Brewers Sign Counsell. . . . why?
Today the Brewers signed Craig Counsell to a two year deal. He will get $2.8M per year, and there is a $400k buyout in 2009. I won't even bother to include the terms of the Brewers' option in 2009 because there is no chance in snowy hell that it will be exercised.
Let's start with what's good about Counsell: (1) He is probably a better defender at every infield position that we currently have. (2) He is from Wisconsin. That's about it.
Granted $6M for two years is not much money in this market, but I simply cannot understand what value Counsell will be. Though he can fill in nicely with the glove, his glove is really his only asset. His bat isn't good enough to play anywhere on the field. When Koskie misses 162 games this year, I don't want Counsell filling in for him. When Weeks gets hurt, I'd rather see T.Graff or Jeff Cirillo playing second. I don't understand why Hall would play any position other than third or shortstop. He would be valuable in center field, but I doubt his ability to play center. By moving him to left field, you're taking ABs away from Gabe Gross and Corey Hart and giving them to Hardy and Counsell. I don't want to see Counsell hitting. Ever. Period.
The organization seems to have lost all direction. From 2003-2005, the focus was on rebuilding. Doug Melvin & Co. did not deviate from this focus and, in so doing, made the Brewers' future bright. Last year, the rebuilding motivation was replaced with a "maybe we can win this year" approach. It was foolish. The Brewers fell into the all-to-common trap of being stuck in the middle; not good enough to win and not bad enough to pack it up and rebuild. But they weren't ready to compete, and the front office should have focused on strengthening the upper minors and getting rid of bad contracts. This offseason has seen even less guided direction. What the Brewers are doing with Craig Counsell is beyond me. They aren't trying to sign J.D. Drew or any other talented player, one that might give them a chance at competing for the playoffs. I understand that free agents are signing for insane money, but if you want to compete this year, then you have to take a shot with real talent. Claudio Vargas, Johnny Estrada, Greg Aquino and Craig Counsell are not going to turn the Brewers into a playoff team, so why bother with them?
This isn't rebuilding. Nor is it competing. It's getting stuck in the middle. It's the exact problem that each member of the Cerberus (i.e. Melvin, Ash, and O'Brien) faced as G.M. of their previous teams. Their solution then, which it seems to still be now, is what got them canned. Can someone tell me how a team without an above average player at any position on the field is going to make the playoffs? Either compete or rebuild! Dammit!