Monday, November 3, 2008

Cameron's Option/ Offseason Outlook

This week's Offseason Outlook comes a bit prematurely on the news that Mike Cameron's $10 million option has been exercised for the 2009 season. Due to some unrealistic expectations set by some Brewers fans, reaction to his performance in 2008 has been mixed. There's a lot of chatter suggesting that Mike Cameron didn't live up to his gold glove status, saying that he misplayed a lot of balls in some key situations which don't translate to errors on paper. While I agree that he misplayed some balls, that is going to come with the territory in center field. I think the average Milwaukee fan's inexperience in watching elite defensive center fielders has created this requirement that any ball hit between left center and right center should automatically be snagged by Cameron. They are allowed to make mistakes and they can't reach every ball. What make a player elite is their ability to make the extraordinary play look pedestrian, and watching Cameron for 120 games convinced me that he's still one of the top five centerfielders in the game. Dave Cameron over at agrees and argues that Cameron was the best free agent signing of last years offseason.

This seemingly cements the Brewers 2009 out field with Braun, Cameron and Hart, there is some talk of a sign and trade with the Yankees coming out of the four letter network (I don't subscribe to their network as I believe information should be freely shared). That rumor notwithstanding the Brewers seem to have improved by staying the same, if that makes any sense. You know what you're going to get out of Cameron, and Hart has been a rock in right field and continues to improve. The biggest area of improvement is going to come from the other corner. Ryan Braun took great strides into becoming an outfielder this year, with a full year of playing the position under his belt and another year under the watchful eye of Sedar, Braun seems to be on track to take his defense to the next level.

While I was hoping the Brewers would be able to save a little payroll by declining the option on Cameron and address some other needs of the team (a left-handed bat, leadoff hitter and base stealing threat, all a possibility out of the center field position), I believe that exercising Cameron's option was a good move. With a full season under his belt, it's not unrealistic to see 25-30 homers and 75-90 RBI (depending on his spot in the order) to come out of Cameron. He's going to strikeout, always has and always will, but he sees a lot of pitches and rarely gives you a bad at-bat. This young team can learn from his experience and from what I've heard, a lot of the players have grown fond of having Cameron in the clubhouse. Welcome back Cam!

On Deck, pinch hitting for Center Field: Third Base

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