|Shorstop Alex Gonzalez, out for the year with a torn ACL, is just one of many key Brewers to go down with injuries in the early part of this season.|
First baseman Mat Gamel, who was supposed to try and help fill the extra large void left by the departure of team leader Prince Fielder, is out for the season with a torn ACL. Shortstop Alex Gonzalez, the team's best defensive infielder and one of its most consistent hitters so far this year, is out for the season with a torn ACL. Starter Chris Narveson is out for the season with a torn rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder. Center fielder Carlos Gomez, who's been playing the best baseball of his career early this season, will be out for a couple more weeks. Ryan Braun, last season's MVP, is currently playing with a sprained achilles. The injury bug seems to have built a nest and is constantly buzzing around in the Brewers clubhouse. In which direction should the team look to replace its injured starters? I'm sure GM Doug Melvin has his own ideas, but here are my suggestions, whatever they're worth.
First of all, I fully expect Braun to continue playing at a high level even if he is banged up. Gomez will come back and hopefully continue hitting the way he has to begin the year. I think he's finally starting to put it all together and play up to his five-tool talent, but I might just be hoping; I seem to hope for that every year. Anyway, the real problem will be trying to replace Gamel, Gonzalez, and Narveson.
Replacing Gamel - The Brewers Current Strategy
The Brewers first few moves have been bringing up utility infielder Taylor Green to fill Gamel's roster spot, where he'll split time at first with Travis Ishikawa. I like Green, but I don't see either he or Ishikawa doing enough to help the Crew make a run at the playoffs. The team will need an upgrade at first base.
Replacing Gamel - My Strategy
Bring Corey Hart in from right field to play first for the remainder of the season. We have enough depth to cover his spot in the outfield with Nyjer Morgan, Nori Aoki, and Gomez when he comes back. Caleb Gindl and Logan Schafer are both good outfield prospects who are ready to contribute at the major league level if the Brewers choose to call them up.
Replacing Gonzalez - The Brewers Current Strategy
Depth at shortstop was a concern coming into this season, and with Gonzalez gone for the year it becomes a major, major concern. The team has decided to go with veteran Cesar Izturis as the everyday starter for now, but I don't think he has enough left in the proverbial tank to be consistent enough to fill in for Gonzalez for a full season. Edwin Maysonet was called up to be the backup to Izturis, but he's been bouncing around in the minor leagues for most of his career so he's unproven at this point.
Replacing Gonzalez - My Strategy
If they really want an upgrade from Izturis, it's not going to come from within. I think the best option would be a trade, most likely involving someone like set-up man Francisco Rodriguez who may have a decent amount of trade value as someone who is a proven closer. Here's an scenario Brewer fans should find interesting, especially the ladies: Baltimore could use a closer and if they think they can continue to compete in the American League, they may be willing to make a deal for one. Who's Baltimore's shortstop, you ask? None other than former Brewer and Wisconsin heart breaker J.J. Hardy, who would definitely be an upgrade over Izturis. Just tossing the idea out there. I think the Brewers will want to stay away from dealing any of their top prospects unless they'll be able to get a young, major league ready shortstop, which is exceptionally unlikely, so that won't be an option.
Replacing Narveson - The Brewers Current Strategy
The Brewers have been rolling with Marco Estrada filling in as the fifth starter in the rotation, and unless he struggles consistently, may leave him there for the foreseeable future.
Replacing Narveson - My Strategy
If you check out my Brewers Season Preview, there's one pitcher I was exceptionally high on - Wily Peralta, the top prospect in the Brewers organization. I would have brought him up the day Narveson went down, stuck him in the fifth spot in the rotation, and went with him for good. I do like Estrada, he's done a good job when he fills in for an injured starter. I just love Peralta's size and mid to high 90s fastball. He reminds me of a bigger Yovani Gallardo. I think he can be the real deal if the Brewers give him a chance and stick with him.