Good morning, and welcome back to the final Rolling Out the Barrel of the 2015 season. No matter what transpires over the next couple of days, we’ll have our World Champion, as well as the beginning of our off-season, by Wednesday at the earliest. That provides an entire winter to focus on the Brewers’ future, so this week we stay with the Royals, whose fans are currently living the dream.
Someday in this space, J.P. will just allow me to write “PLEASE READ WHATEVER GRANT BRISBEE WROTE MOST RECENTLY” in big, shiny capital letters, permanently emblazoned on the top of my posts and saving me a few dozen words every week. Until then, I’ll have to keep pushing you in the direction of the best in the business. Brisbee perfectly captures the excitement of the World Series taking over a city. Milwaukee hasn’t experienced this since 1982, but there were shades of the excitement level after the Brewers’ win over Arizona in the 2011 NLDS, before the Cardinals ruined everything.
When the Brewers jettisoned Ron Roenicke in favor of Craig Counsell in May, C.C. immediately went after his former coach at Notre Dame, Pat Murphy — who was serving as the Triple-A coach for San Diego — as his bench coach. The Padres blocked the move, apparently anticipating the firing of their own manager a month later; Murphy was quickly named the interim manager for the Padres. When he was not hired as the full-time manager after the season, it was a mere formality that he’d eventually be named the Brewers’ bench coach. That pretense ended this week. Sometimes in circumstances such as this, it’s interesting to look as the hire from the perspective of the team being left behind. Murphy was given to the keys to the Padres, but he was never really in control, taking over a team that was still populated with Bud Black’s coaches. Now finding himself in a situation where he’s very clearly valued and wanted, Murphy should thrive.
Here’s an interesting about Brett Phillips, the young center fielder acquired in the Carlos Gomez/Mike Fiers trade at the deadline. Phillips struggled a bit with Double-A Biloxi, hitting just .250/.361/.413 (which is really only sub-par in relation to his own previous numbers) over 98 plate appearances before unleashing a bit in the Southern League playoffs with a 1.062 OPS over two series. Phillips is thriving in the Arizona Fall League as well, hitting .346 with as many walks as strike outs (five each). It sounds like Phillips understands that while it’s always tough to leave your teammates behind, he’s found himself in a situation that’s better for his career.
Derek Harvey, taking over the reins of Brew Crew Ball this month, takes a peek at a potential off-season target of the Brewers in KBO superstar Byung-ho Park. Park has some eye-popping numbers, though big KBO numbers are not necessarily indicative of MLB performance. However, the breakout season from Pirates 3B Jung Ho Kang has many teams looking across the western pond.