Posted on: December 20, 2010 5:22 pm
Don't ask me if the Zack Greinke trade makes the Brewers the favorite to win the National League Central.
I'm the idiot that picked the Brewers to win the Central last year.
So yeah, if you take the flawed team that I thought could win, then add Greinke and Shaun Marcum, I'm ready to pick the Brewers again.
This time, I won't be alone. This time, I might even be right.
"I think Cincinnati's much better than St. Louis," one veteran National League executive said today. "And I think Milwaukee's better than Cincinnati."
That opinion isn't near unanimous among baseball people. A quick survey of scouts and executives had quite a few favoring the Reds to repeat, and some even suggesting that the Cubs could win, if their young players develop.
But not surprisingly, every scout I talked to thought that the twin trades for pitching make the Brewers into a team that could win.
"I think they're a legitimate contender," one American League scout said. "I really think Marcum will solidify their rotation. He'll go out and give them seven innings basically every time out. He's a lot like Bronson Arroyo, coming over from the American League."
Arroyo came to the Reds in 2006, coming off a season where he went 14-10 with a 4.51 ERA for the Red Sox. He's 70-60 in five years with the Reds, with a combined ERA of 3.97.
This past year, when the Reds won the Central, Arroyo went 17-10.
Marcum, who was the Blue Jays' opening day starter in 2010, went 13-8 with a 3.64 ERA. Getting out of the AL East could help; he was 1-6 with a 5.64 ERA in 10 starts against the Rays, Red Sox and Yankees, and 12-2 with a 2.72 ERA in 21 starts against everyone else.
Coming to the Brewers should also help Greinke, even though Miller Park is much less favorable to pitchers than Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium. Greinke sometimes seemed disinterested in pitching for the sad-sack Royals in 2010, and in an interview today with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel , he admitted that he waived his no-trade clause to accept the deal with the Brewers because he was convinced that Milwaukee is now trying to win.
"Greinke can win in any park, if he wants to," one scout said. "He's a No. 1, if he wants to be. On good days, right-handed hitters don't have a chance against him, and lefties don't have much of a chance, either."
With Greinke and Marcum, the Brewers now have a real chance.
Take it from me . . . and from a few guys who were smart enough not to pick them to win in 2010.
Posted on: June 24, 2008 7:48 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2008 7:50 pm
Jim Leyland hates managing against his friends, because either you lose or they do. Dusty Baker says the same thing.
"You'd rather manage against adversaries," the Reds manager said today. "It's more fun."
As it turns out, though, there are a whole bunch of friendly matchups around the majors this week. Leyland against Tony La Russa. Baker against Cito Gaston. Bobby Cox against Ned Yost. Cox against Gaston.
Leyland worked for La Russa in Chicago, and worked with him in St. Louis. Yost worked for Cox in Atlanta. Gaston played with Cox, played for him and then coached under him in Toronto. Gaston and Baker were teammates when Baker broke into pro ball in Austin, Texas, in 1967.
"My first game was in Little Rock, and I dropped a fly ball," Baker said. "I cried, and I said I was going home. Cito said, "Don't worry, kid, I'll take care of you. . . . He helped raise me in the game."
So how does Gaston feel about facing both Baker and Cox in his first week back on the job? He doesn't mind it. He has no problem facing his friends.
"I've always felt that if someone's going to lose, let them lose," he said.
Tonight's A.J. Burnett-Bronson Arroyo matchup didn't attract any special-assignment scouts to the Rogers Center, something of a surprise since both starters are candidates to get traded.
While the Jays are willing to move Burnett, they're said to be setting their sights high, looking for an established outfielder (preferably left-handed hitting) in return.
As for Arroyo, it's just as well for him and for the Reds that no scouts were here. He didn't record an out in the second inning and left trailing, 9-1, after the shortest start of his career.
"I was in New York the weekend before Willie (Randolph) got fired," Wine said. "Then I was in Seattle for (John) McLaren's last game. Then I was in Milwaukee for (John) Gibbons' last game (with Toronto). Holy cow, I'm like a black cat."
You've seen the numbers that show the American League is once again dominating the National League in interleague play. The difference between the two leagues isn't lost on the players.
Did he mean that the Red Sox and Angels are better than any NL teams?
"Hands down," Hamels said. "They're a lot better than the NL teams. Even playing in an NL park."