Where are they now?
The 2011 season was a magical one for Brewers Nation. Hopefully we won’t have to wait another 30 years to experience that joy again, but we will if we must. I thought it would be fun to look at the Brewers’ 25-man playoff roster from last year and update you on where they all are now.
Of those 25 players, 16 remain with the Crew, either on the active roster, in the minors or on the disabled list. The following nine players have moved on to other teams:
-- Zack Greinke, who should have been held back for NLCS Game 6 last year, was traded in July. He was sent to the California … errr Anaheim … ughhh Los Angeles Angels in exchange for Jean Segura, a Top 50 prospect who moved from second base to shortstop. Greinke is a “baseball guy”; reportedly when he was told of the trade his first question was, “Who did you get back for me?” Maybe he asked because he has ambitions of returning as a free agent following the season, or maybe he just wanted to know. Since the trade, Greinke, who was 15-0 at Miller Park in a Brewers uniform, is 5-2 with a 3.78 ERA in ten starts, giving up 29 runs and 62 hits (including nine home runs) in 69 innings. Those numbers haven’t necessarily priced him out of a return to Milwaukee. If he does come back, the first time he toes the home rubber the crowd will be as loud as it ever has been.
-- Takashi Saito, the right-handed relief pitcher, signed a contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks during the offseason. Saito spent the first part of the season on the disabled list. He was recently activated and made his season debut at the end of July.
-- Latroy Hawkins, another relief pitcher we lost to free agency, signed a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels. Given the Brewers bullpen woes in 2012, it would have been nice to have both these guys on the team this year. Unfortunately, like Saito, Hawkins has spent his share of time on the disabled list this season.
-- George Kottaras, like Greinke, ended up wearing a new jersey just before the July 31 trade deadline. The catcher was traded to the Oakland Athletics for a minor-league relief pitcher. The trade was made necessary mostly after Martin Maldonado proved he was ready for the big leagues. Kottaras smacked his first dinger in an A’s uniform off of, guess who? Zack Greinke.
-- Mark Kotsay, whom I always thought was a Dr. Cox look-alike, also left us in the offseason. I know it’s not Mark’s fault, but I don’t waste my time remembering this guy. How on earth do you start a journeymen center fielder (over one of the league’s best defenders) in the most important game of the season? No; the most important game since 1982? I’m still SMH.
-- Craig Counsell decided to hang up the spikes after 16 years in the major leagues. The backup infielder and Wisconsin native was a Brewers fan favorite. Counsell turned down a job to join Dale Sveum in Chicago, instead opting to take a front-office position with the Crew. I read at the time that several people in baseball would not be the least bit surprised to see Counsell end up as a GM himself one day.
-- Casey McGehee was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates, seemingly within minutes Milwaukee’s signing of third-baseman Aramis Ramirez. My assumption is that McGehee is not fond of Ramirez. McGehee came to the Brewers via waivers a few years ago when the Cubs designated him for assignment. The Cubs had no place for McGehee, whose path to the big leagues was blocked by none other than Aramis Ramirez. McGehee spent the first half of the year with the Pirates before being traded to the Yankees for a relief pitcher after Alex Rodriguez was lost for the season. He has split time at third base with Eric Chavez.
-- Jerry Hairston Jr. is another journeyman we lost to free agency. Milwaukee wanted him back, but only on a one-year deal. The Los Angeles Dodgers offered two years, which he accepted. I have much respect for Mr. Hairston and what he did for the Crew last year. I hope he finishes he career as he has always played it, with class and honor.
-- Yuniesky Betancourt left the Crew to sign with the Kansas City Royals. He played second base, and I don’t feel the need to look up his stats. I can tell you how he did this year, because we can just say he got worse from his year with the Brewers – if that’s at all possible. The Royals recently designated Betancourt for assignment and he is no longer with the big-league team. #notsurpised
It seems like there is one I missed. Hmmm …. Oh yeah!
-- Prince Fielder is, both literally and figuratively, the biggest piece of the puzzle lost from last year’s roster. The Detroit Tigers were the “surprise team” that agent Scott Boras always seems to keep in his back pocket. The Tigers offered Prince gobs and gobs of money, and he gladly signed on as their new first baseman. Prince is being Prince in Detroit, and has hit 26 homeruns, knocked in 98 and is batting a cool .305.