Saturday, January 7, 2012

Farewell, Brooks Conrad

The Brooks Conrad era officially ended today with the Brewers' addition of Conrad on a minor league deal, so says Ken Rosenthal.

Conrad was non-tendered by the Braves back on Dec. 13, and it was said at the time that they wanted to see if he could get himself a better deal than what Atlanta could offer, which was a minor league deal with no real shot at the big league club for at least most of the season. The Braves are going in a different direction with their bench this year, meaning they want a defense-first utility infielder capable of playing a solid shortstop. Conrad is none of those things.

However, I'm not sure his chances are much greater in Milwaukee. Dude named Taylor Green stands to be in his way as a 3B/2B backup. Green is a Top 5 Brewers prospect who mashed at Triple-A last season at age 24 to the tune of .336/.413/.583 with a .248 ISO, .428 wOBA and 11.3 BB%. If that doesn't earn you a major league spot at 25 years old, nothing will. You would think the Brewers will give Green a shot before Conrad, and considering Brooks was probably not signed for his middle infield defense, it's probably his only shot. We'll see how it plays out.

It's been noted more than once that Conrad is someone you can truly root for, and I wish him the best in the Brewers organization. He handled the 2010 NLDS situation so well despite so many jackasses constantly in his ear. I will forever be ashamed of how Braves fans treated him during and after that game. But Braves fans have never been known as the brightest of the bunch, and I am a Braves fan.

Good luck to Brooks.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Stephen Marek Finds Work, Among Braves News

A couple of Braves-related tidbits to keep you occupied during the baseball depression that is winter.

Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus tweets minor leaguer Marcus Lemon was released by the Braves today. Lemon's name has always caused a double-take or two because he is the son of Chet Lemon, who hit .273 with 215 home runs in 16 seasons between the White Sox and Tigers. Chet led the league in doubles with 44 as part of a .318/.391/.496 season in 1979, and he also led the league in HBP four times. He was also a three-time All-Star.

As for Marcus, he hasn't made it past AA yet, splitting time between A+ Lynchburg and AA Mississippi for the Braves in 2011, hitting .254/.303/.333 with 15 doubles in 372 plate appearances. He got a million bucks out of the Rangers as a fourth-round pick in 2006, so that certainly worked out well for them.

Former Braves relief prospect Stephen Marek signed with the Blue Jays, according to Goldstein. Marek was a reliever many hoped would eventually get a shot in the Atlanta bullpen, but for some reason he continued to get passed over for lesser relievers at higher costs, such as Scott Proctor (shudder). I had him ranked No. 17 on my Braves prospect list before last season, writing that he should be the first to get a call up. It never materialized, and he underwent Tommy John surgery, limiting him to just 10.2 innings.

It's the type of move you would expect from organizations like Toronto and Tampa Bay, looking to get the most out of relievers for the least amount. (Like Fernando Rodney to the Rays.)

Also, the Cubs signed utilityman Joe Mather, according to Goldstein. Yay.