Position Shakedown

The position battles rage on for the 2010 Milwaukee Brewers. Although some in the professional media would have you think the bench spots are all but sealed, here at the Tap we don't think it's over until the keg starts spitting. So, 14 games in and this is where they stand.

Backup Catcher

T-1. George Kottaras
T-1. Matt Treanor

The Skinny: That's right, this is now a two-man race. While I would rather see Angel Salome or Jonathon Lucroy I would also rather see them as starters and Gregg Zaun will be preventing that. So with all due respect to the rookies, it's between Kottaras and Treanor.

So with the two most veteran options fighting for the backup role, who has the edge? The inclination of the Brewers media is to say that Treanor is a better defensive Catcher while Kottaras provides more upside as a hitter.

By the Numbers: It's a fair expectation that both players will get plenty of at-bats over the next week and a half. So far, Kottaras is 5 for 14 with three walks and two strike outs. Three of his hits have gone for extra bases (two doubles and a home run).

Treanor has been no slouch either, he's 4 for 13 in the seven games he's played. At the same time, he has yet to walk and has struck out five times. Treanor does have a pair RBIs but half as many total bases (5) as Kottaras has (10).

The Decider: Flip a coin, that's about how good your chances are to pick who will win this spot. One day you might think Kottaras is the guy, the next you see Treanor winning the role. Essentially, it's too early to tell. But one thing is certainly true, whichever player doesn't win the backup job won't be in the organization when the season starts.

Bench Hitters

T-1. Joe Inglett
T-1. Jim Edmonds
3. Adam Heether
4. Trent Oeltjen

The Skinny: This would be the position that many consider to be as good as claimed. Edmonds has done a terrific job and demonstrated an ability to play more than just center field. Joe Inglett can play multiple positions and has a .293 batting average in over 700 big league plate appearances.

Still, I refuse to just concede that both of these spots are won. If Jim Edmonds doesn't get another hit this spring will the team honestly not consider Oeltjen? The role isn't won until the rosters are set. Both Heether and Oeltjen have played very well this spring as well.

By the Numbers: Edmonds (left) has had a solid spring both defensively and offensively. He's hit .316 with an OBP over .400. He's also driven in three and hit a home run.

Inglett has shown an ability to play several positions well, but his offense has been just okay. He's hit .222 but he has walked six times in 18 AB's.

Adam Heether has had a very nice spring, which is one good reason to not count him out just yet. Heether has hit .250 with a .400 OBP, three of his five hits this spring have been doubles.

Lastly, is the hard luck Trent Oeltjen. Considered a contender for the fifth outfield spot, Oeltjen was hit on the wrist with a pitch in his very first game this spring and has had his playing time limited. He's had some good moments, but will need to really take off to have any sort of chance.

The Decider: As much as I'd like to see Adam Heether win a roster spot, all signs are pointing to Edmonds and Inglett filling out the Brewers bench.

Starting Pitcher

T-1. Jeff Suppan
T-1. Dave Bush

The Skinny: It appears that we will find out just how bad Jeff Suppan has to be to not make the team. Manager Ken Macha can talk all he wants about Chris Narveson and Manny Parra also competing for a rotation spot, but that's just smoke screen. Parra will make the rotation and there is no way the team will go into the season with four left-handers in the starting rotation.

So who will it be? If Dave Bush has a near perfect spring and Suppan pitches like we are all used to (that would be terribly) who gets the roster spot? It's likely the most important question the team faces this spring.

By the Numbers: In 6.2 innings pitched, Bush has yet to walk a batter and has an ERA of 2.70. He's also kept the ball in the ballpark and struck out four.

Suppan has been the pitcher we all know and love, in nine Cactus League innings he's given up five gopher balls and 12 hits. On the plus side, he's only walked one... so... yea... there's that.

The Decider: Just how bad does a $12.5 million pitcher have to be to get released from the team? This is something that the Brewers will have to ask themselves as spring winds down. Suppan has been absolutely terrible and it's very unlikely he'll get better.

Bush has been quite the opposite, if he pitches like he did before his injury last season the front office will have a hard time explaining to the fan base why they kept Suppan in the rotation.


1. Chris Narveson
2. Bush/Suppan loser
3. Chuck Lofgren
4. Scott Schoenweis

The Skinny: It's safe to say that the final member of the Brewers pen will be coming out of this group. The more you look at the options available the more it looks like the final member of the bullpen will also be a left-handed pitcher. Whether it's Narveson or Lofgren (if he really has a chance) or the veteran Scott Schoeneweis.

But the more you see Chris Narveson dominate this spring the less likely it is the loser of the Bush-Suppan battle will wear the barley and blue on opening day.

By the Numbers: Narveson (left) has been outstanding, giving up just one hit and two walks in his two starts. If he maintains his production it will be nearly impossible for the team to keep him off the roster.

Lofgren has done everything he possibly could to make the roster but it's hard to see how he can make the roster without the team making some pretty big changes. Lofgren hasn't given up any runs in his four appearances and even logged a save.

Last we have Scott Schoeneweis, the most veteran member of the bullpen competition. He's been mostly good but has an ERA of 9.00 due in large part to one bad outing. At this point he seems like a long shot for the roster though.

The Decider: Bold prediction time, Dave Bush and Jeff Suppan will not both make the opening day roster. That may not actually be that bold but it seems to be the path the team is headed down. The last bullpen spot has to be Narveson's to lose.

You really have to feel bad for a guy like Chuck Lofgren though, he's done everything right and been productive but may not have any real shot at the opening day roster. If the team is lucky, maybe the Indians won't want him back and they can keep him in Triple-A, but that seems very unlikely.


This Week in Green Bay

Football season is up, and we're right in the midst of March Madness with baseball right around the corner. But that doesn't mean the Packers are hibernating for the summer. Here's a quick look at what's been going on in Green Bay this past week:

Long term deals for all! - Three major resignings: LT Chad Clifton, DT Ryan Pickett, and FS Nick Collins. While two of the three were no brainers, the Clifton one I wasn't thrilled with until I learned the structure of the deal. Heavily front-loaded, the deal indicates Clifton has one more year as a starter, and then they'll start working in a younger replacement. Should no one emerge, the hope is likely that Clifton's knees hold up until the following draft. Also, as JSOnline's Brian Carriveau observes, Ted Thompson is using the uncapped year to his advantage, front loading the contracts and gearing up for the potential return of the cap in 2011.

At least someone thinks he's valuable
- One player who didn't receive a new contract: Daryn Colledge. And his agent isn't happy. Reports are he is "strongly considering" holding his client out of offseason workouts to express their unhappiness with Daryn's contract situation. Good thinking. Your client was part of an offensive line who gave up as many sacks as any team in the NFL last year, and in several games he was the weakest link. If anyone on that line needs to attend offseason workouts its Colledge, and should they follow through on this threat he could find himself in a back-up position come training camp.

Happy trails Aaron Kampman - The Packers lost their first free agent of the offseason, as Aaron Kampman signed Jacksonville Jaguars. While its sad to see him go--he embodies what every Packer fan loves in a football player--its good to know he's returning to the 4-3. Everyone who hoped he'd work out as an OLB in the 3-4 (myself included) had to have that nagging feeling that the move was like teaching a dog to use a litter box. It'll work, but its a really bad idea. Happy trails Kampy, and best of luck from the Tap.

Packers sign Charles Dillon away from the Spokane Shock - After trying to figure out why the Packers would sign a WNBA player named Charles (Juwanna Mann?), I realized that the Shock are actually an Arena Football team. I can't decide if this is actually news or not, considering he's a wide receiver and the Packers aren't exactly short at that position, but if he can provide a spark in the return game then welcome aboard!

New Threads for the Pack - Following in the recent trend of throwback alternate jerseys, the Packers have unveiled their own: a reworking of the old Acme Packers uniform. While I'm a little surprised that a team often referred to as "The Green and Gold" by their fans is adopting blue and yellow, I'm a fan of the new design. The blue number set in a yellow circle on the front and back of a blue jersey is sharp, and going with the traditional and understated white pants was a nice touch for a working class team. But most of all? I'm glad they didn't use their secondary color as the jersey base color a la the Bears or Seahawks.

Lombardi to get Hollywood treatment - ESPN has announced their first feature film: Lombardi, a movie detailing the rise of the Green Bay Packers in the 60's based loosely on Jerry Kramer's biography, "Instant Replay." And they've cast the perfect man for the legend: Robert De Niro. Try to think of someone in Hollywood who would do a better Vince Lombardi. Just the thought of the inevitable scene of him giving an impassioned pregame speech to a locker room full of Packer greats makes me giddy. The film won't be out until 2012, but with De Niro as Lombardi we can rest assured it'll be worth the wait.

That's the majority of what mattered. Did I forget something? Let me know below.


Open Competition

The charge for the few open roster spots on the 2010 Milwaukee Brewers is on. With so many established players on the roster, open slots are few and far between. No starting position player spots are available and competition for the final two rotation spots is expected to be tight. Here are the spots up for grabs.

Backup Catcher
(2) Bench Players

Fifth Starting Pitcher
One Bullpen Pitcher

Let's dispense with the roster predictions, since every other spot is basically filled. It's time to focus on these five position battles as spring marches on. No stats just yet though, with only five game down the sampling size is just far too small.

Backup Catcher

The Competitors: Gregg "Triple G" Zaun was signed to be the starter, which leaves a mix of prospects and veterans duking it out for the right to be remembered with the likes of Keith Osik and Chad Moeller. On the veteran end, we have long time Florida Marlin Matt Treanor(right), who is best known for being married to gold medalist Misty May (who should be way hotter than she is with a stripper name like that). Treanor is 34 and has never played in more than 67 games in a season.

Also landing closer to the veteran end of the spectrum (though not really a veteran at all) is former Red Sox backup George Kottaras. Kottaras has only played 48 games in the big leagues, but at 27 is the second oldest competitor in the field.

Bringing some youth to the group are the Brew Crew's top two catching prospects. The diminutive Angel Salome (he's 5'7") and the Ragin' Cajun Jonathan Lucroy, of whom I am an unabashed cheerleader. The front office says that all four of these players have a chance to win the spot, so if you believe that then this should be a good group to watch.

The Front Runners: The more you look at it, the more you have to think this is really just a two man competition. The leaders of this pack are likely to be Treanor and Kottaras, the two most experienced. So as the competition rolls on those two will lead the way.

Where they Stand:
1. George Kottaras
2. Matt Treanor
T-3. Jonathan Lucroy
T-3. Angel Salome

Bench Hitters

The Competitors: Two spots available, five players (realistically) competing for them. In the perfect world you take one more outfielder and one more infielder. The oldest member of this group is Jim Edmonds(left). Joining him as a pure outfielder is the Aussie Trent Oeltjen.

There are also a pair of players that can be considered true utility players, in the form of prospect Adam Heether and the recently well-traveled Joe Inglett. Both players can play nearly every position on the diamond. Heether has yet to play in a major league game but opened eyes with a big season in Triple-A a year ago. Inglett has played parts of four seasons in the big leagues and is a career .293 hitter.

And there is also one pure infielder in the bunch as well. Hernan Iribarren, the slap-hitting second baseman is out of options and vying for a roster spot. There were hopes that Iribarren would be able to contribute as a utility player but he is really only defensively apt at second base.

The Front Runners: It's probably better to say who is on the outside looking in for this group of players. This seems to be an open competition, in part because Heether(right) could give the Brewers their only right-handed option on the bench and the fact that Edmonds has showed up in good shape and his early returns have been outstanding.

The guy who looks like he has the least chance is Hernan Iribarren, which is unfortunate. Iribarren has hit at every level he's played and paid his dues in the minor leagues. It's doubtful that Iribarren would clear waivers if he fails to make the opening day roster, but stranger things have happened.

Where they Stand:
1. Joe Inglett
2. Jim Edmonds
3. Adam Heether
4. Trent Oeltjen
5. Hernan Iribarren

Fifth Starter

The Competitors: This one is easy, there are really only two competitors for this spot, Dave Bush and Jeff Suppan. Both of which stunk last year. Yes, there will be some talk about Chris Narveson but it's very unlikely the team would want to go into the season with four left-handed starters. Some facts to remember, Bush's $4.125 million salary is not guaranteed unless he makes the opening day roster. Suppan's $12.5 million salary and $2 million buyout will be paid no matter what. Read into that what you will.

The Front Runner: *Deep Sigh* Suppan, purely for financial reasons. For Bush to win a spot Suppan would have to have an absolutely horrid spring while Bush must be near perfect. While that is a very real possibility, Jeff Suppan would be a very costly reliever (without mentioning the fact that he could be taking a bullpen spot from a more deserving pitcher).

Where they Stand:
1. Jeff Suppan
2. Dave Bush


The Competitors: With David Riske slated to start the season on the disabled list it takes him out of the equation. So the group of players that realistically have a shot at the 2010 bullpen is a fairly young bunch but with some interesting options. Lefties Chris Narveson(left), Chuck Lofgren and Scott Schoenweis (the token veteran) will all compete for the spot.

Joining them in open competition are right-handers John Axford, Chris Smith, Kameron Loe and maybe even the loser of the Bush-Suppan rotation battle. There are some other names that could be thrown in there (Chris Capuano and John Halama come to mind) and you may even hear some love for prospect Zach Braddock but their chances to start the year with the big club are minimal.

The Front Runners: With lefty-specialist Mitch Stetter already in the fold, it's likely the team will be interested in taking the best pitcher available. Chris Narveson wouldn't clear waivers after his performance a season ago. While he struggled in his first call-up he went down, tore up Triple-A, came back and pitched very well as a starter in September. He's got the lead for that final bullpen spot.

Where they Stand:
1. Chris Narveson
2. Jeff Suppan/Dave Bush
T-3. Scott Schoenweis
T-3. Chuck Lofgren
5. Everyone Else


The Brewer Twitterverse: Part 1

The Milwaukee Brewers are notoriously thin in the twitter world, in fact the only people connected to the organization that do have accounts is new pitching coach Rick Peterson. But then I read the Weekend Mug over at Brew Crew Ball and it got me thinking... what if there was a stronger Brewer presence in the twitterverse?

Here's how I think it would go:

@Dukie39: Great to get out and pitch without restrictions! It's been a long time, feeling good!

@TheMachster: @Dukie39 aren't you a little old to be a batboy?

@BigStick8: lolz, hey MKE, think I will go 30/30 this year?

@SunglassesAtNight: I hope the other kids don't make fun of my new glasses

@BigStick8: @SunglassesAtNight not anymore than we made fun of your pitch selection

@CrownedPrince: Started practice counting the zeros today, can't wait til the season starts!

@Dukie39: @TheMachster I'm on your team? I won 18 games in 2005? Didn't @MustacheMan tell you?

@TheMachster: @Dukie39 Yea, and I took Oakland to the playoffs twice. Your point?

@BigStick8: We got new d-signs up on the remetees! check it out! store.remetee.com

@JJ07: @BigStick8 I'm so glad I'm not your teammate anymore and don't have to wear those godawful shirts.

@BigStick8: @JJ07 aww why you gots to hate! lolz, i kno ur jking me!

@JJ07: @BigStick8 those new ones really put Ed Hardy to shame

@BigStick8: @JJ07 lolz, great arnt they... how was ur getaway w/@joemamaTC

@JJ07: @BigStick8 awesome, we grew beards together

@CrownedPrince: HAHAHAHAHA RT: @JJ07: @BigStick8 awesome, we grew beards together

@TheMachster: Have been really impressed by @TripleG this spring, he's so old he must be good.

@MustacheMan: Hey #brewers fans, I really am sorry about @DaSoupMan i blew that one. My bad.

@DaSoupMan: @MustacheMan don't worry, I won't change my approach this year.

@BrewCrewManager2011: Hey guys, make sure you work hard on base stealing this season, we'll be running in '11

@TheMachster: @BrewCrewManager2011 Willie? Is that you? Or is it Dale? Damnit! You could at least wait til I get fired.

@MustacheMan: @BrewCrewManager2011 @TheMachster it's like he's psychic! lol lol

@Dukie39: What happened to Tomo?

@GoldenSpikes: Am I excited to be healthy this year! I'm feeling big things!

@CrownedPrince: @GoldenSpikes rickie in the hooooooooooooooouse, missed you last year

@GoldenSpikes: @CrownedPrince me and my dreads are back to stay

@BigStick8: hey wisco! closing in on a new bar/grill... RB's mountainside grill in Wausau... should open by 2018!

@Stettelator: @BigStick8 can't wait! Already got reservations at your MKE place

@BigStick8: @Stettelator I don't talk to relievers

@GoldenSpikes: I think I have carpal tunnel

To be Continued...


The Many Faces of Bo Ryan

Bo Ryan Reacting to Publishers Clearing House Showing Up to His Door

The Bo Ryan Jersey Shore Fist Pump

Bo Ryan Waiting to Get on a Ride at Six Flags

Bo Ryan After Just Knocking Someone Out

Bo Ryan Enjoying the Great Circus Train

Bo Ryan Doing the Macarena

Bo Ryan Applying Hand Sanitizer

Bo Ryan Blaming Someone Else For Farting

Bo Ryan Telling a Fishing Story

Bo Ryan Striking a Pose For Coin

Bo Ryan Cat-Calling the Ladies

Bo Ryan Going "BEEYAH"