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Milwaukee can’t repeat last year’s offseason mistakes

October 6, 2009

In case you missed it amid all the hype surrounding last night’s football game, the Milwaukee Brewers made a couple of big, if not surprising moves Monday.

Immediately following a disappointing 80-82 season that everyone saw coming, the Brew Crew agreed to a one-year, $8 million contract with closer Trevor Hoffman. General Manager Doug Melvin also announced they would keep manager Ken Macha for 2010.

Does that not just make you want to run out in the streets and celebrate?!?

I mean, what better way to start the most important offseason of Melvin’s career in Milwaukee than to re-sign an aging closer and confirm he will keep the league’s most boring manager. If that doesn’t make fans want to buy season tickets, I don’t know what will.

In all honesty, Hoffman had a phenomenal year in 2009 (especially considering he’ll be 42 next week) with a 1.55 ERA and 37 saves, but banking $8 million on the chance he will be able to duplicate that in 2010 is quite a risk.

As for Macha, he makes me want to go to sleep every time I read his quotes in the paper. For example, on the announcement of his return in 2010, he was dull at best:

“I’m fine with what happened,” Macha said. “I told Doug to do whatever he thinks is best.”

Really? You told Doug to do what he thinks is best? Well, I sure am glad you told your boss to do his job. That is managing at its best right there.

Just once, I would love to see some emotion out of the 59-year-old, white-haired skipper. I’m not saying he should go all Bobby Knight circa 1985 and start throwing chairs onto the field, but not a single ejection in the entire season? It’s like he doesn’t even care.

Of course, Macha seems to fit in well with the Brewers’ front office personnel. Melvin is not exactly one for bold moves, so to re-sign a guy that is about as exciting as watching paint dry is hardly a surprise.

What the Brewers need is to clean house this offseason. Well, in the pitching staff at least.

Aside from Yovani Gallardo, Hoffman and Todd Coffey, there is no one on the staff that is not expendable. In fact, most of the Brewers who toed the rubber this season deserve to be sent back to the minors or sent packing in a hurry.

Manny Parra has continually failed to meet expectations and the time to cut him loose is now. Jeff Suppan is about as overpaid as a pitcher can be and Dave Bush just is not consistent.

It was obvious entering the season that without CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets, the Brewers’ pitching staff would be mediocre at best. They overperformed for the first three months before finally falling back to Earth.

Milwaukee finished last or in the bottom three in nearly every pitching category, despite having one of the league’s top closers and a strong ace in Gallardo. With that kind of performance, it is time to bid farewell to guys like Parra, Suppan and Bush.

The last thing the Brewers need this offseason is a repeat of last year’s disappointing moves. Aside from the Hoffman signing (which they’ve already duplicated!) and the arrival of Macha (another repeat, success!) they did nothing worthwhile.

Sure, Braden Looper was a serviceable starter every fifth day, but he was not exactly the type of big-name-front-end-of-the-rotation guy Milwaukee needed.

Just look at the Yankees: They signed all the pitchers the Brewers did not pursue (A.J. Burnett) or could not afford (Sabathia) and they went on to win the AL East. Obviously, the Brewers do not have the kind of bankroll to make those moves, but settling for Looper was an uninspiring decision.

As a Milwaukee fan, I felt let down by Melvin’s inability to go out and get someone to lead the Brewers pitching staff, or at the very least, provide a strong No. 2 behind Gallardo.

So, with my NFL team falling apart faster by the day (the 0-4 Tennessee Titans) and the fact that I have no interest in the NBA or the NHL regular seasons, my only hope in professional sports right now is, ironically enough, the Milwaukee Brewers.

Let’s just hope they can do something more exciting in the next three months than duplicating the previous offseason, especially since they have effectively already done that.
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