The Milwaukee Brewers (46-56) are 10 games under .500 and 15 games out of first place in the National League Central division. Their playoffs are all but eliminated as the team has given up hope and their bullpen continues to give up leads.
As they say, hindsight is 20/20 which means it was impossible for management to foresee the multiple season-ending injuries and the lack of production from several players. However, in the present it is easy for us to see exactly where the Brewers went wrong in last year’s winter meetings. If at least four moves went a different way, maybe Milwaukee would still be contending for their second consecutive division title.
The following are four moves the Brewers wished they had made before the 2012 season:
Re-Sign Jerry Hairston Jr.
When I found out the Brewers did not re-sign Jerry Hairston Jr. on Day-1 of the winter meetings I was irate. I could not imagine a situation in which GM Doug Melvin did not want to bring back one of the most valuable members of the team during their 2011 postseason run. Apparently, Melvin was so caught up in trying to get the attention of Aramis Ramirez that the Los Angeles Dodgers swooped in and signed Hairston to a two-year, $6 million contract. What a colossal mistake that was on Milwaukee’s part. Their first order of business should have been locking down the versatile Hairston for at least the 2012 season. He certainly would have looked good at shortstop when Alex Gonzalez went down.
Sign Carlos Beltran
For whatever reason, Milwaukee did not go after Carlos Beltran even though they knew they needed a big bat in the lineup to protect Ryan Braun, as Prince Fielder was preparing to skip town. Instead, Melvin focused his attention on Ramirez, which is not a terrible move except the fact he is costing more money, but Beltran clearly would have been the better of the two. The St. Louis Cardinals ended up being the team who contracted Beltran to a two-year, $26 million deal. Once again, Ramirez turned out to be a good acquisition but Beltran is an All-Star this season who has hit 23 home runs and 73 RBI. A little more production behind Braun could have gone a long ways.
Deal Francisco Rodriguez
The Brewers did not want to keep reliever Francisco Rodriguez and were as shocked as anyone was when he decided to accept arbitration and sign with Milwaukee. Since Rodriguez clearly showed he wanted to be a closer again, the last thing Melvin thought was he would come back to the team as a setup man. However, no organization wanted to pay Rodriguez the big bucks and apparently they were wise not to as K-Rod has a 2-6 record with a 5.36 ERA and six blown saves this season. The Brewers were even going to deal him around the trade deadline but Rodriguez began going downhill fast and the limited number of teams interested turned away quickly.
Re-Sign LaTroy Hawkins
Milwaukee’s bullpen has struggled mightily this season as the relievers have combined for over a 5.00 ERA. Everyone thought it was a no-brainer to bring back veterans LaTroy Hawkins and Takashi Saito, but the Brewers were not willing to do it, as they wanted to go with cheaper relief pitchers instead. Hawkins was the one player I thought they would not let get away and clearly, they shouldn’t have as he is having a phenomenal year with the Los Angeles Angels. Hawkins has a 2-1 record and 1.73 ERA with 12 strikeouts and surrendered only one home run in 26 innings pitched.