Sonny Gray or Jose Quintana?

According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, the Brewers are preparing to buy at the Trade Deadline and have begun to look into starting pitchers Sonny Gray, Jose Quintana, and others. Well Brewers fans, David Stearns has officially change his mind. The Brewers general manager originally said that the team would be sticking to the plan and continuing its rebuild until this mornings report. So who should it be? Sonny Gray? Jose Quintana? Someone else? I have seen other sources saying one of the “other” pitchers could be Toronto’s J.A. Happ.

If you look at both Gray and Quintana’s numbers, there isn’t a lot of difference between the two. Both have had good numbers on bad baseball teams their whole career. Their career ERAs both sit around 3.50, they both strikeout about the same number of batters per season, and play in the American League, which means they deal with the designated hitter.

If I’m David Stearns and got to chose which of these two I wanted, I’d be on team Quintana.  Jose Quintana, 28, is a year older than Sonny Gray,  but at the same time is six years younger than J.A. Happ. He has also been a more consistent pitcher in his career than Gray has. Quintana is in his sixth season in the big leagues and has logged over 200 innings four times in his career and is on pace to do so again this season. In comparison, Gray has only thrown over 200 innings twice in his career. Quintana has also never had a major injury in his career, while Gray has been plagued by injuries since 2015. Gray is also a smaller pitcher as he goes 5’10” and 190 pounds and smaller pitchers have had durability issues like Tim Lincecum.

Both guys would be under team control for the next two seasons. Gray is eligible for arbitration after this season for the next couple of years and should be due to make more money than his current 3.5 million dollar contract. Quintana’s contract would leave the Brewers on the hook for 8.8 million next year, and a club option for 2019 and 2020 for 10.5 million. The difference in the two salaries shouldn’t really matter as the Brewers have the lowest payroll in the MLB.

To me, Gray is the boom or bust move here. Both guys are number two starters on a pitching staff when healthy. Gray also has been dealing with nagging injuries the past couple years, but has the ceiling to be an ace in my opinion. When Gray’s been good, he’s been good, but he has been injury prone. I don’t want the Brewers to be buyers this deadline and trade away prospects for an injury prone pitcher. Quintana is the clear cut choice for me in this situation because you know what you’re getting. The Brewers would be getting a solid starting pitcher who is durable and would be a great compliment to Chase Anderson and Jimmy Nelson. Quintana has quietly finished in the top-10 in AL Cy Young voting multiple times in his career.

Brewers end Phillies series with 6-3 loss

PHILADELPHIA — The Milwaukee Brewers were unable to keep momentum from a win the night before, falling 6-3 in the series finale to the Philadelphia Phillies Sunday afternoon. The Brewers had just ended a season-long six-game losing streak, but came out flat in Sunday’s loss. Junior Guerra tossed four innings, allowing five earned runs on five […]

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Brewers moves: Sogard in, Broxton out

Second baseman Eric Sogard is back and centerfielder Keon Broxton is out. Those were the transactions announced Saturday by Milwaukee, which is in the midst of a season-worst six-game losing streak. Sogard had been on the disabled list with an ankle injury since early July. Before that, the 31-year-old had been one of the pleasant […]

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Report: Brewers interested in Detroit 2B Ian Kinsler

Milwaukee may be in a bit of a free fall, but the team is apparently still looking to make moves to help its chances to win the NL Central and get back to the playoffs for the first time in six years. The latest evidence comes from ESPN’s Buster Olney, who tweeted Saturday morning that […]

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Brewers losing streak reaches six games

Make it six straight losses for the Milwaukee Brewers. Manager Craig Counsell’s team couldn’t figure out Philadelphia starter Aaron Nola in a 6-1 loss on Friday night. The righty went seven innings, giving up just one run on five hits while striking out nine to earn his seventh win of the year. It continued a […]

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Report: Brewers linked to another bullpen arm

The Brewers once again are reported to have interest in another relief pitcher. This time it’s Mets closer Addison Reed according to Marc Carig, a Mets writer for Newsday. The Brewers have now been linked to half a dozen different pitchers, most being relief pitchers. Many of the reports are continuing to say that the […]

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Bollinger, Tolzien excited about Hornibrook’s future

MADISON — Brooks Bollinger left Wisconsin as its all-time wins leader, including helping the Badgers to a Rose Bowl title in 2000. His credentials and play as a quarterback were so good, in fact, that he will be among 10 former athletes to be inducted into the UW Athletics Hall of Fame this September. But as talented as he was, the now 37-year-old father of four believes Wisconsin’s current starter – Alex Hornibrook – could surpass him before his time is done.

“He’s got more upside than me,” Bollinger said Tuesday prior to the Legends of Wisconsin Classic in Madison. “Hopefully, he can put it together and have a great year.”

Bollinger’s belief in Hornibrook isn’t simply him making an observation from afar. When he was the quarterback coach at Pittsburgh, he got to know the West Chester, Pa., product as they began recruiting him.

“I was very impressed with him then, and [I’m] even more [impressed] with him now, just how he’s grown,” Bollinger said of Hornibrook, who went 7-2 as a starter in 2016. “Couldn’t be more excited just knowing the kind of young man he is and the kind of player he is.”

The games of the two quarterbacks couldn’t be much different, with Bollinger being a dual-threat and Hornibrook still more comfortable in the pocket. But they do share similarities in that each was thrust into the starting lineup as redshirt freshmen and more than held their own, with Bollinger under center as the Badgers won the Big Ten in 1999, and Hornibrook earning honorable mention All-Big Ten recognition as Wisconsin won the West Division in 2016.

LISTEN: Brooks Bollinger on his favorites moments playing for Wisconsin.

But Bollinger isn’t the only former Wisconsin quarterback that has liked what he’s seen from Hornibrook. Scott Tolzien, currently the backup to Andrew Luck with the Indianapolis Colts, has gotten to know the redshirt sophomore a bit when he’s been back working out on campus.

Former Wisconsin quarterback Scott Tolzien chats with reporters on Tuesday at University Ridge. (Zach Heilprin/WOZN)

“His demeanor is awesome. He works his tail off, but he’s the most humble guy,” said Tolzien, who started for Wisconsin in 2009 and 2010. “From afar, you can just see guys gravitate towards him. It probably has a lot to do with his work ethic and just who he is as a person. I think the world of him, and I’m excited for his future.”

Brewers claim All-Star catcher off waivers

David Stearns is back at it in the Brewers front office scouring the waiver wire. He claimed yet another player off of waivers yesterday, while the Brewers finished up their series with the Atlanta Braves with a 7-0 win. Catcher Stephen Vogt was the player claimed off of waivers from the Oakland Athletics. Vogt, 32, was an AL All-Star for the A’s in 2015 and 2016, but has seen his production fall so far this season. He was batting .217 with four home runs and 20 runs batted in this season before being designated for assignment by the Athletics.

Milwaukee Brewers catcher Martin Maldonado, left, tags out Oakland Athletics' Stephen Vogt in a seventh-inning rundown during a baseball game Tuesday, June 21, 2016, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
(AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Why I like this move

I absolutely love this move by the Brewers front office! Jett Bandy has been struggling since May and has seen his batting average drop over one hundred points since then. Bandy also had one option left on his contract, so the Brewers could demote him to Triple-A Colorado Springs without having to place him on waivers. This move now allows them have four major league caliber catchers within the organization in Manny Pina, Andrew Susac, Bandy, and now Stephen Vogt.

Vogt also carries a team friendly deal, as he is making just under three million dollars a year. The Brewers will also have three more years of control of Vogt as he is under contract until 2020. The amount and length of his contract are perfect for the Brewers. He’s a cheap contract in the prime of his career until the end of his deal. Vogt has been  thought of as a good offensive and defensive catcher throughout his career in the major leagues.

A change in scenery could be just what the doctor ordered for Vogt. He’s been with Oakland for the past five seasons and hasn’t been to the postseason since 2013. He will also bring more veteran leadership to a young Brewers team. Vogt was previously teammates with Eric Sogard. Sogard has had nothing but good things to say about Vogt since the news of his acquisition. The change in scenery should allow for Vogt to get his offense back on track, as Miller park is by far a more hitter friendly park than is the Oakland Coliseum.

Overall, this was a cheap move that could really benefit the Brewers ball club in every aspect of the game. Vogt should help the Brewers offensively and defensively as well as bring another veteran voice to the team. Once again, Stearns has shown that he can make a low-risk move with high ceiling potential.

Report: Brewers interested in Detroit 2B Ian Kinsler

Milwaukee may be in a bit of a free fall, but the team is apparently still looking to make moves to help its chances to win the NL Central and get back to the playoffs for the first time in six years. The latest evidence comes from ESPN’s Buster Olney, who tweeted Saturday morning that […]

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Brewers losing streak reaches six games

Make it six straight losses for the Milwaukee Brewers. Manager Craig Counsell’s team couldn’t figure out Philadelphia starter Aaron Nola in a 6-1 loss on Friday night. The righty went seven innings, giving up just one run on five hits while striking out nine to earn his seventh win of the year. It continued a […]

0 comments

Report: Brewers linked to another bullpen arm

The Brewers once again are reported to have interest in another relief pitcher. This time it’s Mets closer Addison Reed according to Marc Carig, a Mets writer for Newsday. The Brewers have now been linked to half a dozen different pitchers, most being relief pitchers. Many of the reports are continuing to say that the […]

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Brewers lose again, lead in NL Central down to one game

PITTSBURGH | In a span of a week, the Brewers have seen their lead in the NL Central go from 5 1/2 games to just one over the Cubs. Chicago has won six straight. Milwaukee has lost 5 in a row after a 4-2 loss in Pittsburgh Thursday afternoon. Brewers pitcher Jimmy Nelson didn’t have […]

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Report: Brewers showing interest in former Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander

According to Bleacher Report, the Brewers are now showing interest in another Detroit Tigers pitcher, Justin Verlander. Earlier this July, the Brewers were reported to have interest in Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Sonny Gray. This may have changed since the Houston Astros are now being named as the team aggressively trying to acquire Gray. Verlander […]

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Wisconsin adds commitment No. 15 to its 2018 recruiting class

The state of Michigan continues to be very good to the Wisconsin football team.

Just a day after 3-star wide receiver Taj Mustapha gave his verbal commitment to the Badgers, his teammate – 2-star WR A.J. Abbott – also committed to Wisconsin. The duo from West Bloomfield (Mich.) brings the total number of commitments in the class of 2018 to 15, and five of them are from Michigan.

Abbott chose the Badgers over offers from a myriad of schools, including Michigan State and Iowa. He’s ranked as the 55th best player in the state of Michigan by the 247 Sports composite.

The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Abbott had 46 catches for 906 yards and six touchdowns during his junior season at Northville (Mich.) High School.

Now at West Bloomfield, Abbott will combine with Mustapha and 3-star quarterback Bryce Veasley, who is committed to Bowling Green, to form one of the more dangerous passing games in the state.

Koenig to sign a two-way deal with Milwaukee, Hayes heads to New York

Bronson Koenig has reportedly found an NBA home, and he won’t be going far.

According to Michael Scotto of the Basketball Insiders, the former Wisconsin guard has agreed to join the Milwaukee Bucks.

Though not finalized, Koenig is expected to sign a two-way deal, according to the La Crosse Tribune. The deals are a part of the new CBA, and essentially give every team two more roster spots for players that will spend a majority of their time in the NBA’s G-League. It allows them to develop the player in their system, while also paying them more than the average G-League player.

Koenig worked out for Milwaukee in May, but suffered an ankle injury near the end of the session and was crutches afterwards. That limited his ability to perform in front of other teams until the last few weeks, but he was apparently impressive in those workouts, with ESPN’s Ian Bagley tweeting that the La Crosse product was moving up the draft boards of several teams.

A three-year starter at Wisconsin, Koenig left Madison as the school’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made, and developed a reputation for hitting big shots when the Badgers needed it the most, including a buzzer beater in the 2016 NCAA Tournament to beat Xavier and advance to the Sweet 16.

On Thursday, Koenig wrote a letter via ‘The Players’ Tribune,’ telling general managers around the league why they should take him, including the fact that he believed he was the best shooter in the draft.

While Koenig is staying home, his former teammate, Nigel Hayes, is reportedly headed to play for the New York Knicks. It’s unclear if Hayes’ agreement is a two-way deal or simply for their summer league team.

New York was one of the team’s Hayes worked out for in the pre-draft process.

Wisconsin picks up commitment No. 14 in its 2018 recruiting class

Wisconsin added commitment No. 14 in its 2018 recruiting class on Thursday night.

3-star wide receiver Taj Mustapha announced his decision on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/taj_m22/status/878055120113553409

The West Bloomfield (Mich.) product is rated as the 23rd-best player in Michigan and the 155th ranked WR in the country, according to 247 Sports.

Mustapha didn’t own a scholarship offer from Wisconsin until he took part in a summer camp earlier in June. Things moved fast after that, according to Jon McNamara of Rivals.com, who reported the 6-foot-2, 175-pound Mustapha visited again this past weekend and then pulled the trigger today.

He is the fourth commitment from Michigan for coach Paul Chryst in the class of 2018, including two that had offers from in-state power Michigan State. Mustapha ended up choosing the Badgers over the Spartans and Iowa.

A number of Wisconsin’s other commitments took to Twitter to react to the news.

Jake’s Take: Feel Good Golf

MADISON | In this week’s Jake’s Take, sports director Jake Zimmermann gives a feel good story involving golfing legend Fred Couples at University Ridge golf course.

This week belongs to the Am Fam Championship at U-Ridge. A slew of big time golfers are in attendance. Couples has been working hard to come back from a sore back. He needs all the time he can get on the driving range. But that didn’t stop him from taking time out of his day to invite a local family over to his spot.

To hear the entire story click on the link below:

The Brewers need to continue to search for bullpen pieces

The Milwaukee Brewers have reportedly signed relief pitcher Tom Wilhelmsen to a minor league deal after he was released by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Wilhelmsen was previously drafted by the Brewers but injuries and drug issues derailed his time with the organization. He did have some solid seasons with the Seattle Mariners, where he saved 53 games between 2012-2013.  The Diamondbacks are paying most of his contract for the remaining of his season with the Brewers. If he doesn’t work out, it wont really affect the Brewers payroll. This isn’t a big-time move, but it’s the type of move the Brewers need to continue to make.

The organization’s rebuild is obviously ahead of schedule. The Brewers shouldn’t be going “all-in” on this season just because they are contending in the National League Central. They shouldn’t be selling off big name prospects in order to land a solid pitcher. Being a “buyer” at the deadline to try to make a playoff push could compromise the farm system. It’s a top-rated farm system that  David Stearns  has worked hard to bolster the past two seasons. That doesn’t mean that Stearns shouldn’t continue to make moves or small-time deals to try to improve the current team. He should continue to search free agency as well as the waiver wire to try to find serviceable arms for the Brewers bullpen.

Recent Moves

Former Brewers general manager Doug Melvin as well as Stearns have already shown that they can find players to help the team win. Lots of players currently on the Brewers roster have been waiver wire, minor league, or small signing deals. Some of the players who have been claimed off of waivers by the Brewers in the past few years are, Hernan Perez, Junior Guerra, Jesus Aguilar, Nick Franklin, and Oliver Drake. Other small signings that have occurred the last couple years are Eric Sogard, Jared Hughes, and Paolo Espino. Obviously not all of the moves the Brewers have made have worked out, but the majority has.

(AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

Neftali Feliz definitely didn’t work out for the Brewers and was designated for assignment and ultimately released by the team. The team has also gotten rid of Rob Scahill, Jhan Marinez, and Tommy Milone, all of who weren’t able to get the job done this season.  If I was in the Brewers front office I would definitely be designating a few more relievers for assignment (DFA).

Proposed Moves

The first guy I’d have to start with is Wily Peralta. At the beginning of the season, I was all for giving him as many opportunities as possible. I was just hoping he could get back to his 2014 form.  After watching the Pirates game on Monday night, I’ve seen enough. He needs to go. Another reliever that needs to be DFA’d would be Oliver Drake. He was a veteran given another chance to potentially make the team, but in my opinion hasn’t done enough to deserve a spot in the bullpen. I may be in the minority on this one, but I’d be willing to give Carlos Torres a little more leash after the success he showed last season. The Brewers should continue to give veteran pitchers like Wilhelmsen, who have had success at the major league level a chance.

 

The absolute worst case scenario would be that the Brewers never end up finding any guys that can really come in and anchor down the bullpen, but that would leave them back to square one.  The Brewers already have the lowest payroll in baseball, so the addition of minimal salaries shouldn’t greatly affect it or their willingness to sign players. And we all know how bad Brewers owner Mark Anttanasio wants to win. I think he would be for whatever move may help the Brewers contend now and in the future. Going after more low-risk relief pitchers  would be the best way for the organization to go about trying to win now as well as keep the farm system in tact and not derail the future.

Report: Brewers interested in Detroit 2B Ian Kinsler

Milwaukee may be in a bit of a free fall, but the team is apparently still looking to make moves to help its chances to win the NL Central and get back to the playoffs for the first time in six years. The latest evidence comes from ESPN’s Buster Olney, who tweeted Saturday morning that […]

0 comments

Brewers losing streak reaches six games

Make it six straight losses for the Milwaukee Brewers. Manager Craig Counsell’s team couldn’t figure out Philadelphia starter Aaron Nola in a 6-1 loss on Friday night. The righty went seven innings, giving up just one run on five hits while striking out nine to earn his seventh win of the year. It continued a […]

0 comments

Report: Brewers linked to another bullpen arm

The Brewers once again are reported to have interest in another relief pitcher. This time it’s Mets closer Addison Reed according to Marc Carig, a Mets writer for Newsday. The Brewers have now been linked to half a dozen different pitchers, most being relief pitchers. Many of the reports are continuing to say that the […]

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Starting Pitchers need to be going deeper into games

Jimmy Nelson threw a complete game for the Brewers Sunday afternoon in a 2-1 win over the San Diego Padres. It took Nelson 118 pitches to record the 27th and final out in a game the Brewers desperately needed to rest its weary bullpen. Believe it or not, this was the first complete game thrown by a Milwaukee pitcher since Taylor Jungmann did it in 2015. If you listened to the telecast with Brian Anderson and Bill Schroeder on FSN Wisconsin, you would have picked up on how Schroeder continued to make comments about how hard of a decision this must have been for manager Craig Counsell.

The Number 100

The reasoning behind this was because of Nelson’s high pitch count. The Brewers bullpen has been used quite a bit and has been awful this season. Nelson was in uncharted territory for him. He has averaged 93.5 pitchers per start this season, and was already over 100 pitches after he finished his eighth inning of work. Counsell believed in his pitcher and Jimmy came threw for the Crew as he finished off the Padres in the ninth, and gave the Brewers a series win. Nelson struck out 10 batters, while only surrendering one run on six hits and two walks in his complete game.

When I was a kid a don’t ever really remember hearing much about pitch counts for Major League pitchers. I can still remember my junior high days when CC Sabathia was grabbing the ball every third day and throwing complete games like it was nothing. It feels like all of a sudden Major League Organizations decided on the number 100 for when to go out and pull your starting pitcher. 100 is a nice round number to wrap your brain around, but shouldn’t be the factor that ultimately ends a pitcher’s start.

Going Deeper into Games

There is no perfect time to know when to remove a pitcher from the game. To me it should come down to feel. The manager should have a feel for when his pitcher is at the end of this rope. I applaud Counsell for staying with Nelson in yesterday’s game. Nelson was rolling along. He was pitching well and was emotionally invested in the game. You could tell he didn’t want to come out of the game in that spot. If the pitcher is still pitching well and feels good, why not leave him in?

(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Brewers fans know how bad the bullpen has been this season. The bullpen has already blown 19 of the teams 33 losses. That leads the Major Leagues in games blown by a bullpen. I don’t care if the bullpen has been heavily worked or not. I’m not confident in handing the ball to any of the relievers not named Barnes or Knebel! The Brewers are winning and leading the National League Central and should be able to lean on their starters for more innings. It would be easier to put more on the starters plates, than to revamp the bullpen at this point in the season.

Today’s Game

I’m sick of hearing how they need to protect young arms. These guys aren’t “young” anymore. Outside of Zach Davies, all of the Brewers starters are in they’re late 20’s or early 30’s. This should be a time in their careers where you can stretch out their innings. Allowing for these pitchers to work through tough situations should make them better pitchers in the long run. When pitchers are tired and don’t have the same velocity as they did in the earlier innings, this is where they learn how to pitch. It will make them have to rely on their location, develop new pitches and tricks to get batters out, etc.

(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Some may argue that more innings and pitches equals more injuries. I think that’s true to a point. Yes, more pitches and innings allows for more opportunity for injuries. But in today’s baseball, guys are throwing harder than ever before and surgeries are becoming common practice. Arm injuries no longer end guys careers, and in some cases allow them to come back stronger. It’s not if your starting pitcher is going to have arm surgery, it’s when. Injuries are a part of the game, but shouldn’t deter managers from allowing pitchers to go longer in games to help the team win.

 

Brewers moves: Sogard in, Broxton out

Second baseman Eric Sogard is back and centerfielder Keon Broxton is out. Those were the transactions announced Saturday by Milwaukee, which is in the midst of a season-worst six-game losing streak. Sogard had been on the disabled list with an ankle injury since early July. Before that, the 31-year-old had been one of the pleasant […]

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Report: Brewers interested in Detroit 2B Ian Kinsler

Milwaukee may be in a bit of a free fall, but the team is apparently still looking to make moves to help its chances to win the NL Central and get back to the playoffs for the first time in six years. The latest evidence comes from ESPN’s Buster Olney, who tweeted Saturday morning that […]

0 comments

Brewers losing streak reaches six games

Make it six straight losses for the Milwaukee Brewers. Manager Craig Counsell’s team couldn’t figure out Philadelphia starter Aaron Nola in a 6-1 loss on Friday night. The righty went seven innings, giving up just one run on five hits while striking out nine to earn his seventh win of the year. It continued a […]

0 comments