Hunt for Ken’s Machtober: Make or Break for 2010



By: Melissa S. Wollering

Since 1954, only 56 starting rotations have sheepishly admitted finishing with a higher ERA than the Milwaukee Brewers hold this season. That’s the same season Jim “Dusty” Rhodes helped led the SF Giants to a World Series win, Marilyn Monroe married Joe DiMaggio and RCA manufactured the first color TV set. The first Burger King was opened in Miami that year, too; but that doesn’t mean the Milwaukee Brewers will let you “have it your way” when it comes to building a pitching staff for the 2010 roster.

Fans have been suffering through the drama of an injury-ridden ‘09 pitching staff.  They’re empathizing with the All-Star Braun & Fielder duo who have been getting far less support than a woman with a pair of queen-size control-top pantyhose.

Just when you think the rotation has hit rock-bottom, Dave Bush returns from the DL only to have his eyes pecked out by a swarm of red birds Wednesday.  The Crew entered the night worst in the league, scraping a 5.27 ERA AND managed to make that number more ridonkulous.  Cardinals won, handing the Brewers a 5.34 ERA when it was all said and done. That’s not the highest earned run average among 30 major league clubs, no….

Braden Looper has a $6M option on his contract.  His record is deceiving, considering he’s been a less-than-reliable starter especially in the last two months.  The Brewers could decline his option and pay him his $750,000 buyout. If arbitration is an option, they could go that route. Reinvest $6M though?  I would put it somewhere else.

Take $3.7M of that and give it to the man who is on his second Brewers’ tour of duty: David Weathers.  He’s way overpaid but reliable in relief and meteorologists everywhere forecast predictable production numbers from him each year. Now back to the starters…


Our problem is that no one wants our problem pitchers. Let’s face it.  The Soup hasn’t been “on” since his World Series appearance. Manny Parra could make huge strides in the offseason and surprise us, but he probably won’t. Only Yovani has earned a spot in the 2010 rotation. We can only hope Chris Capuano is ready to make the comeback of his life. One to two starting pitcher acquisitions is no longer a want, it is a NEED. Like fish need water. Like Rubio needs Spain.  Like Yogi Bear needs a picnic basket.

The bullpen could use another lefty, even if Mitch Stetter sticks around and Narveson continues to work well for us in the offseason.  Carlos Vanillawafer can take his cookie and shove it.  Claudio Vargas is also serving is his second tour with the Crew, but hasn’t knocked my socks off.  Chris Smith…who is that again?

Mark DeFelice and Todd Coffey are the only pitchers I would covet.  And since that’s against the Ten Commandments, I’ll let Melvin covet them. His wife says it’s casual.

Rebuilding the rest of the team could be a piecemeal project as well. Neither Jason Kendall nor Mike Rivera is doing it for us, despite Mike’s excellent appearances at the plate as of late. Take Kendall’s $5M, call up Angel Salome and acquire a new catcher.

Felipe Lopez will, in all likelihood, be offered arbitration and could be an excellent utility player. (Unless the organization wants to move Ricky Weeks.) Lopez probably wants at least two years on a contract and more than he made this year, which was $3.25M.  $4M is probably steep for such a puzzle piece, but he’s extremely useful compared to some of the players below.

Let Frank Catalanatto and Jody Gerut fly the coup and start shopping Corey Hart and Mike Cameron.  Mike’s $10M would free up serious dough for some pitching arms. Jason Bourgeois isn’t terrible in right-field and there are several more outfielders coming up through the farm system that just may be ready for the call-up soon. I taste sweet sugar Cain on its way with a little more work from Lorenzo.


Keep this flowchart rockstar: Craigy Counsell. Counsell came oh-so-cheap for us this year that it was almost an injustice. I hope we paid him in Usinger’s brats and Secret Stadium Sauce as a consolation.  We could not have survived without his veteran reliability and leadership. Hoffman is worth his price tag for experience as well, and I’m still laughing at San Diego for their serious lack of judgment in the number of years this guy has left in him.


For newbies: Casey McGehee and Alcides Escobar have earned spots on the 2010 roster.  What does that mean for #7? I don’t care. That’s right, I said it.  I don’t care. The only thing I’ll miss is David Kay’s highlight reels, “James Jerry Hardy.  Kids call him JJ.”  I say this every time, but that’s trademarked, just so you know.


In the spirit of the Chicago White Sox, everything must go. All sales are final. And if Doug Melvin and Mark Attanasio want Ken to have his Hunt for a 2010 Machtober, they had better start their back-to-school shopping immediately.


  1. Wow has that starting rotation blown up since 07, and then how formidable it was when CC was a rent a player..who are the top hurling prospects in the system?

    nice use of a Rubio-Spain analogy by the way

  2. I say the Brewers shop Hart and Hardy, and let Cameron go. Cut Suppan, Looper and Kendall. Bush, Parra and Gallardo are the only ones that should even be considered for the rotation. Other than that, the only bullpen arms they should keep are Coffey, Hoffman (if he wants to), Stetter, and Weathers. Maybe DiFelice, but it won’t take long for guys to figure out his 1 pitch. Otherwise, most teams’ bullpens are patchworked anyways except for the later innings, so by this time next year it’ll be filled with guys we don’t even have this year.

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