It's hard to believe that Spring Training is almost here for the Milwaukee Brewers. In fact, pitchers and catchers are due to report on Saturday with physicals on Sunday and the first official workout will be next Monday.
This off-season seemed to go by much faster than most. I credit that to an unexpected great season from the Packers and more anticipation for the 2008 Brewers season than any other I can remember in my 20-plus years of following the team.
By now, you all know the moves that have been made. Gone are Geoff Jenkins, Kevin Mench, Johnny Estrada and Francisco Cordero among others. Newcomers include Jason Kendall, Mike Cameron, David Riske and Eric Gagne. The biggest addition of all is the year of experience that Corey Hart, JJ Hardy, Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and others gained last season.
It will be interesting to see how the new arrivals blend in with the young core. More importantly, can Ben Sheets stay healthy for an entire season? I don't want to get into any major preview or anything like that right now. There's plenty of time over the next month and a half for David and I to do that.
There are a few things I can't wait to see though. For those that haven't seen it, there is nothing like watching Rickie Weeks go from first to third on a base hit. To see him turn on his jets and just fly is truly breath-taking. Dave Bush and Carlos Villanueva are two of my favorite pitchers and it will be interesting to see what their roles end up being by the end of Spring Training. I expect Prince Fielder to pick up where he left off last season when he became the youngest player in MLB history to hit 50 home runs. Other than injury, I can't see any reason why he won't duplicate that mark. For the haters that like to say he's like his father and will eat his way out of baseball, well, you just don't know Prince Fielder then.
I can't wait for a season full of trash-talking between us and Cubs' fans. The only prediction I'll make right now is to say, better luck next year Pittsburgh.