The Brewers Are Going for it in 2011

The Brewers are making a statement.

With the acquisition of Zack Greinke they are telling the rest of the National League they are a team to be reckoned with in 2011.

With Prince Fielder being a free agent after the 2011 season the team could look a lot different in 2012. So why not go for it? Outside of the Bronx, Boston and now seemingly Philadelphia getting a chance to assemble a team to make a serious run does not happen every year. Especially in Milwaukee where the Brewers have been to the postseason only once since their World Series appearance in 1982.

The Brewers have assembled a modern day version of Harvey’s Wallbangers with Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Casey McGhee, Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks. But current baseball economics will probably make this the last season to have this core of five hitters together.

The animosity between Fielder and the Brewers was well publicized when the Brewers signed Ryan Braun to a long term extension in 2008 after denying Fielder an extension. When Fielder hits the free agent market following the 2011 season his Agent Scott Boras figures to be looking for a deal in the Ryan Howard range. Howard signed a five year 125 million extension in April of 2010. The Brewers will obviously not pay that type of money and Fielder is definitely not going to be offering them a “hometown discount”

The addition of Greinke definitely gives the Brewers a starting staff the potential to be formidable in 2011. The big question is how effective will they be?  At 27 Greinke will be entering his prime years very motivated. There is no argument he has number one stuff. But he has to prove he has the mental makeup to be a consistent number one for a playoff caliber team.

Yovani Gallardo should feel less pressure in 2011 by not having to be the number one. He has had a nice start to his career and at just 25 years old going into 2011 still looks to have upside.

Shaun Marcum has quietly had three very respectable years in Toronto. His ERA the past two years has been under 3.65 and his WHIP has been under 1.20. That is very impressive when you consider the number of games the Blue Jays play against the Rays, Red Sox and Yankees If he adjusts to the National League he could be a huge addition to the Brewers rotation.

With Randy Wolf you know you are probably going to get, 30 starts and 200 innings. If he can keep his ERA around 4.00 and get decent run support there is no reason to think he won’t beat last years win total of 13.

The fifth spot in the rotation looks to be Chris Narverson. But Manny Parra could force his way in with a good Spring. If the Brewers top four pitch near expectations anything out of the fifth spot would be a bonus.

The key for the Brewers is to find a way to get to the playoffs in a National Central that has a resurgent Reds team. An always dangerous Cardinals team, A Cubs team that will spend year in and year out to try to contend. And an Astros team that has a chance to surprise people in 2011.

With Greinke at the top of the rotation and a lineup that has the potential to score runs off of anybody the Brewers are definitely a team you would not want to see in a short series.


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