What the hell are the Brewers up to?

Ronald Martinez - Getty Images

Ronald Martinez – Getty Images

Matt Garza signed with the Brewers? Really?

I knew pitchers were going to sign really quickly after Tanaka signed. I knew the teams that were willing to pony up big bucks for Tanaka could look at Garza as a lower budget consolation prize.

I thought the Mariners, Angels, Orioles, Dodgers, Diamondbacks and even his old team the Cubs would take a stab.

But here are the Brewers, evidently finding $52 million under the sofa cushions.

What’s going on here? In an off season where we have been distracted by all things Yankees (will they sign Cano? What will happen to A-Rod? Hey! They got Tanaka!) the Brewers of all teams have swooped in and snagged one of the big fish.

Now Garza is turning 30, so there is risk giving him a 4 year deal. There is further risk because his last two seasons have been injury plagued.

And there is even MORE risk when you consider that the Cardinals are still the cream of the crop, the Pirates are super talented and Cincinnati still has ability. Cracking the playoff picture by way of the Central is a tall order.

And yet here we are, pending a physical, Garza is heading to the Brewers.

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

What are they up to? Are the Brewers trying to smooth over the bad feelings after the Ryan Braun fiasco?

Are they trying to make fans feel good and sell some season tickets before pitchers and catchers report?

OR are they showing the baseball world that they are the Go-To destination for all pretty good pitchers looking for a decent contract when their free agency has dragged on longer than expected.

The other player like that was Kyle Lohse, who twisted in the wind after the 2012 playoffs before being picked up by the Brewers during Spring Training.

Garza didn’t have to wait that long, but he is now part of a pitching staff that suddenly makes the Brewers interesting, if not contenders.

Yovani Gallardo is still a very good pitcher and has yet to reach his 30th birthday. Marco Estrada missed a few months with back and hamstring issues but pitched well when healthy. 25 year old Wily Peralta showed flashes of being an excellent young pitcher in his first full season. Lohse gave the team nearly 200 innings and a solid 3.35 ERA. And young Tyler Thornburg started 2013 in the bullpen but pitched very well in the rotation in October.

Add Garza to that staff and what do you have? Pitching depth.

Isn’t that what wins titles these days?

Even with question marks regarding Braun, Aramis Ramirez and the loss of Corey Hart, a good pitching staff could keep Milwaukee in a lot of games.

Jean Segura is a budding star at shortstop. Carlos Gomez had a terrific season Jonathan Lucroy is steady behind the plate and let’s face it. It is easier to get a bat than it is to get a good arm.

So what is happening here? This is not the American League which is wide open. This is the National League. Only a handful of teams seem to be a legit contender and the Brewers are not one of them.

Are they pushing their chips in haphazardly? The move does not cost them a draft pick as Garza had no qualifying offer. (The Rangers were not allowed to give him one after being picked up in mid season.) So it isn’t much of a gamble.

And a having a trio of veteran pitchers to influence young Peralta, Thornburg, Jimmy Nelson and Johnny Hellweg means the Brewers could be assembling enough arms to make a run.

If Gallardo won’t extend his deal, they could strike a deal for another bat while still having depth in their staff.

Do you know what it sounds like to me? It sounds like the Brewers are trying to emulate the Cardinals. They seem to be looking at the franchise that dispatched them in the 2011 NLCS and are thinking “how the hell did THEY do it?”

Pitching depth, not getting attached to stars and making sure a good arm is throwing every day seems to be the key.

In their own way, the Brewers are trying to follow that blueprint. They know their best chance to win a World Series in recent years came and went at the hands of the Cardinals in 2011.

The chances of them being better than St. Louis, Los Angeles or even Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Washington, Atlanta or Cincinnati are kinda sorta slim.

But if they are going to do it, this is the right formula.

Man, they may be on to something.

brewers

 

The official Sully Baseball World Series prediction…

This is my official World Series prediction.
Don’t confuse this with my dreadful prediction made on the eve of the playoffs!
I had neither the Rangers nor the Cardinals making it through the Division Series.

Can you imagine if I went back in time and said after a few innings of Game 2 of the Cardinals – Phillies series and of the Rays – Rangers series that the World Series would be St. Louis vs. Texas?

Both the Phillies and Rays looked like they were a lock to go up 2-0 with early leads.

Now here we are with an all middle of the country World Series!

I’ve underestimated the Cardinals all post season.
Then again I’ve also underestimated the Rangers (I picked the Tigers to win the ALCS.)

In other words I’ve been as wrong as you can get.

So my instinct says “Pick the Rangers to win in 6.”
And I can’t.

I am going against my gut and as my picture might indicate to you… I’m smiling next to Ozzie Smith.

So here we go.

SULLY’S OFFICIAL WORLD SERIES PICK
THE CARDINALS IN 6 GAMES

So if you are a betting man, you might put all your money on the Rangers.
Except remember that my INSTINCTS said to pick the Rangers. So either way you are screwed.

Now I am ROOTING for the Rangers, but these Cardinals have nothing to lose. So I am predicting that all logic and reason will fly out of the window and the Cardinals will be World Champs.

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Don’t look now… but we’ve got an NLCS!

Did anyone tell the Brewers that travel day was TOMORROW and not tonight?
Seriously, how sloppy were they?

Well what it means is that the Brewers need to win on Sunday to make this an awesome 7 game series.

I’ll tell you what it also means.
It means that the Cardinals have NOTHING to lose.

On August 24th, the Cardinals were just 4 games above .500 and 10 games behind the Brewers for the Central and 10 1/2 games behind the Braves for the Wild Card.

They had just 32 games left. The Cardinals were still behind the Giants for the Wild Card.

Now here we are and the Cardinals are 1 win from the World Series.
If they get no hit in Games 6 & 7 who could say ANYTHING bad against him.

No pressure Milwaukee.
Go home. Win on Sunday. And we’ll have a whole lot of awesome for Monday.

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