Not content with barraging their own respective audiences with dick jokery, the authors of Why's My Head Growing? and 3:10 To Joba are working together. The goal? To provide 30 team previews slathered in truth sauce and degrading humor. Yes, that is the world trembling. Previews will be posted on both sites. Wear a cup.
Today your author is J, read him during the week here.
2008 Record: 89-73, 2nd in NL Central, Wild Card berth
Last Season as an Allegory: You know how you have that one friend who is always willing to help you out? Lend you a pen whenever you need it, for example? You notice how that same asshole is never there when you really need him, like say for a ride to the airport? That was CC Sabathia for the Brewers.
Moves: Signed Trevor Hoffman, Trot Nixon, and Mike Lamb
State of the Union:
After years of wallowing on the outside looking in at the NL playoffs, the Brewers finally broke through in 2008. All it took was firing their manager Ned Yost and having CC Sabathia pitch 8 days a week, but that's cool. It was the season of hope in Milwaukee as the Brewers would finally be playing baseball in October.
Any happiness didn't last long, however, as the team from Wisconsin was quick to find out that having one viable starting pitcher does not a rotation make. Especially if that starting pitcher annually turns to dog shit just in time for the playoffs. The Phillies easily handled the Brew Crew and moved on without pause while interim manager Dale Sveum and company were left to wonder what had changed between their torrid run into the playoffs and Game 1 in Philly. Well, actually, Prince Fielder was just wondering where the post-game spread was, but I'm sure most of the Brewers were questioning their club's failing. Sveum wasn't given the chance at a full season despite effectively turning 2008 around and the Brewers named Ken Macha their manager for 2009.
Despite signing Hoffman, the Brewers pen is definitely their primary concern moving into 2009. Last year some serviceable parts in Guillermo Mota and Salomon Torres stepped in to fill the gaping void generated by Eric Gagne's inadequacy.Now all three are gone and Macha has himself quite the challenge to avoid become the new Mets.
Losing Sabathia and the oft-injured Ben Sheets are no small thing when paired with the bullpen subtractions mentioned above. The Brewers have a solid lineup anchored by Fielder and Braun but their pitching staff as a whole is glaringly weak. Relying on youngster Yovani Gallardo to be the ace in the rotation does not bode well in a division that hitters like Albert Pujols call home. GM Doug Melvin added some nice bench players and solved his closing problem for the time being, but these acquisitions are a lot like the guys who appear on that MTV show Bromance: sure, they think they're straight, but they're really not even close.
Expect a regression for the Brewers in 2009. Are they going to tank to 60 wins? Unlikely, but don't expect a repeat trip to the playoffs as the team is stuck somewhere in the taint between rebuilding and competing. It's an awful place to be. And it smells. In the meantime, sausages for everyone!