Posted tagged ‘Milwaukee Brewers’

Divisional Preview: NL Central

March 19, 2011

Last year the turnaround Reds took the division after pulling away from the St. Louis Cardinals in September, the Pirates and Astros took up the rear, and the Cubs stunk as usual. There were a few minor moves in the division, but nothing too drastic to really up the division.

1) Cincinnati Reds (86-76)

Looking to improve upon a 90+ win season and their first playoff appearance in some time, the Reds return just about all their everyday players and the same rotation. Defense should be a strong point with Drew Stubbs and Jay Bruce in the outfield, while Scott Rolen, Brandon Phillips, and Joey Votto roam the infield. Joey Votto, the MVP of 2010, should lead the offensive attack, which also features Scott Rolen, Brandon Phillips, and Jay Bruce. They  may not be the Big Red Machine, but the Reds should put some runs on the board.

The Reds will turn to a young, talented staff which could be good or bad. Players like Johnny Cueto and Edison Volquez have all the potential in the world, but have yet to harness it all. If they can turn it on, the Reds will runaway with the division. If not, they’ll be fighting all year with mediocre pitching. One good thing is the depth. Between Homer Bailey, Travis Wood, and Mike Leake fighting for the last couple spots, there won’t be any problems in-season when injuries arise.

Cincinnati is a young team with lots of potential. Whether or not that potential is tapped at once or not can go a long way for the Reds.

Players to watch: Joey Votto, Aroldis Chapman

2) Milwaukee Brewers (84-78)

After trading for Zack Greinke, the Brewers have become a sexy pick to win the NL Central. But I would hold my horses. Yes, their rotation has an incredible trio of Zack Greinke, Yovanni Gallardo, and Shaun Marcum. But that’s it. They have no depth. Randy Wolf is okay, but Chris Narveson is currently their fifth option. Besides, Greinke could miss the first month of the season, and in what seems to be a tight race, missing him for a month and replacing him with a scrub could cost the Brewers a few games.

But if the pitching holds up, this team could be dangerous. Despite the presence of Yuniesky Betancourt, the Brewers have a tantalizing lineup. Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Corey Hart, Rickie Weeks, Case McGehee. That IS a formidable heart of the order. The team will score runs, and if they can limit runs, this team will be good.

Players to watch: Rickie Weeks, Yovanni Gallardo

3) St. Louis Cardinals (82-80)

At first I was intending to pick St. Louis to finish on top, but losing Adam Wainwright is huge. That dropped them to third place in my book. I still think the rotation will be alright with a healthy Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia, but losing a Cy Young candidate pitcher hurts.

The reason I still believe St. Louis will put up a good fight is the offense. For one, they still have Albert Pujols. As long as you have Albert Pujols and some okay players, you’re going to contend. Albert Pujols is out of this world good, but you already know that. However, they don’t  have all scrubs surrounding him. The lineup still boasts Matt Holliday and Colby Rasmus. Yadier Molina remains one of the best catchers in baseball and I am a big supporter in David Freese, so long as his ankle is healthy. The everyday players will keep them competitive, but in the end, their loss of Wainwright will derail their playoff run.

Players to watch: Colby Rasmus, Jaime Garcia

4) Chicago Cubs (78-84)

Ah, the poor old Cubs. Over 100 straight years and counting of not winning a championship. 2011 will be no different. While I do think they will lose this season, I think the Cubs will be better than most people realize. They actually have a decent staff with a real good bullpen. They lack a true ace, but between Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Matt Garza, and Randy Wells, the Cubs do have an above average rotation that can eat innings and keep the team in most games. From there, the bullpen has the lights out Carlos Marmol, Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood, and prospect Andrew Cashner. The Cubs could be dominant in close games because of the pen, and if they play in a lot of those close games, they could be 2011’s surprise team.

The reason I don’t think that will be the case if the offense. They are old. Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Pena, Fukudome. They were once good and still are okay, but to rely on those players for 162 games is not good enough. Starlin Castro can be a star and Soto is a good offensive catcher. But as a whole this is an old, unreliable offense that won’t help win games.

Players to watch: Starlin Castro, Carlos Marmol

5) Pittsburgh Pirates (70-92)

Yes, yes, the team everybody always picks to finish last, I have coming in FIFTH. AN UPSET, I KNOW!

Look, the pitching is shit. I am a James McDonald believer, but he is a #3 starter, tops. Besides him they have guys like Ross Ohlendorf, Brad Lincoln, Scott Olsen, etc. Yeah, it’s not good. The Pirates will be giving up a lot of runs and will be losing a lot of games as a result.

The one redeeming quality in my mind is their young talent on the offensive side of the ball. Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata, and Andrew McCutchen. Andrew McCutchen is a stud and one of my big breakout candidates for 2011. He can hit, field, and run. Once the talent around him starts to develop, the Pirates will slowly start to creep back up to .500 baseball. Pedro Alvarez is another breakout candidate. He may never be good with the leather, but he can hit. Once the bat fully comes around, he will be one of the premiere power hits in the NL. To compliment these two in 2011 are Tabata and Walker. Both aren’t great hitters, but they are above average and help Pittsburgh be a middle of the road offensive team in 2011.

Things are still bleak in Pittsburgh, but the sun is starting rise.

Players to watch: Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez

6) Houston Astros (64-98)

The Astros suck. Plain and simple. Their rotation will be okay, maybe. The “stud” pitcher is Bret Myers. Granted, his 2010 was awesome. He also won’t be likely to repeat it. JA Happ and Wandy Rodriguez are okay. But after them? They’ll be giving 60+ starts to the likes of Nelson Figueroa, Bud Norris, and Ryan Rowland-Smith. Ouch. The pen isn’t any better.

The lineup does have Hunter Pence, a nice, young outfielder, and Brett Wallace could potentially emerge as a pretty good hitter at first. Michael Bourn has also been a total 8 WAR player the best couple seasons. That’s all nice and well. But you wanna hear the names of the other starts? Yes? Okay:

Humberto Quintero, Bill Hall, Clint Barmes, Chris Johnson, and one Brian Bogusevic. Yeah. Crap. And Carlos Lee may play first base instead of Brett Wallace.

The Astros are bad and will finish in last place. Yes, even behind the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Players to watch: Brett Wallace, Hunter Pence

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Milwaukee Brewers extend Rickie Weeks long term

February 16, 2011

If you haven’t heard the news by now, Rickie Weeks signed a 5/$50mil extension with the Milwakee Brewers today. For the small market Brewers, this is a great deal. It’s also a great deal for Rickie Weeks.

The deal will keep Weeks a Brewer for his age 28-32 seasons, which will span most of his prime years up until the age when age starts to become a concern. So as far a years go, the contract length is as good as you can ask for. The contract also buys out one year of arbitration, where he would have made between $5-$7mil and FOUR years of free agency. At 5/$50mil, the AAV is $10mil, so while they won’t be saving any money in 2011, from 2012-2015, they project to be making savings and then some. If Weeks follows up his 2010 season with a similar statistical season in 2011, he would easily make more than $10mil a year. For a small market team like the Brewers who have lots of young players they want to keep around, that is a fantastic deal to save money and keep a good player around.

If Weeks projects to be about a 4.5 WAR player in 2011, as the Fans predict (and is a number I agree with), he would roughly be worth about $20.25mil in 2011. Yeah, so talk about paying someone below their fair market value. If you go further and increase $ per WAR and decrease WAR, I get Weeks producing WARs of 4, 3.5, 3, and 2.5 to finish the contract, which will make him worth $20mil, $19.25mil, $18mil, and $16.25mil for a total contract value of 17.5 WAR and $93.75mil. Yowzers!

I have Weeks projected five year value at $94mil and he will be paid $50mil. Again, I’d say it’s a great deal for Milwaukee. To be worth fair value of $50mil, Weeks would need to only produce about 9-10 WAR over the life of the contract. Yeah, I’d say Weeks will surpass that.

Weeks is an average fielder with a good bat. Going back to 2007, UZR, DSR, and FSR all have him pegged as an average fielder. For his bat, he has above average walk rates, a good ISO indicating power, and good discipline stats. For those reasons, I am confident that he will be a stable, solid hitter over the life of his contract.

The only real concern with Rickie is injuries. 2010 was the first season in which he played more than 130 games (160) and he has failed to play in 100 games in his 3 of his 6 ML seasons. Since the contract pays him significantly less than he is worth, a few injuries won’t make it a bad deal, BUT injuries could take a toll on his production which could ruin the contract. That’s the risk of long term contracts. And while $50mil isn’t a lot compared to his worth, it still is a lot of money in general, especially if you give it to a guy who ends up on the DL more often than the starting lineup. But the Brewers can void the fifth year, saving them $11.5mil, if Weeks is not a starter in 2013 or 2014. So if Weeks does get hurt, the Brewers can still salvage the deal.

All in all though, it’s a win-win for both sides. Brewers get a great deal as I talked about. Weeks gets security and lots of cash, which he should want given his past injury concerns.

Trevor Hoffman retires

January 11, 2011

And he retires the all-time saves leader (stoopid stat) with 601 career saves.

While I don’t like reliever all that well, it is a role and position of the game that isn’t going away anytime soon. Although Hoffman may be quite overrated, he still had a fantastic career. Will he be a Hall of Famer? No doubt about it. Should he be a Hall of Famer? Let’s take a look.

For obvious reasons, closers compile low WAR numbers. For that reason, most people are probably against their inclusion into the HOF. I disagree. It IS a position and their scale for getting into the HOF should be different than starting pitchers. While a HOF pitcher will generally have a 60+ WAR, I like to look at a reliever’s WAR/200. By scaling their WAR to 200 innings, you can put them on the “same level” as starters. Hoffman’s 22.9 fWAR is clearly not HOF worthy if you treat it the same as you would a starting pitcher. But you shouldn’t do that. His WAR/200 is 4.2. That’s pretty good. Tom Glavine’s WAR/200 is 3.1. John Smoltz is 4.8.

Granted, starting pitcher’s ARE more valuable than reliever’s and typically more talented. But when you put up the numbers of a Trevor Hoffman, it’s clear you have HOF skill and talent. The only reason you’re not seeing success as a starter is because 1) You lack the stamina 2) You lack multiple pitches 3) You dominant in the pen and your team refuses to move you from the position. Those factors should not be held against a dominant reliever.

So yes, Trevor Hoffman should be in the HOF. His numbers are better than current RP in the HOF, including Bruce Sutter and Goose Gossage. Hoffman is retiring with more than a K per inning and a 3.08 FIP. For starters and position players, anything above 3 WAR is considered Wins Above Excellent and anything above 6 WAR is considered Wins Above MVP. For a RP I would estimate WAE would be either 1.5 or 2 and WAM would be 2 or 2.5. I could do further analysis on that, but estimating right now, that would give Hoffman three seasons of WAE and a whopping six seasons of WAM.

From 1996-2000 he had a dominant run, posting five consecutive WAM seasons, posting FIP’s between 2.04 and 2.70, accumunlating 12.5 fWAR (or 6.6 WAR/200!) and a K/9 of 11.0. Impressive.

So Trevor Hoffman is a HOF pitcher. I also want to take the time to talk about Lee Smith.

He has been on the ballot for a long while. He is better than Trevor Hoffman. So if Hoffman gets in, which I assume he will, then it is a shame Smith will probably not be. He threw about 200 more career innings, yet his fWAR/200 is 4.5. Remember, Hoffman’s is 4.2. Smith also finished with a better career FIP, which is 2.93. Smith had EIGHT seasons of WAM and another two seasons of WAE.

Lee Smith and Trevor Hoffman for Hall of Fame.

 

Milwaukee Brewers acquire Zack Greinke

December 19, 2010

What a crazy off-season. The next piece of shocking news is that the Kansas City Royals have traded ace pitcher Zack Greinke to the Milwaukee Brewers for Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Odorizzi, and a PTBNL. Wow. I know the Brewers name came up in trade rumors, but this is still shocking. I didn’t think a trade would happen this fast and I didn’t think Milwaukee would actually land him.

This is a real good deal for Milwaukee, imo. Despite having a stud in Yovanni Gallardo, their starting pitching sucked in 2010. But within a matter of weeks they picked up a solid #3 starter in Shaun Marcum and now add Zack Greinke, who is in the running for best pitcher in all of baseball. A trio of Greinke, Gallardo, and Marcum is quite good. Now, the back-end of the rotation still isn’t good, but if they can add a “project” pitcher, they could have a very good overall rotation. They have a lot of pitching depth, but the pitcher’s aren’t very good. So I would take a risk on a Jeremy Bonderman, a Ben Sheets, etc. If they don’t work out, it’s not like you don’t have someone else who can step in. It may not be a good pitcher, but it’s better than no pitcher.

The Brewers, right now, are my favorites to win the NL Central. Their starting pitching matches up with St. Louis, and the Brewers still have a good lineup. Prince Fielder is still at first. Rickie Weeks is at second. Ryan Braun and Corey Hart are still patrolling the corner outfield. Milwaukee has a good team that should compete with St. Louis and Cincinnati.

As for Kansas City, I am underwhelmed with their return. They got some solid players, but it was in return for Zack Greinke. They could have done better. Alcides Escobar could be a solid player for the Royals down the line. He isn’t much of hitter, but he is a defensive star. His glove should make him a capable everyday player and contribute to a solid KC defense. Lorenzo Cain is an athletic center fielder and a good fielder, but is not a star player in the making. I do think he has a small probability of becoming a star, but I don’t think he’ll get there. He’ll just be an okay, everyday player for KC. Now, Jake Odorizzi is a very good prospect. He’s young and has dominated the low levels of the minors so far. He could become one of the Royals best prospects in a very short time.

So yeah, Kansas City did get good players for Zack Greinke, but they could have done better. I mean, from the Yankees they wanted Jesus Montero. None of the players KC got from the Brewers is on Montero’s level as a player/prospect. The Brewers came out really good in this trade, and Kansas City’s return is just “eh”. I mean, they trade two, relatively cheap years of an All-Star pitcher in his prime, for two okay players and one good prospect (plus a PTBNL). But at least they got rid of Yuniesky Betancourt. So I guess it’s a win.

 

Blue Jays trade Shaun Marcum to Milwaukee Brewers for prospect Brett Lawrie

December 6, 2010

The title says it all.

Not a blockbuster, but it’s a big trade and a fair trade.

The Blue Jays traded their #1 starter to the Brewers for their #1 prospect. It’s a trade that makes sense for both teams. The Blue Jays have a full rotation so they could afford to trade Marcum. The positions that Lawrie could play at the ML level are blocked in the foreseeable future in Milwaukee by Rickie Weeks, Ryan Braun, and Corey Hart.Moreover, Milwaukee really needs starting pitch help, since it’s brutal outside Yovanni Gallardo.

So the Jays get a good hitting prospect for a quality starting pitcher. The Brewers give up their top prospect for three cheap years of quality pitching, a dire need of theirs. Solid transaction.

 

2010 Divisional Previews & Predictions: NL Central

April 3, 2010

Today it is time for the NL Central predictions. This division features the most teams out of any division in baseball. The central contains a young Reds squad who has a lot of promising players. It also features the Cardinals who are looking to repeat and a Cubs team who is trying to recover from an injury plagued 2009 season. The Brewers are also looking to get themselves back into contention. There is not going to be that large of a gap from the teams in the middle of the pack which could make this difficult to predict.

1. St. Louis Cardinals
Key Departures: Mark DeRosa and Joel Piniero
Key Arrivals: Brad Penny and Felipe Lopez

The Cardinals are clearly the best team in this division. They have the best rotation in a division where rotations are really weak. Their offense will flourish not only because they have one of the best duos in the game in Pujols and Holliday, but because they will be facing below-average pitching more than other teams would. The Cardinals filled holes this off-season in acquiring Penny and Lopez. Expect the Cardinals to be just as good as they were last season. The only question about the Cardinals is whether or not Ryan Ludwick will be able to give the Cardinals production similarly to in 2008. Chris Carpenter will probably be the X-Factor for the Cardinals. He is their best pitcher but he must find a way to accumulate 25+ starts for the Cardinals. If the Cardinals can keep Carpenter healthy and if their offense can help out Pujols and Holliday, expect them to win this division easily.

2. Milwaukee Brewers
Key Departures: J.J. Hardy, Mike Cameron, and Felipe Lopez
Key Arrivals: Carlos Gomez, Randy Wolf, and Doug Davis

Out of every team in this division, the Brewers probably lost the most value this off-season. They lost key defensive players at the most important defensive positions. Hardy, Cameron, and Lopez were all above average defenders. However, the Brewers acquired Carlos Gomez who is a very good defender. He won’t provide the offensive value that Mike Cameron would have, but he will make up for the defensive value lost in center field. I am banking on the Brewers to have a wOBA close to the .335 they had in 2009. They did this despite Rickie Weeks being injured and a down year from J.J. Hardy. I expect Rickie Weeks to have a very good year that will catch people by surprise. The lineup is not the issue that the Brewers have to worry about. Their rotation was one of the worst in the league last year when it had a team ERA of 4.84. Only that Nationals, Orioles, and Indians had a worse team ERA. However, the Brewers brought in Randy Wolf and Doug Davis. They are two serviceable starters that will give them a nice 1, 2, 3, along with Yovani Gallardo. In a division that has some very weak staffs, the Brewers lucked out because their staff should improve and they have a good offense that can feast off the pitching in the rest of this division.

3. Cincinnati Reds
Key Departures: None.
Key Arrivals: Orlando Cabrera and Aroldis Chapman

The Reds have some very nice, young talent. Expect breakout seasons from Joey Votto and Jay Bruce. The Reds triple slash (batting average / on-base % / slugging%) of .247/.318/.394 is quite deceiving because Joey Votto was injured for a good part of the year and Jay Bruce struggled. The Reds have a very strong bullpen but their rotation lacks consistency other than Aaron Harang. If the Reds can get some help in the rotation from guys like Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto then they might have a chance to challenge the Brewers for second place in the central. This team has tremendous upside and I love to watch them whenever they are playing the Braves. They also played great defense last season and they showed it by posting a UZR of 52.6 which was behind only the Mariners and Rays.

4. Chicago Cubs
Key Departures: Rich Harden and Milton Bradley
Key Arrivals: Marlon Byrd, Xavier Nady, and Carlos Silva (LOL)

Oh, the Cubs. I do not understand how in the world Jim Hendry still has a job. I liked the Marlon Byrd move and I think it was one that was needed but I don’t understand why they did not re-sign Rich Harden. Their current rotation consists of Zambrano, Dempster, Wells, Gorzelanny, and Silva. Looks like they could have used Harden since Lilly is going to start the season on the DL and Randy Wells probably won’t be nearly as good as he was last season. Their offense and bullpen does not make up for their troubled rotation. They have a lot of players that seem to be exiting their prime and you have to question how much they are going to provide for the Cubs this year. I expect Geovany Soto to have a bounce back season. If the Cubs struggled with health like they did least season, it could be a rough year in the north side and we could end up seeing Starlin Castro sooner than expected.

5. Houston Astros
Key Departures: Jose Valverde and Miguel Tejada
Key Arrivals: Brandon Lyon, Pedro Feliz, Brett Myers, and Matt Lindstrom

When I look at the Houston Astros off-season moves, I am left scratching my head. They ship Valverde to Detroit only to pick up and spend about 6-7 million on Lyon and Lindstrom. Their pitching provided 10 WAR and their lineup provided 12.5 WAR. Both were in the cellar in the league. To make matters worse, it looks as if Lance Berkman is going to start the year on the DL. Not only are the Astros in trouble this season, but it looks like they could be in trouble for years to come because their best players (Lee, Berkman, and Oswalt) are all nearing, or are already in their mid-30’s.

6. Pittsburgh Pirates
Key Departures: None.
Key Arrivals: Akinori Iwamura and Octavio Dotel

Remember when I said that the last placed teams usually consist of teams looking to rebuild? Well, we stumble across a team that never seems to stop rebuilding in the Pirates. Throughout the 2009 season, the Pirates lost Jack Wilson, Nate McLouth, Nyjer Morgan, Freddy Sanchez, Adam LaRoche, Ian Snell, and Tom Gorzelanny. How can a team expect to win when they are constantly unloading their best talent? They unloaded 3 of their top 7 batting leaders in WAR. Andrew McCutchen will most likely be their best player. If the Pirates still had Jason Bay, Xavier Nady, and the players I mentioned above, then they would probably be moved up a few slots. However, they don’t. They will remain in the cellar this season.

Twac00’s NL Central Predictions:
1. Cardinals
2. Reds
3. Brewers
4. Cubs
5. Astros
6. Pirates

JeffMac’s NL Central Predictions:
1. Cardinals
2. Brewers
3. Cubs
4. Reds
5. Astros
6. Pirates

Dougbies NL Central Predictions:
1. Cards
2. Brewers
3. Reds
4. Cubs
5. Astros
6. Pirates

YC’s NL Central Predictions:
1. Cardinals
2. Cubs
3. Brewers
4. Reds
5. Pirates
6. Astros

Disco’s NL Central Predictions:
1. Cardinals
2. Cubs
3. Brewers
4. Reds
5. Pirates
6. Astros

Brewers, Rangers Underline Granderson Trade

December 13, 2009

As usual, the Yankees stole baseball headlines with their involvement in a 3-team deal that was highlighted by Curtis Granderson switching his jersey to pinstripes.  But the Brewers and Rangers made some noise of their own this week:

Texas Rangers Trade Kevin Millwood

To kick the week off, Texas somewhat surprisingly dealt former ace Kevin Millwood to the Baltimore Orioles for reliever Chris Ray and Baltimore’s #3 overall choice in the Rule 5 draft.  Millwood, after posting sub-.500 records and ERAs over 5 in both ’07 and ’08, reemerged as an above average starter last year with an ERA of 3.67 through 31 starts.  That 3.67 mark was the best by a Ranger starting pitcher and ranked 8th in the AL.

The deal on its own seemed like a poor one for the emerging Rangers.  The team finished 12 games above .500 last year and are on the verge of overtaking the Angels for the AL West crown.  Trading away arguably their best pitcher and the man responsible for a few of those wins was a step back to say the least.  Chris Ray, who Texas got in return, had shown signs of being a reliable closer prior to his Tommy John surgery in 2007, but floundered in 46 appearances following his rehabilitation last year, giving the Orioles a 7.27 ERA in those 43+ innings.  His velocity was down and he was relying on his off-speed stuff a lot more.  Needless to say, he just isn’t the same pitcher that was lights out in ’06.

Texas Rangers sign Rich Harden

However, the reasoning for the Millwood deal became pretty clear about a day later when the Rangers inked the injury prone Rich Harden.  The reason for it was, mostly, financial.  Over the past handful of years, the Rangers have had a payroll right around $68 million, ranking them near the bottom of baseball.  For them to take on a $6.5 million investment like Harden, they need to give up a $12 million expense like Millwood, and they did just that.

Many (myself included) figured Rich Harden would be able to cash in as one of the better players in a weak free agent class.  The man known for his quantity of injuries as much as his prominence on the mound has logged 25+ starts and 140+ innings in each of the past two seasons.  On top of that, he has always been superbly effective.  Harden boasts a career ERA of 3.39, including a dominant .220 batting average against and over a K per IP.  That is the stuff relief pitchers are made of, and Harden can give it to you for 5-6 innings.  He is a Cy Young caliber pitcher and he was just signed for a journeyman veteran’s price.

Milwaukee Brewers sign Randy Wolf

Because of the bargain Harden was signed for, the criticism rolled in when the Brewers seemingly overspent for the 33-year old Randy Wolf.  Wolf, coming off of a career year where he went 11-7 with a 3.23 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 160 K in 214 IP, inked a deal worth nearly $30 million over the next three years.  The last time the Brewers made a signing like this, they were bringing in Jeff Suppan for one of the worst contracts I’ve seen.  The similarities between the two are eerily similar, but unlike Suppan, Wolf seems to fit with the roster in Milwaukee.  I say this because the Brewers have been generally poor defensively in recent history.  A pitcher like Suppan relies on the guys behind him to give him outs.  If that’s not happening, he’s one of the worst pitchers in baseball, and that didn’t happen.

Wolf has done a good job throughout his career of limiting base runners and was especially effective in this category last year.  Can he repeat that success?  It’s unlikely he does to the extent of last year, but there is no reason why he can’t be a solid mid-rotation starter for Milwaukee.

Conclusion

Assuming Texas was financially forced to choose between Harden and Millwood, they made out with a victory in their deals.  While Harden won’t eat innings like Millwood, he’s the type of starting pitcher they need if they’re going to emerge as the best team from their division.  He is a legitimate ace that can look like the best pitcher in baseball at times.  On top of that, they save money and add a relief pitcher that at least has some potential.  The Rangers also have an already decent bullpen, making the loss of starter’s innings from Millwood to Harden less of a negative.

The Brewers signing Wolf will also have benefits.  He’s a big upgrade over what Milwaukee was running out there last year and, at the least, he will add stability to a very unstable rotation.  As a Brewers fan, I would’ve preferred Harden for the same contract we gave Wolf, let alone for less, but I don’t think Wolf was significantly overpaid either.  Keep in mind Oliver Perez signed a 3-year $36 million deal last year while Derek Lowe commanded $60 million over 4.  The Crew also brought in LaTroy Hawkins to help bolster the bullpen.