Help Wanted (37-32)
Dear Ken Macha,
It was definitely an up and down week for you and the Crew. Something in Cleveland’s air sparked a resurgence in the Brewers’ bats as the team scored 30 runs during the three game series. Less enjoyable for you: the Indians scored 25 of their own. The first game featured an incredible 26 combined runs and two different rallies by the Brewers before they secured the lead on Prince Fielder’s first career grand slam. Finally, Bill Schroeder can cross that tidbit off his list of things to harp on during on-air moments that don’t require a personal anecdote.
The series in Cleveland was most definitely the “up” in “up and down.” Even though the Brewers trailed the Indians in every game, by the third and final game it became de rigueur to expect another comeback victory at the expense of the Indians’ anemic bullpen. Even then, after two come-from-behind victories the previous two days, it happened again, thanks in part to Trevor Hoffman’s first blown save of the season.
Even with our very own C+C Hit Factory — Counsell and Casey McGehee — continuing their gritty ways, the lack of production from the lower half of the order has put you in a pickle, Ken. Do you look to add another bat to the lineup or do you focus on quality starting pitching, hoping it provides just enough momentum to propel the Brewers into the playoffs?
In order to help you help us, Ken, I’ve compiled a quick summary of the potential players Doug Melvin refuses to acknowledge the Brewers are considering.
Erik Bedard (SP, Seattle)
The French-Canadian Bedard represents the best possible chance for the Brewers to add another ace to complement Yovanni Gallardo. His arm troubles and $7.75 million salary are cause for concern, but Doug Melvin’s relationship with ex-Brewer scout/current Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik could grease the wheels on this trade.
Mark DeRosa (3B, Cleveland)
Solid, veteran hitter could provide a more active bat at 2B, possibly allowing McGehee to supercede Gamel at 3B. Mark spent the past two years as a Chicago Cub, which means his success would infuriate Cubs fans that much more than a non-Cub. Is there a quantifiable formula for SORP (Sadness Over Replacement Player)?
Pedro Martinez (SP, Free Agent)
Doug Melvin has strongly insisted that Pedro will not be a Brewer, but who wouldn’t want a smiling Pedro on their team? Injury troubles and old age are keeping most teams away from signing him, but if Chet Steadman can come back from injury and be a hero, why not Pedro? As you can probably tell, there’s more questions than answers when it comes to Pedro’s viability.
Brad Penny (SP, Boston)
Rumors abound of trade scenarios involving Penny and Brewers named JJ Hardy. Penny would be a significant upgrade to the starting pitching corps and provide Todd Coffey with a formidable canasta opponent, but the need to give up JJ Hardy in return may be too much for Doug Melvin. Nonetheless, Penny could be an attractive option if a healthy John Smoltz returns to Boston’s rotation in top form.
Ned Yost (Land Owner, State of Georgia)
Maybe you don’t need better players, Ken. Maybe, just maybe, you need a coaching buddy! This smiling gent has experience with hot and cold teams that over-perform in the first half and nosedive in the second half. Ned likes motorcar racing, huntin’, fishin’ and elaborately telegraphed arguments with umpires. Ned’s already on the payroll for $1 million, so there’s no need for Mark Attanasio to open the checkbook!
There you go, Ken. Print it out, laminate the list and put it in your wallet. Chances are good that one of those names will end up on your team before the trading deadline, so you might as well get to know them now.
The week ahead isn’t necessarily any easier for you, but at least it’s at home. A three-game series against the Twins should prove challenging if the pitching continues to disappoint, and then the surprisingly strong San Francisco Giants might make the first weekend of Summerfest a particularly somber one for the competitive drinkers of Milwaukee.
Keep your head up, Ken. It’s not even the halfway point of the season and it’s already starting to look eerily familiar to last season for fans; you’re going to need to keep up your calm, confident demeanor to avoid a case of the Yosts.
P.S. — Pass along a very special “Best Regards” to JJ Hardy for hitting his first home run since May 8th. Maybe we’ll see another one by the end of July!