Mgr. Ron Roenicke #10
2011 record, 96-66,
First Place, NL Central
Perhaps the most awkward moment of the off-season was Ryan Braun’s acceptance speech as the National League’s MVP award at the annual dinner of the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, delivered just two days after he presented an appeal to an arbitrator for a reported violation of Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. It was surreal moment as Braun remained in limbo awaiting the results of his appeal and the rest of the baseball community was asked to refrain from passing judgment on his MVP season.
In the wake of the most prosperous regular season in the Milwaukee Brewers franchise history, the result of Braun’s failed drug test for elevated amounts of testosterone was announced less than three weeks after he was named the league’s MVP. And whether or not Braun’s appeal resulted in an overruling of the 50-game suspension the violation carries, (at the time of this writing no decision had been rendered) the situation certainly diminished the afterglow of the Brewers first NL Central Division title since shifting to the National League in 1998 and first division title in either league since 1982.
As if the departure of 27-year-old free-agent slugger Prince Fielder after the seven years of previously unparalleled slugging by anyone to wear a Brewers uniform and the breakup of the greatest power hitting tandem in team history wasn’t enough to break the hearts of the Milwaukee faithful, the prospect of losing Braun for 50 games, cast a pall over the prospects of the upcoming season.
Try as he might to distance himself from his historical ties to the team, in his capacity as Baseball Commissioner; it had to piss Bud Selig off too.
No matter how things shake down with Braun, (at the time of this writing radio talk show host Dan Patrick was citing insider information that Braun might be exonerated) the Brew Crew should still be in pretty good shape. Third baseman Aramis Ramirez was signed as a free-agent to replace Casey McGehee and fill the void in the batting order left by Fielder. A solid pitching rotation featuring front line starters, Yovani Gallardo, (17-10, 3.52) Zack Greinke, (16-6, 3.83) and Shaun Marcum (13-7, 3.54) remains intact. Closer John Axford, still looks like the bartender he used to be, was one of the best feel good stories of the year, setting a team record and leading the National League with 46 saves.
Arrivals: 3B Aramis Ramirez, SS Alex Gonzalez
Departures: INF Craig Counsell (retired), RHP Jose Veras
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