Results tagged ‘ Manny Parra ’

The Fielder factor

fielder.jpgThe Brewers lost their arbitration hearing with Corey Hart this week, but one former club official said that, in a roundabout way, they may have also won. 

The thinking is that by taking Hart all the way to a hearing, the Brewers showed that they were not afraid of the process if they believed strongly in their filing number. It had been 12 years since the club had proven so, when then-negotiator Tom Gausden went into a hearing against Jose Mercedes. That was nearly five years before Doug Melvin took over as Milwaukee’s general manager. 
“What you do one year always affects the next,” Gausden said. “Maybe you want the agents to realize that you aren’t bluffing, that they had better file a realistic number.” 
And it just so happens that the Brewers could face a monster of a hearing next year with first baseman Prince Fielder and his agent, Scott Boras. Assuming the sides cannot work out a contract extension, Fielder would be arbitration-eligible one last time before he hits the free agent market following the 2011 season. 
The Brewers also have a couple of key first-time eligibles next year in pitchers Yovani Gallardo and Manny Parra. Gallardo in particular is likely to get a very substantial raise. 
Gausden, the former Brewers vice president who argued arbitration hearings with Mercedes in 1998 and Mike Fetters in 1994, said that part of the strategy is picking your battles every few years. Otherwise, agents know which teams shy away from hearings and file salary proposals artificially high, to drive up the midpoint in anticipation of a settlement. 
So, the Brewers will pay Hart $650,000 more than it wanted to in 2010, but could have left themselves positioned to save some payroll dollars in the future. Yet another layer to a very complex process. 
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Upcoming online chats

Brewers TV play-by-play man Brian Anderson will take part in an online chat Friday at 10 a.m. CT in which I am sure he will answer all of your concerns, and a trio of players will follow him on Sunday. Gregg Zaun, Manny Parra and Carlos Villanueva will take part in a chat at 3:30 p.m. CT Sunday during the “Brewers On Deck” event. 

You’ll have to be registered with MLB.com to submit questions for both chats. More information is available by clicking through to Brewers.com.
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Bill James sees solid season for Gamel

Just got an e-mail from stat guru Bill James‘ publisher and thought I would pass it along. It includes a positive prognostication for Mat Gamel — if he plays — but not so much for Rickie Weeks. Another 200-strikeout season for right-hander Yovani Gallardo but only 12 wins, and another struggle for lefty Manny Parra.

They key “if” in these projections is playing time. For example, the release offers projections for Gamel, Weeks and Casey McGehee assuming at least 425 at-bats for each, but it’s difficult to envision that scenario. James explains in his quote below.

Here’s the text:

In the recently-released Bill James Handbook 2010, baseball guru Bill James projects the 2010 seasons for players on the Milwaukee Brewers — and predicts a potentially solid year from third baseman Mat Gamel.

“In any season, the vast majority of players play in a manner that seems a natural extension of what they had done before,” James says in his new book. “When that happens, our projection should be reasonably accurate.”

Although he’s been in the projection business for almost twenty years, one thing James has no control over is playing time. “It is always my argument that we have no chance of figuring out, in October 2009, who will get playing time in 2010,” James says. “But what we should do is try to answer this question: If this player plays, how will he play?”

With this in mind, here are the five key Milwaukee hitters for 2010, according to the new Bill James Handbook 2010:

Key Brewers Hitters (by OPS)
Player                   At-bats     R     HR    RBI     SB     Avg.    OPS
Ryan Braun             615     112     39    119      17     .315    .972
Prince Fielder          601     103     44    124       3      .286    .967
Mat Gamel              455      65      17     73       3      .277    .817
Rickie Weeks          425      80      16     48      14     .259    .807
Casey McGehee      492      63      15     76       0      .272    .757

Projecting stats for pitchers is very different from projecting offensive stats for hitters. “We used to believe that pitching performance was much, much less predictable than batter performance,” James says. “This is probably still true…due to injuries and other factors. Sometimes a pitcher gets hurt, and when that happens our projections for him are knocked into a cocked hat.”

Here are the three key Milwaukee pitchers for 2010, according to the new Bill James Handbook 2010:

Key Brewers Pitchers (by ERA)
Player                       IP     W    L     K      SV    ERA
Trevor Hoffman         63     4     3     57     39     2.43
Yovani Gallardo       186    12    8     205     0     3.53
Manny Parra           147     7     9     130     0     4.59

The complete projections for the 2010 Milwaukee Brewers can be found in the Bill James Handbook 2010.

For further information on the Bill James Handbook 2010 go to www.actasports.com.

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Counsell, Looper undergo surgery

Brewers infielder Craig Counsell and right-hander Braden Looper each underwent arthroscopic surgeries on Tuesday to repair the meniscus in their respective right knees. The procedures, performed by Dr. William Raasch, were “routine,” per a team spokesperson.

Both Counsell, who is a free agent, and Looper, whose contract includes a mutual option for 2010, played through knee pain all season. Counsell mulled surgery at the end of Spring Training but ultimately decided against it. Looper surrendered a Major League-worst 39 home runs this season and wondered aloud during the season’s final weekend whether his persistent knee pain played a role.

The Brewers have until 10 days after the World Series to decide on their half of Looper’s $6.5 million option. If they decline, he gets a $1 million buyout. If the team exercises its half, Looper has three days to decide whether to accept.

Tuesday’s procedures brought to four the number of “clean up” surgeries performed by Raasch since the end of the season. Raasch also removed loose bodies from third baseman Casey McGehee’s right knee, and repaired the AC joint in pitcher Manny Parra’s left shoulder.

For more on all four players, see my story about the pending surgeries from Oct. 5.

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Surgeries set for Counsell, Parra, McGehee, Looper

Add Craig Counsell and Manny Parra to the list of Brewers set for arthroscopic surgeries in the coming days to fix problems that nagged all season. 

Counsell, fellow infielder Casey McGehee and pitcher Braden Looper will each undergo relatively minor procedures next week to clean up right knee injuries and pitcher Parra will have surgery on his left shoulder.

All four procedures will be performed by Dr. William Raasch, the team’s head physician. In chronological order: 

- Parra will undergo what a club official stressed was a routine surgery Tuesday to clean up the AC joint in his left shoulder. The procedure has been planned for some time, and the injury did not prevent Parra from making his final starts of the season. 

It’s also “not even remotely close” to the shoulder issues in Parra’s past, according to assistant general manager Gord Ash. Parra had season-ending surgery in August 2005 to repair a torn rotator cuff. 

“What Dr. Raasch is going to do is eliminate the friction” outside of Parra’s shoulder joint, Ash said. “It’s nothing inside the joint. It’s been nagging him all year, but not nagging to the point where he couldn’t pitch. There is some irritation there, so we’re going to take this opportunity to eliminate it. It’s kind of like having a pebble in your shoe.”

Ash hoped the surgery would provide some peace of mind for Parra, who had a trying season. He went 11-11 but posted a 6.36 ERA in 27 starts and spent three weeks in the Minor Leagues following a June demotion. Of the 67 National League pitchers who worked at least 100 innings, only teammate Dave Bush (6.38) had a higher ERA than Parra. 

- As previously reported, McGehee will also have surgery on Tuesday, to clean out loose bodies from his right knee. McGehee played most of the season with pain in the joint, and has known since the All-Star break that he would probably require surgery. 

McGehee enjoyed a breakthrough season in spite of the constant knee pain, which affected him more in the field than at the plate. He singled in his first at-bat in Sunday’s season finale to finish with a .301 batting average, and his 66 RBIs led all Major League rookies. McGehee also hit 16 home runs. 

Manager Ken Macha pulled McGehee from Sunday’s game early to preserve his batting average. 

“That’s something he by no means had to do, and I appreciated it,” McGehee said. “I thought [my year] went pretty well. I want to get my defense back next year to where I expect it to be at. Other than that, I feel like I had a solid year.” 

- Also, as expected, Looper will have surgery next week to fix torn meniscus in his right knee. Looper told reporters on Saturday that he pitched all year with the issue. 

He led the Brewers and set a career high with 14 wins and led the National League with 34 starts, but also led the Majors by allowing 113 earned runs, 39 home runs and posted a 5.22 ERA. Looper wondered aloud whether the pain in his knee contributed to his trouble keeping the ball in the park. 

“I tried the best I can to get the ball down because that’s my whole game,” Looper said Saturday. “I don’t know [if the knee played a part in pitches staying up]. I know I haven’t been as consistent this year. That’s the thing that upsets me, I hope that [the knee] didn’t cause that.

- Counsell has been dealing with an injury similar to Looper’s since Spring Training, when he briefly considered surgery that would have sidelined him for several weeks. Instead, he opted to play through it and enjoyed his best season in years, batting .285 — a career high for a full season — with a .766 OPS — his best mark since 2000.  

In recent days, Counsell had said he would not have surgery. On Monday, he changed his mind, and will also have his surgery scheduled for next week. 

- In another medical matter, Ash said that outfielder Corey Hart had visited Monday with Dr. Don Sheridan, a Phoenix-based hand specialist who confirmed the diagnosis of Hart’s right hand injury. Hart has a pair of sprained fingers but no fractures and will require only rehabilitation.

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Brewers doomed to sub-.500 season

AP091001046787.jpgAfter Colorado reliever Franklin Morales struck out Alcides Escobar to end Thursday’s 9-2 Brewers loss, slugger Prince Fielder sat on the dugout and watched the Rockies celebrate their ticket to the postseason.

“I didn’t mind watching,” Fielder said. “It reminds you of what you’re missing.”

The dogpile on the pitcher’s mound came 369 days after Fielder and the Brewers celebrated their own Wild Card clinch last season. Now, with 82 losses and three games to play, the Brewers are guaranteed a losing record.

Manny Parra, who endured an awful final start, saw the last out on a clubhouse television. He immediately turned it off.

“That’s the last thing I want to watch,” he said.

The Brewers aren’t the first team to follow a playoff appearance with a losing season. Since the Wild Card era began in 1995, 21 teams have endured such a slip, plus two more — the 2008 Indians and the 1996 Reds — who came close but finished 81-81. 

Three of those 21 teams had a fall more devastating than Milwaukee’s. The 1998 Marlins, the 2003 Angels and the 2007 Cardinals followed World Championships with losing seasons.

Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio watched Thursday’s final innings in frustration and vowed offseason changes. Among the team’s pressing question marks is Parra, a 26-year-old with loads of talent who has been slow to put it to consistent use.

That was the case again against the Rockies, when Parra recorded five of his eight outs via strikeouts but also walked five — one was intentional — and surrendered five runs. He issued two of the Brewers’ three bases loaded walks. Two of them inexplicably went to Colorado pitcher Aaron Cook, a .116 hitter entering the game.

“I have games like the last game [a win against the Phillies] when I’m able to stick to the plan and execute,” Parra said “Today, I was trying to stick to the plan but I just wasn’t able to accomplish what I wanted to do.

“I just have to forget about it. I know I have the ability. It comes down to fastball command. That’s what it’s all about. I understand that and know that’s what I have to work on.”

Emptying the notebook: Butler, Parra, Gerut, instrux

Besides Ken Macha’s comments about his future, here’s what they were talking about at Miller Park today:

- The Brewers are convinced enough of Manny Parra’s health that they are sending rookie righty Josh Butler home on Sunday evening. Butler will fly to Huntsville to pick up his car for the long drive home to San Diego. He’ll despite his belongs there before hitting the road again to Phoenix. He’ll report for the Arizona Fall League by Oct. 5.

- Speaking of Parra, the manager had a homework assignment for reporters on Saturday afternoon. I’ll fudge it by simply repeating his words:

“I think you ought to write something about Manny Parra, that’s what I think. Where he was, and what he’s done,” Macha said, referring to the left-hander who won his 11th game of the season on Friday. “I think he’s done tremendous work on his delivery, his ability to command the ball now has been greatly improved from Day 1 to where he is now.

“It’s important for him to finish strong. I feel like he’s going to be a big part of the [2010] rotation. … Regardless of what his numbers are, and he’s got the highest ERA in the [National] League of any starter, he’s headed in the right direction.”

- Arbitration-eligible outfielder Jody Gerut is a possible nontender candidate for the Brewers, but Gerut’s strong showing in recent weeks makes it increasingly likely that he will be back in 2010.

“I can’t see where you wouldn’t think that he would be part of it,” Macha said. “He’s done a nice job in the field and can play all three outfield positions. He’s shown some power. There’s a whole lot of things he can do. Take a look at his history, too.”

During Macha’s year-end evaluation with GM Doug Melvin, Gerut was discussed as a potential starter in center field if the Brewers fail to, or chose not to, re-sign free agent Mike Cameron.

- Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash will travel to Phoenix on Monday to see the Brewers’ instructional league squad. It will be their first look at many of the team’s 2009 Draft picks including three players — Kentrail Davis, Scooter Gennett and D’Vontrey Richardson — who did not sign in time to play for a regular-season affiliate.

The reports say that Richardson, the former Florida State University quarterback, has been putting on a show in batting practice.

“And he looks quite good in a uniform,” said Brewers special assistant Dan O’Brien.

- One high-profile ’09 Draft pick, right-hander Brooks Hall, is not participating in the fall instructional league because of a non-baseball-related medical issue, Ash said. He couldn’t expound on that because of privacy laws.

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Healthy Parra to start on Friday

Manny Parra is healthy again, and he’s returning to the Brewers’ starting rotation.

Parra, who hasn’t pitched since exiting a Sept. 8 outing against the Cardinals after one inning because of a stiff neck, is slated to start Friday against the Phillies. The left-hander will take the spot vacated by Yovani Gallardo, who was shut down by the Brewers as a precaution against overwork.

“I’m excited,” Parra said. “It’s not so much relief, because I knew [the neck] was going to get better, although for a minute there I didn’t know how long it was going to take. I almost feel re-energized. I feel real fresh, and hopefully I’ll finish strong.”

Assuming he gets through Friday’s game without a setback, Parra would be in line for one more start on Sept. 30 or Oct. 1 in Colorado, depending on how manager Ken Macha chooses to use Monday’s off day.

Parra is 10-10 this season despite a 6.42 ERA, the highest ERA in the National League for a pitcher with at least 80 innings of work. His season included a three-week demotion to Triple-A Nashville.

“I want to finish off strong because I know I’m better than I’ve pitched this year,” Parra said.

First, he had to get healthy. Parra didn’t think he would miss his next start after exiting early against the Cardinals, but fellow left-hander Chris Narveson will make a third start in Parra’s place on Wednesday against the Cubs. When Parra’s neck stiffness didn’t subside, the Brewers sent him home from a road trip last week for an MRI scan seeking answers.

It didn’t reveal any, but Parra noticed dramatic improvement beginning Friday, when the Brewers returned to Miller Park for their final homestand. By Tuesday, when Parra threw his final side session in preparation for his start against the Phillies, he was “100 percent healthy.” He even took batting practice with the rest of the starters.

“It’s completely out of my mind,” he said.

Will two starts be enough for Parra to feel good entering the offseason?

“I hope so,” Macha said. “I’m just glad that he’s able to come back to pitch.”

Parra’s status may prompt the Brewers to send righty prospect Josh Butler home early. Butler made his Major League debut in relief on Tuesday night and was a candidate to take Gallardo’s spot in the rotation, but instead he may depart when the Brewers finish their homestand on Sunday. That would give Butler a healthy break before he reports for duty in the Arizona Fall League.

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said he would make sure Parra made it through Friday’s outing before making a decision about Butler. 

Burns to be in uniform tonight

144241_astros_brewers_baseball.jpgAs assistant GM Gord Ash promised earlier this week, the Brewers recalled right-hander Mike Burns last night and will have him in the bullpen for tonight’s series opener against the Astros. Burns arrives as insurance for both Manny Parra, who remains indefinitely sidelined by a neck injury, and Yovani Gallardo, whose status should become more clear later today. Gallardo is completely healthy, as far as we know, but Brewers officials are once again exploring ways to limit his innings.

Burns was 3-5 with a 6.10 ERA in eight starts and five relief appearances during his earlier stints with the Brewers. In his 14 starts at Triple-A Nashville, he was 8-3 with a 2.62 ERA. He last pitched in Nashville’s season finale and went the distance, allowing 10 hits but only two runs with eight strikeouts in his second complete game of the year.

That game was on Sept. 7. Since then, Burns had packed up in Nashville and made the long drive home to Southern California for the winter. Turns out his season wasn’t quite over.

What to do with Gallardo?

Dave Bush will take the mound for the Brewers on Thursday in the finale of a four-game series at Wrigley Field. After that, Milwaukee’s starting rotation appears set for some changes.

The Brewers are re-visiting the idea of shutting-down right-hander Yovani Gallardo for the season, and left-hander Manny Parra remains sidelined indefinitely with a stiff neck. Chris Narveson will make a second straight start in Parra’s place on Friday, and recently-promoted prospect Josh Butler appears a strong candidate to make at least one start if the Brewers make a move with Gallardo.

“There’s a possibility there will be some jumbling, yeah,” manager Ken Macha said.

The most notable jumble would involve Gallardo, who complained of rust Tuesday night after waiting nine days between starts. It was a move by Brewers officials to limit the workload of a pitcher who missed all but four regular-season starts in 2008 because of a knee injury and has piled up innings — 180 2/3, most on the team — and pitches — 3,125, fifth-most in the National League — in 2009.

If he stays on a regular schedule, Gallardo would make three more starts this year. Now there is a chance he is done.

“Yes, we are discussing it and working our way through it,” Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said. “[Pitching coach Chris] Bosio and Ken will get their heads together and see what they want to do.”

Macha wouldn’t reveal his thinking on Wednesday.

The Brewers are also soliciting input from Gallardo’s agent, former Major League right-hander Bobby Witt, to “demonstrate that you have the long-term health of the player in mind,” Ash said. The Brewers’ medical staff will submit information to Witt and so will the team’s statistical gurus, in an effort to demonstrate that taking away Gallardo’s final three 2009 starts would not have significant implications for his bottom line in future seasons. Gallardo projects to be arbitration-eligible following next season.

“It’s not about money,” general manager Doug Melvin said. “If we were worried about money we wouldn’t have nine extra guys here with the team out of the pennant race.” 

Melvin was not interested in saying much more about Gallardo’s immediate future.

“If you’re going to do anything, you talk to the player first. We haven’t talked to him yet,” Melvin said. “We’re not addressing it today. We’ll let you know if we do. But if we do it, we would talk to him first.”

The decision would probably not be popular with Gallardo. He met with Macha, Melvin and Ash earlier this month and went along with a plan to skip one start while making it clear he wanted to play out the season.

“I don’t want to be shut down. I want to finish out the year strong,” Gallardo said. “We’re trying to find ways to make that happen.”
 
Were he to remain on schedule, Gallardo’s next start would come Sunday against the Astros. For now, the Brewers aren’t naming a probable pitcher for that date but it could be 24-year-old Butler, one of the team’s most promising pitching prospects. 

Asked whether Butler could start a game, Macha said, “That may happen. He hasn’t pitched in eight days, so we’re going to give him a couple of ‘sides’ here. … We’ve had some discussion of what to do. It will all become clearer as the days go on. It’s not etched in stone yet what we’re going to do.”

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