Posted on March 10, 2011 at 3:05 PMTwo years ago, I started a series I called Playing Pepper, where I asked questions of bloggers of each major league team about the season to come. Not only was that informative and entertaining, it led to the spawning of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. With spring training coming up, it's time to get back into shape by again playing a little pepper.
Filed Under: Milwaukee Brewers
| Playing Pepper
Milwaukee Brewers (77-85, 14 GB and third in the NL Central)
The relationship between the Brewers and the Cardinals has been a bit, shall we say, strained the last few years. A couple of beanball battles, plus the whole shirt untucking bit, has put a little bad blood between the two teams. With the additions of Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke, it's possible Cardinal fans will be cursing the Brewers yet again in 2011.
Any tension between the teams doesn't extend off the field, though. Jaymes Langrehr writes for The Brewers Bar
, a great place to keep tabs on the opposition. You can follow him on Twitter
After the jump, Jaymes gives us a peek at what 2011 may be like, at least for the fans that follow the Brewers.
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C70: What was your opinion of the Milwaukee offseason?
BB: I think it's hard for anyone who follows the Brewers to be anything other than excited. I know personally, I was excited about the direction the team was headed after they traded for Shaun Marcum. I didn't expect them to keep Prince Fielder, and I never in a million years expected Zack Greinke to be a Brewer. I'm still sort of in denial on that. Every picture of him in a Brewers uniform just seems surreal.
C70: What do you expect from Zach Greinke in his first NL season?
BB: Moving to the National League, I think it's reasonable to expect his numbers to improve a fair amount. Anyone who's expecting Greinke to repeat (or even beat) his 2009 season is kidding themselves, though. That was one of the most impressive single seasons ever, and if he's even half as good for the Brewers this year, I think fans should be pleased. With Gallardo and Marcum in the rotation behind him, he won't have to be as good as he was in 2009 for the Brewers to be good.
C70: Is there a scenario where Prince Fielder is traded?
BB: The only way I see something like that happening is if the team is crushed by injuries early in the season and they're double digits out of the playoff race by July. One of the reasons why Greinke agreed to come to Milwaukee was the assurance from Doug Melvin that Fielder would not be traded. As long as the Brewers are within striking distance, Fielder is going to be on the roster. Even if they do fall out of contention, though, they won't move him unless they can get a package of players that would beat the two compensation picks they would net by letting him hit free agency. Considering some of the rumored offers the Brewers were getting last year, it doesn't sound like many teams would be willing to meet that standard.
C70: Is there a Brewers prospect that will make a significant impact this season?
BB: The Brewers' farm system was virtually gutted after the trades for Marcum and Greinke, and they didn't have many impact players in the upper levels to begin with. If a rookie is going to make an impact at the major league level this year, it will probably be a middle reliever. I would have said Mark Rogers as a possible 5th starter down the line if there were injuries in the rotation, but he's had so many injuries that the Brewers shouldn't really be counting on him to do anything big. If they can get something out of him this year, it will be gravy.
C70: What is your prediction on Milwaukee's record and divisional finish?
BB: There are a lot of Brewers fans dreaming big right now, but I've tried to remain level-headed. I do think the additions of Greinke and Marcum to this offense could push this team up to 90 wins, but they'll need some luck when it comes to injuries to get there. They're not exceptionally deep, and if the rotation gets hit with the injury bug -- especially if it bites one of the Big Three -- things could start looking a lot like the past few years. I had them at 2nd place in the division before the Wainwright injury, and I'll probably keep them in 2nd...although they're a lot closer to 1st with the Wainwright injury bringing the Cards down to the Brewers/Reds level in my eyes.