), but this quasi-preview of the NL Central is going to focus mostly on the Milwaukee Brewers.

A couple of days ago, the Brewers fell prey to agent Scott Boras's Jedi Mind Trick and ended up signing "victim of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement" Kyle Lohse to a 3 year - $33M contract.  On the surface, $11M for the services of Lohse is not bad, except once you figure in that Lohse will be 34/35/36 during this contract and there is the nagging suspicion that he was a product of the St. Louis system.

Four seasons ago, Lohse had a 4.74 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP.  Three seasons ago it was 6.55 ERA and a 1.78 WHIP (in only 117 and 92 innings, respectively).  So now Lohse had this unbelievable renaissance at ages 32 and 33?  (Don't type PED's.  Don't type PED's.  Gaaaaahhh.  Too late).  So in 2012 he puts up a 16-3 record with a 2.86 ERA and 1.08 WHIP?

The kicker for the Brewers is that by signing Lohse, who declined a 1 year/$13.3M qualifying offer from the Cardinals, the Brew Crew forfeits their 1st round pick (17th overall) and the portion of their signing pool that goes with it (it was $2M last year).  In the new paradigm of draft rules, that money going out the window only decreases their options of signing players.  Last year, teams drafting in the 16-18 range had approximately $4.4 to $5.2M in their draft pool to spend on their top 10 round picks.  So now the Brewers will have $2M less than that to complete their draft, severely hampering their maneuverability.

Furthering complicating things for the outlook of the Brewers is the fact that Baseball America ranked their farm system 23rd.  The Brewers have no impact players on the horizon, especially of the Ryan Braun-Prince Fielder level.  There's an interesting mid-rotation starter in Wily Peralta, but not of the Gerrit Cole-Jameson Taillon tier of talent.

Even with the signing of Lohse, the Brewers rotation is dangerously thin.  Pirate-killer Yovani Gallardo will form a decent 1-2 punch with Lohse (assuming Lohse doesn't regress, as I expect he will), but after that it looks like the Brewers rotation will be Peralta, Mike Fiers, and Marco Estrada with Chris Narveson on the periphery.  It's not exactly a championship rotation.  Here's the part where I interject that the Pirates' rotation is not awe-inspiring, either.  But the Pirates are on the upswing with a great farm on the rise (7th overall) while the Brewers are, at best, treading water this year.

The Brewers have already been hit with the injury bug this year.  Perennially injured Mat Gamel took care of his yearly injury in February and is out for the year with a torn ACL.  Corey Hart was going to move to 1B to cover for his loss, but Hart was already recovering from his own January knee surgery and is not expected back until mid-May.

There's also the cloud hanging over Ryan Braun with the Biogenesis scandal of selling PED' which Braun's name came up.  This is after Braun escaped a PED suspension last year on a flimsy chain of custody excuse.

To complete their topsy-turvy offseason, the Brewers decided to light a bunch of money on fire and give Carlos Gomez a 3 year/$24M contract.  Yes, Gomez did have a huge 2012 with a .260/.305/.463 triple slash line.  Gomez hit 19 home runs, after never hitting more than 8 in a season (don't mention PED's, don't mention connection with Braun) and provided good defense in CF, but he's not the kind of player to warrant $8M a year.

So in short, I expect the Brewers to crater out this year and finish below the re-building Cubs.  Just spitballin' some numbers here, but I'll go with:
Reds -- 93 wins
Cardinals -- 90 wins
Pirates -- 83 wins
Cubs -- 73 wins
Brewers -- 71 wins


  1. Loshe a)sucks, and b)is an extreme flyball pitcher, IIRC, going to a bad park for those kinds of starter. No good way for that to end, really....other than maybe he gets hurt before he can implode, I guess.

    I cannot see any way this Pirates' team cracks .500 with the current rotation. I know how great Burnett pitched last year. I know he's one of the few guys with a remotely "high profile" that have ever said he was happy to be a Pirate and wanted to be a part of the turnaround, etc etc etc.....but I think '12 was a bit of an aberration for him. I fear he's going to flatline. MacDonald is the epitome of "Jekkyl/Hyde" and Wandy's K rate has dropped for a couple years(although so has his BB/9). Then we're talking slugging in guys like Jeff Locke while we hope on Liriano/Morton/Karstens(this is why he wasn't heavily pursued...guy is as durable as a paper cup) and dream on the Coles/Taillons? I just don't get the "warm and fuzzies" for 2013. At. All.

    Won't even start on the offense. They still K a ton and don't get on base much. A bench that includes McDonald AND Brandon Inge? Eeeeesssh.

    Not feeling great about this year at all.

  2. Yeaaaahhhhh....there's a lot of hope associated with that 83 wins, has to end sometime. Right?

    Barmes won't be as bad with the bat. Martin knows which end of the bat to hold and will occasionally throw out a batter.

    And they'll hold the fort until Cole is deemed ready to start his service clock.