Monday, July 07, 2008

the Brewers? Really?

I'm sure you've seen the surprising news today that the Brewers traded for C.C. Sabathia. It's pretty shocking that a mid-market team like them would make such a bold move, but I've heard from several sources that they currently have the best and deepest pool of talent in the minor leagues of any team, so I guess they felt they had the youngsters to spare at this point. I received a message this morning from one of my "friends" in Houston saying "Too bad for for the Cardinals. With the Brewers trading for C.C., they can kiss the wild-card goodbye and join the Astros in the cellar". Classy. Anyway, I disagree with him on a couple of levels. First I'll address the obvious positives for the Brewers. They've been playing really well lately, basically since Mike Cameron has come back from suspension and solidified both their offense and outfield defense (is there a more underrated centerfielder? I mean, he's as good Andrum Jones, or Tori Hunter or anyone, but he's cheaper and he plays harder). C.C gives them a great 1-2 punch at the top of their rotation with Ben Sheets to go with their tremendous everyday line-up. On the other hand, he does not address their most glaring weakness, the bullpen. Gagne is back, but really they have no one that is proven to be able to close games. Torres has done OK, but has been shakey at times. Shouse is the only other reliable guy they have back there. Maybe they'll make another move, but until they do, I'm not convinced they are better than us. Now certainly, the Cardinals have their own issues. We lead in the majors in the blown saves, but I think things have stablized over the last month in the pen. Certainly I believe we are going to start to get some starters back healthy and maybe be able to move Looper/Pineiro back to the pen to help out. I think our line-up, though maybe not as explosive as the Brewers, is as good through and through as both them and the Cubs (though we didn't really show it this weekend). For instance, the Brewers have no one with a .300 or better batting average and the Cubs have only Theriot and Lee slightly over that mark. Do we have our work cut-out for us? Certainly. right now, you'd have to say the three best teams in the NL are in the Central (who would have thought that at the beginning of the year?). We have conceivably two playoff spots to split between those three teams. I think our best baseball is still ahead of us and that we can get one of those spots. I know this much: we are a heck of a lot better than the Astros.


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