Sports Outside the Beltway

Brewers’ season ending press conference recap

Doug Melvin’s end of season press conference recap…my observations in bold:

Team always reports early to spring training, and gets off to a good start. Have to work on maintaining that. Many of the playoff teams got off to slow starts and finished strong. It’s a marathon not a sprint.

Bullpen took a lot of criticism, and not all of it was warranted. Cordero was 2nd in saves, Turnbow and Shouse were 2nd in holds, Shouse was in 60 games and never gave up a HR. Those 3 gave up one HR all year at home, until the last game, when Frankie allowed 2. Bullpen was the reason the team started strong, and had to pick up a lot of work because of the starters. In 2006, the starters went 7 or more innings 62 times, in 2007, only 33. The relievers were asked to pick up that extra work, and it showed.

If those numbers are correct, it is astounding. The toughest part of managing a ‘pen is getting to your best pitchers, and not overworking them. That’s a huge amount of pivotal frames the bullpen had to fill, and as pointed out, it showed.

Offense was a HR hitting team, Miller Park is a HR park, made for fly ball hitters, and the team was built that way. 15th in the NL in walks, need a couple of “professional” hitters, work the count, or pick up a walk before a HR. Hoping to add a guy or two like that. When the team blew an early 4-0 lead, many blamed the bullpen, but it can also be traced to not adding on a run or two by not taking a walk. Team has great speed, and used it well, except for Hall, who did not utilize his much.

Hall hardly ran at all, and did not go 1B-3B much, because he only got on 31% of the time.

Ned and the staff did an admirable job, Ned has strengths and weaknesses just like anyone else. Ned was told to develop players a few years ago and did just what he was asked. Many managers would not have done that like Ned. He agreed Lyle should be moved so Prince could play, JJ and Rickie were put in there every day despite struggles in the past. Those guys were ready because Ned stuck with them, many managers would not have done that. Ned is a fine manager of the entire organization. Areas he needs to improve on, as does everyone.

As for game management, everyone is a manager when something does not work. Even the teams in the postseason have been second guessed, should Peavy have pitched so long the other night? Who knows?

It’s an easy call when you read the last page first. Most folks have no clue how to decide earlier, however. That’s why they don’t bother explaining the mistake until 12 hours later.

Told Mark A not to expect Braun and Fielder types every 5 years, those guys are Yount and Molitor types, or Trammel and Whitaker, once every 20 years or so. Prince was the youngest to ever hit 50 home runs, those guys don’t come along every few years.

Know they have a lot to do…not going to be like hair conditioner, “just sit there and think I’m working”, got a lot to do.

That’s a great line.

Wants expectations to be high, wants people to pick the Crew to win, because of where the the team is now and where it’s going.

Would describe the season as disappointing, yet one of great progress. Scouts said Fielder might hit 50 homers someday, had no idea it would be now. No clue Braun would be up so soon and be so good right away.

One area of weakness was the rotation, thought it would be better. Ben being healthy would have helped, only made 4 starts in 2nd half that he did not have to leave early. That alone was a big difference, if he had got a dozen more starts. Thought they had good SP depth, but maybe needed more. Need 100 starts and 600 innings from your 3 main guys, did not get that. That said, we have 8 potential starters, and teams already are calling asking if SP’s are available, so apparently, despite wanting more, still have more than many other teams.

4 SP’s are a lock it would seem, but given how much Doug talked about it, adding another “innings eater” type, either for the bullpen or as the #5 guy, is possible. The fact teams are already calling would seemingly make fans who said Capuano and Vargas has no value look as stupid as I thought.

Home/road splits are an oddity, some attribute it to youth, but Arizona did fine and they are younger. Stat guys don’t have an explanation for it. Veterans might be the key to pulling you through tough times, and road trips.

Maybe need to get off to a slow start and finish strong. (tongue in cheek)

Discussed how he saw an article that listed nine managers that were in trouble, and all nine had winning marks. All four that got extensions were on losing teams…figure that one out.

Heh. It’s always the manager’s fault when the pitching goes south (like with the Mets) or when the ace gets hurt. Personally, I feel it’s intellectual fatigue, no one wants to analyze like Doug does, so they blame the manager and order up another beer.

Ned said he made some mistakes, especially with his bullpen usage. He’s still learning, he’s a huge part of the reason the team is where they are at. He’ll be back next year. Bullpens are never consistent from year-to-year, it’s just the way it is. Linebrink was one of the best set-up men in the game for years, and who replaced him? A kid that was in AAA for the Mets last year, and he was just outstanding.

He never used the words “small sample”, but basically, he described it perfectly. Over 200 frames, Suppan is pretty steady, if you split it up into 3 “seasons”, he is not. That’s exactly what a reliever’s numbers are.

Turnbow had some bad outings, but only gave up a run in 4 of his last 32 outings. Now, in the games he gave up runs, he may have given up 2 or 3, and the team lost some of those games, but overall, he was fine. Guys get booed. Saw John Wetteland booed in Texas, and he was an all-time great. When Derrick blows up, he blows up, and he’ll admit that. Many fans are short-sighted, they only recall the last game or two. Cordero never gets all those saves without Derrick’s holds.

Tried to patch up the ‘pen, brought in Linebrink, and tried to get Eric Gagne, sure glad they were not successful, backed off a bit at the end.

Surprised to hear Doug be so forthright here, basically implying how much Gagne sucked.

Will talk to Ned Monday about the coaching staff.

Needs, the SP’s need to go deeper to save the bullpen. Need to improve team OBP, by at least a few notches. Would like to add a couple hitters, improve rotation innings total, either in-house or or otherwise, and add some bullpen help.

Almost exactly what I expected, though it sure doesn’t sound like C & LF will be solved by in-house options. Thrilled he mentioned OBP and walks many times.

As of today, Hall is the CF. Guys like Andruw Jones and Torri Hunter are available, but may not be willing to go anywhere except a list of 3-4 teams. Stay away from low BB/high K guys.

Did not throw out runners like they had hoped. Estrada was fine offensively, about average for the position.

Catching is a black hole, as Doug pointed out, Johnny was right in the middle of the pack, despite less than hoped for numbers.

Would love to follow the Cleveland model of signing guys long-term and taking a year or two of free agency, but will have to see.

Farm system weaker, because so many have been added. Still plenty of talent, mentioned Alcides Escobar and Mat Gamel.

Payroll will be discussed, but Mark A has said he plows money back into the team, one way or another. Ticket sales were 12th, so payroll could move up. Not going to spend it just to spend it. Talk to Mark A almost daily, he is up to date on everything, and makes final decisions. Never held Doug back from making a move yet due to financials.

Weak free agent class. More trades than big signings expected. Probably because of teams focusing on developing their own young players and then keeping them.

Cordero will probably file, but he and his agent will say they will consider Milwaukee.

Team has many untouchables, a bit more limited than some others.

To get to the postseason, need to stay healthy, and get a career year out of a player or two you did not expect.

Very little mention of the weak defense…I’m sure the braintrust looks at it as just a work in progress…22 year-olds rarely play defense as well as when they are 27. You can’t accept Braun’s incredible hitting, literally a once every 10-15 years debut, and expect him to field like Wade Boggs did at his peak.

Here is Adam’s recap at the team site.

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