Front office chats in Winter Warm-Up
Mark Attanasio, Doug Melvin and Ned Yost participate
Brewers' owner Mark Attanasio, general manager Doug Melvin and field manager Ned Yost participated in a Web chat during Milwaukee's Winter Warm-Up festivities Jan. 11. Fans received answers about the health and playing status of a number of players, the outfield situation, and the signing of Jeff Suppan.
Al_Bethke: Dennis Sarfate is out of options. Do you see him on the Opening Day roster?
Doug Melvin: He has one option left. It has been reported that he has no options, but he pitched extremely well in the Arizona Fall League and in Mexico and has a very good chance of making the Major League club if he has a good Spring Training.
Ben_Wahrle: Mark, when do single-game tickets go on sale?
Mark Attanasio: It hasn't been announced yet, but we plan on making single-game tickets available in late February.
Ben_Wahrle: Ned, what is the deal with Corey Koskie and the outfield situation?
Ned Yost: Koskie continues to improve and is starting to ramp up his offseason workout and is trying to prepare himself for Spring Training. Hopefully, he will be ready. As far as the outfield situation, we have eight solid outfielders with Major League experience. We have outfield depth that we haven't had in the past. We are anxious to see how it all pans out.
brewerfanx1: What do you think the chances are that Yovanni Gallardo makes the starting rotation out of Spring Training?
Melvin: We are very high on Yovanni as a pitcher and feel like he will have a very good Major League career. We recently invited him to Major League Spring Training to gain experience at the Major League level. With the addition of Suppan and Vargas to the rotation, it will be tough for Yovanni to break with the team provided everyone stays healthy.
Matt_W: What are the chances we see Rickie Weeks in center field and Bill Hall at second?
Yost: That is something that we have not discussed.
Base_Ball_2: When is a Doug Melvin all-fan bobblehead giveaway going to happen?
Attanasio: When he hits .300 and hits 30 home runs!
brewers9920: Mr. Melvin, I was wondering why you traded Nelson Cruz? I realize that Laynce Nix has high potential, but he is injury-prone.
Melvin: We expanded the deal to get Cordero. It was evident at that point Nelson Cruz was going to be a part of it. We are very happy to have a closer like Cordero.
Base_Ball_2: In one word, how would you describe the new coaching staff?
Yost: You can't describe it in one word. I would say experienced, passionate, hard-working and filled with Brewer loyalty. I am very pleased with the new staff. We have been meeting for the last three days going over Spring Training schedules and plans. Their input has been very valuable and I am excited to have them on the staff.
Base_Ball_2: Is there any possibility of re-signing Tomo Ohka?
Melvin: Probably not, we are comfortable with our five starters right now.
Amanda_Malinauskas: Is it likely we'll see Bill Hall starting in center on Opening Day?
Melvin: He is probably going to get the chance to be the everyday starting center fielder. If he can perform the way we feel he can, then he probably will be the Opening Day center fielder.
Yost: Billy has expressed that he is excited about the challenge of playing center field.
ronbelliard10: Who did you idolize growing up?
Melvin: I idolized Fergie Jenkins and Rocky Colavito.
Yost: My idol growing up was Willie Mays. Growing up in the Bay Area and watching Willie was an experience I will never forget.
Attanasio: Growing up in the Bronx it was Mickey Mantle.
Evan_Gabriel: Ned, is improving the team's overall batting average a main focus going into Spring Training?
Yost: For us it is a focus, but it is not the main focus. Our main focus going into Spring Training is to improve our defense, improve our baserunning and improve our fundamental baseball.
Kevin_Rhodes: Ned, what are your plans at shortstop?
Yost: Right now we are planning on J.J. Hardy arriving in Arizona 100% and hoping that he can play shortstop at a high level. Keeping J.J. healthy is a priority for us this year. We also have a very very solid backup in Craig Counsell.
brewcrew45: Do the Brewers have any other moves they want to make during the offseason?
Melvin: We are always looking to improve the club. We are getting to the point now that we need to look at this roster in Spring Training and determine at that particular time if we need to add to certain parts of the ball club.
Amanda_Malinauskas: What is going to happen to Geoff Jenkins? He seemed to think he was going to be traded in the offseason.
Melvin: I think a lot of the speculation came from the media on this. Geoff is no different than any other player, if a trade can help our ball club, it is something we have to consider. Geoff has been working hard in the offseason and we expect him to bounce back and have a good year.
Evan_Gabriel: Mr. Melvin, are you concerned with only one lefty in the starting rotation?
Melvin: Our goal is to put the five best starters together in the rotation. We reviewed the division recently and it shows that there are a lot of right-handed heavy lineups and this may be a year where having four right-handed starters may be to our advantage.
Evan_Gabriel: Was Derrick Turnbow's struggles more mental or a mechanical problem?
Yost: All through the second half when he struggled, the thing he maintained was the high velocity of his fastball. He struggled at times with the command of his breaking ball, which forced him to press a little bit mentally. That is where experience comes into play. It could have been a valuable lesson for him last year that when you do start to struggle a little bit, you stay with the things that you do best. We are looking for Derrick to bounce back and be a big part of our bullpen this season.
Base_Ball_3: Do you think Francisco Cordero is worth Nelson Cruz and Carlos Lee?
Attanasio: The way the system works we would have only received a draft pick for Carlos. Instead, we received three players on our 40-man roster (Cordero, Kevin Mench and Nix). Time will tell, but we also had Corey Hart rated ahead of Nelson Cruz, so it is not clear that Nelson would have the same kind of opportunity with us in 2007.
diehard331: Doug, do you regret signing Turnbow to three years after his horrible performance in the second half of last season?
Melvin: No, we do not regret signing him to a long-term deal. We did sign him in the spring of 2006 and he was an All-Star after that. In the second half, he struggled for basically 25 innings and we feel confident that he can bounce back in 2007.
kbalderston: Ned, if Weeks develops more power in 2007 -- will he stay in the leadoff role?
Yost: We constantly are looking at our lineup and trying to figure out which lineup would give us the most production. The thing with Rickie being in the leadoff spot is that he is a guy with very, very good speed and has a great ability to get on base, which is a real table-setter for our three, four and five hitters. He probably has the best chance to score 100 runs on our team this season and was on track to do it last year before he got hurt.
joshjs: Any chance of you three and Gord Ash doing a sausage race this season? Maybe let Bob Uecker be the Chorizo?
Melvin: Is this Gord asking a question?
Tom_Wondra: The Boston papers claimed we are still in the Leiber sweepstakes -- any truth to that, or is that just old information?
Melvin: That is old information.
Base_Ball_2: Has the .300 Club culinary staff created a "Jeff Suppan" soup yet?
Melvin: Sure, they have some ideas "simmering" right now.
joshjs: Is it likely we'll see Corey Hart starting in left field on Opening Day?
Yost: There is a good chance that Corey will be starting in the outfield somewhere, but discussions are still ongoing as to where our outfield alignment is, but that is one of the things we will learn more about at Spring Training.
Melvin: Thanks for being a part of our Winter Warm-Up chat this evening! Make sure you tune in to FSN North and brewers.com at 7 p.m. Central Time to watch the festivities.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.