Yes. The Brewers can thread the needle. On paper? They don't look as good as the Cardinals or the Cubs. But as Brian Moynahan kept talking me down last September, I realized something.
I need to have faith. And there are three reasons where your Milwaukee Brewers may not have had the window slam in their faces. I will go from likeliest to least likely.
1) The Bullpen will be better.
It's a reasonable expectation. At the very least? We know what we're getting straight away. Hoffman will be a decent closer as he runs for 600 saves. Carlos Villanueva has the 8th inning on lockdown. Seth McClung grew by leaps and bounds last year. Todd Coffey is intriguing. And the Brewers could find a LOOGY.
And no Eric Gagne! That's just good karma. Don't trust what Al's Ramblings says, he believes that cold weather is a reason why Global Warming doesn't exist. And Eric Gagne is gone.
2) The offense touches its upside.
62.5% of the starting line-up is still under 27. And you know what this means? A combined consolidation season from Braun, Fielder, Hardy, Hart, and Weeks in 2008 could mean something more in '09. Baseball Prospectus noted that they were only worth two more wins in 2008 than 2007.
If Hart or Weeks explodes with the cream of an 8th grade boy on offense, or if Braun and Fielder haven't touched the sky of their talent? What we have here is a team that does not need the same margin of error from their pitching staff.
3) A B compared to 2008 from the starters.
If the offesnive youth energy comes upwards, then the Sabathia-Sheets diad will not be near as missed. I know Gallardo can bring it. If he stays healthy, he can be able to give a good account of what Ben Sheets had. So what does that leave for the Brewers?
Chris Capuano as CC Sabathia, Don't laugh.
...Now you're hurting my feelings.
Okay, let's look at his previous base of skills using the BP-approved level of VORP.
Obviously, it's not the level of Sabathia. But you know what? When Sabathia was a Brewer? His VORP was 51.9. If Capuano can come back to his 2006 levels? It will be just like adding a starter for the stretch drive.
If not? C'est la vie for small windows.