The Milwaukee Brewers, coming off an embarrassing 13-6 at the hands of the San Diego Padres, decided today that they hit rock bottom. It was time for a change.
The Brewers started the day by firing pitching coach Bill Castro.
Castro has not faired well in his first season at the position. I don't think that the Brewers ineffectiveness is completely Castro's fault. He was put into a tough situation with what he had to work with this season. However, somebody had to take the fall and Castro's pitching staff was ranked second to last in the national league. It's a lot easier to fire a pitching coach rather than revamp the entire staff.
The next move came when J.J. was optioned to AAA Nashville. To take his spot, the Brewers called up Alcides Escobar to start at SS.
When this move first came out I thought to myself, "why?" I thought it was going to kill Hardy's trade value. I then realized the thinking behind it.
Hardy was struggling with the bat and will probably be outproduced by Escobar for the remainder of the season. That's not why Melvin made the move, however. If J.J. spends more than 20 days in the minors, he will have to wait another season before he qualifies for outright free agency. Look for J.J. to come up right after those 20 days, no matter how he performs at AAA. At first, I thought this move would hurt his trade value. I couldn't have been more mistaken. Even if Hardy is traded, he will be under that teams control through 2011. With him still being under arbitration, his value to the Brewers, and other clubs, skyrockets.
The Brewers insisted that this wasn't the reason behind sending Hardy down. They stated that he needed to go and have fun and stop pressing. They said that AAA Nashville was the best place for him to regain his form. Although I highly doubt this was the reasoning, they had to say something to try and get Hardy to buy it.
Either way you look at it, it seems that Alcides Escobar will be the future shortstop of the Brewers. This move really won't effect his service time much because I think he will be the opening day starting shortstop in 2010. I just think Hardy's days as a Brewers are numbered at the moment.
The final move occurred when the Brewers DFA'd Bill Hall and used his roster spot to call up OF Jason Bourgeois.
Hall has looked completely lost at the plate this season. Melvin says that there has been some interest in Hall. If a team does take on Hall's contract, I'll be shocked. He is owed another $2 million this year, followed by $8.4 million next season. Hopefully someone has interest in him and will take some of his remaining salary.
Bourgeois, 27, was playing solidly for Nashville this season. He doesn't have much power at all. He is a guy that can get on base somewhat and steal some bases. He is a switch hitter, so he will probably get a few starts in RF while Hart is returning from injury. The only other right handed hitting bench player that could play the outfield was Hall.
This team has not performed to the level that they are capable of. Something needed to be addressed. I was shocked that they released Hall, which basically forces them to eat the remainder of his salary. The Hardy move was complete genius on Melvin's behalf. I am looking forward to watching Escobar everyday. Lets hope he is everything he is cracked up to be.