I’ve got to admit, I was ready to call it.
After watching every pitch of the four losses to the Twins this week, during which I felt the Brewers were playing uninspired baseball, I was ready to call it. When the Brewers went down 10-2 on Friday night, I turned the game off and called it a night. Even as the texts came flooding in during the Crew’s unlikely comeback, I turned my phone on silent and went to bed.
Look, you can say what you want about how we should be grateful that this team kept things interesting until football season. You can say that we’re fortunate to have had such an entertaining season from a team that I predicted would fail to win 70 games. And at the end of the day, you would probably be right. I went to Opening Day this year thinking 2017 was going to be a miserable, but necessary, step in the rebuilding process. But to me, to watch this ball club go 7-17 and fall back to the .500 mark they worked so hard to climb ten games above, that’s almost more miserable than had they not been there. It’s hard to find so many ways to lose games, and the Brewers have found them all since the All-Star break. So when I woke up on Saturday morning, for all intents and purposes, the Sunday Cycle was already written in my mind. I was done. The improbable run to the playoffs was over long before September rolled around, and I was going to start taking back the evening hours of 7:00 – 10:30 during the week.
4:30PM on Saturday, I get a text: “The Brewers made a trade.” Seriously?
This trade is David Stearns metaphorically sitting the team down, looking every one of them in the eye individually, patting them on the back and saying “Son, I believe in you.” Stearns went out and rented himself a veteran 2nd baseman. Welcome to Milwaukee, Neil Walker. A lifetime .272 hitter, Walker is batting .268 this year with a .339 OBP and 10 home runs. Walker was traded for “a player to be named later.” The Mets wanted to free up playing time for some younger infielders on their roster and didn’t want to pay the full $3.5 million that Walker is due for hit services over the next month and a half. At the end of this year, his contract will expire, and he’ll be a free agent. This is a bonafide 100% pure rental player. David Stearns still believes that this team can win the NL Central, despite it now being a four team race.
I’m shocked. I’m not upset, because I doubt it’s going to cost the Brewers much. I’m just shocked. I can’t believe that Stearns looked at the lackluster performance from this team over the past four weeks and decided that it was still worth trying to make this team better. He clearly believes in the talent on this roster- a feeling that I could relate to about a month ago, but haven’t felt in quite some time. Safe to say, I did not see this one coming.
Whether Stearns believes that Neil Walker is the player this team needs to get back to their winning ways, or he just wanted to send a message to this clubhouse that the organization hadn’t abandoned them, I don’t really care, because it had an immediate effect. The Brewers won last night in walk-off fashion (albeit, in the most Brewers-y way possible to walk-off: a wild pitch), and they took the rubber match 7-4 to win 2 of 3 from the Reds. They’re now two games back of the Cubs, and one game back of the Cardinals in the NL Central, and they’re going to get Chase Anderson and Stephen Vogt back in the next two weeks. So it sounds like my plans to take back my weekday nights are going to be temporarily placed on hold, at least until somebody decides to run away with the NL Central, which is without a doubt the worst division in baseball this year. At this point, it’s there for the taking; as long as it is, I’m going to have to put my baseball hiatus on hold…. even though we all knew that was never going to happen.