Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008

Lots and lots of Brewers links

By Nicole
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mostly via Brew Crew Ball..

*JS' Michael Hunt says the overhaul of the Crew will show what Melvin's made of

*Junkball Blues, on the Sports Bubbler network, has a two part series trying to decide how much money CC is actually worth. Part 1Part 2.

*Cecil Fielder: still talking crazy to get his name in the papes...

*This ESPN article says the off-season trade market's got a lot of big names in it - including Prince Fielder - and this article says the Brewers will at least listen to offers for him

*After saying that it would be too awkward to be a part of the Brewers coaching staff now, Dale Sveum has backpedaled a little and now could be a part of the Crew next season.

*Hardball Times looks at Sheets' elbow injury and says that once it's rested, he should be fine (and I say "as long as he's fine for some other team")

*In-Between Hops was on the Ken Macha storyline as soon as it was obvious we would be looking at managers other than Svuem. They found the website firemach.blogspot.com and highlighted these quotes to make a comparison that many Brewers fans would find troubling:
"Because he released Sveum, it's obvious that Doug Melvin has another candidate in mind. If I had to guess, I would say that would be Ken Macha. Macha is the guy that Doug Melvin wanted in 2003 before he took the A's job. His teams averaged 91 wins a season during his four years at the helm. His failure to win in the playoffs did him in. I ran across this blog: www.firemach.blogspot.com.

"As usual, you left in the starters just long  enough to give up enough runs to lose."

"...you won't sit Kendall because he might get upset."

"This team could do nothing else in the offseason and win at least five more games next year just because you're not asleep in the goddamn dugout."

Deja vu?"

*This NY Times writer thinks the CC trade lived up to its hype, and more

*The Brewers hope to retain the services of pitching coach Mike Maddux, but the Dallas Morning News has been talking about reforming the Rangers staff and have mentioned more than once that they're waiting for permission to talk to Maddux.

*Beyond the Box Score is making their lists of the best players at each position
This link takes you to 1B, but the others that have been done so far are linked right at the top.

So far:
Prince at #13
Rickie at #14/Ray Durham at #20
Mike Cameron at #12

*FanGraphs says there are a lot of CF free agents out there and topping the list is Mike Cameron. Others are Jim Edmonds, Mark Kotsay, Corey Patterson and Scott Podesednik.

*From Brewers.com beat writer Adam McCalvy's mailbag:

I realize that CC Sabathia will be tough to sign, but is it really that out of the question? Small market or not, three million fans is still three million fans. Also, imagine the bump in season ticket sales if the Brewers did sign CC. I guess I don't understand the "no way" stance taken by some so-called experts on the CC contract. Three million fans beg to differ.
-- Ben, Oconto Falls, Wis.

I once heard a statistic that teams paying a certain percentage to one or two players never made the World Series. I'm assuming if the Brewers signed CC, the percent would be close to 20 percent of the team salary. I would think that stat would tell GM Doug Melvin to say forget him.
-- Jake A., Madison, Wis.

Ben is right in that Brewers fans showed in record-setting fashion they will pack Miller Park to support a winning team, but Jake is just as correct in pointing out that there is a danger in putting too many dollars in one basket. This is essentially the dilemma facing the Brewers and other mid-payroll teams as they look at the free agent market.

According to someone familiar with the Brewers' front-office strategy, who spoke on condition of anonymity, a team generally wants its top-salaried player to account for no more than 15 percent of the total payroll, and the top three players to account for no more than 25 percent. Obviously, this is only a guideline; special players could prompt a team to bend the rules. Teams with a disproportionate number of so-called zero-to-three-year players making the league minimum or close to it may also be tempted. The Blue Jays, for example, signed Roy Halladay to a long-term contract that actually decreased in annual value from 2007 to 2008 and now will jump up again, because it fit the rest of their payroll puzzle.

So let's look specifically at Sabathia, who was flat-out fabulous for Milwaukee over the second half of 2008. For argument's sake, let's say he gets a contract identical to the Mets' Johan Santana's: six years, $137.5 million, an average of just over $23 million per season, and about $17 million in the first season. If the Brewers' payroll remains in the neighborhood of $90 million in 2009, Sabathia's $17 million would account for just short of 19 percent of the total. The payroll would need to jump to $114 million for a $19 million player to fall under the 15 percent threshold. By the way, the Mets' Opening Day payroll this season was about $137 million.

The Brewers would probably have to decline center fielder Mike Cameron's $10 million option to afford Sabathia, and again for the sake of argument, let's say they do that. That would leave Jeff Suppan ($12.5 million) and Bill Hall ($6.8 million) as the second- and third-highest paid players on the team, unless first baseman Prince Fielder wins more than $6.8 million in arbitration (a very real possibility). If the top three are Sabathia, Suppan and Hall, the trio would account for about $36.3 million, or 40 percent of a $90 million payroll. For that threesome to fall under the 25 percent threshold, the Brewers' 2009 payroll would have to jump to $146 million.

The next question becomes, Would Sabathia take fewer dollars to stay in Milwaukee because he enjoyed the team and the city, and because the relatively young Brewers are poised to be competitive for the next few years? That type of sentiment always sounds good in September and October, but come November and December, players are under extreme pressure to get the richest deal possible, because it affects not only them and their families, but all of the free agents to follow.

If money were no object, the Brewers would have already handed Sabathia a blank check. But unless the team somehow negotiates a new television deal that pays like Miller Park is in Chicago, it becomes difficult to fit a player like Sabathia onto a realistic Brewers roster.

* A Seattle paper is reporting that they think Macha's the frontrunner here, but that they'd be awfully interested in him as their manager if he somehow slips on down.

 

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