Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New and notes: Gonzalez returns, prospect rankings, Corey Hart, Brewers sign a bunch of old guys

Alex Gonzalez strikes back
The Brewers are bringing back veteran shortstop Alex Gonzalez on a one-year, $1.5 million-dollar deal that could be worth $2.5 million with incentives. Gonzalez hit .259/.326/.457 in 2012 and provided solid defense before tearing his ACL on May 5th while stealing a base against the San Francisco Giants. He will likely provide insurance in case youngster Jean Segura struggles while also serving as a righty bat off the bench. Gonzalez has never played any position other than shortstop in his career, so it will be interesting to see how the team uses him.

Prospective prospects
'Tis the season for prospect rankings, and most of the major prospect publications have released at least a top-10 of Brewers prospects. The friendly dudes over at Disciples of Uecker already posted a comprehensive list of the different rankings, and there aren't many surprises other than Fangraphs' fairly bizarre inclusions of Jim Henderson and Mark Rogers, both of whom are well past prospect status. The other major takeaway is that the Brewers have a much deeper system than in years past, though they lack high-end upside. We here at The Book of Gorman will do our own set of rankings at some point, just in case you were laying awake at night worried that there just wasn't enough prospect talk on the internet.

Corey Hart :(
Brewers first baseman/awesome sauce Corey Hart underwent knee surgery last Friday, forcing him to miss the first two months of the season. While Hart has had a few DL stints in his career, this is the first time he's had to miss a significant amount of time, and it comes at a bad time for the Brewers, who need all the help they can get to contend. Mat Gamel will likely fill in, and the team has been looking at other veteran options, including former fan favorite Lyle Overbay. I personally still believe that Gamel can hit at the major-league level, but it's unlikely that he can replicate Hart's production offensively and defensively for the first couple months.

Brewers bring a couple of guys out of retirement, plan sequel to "Space Cowboys"
Since the last time I posted on the Brewers' offseason moves, the team has brought in infielder Bobby Crosby and pitcher Kelvim Escobar on minor-league deals, neither of whom have appeared in a major-league game since 2010. Crosby is a former Rookie of the Year winner who's only good season was his ROY campaign in 2004, while Escobar had a solid career as a starter but has one appearance since 2007. The team also signed 34-year old LOOGY Mike Gonzalez to a major-league deal (yay?), and brought in a bunch of other guys in on minor-league deals (RP Jim Hoey, OF Cole Garner, SS Ozzie Smith Newsome, Rene Tosoni, Alfredo Figaro [sort of], and C Robinson Diaz).

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