Brewers Fading Away: An August Recap
- Updated: September 4, 2009
Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes On the 12th:
By far the most newsworthy day for the Brewers came on the 12th when GM Doug Melvin made some major moves. The least shocking of these moves was Bill Hall being Designated for Assignment. This move was inevitable as Hall’s struggles at the plate have gotten progressively worse since signing a 4-year extension after the 2006 season. It was hard to watch this regression as he is more talented than his numbers from the last couple years indicate. However, it had gotten to the point where he just wasn’t producing and both the Brewers and Hall needed to move on. To replace Hall on the roster, the Brewers called up outfielder Jason Bourgeois from Nashville. Currently, Bourgeois consists of 1/2 of the current right-field platoon (Frank Catalanotto being the other half) that is holding down right field until Corey Hart returns from the disabled list.
The next move made that day was the firing of pitching coach Bill Castro. It was tough to see Castro get fired since he had been a member of the coaching staff since 1992 but the reality was the entire starting rotation (with the exception of Yovani Gallardo) pitched poorly and whether or not it was his fault, it ended up costing him his job. It’s not that Castro is never going to be a good pitching coach (it was his first year on the job), it just seemed like whatever he was doing wasn’t the best match for this team. With this move, the timing of it was the most surprising aspect. I thought that this was a move that may have happened after the season if the Brewers starting rotation didn’t show any signs of improvement between then and the season’s end. The harsh reality of the situation was that the Brewers starting pitching struggles played a big role in diminishing a once-promising season. To replace Castro, the Brewers promoted pitching coach Chris Bosio who had been the pitching coach down in Nashville. It’s still too early to tell what, if any impact Bosio will have on the Brewers pitchers long-term. So far, the on-field results are not there as the pitching struggles have continued under his watch
The third move (and by far the most shocking) made on that day was the demotion of J.J. Hardy to Nashville. While Hardy’s production had been down in 2009 and he had been subject to many trade rumors, I never thought that he would be demoted to the minors. The only positive that has come out of Hardy’s demotion is that it directly led to the first extended look at prospect-Alcides Escobar, one of the biggest (if not the biggest) Brewers prospect. His speed and defense are definitely major-league ready and he is an exciting player to watch. The one concern with Escobar is how well he can hit major league pitching. So far, he has hit for a decent average and even hit his first career home run, but his OPS+ of 83 is still a cause for concern.
Stretch Run Implications:
So, how will the events of August affect the Brewers coming into September? First off, instead of being 1 1/2 to 2 really good weeks of baseball away from being a serious division or wild card contender, nothing short of an unprecedented miraculous run will get the Brewers a repeat trip to the post-season (and losing September’s first game to St. Louis doesn’t help either).