By Gregg Hoffmann Special to Published Dec 13, 2001 at 4:47 AM

Josh and Stosh, two long time, avid Brewers' fans, were talking earlier this week:

Josh: Did you see the Brewers are going to trade Burnie for that Lawton of the Mets?

Stosh: Nah, Lawton was part of the big deal between the Mets and the Indians this morning. The Brewers are going after Dmitri Young of the Reds or a player from the Tigers.

A few hours later. Josh: Young was sent to the Tigers for Juan Encarnacion.

Stosh: Yeah, then the Brewers wanted to go after Carl Everett.

Josh: Sheesh, isn't he the guy who causes so much trouble wherever he plays?

Stosh: Doesn't matter anyway, he's gone to Texas.

Like many Brewers' fans, Josh and Stosh have to be asking a couple questions: Is Brewers' GM Dean Taylor too slow on the trigger to pull off a real big deal, or does he lack the ammo in what he's trying to peddle?

A Jeromy Burnitz deal makes sense, but rumors about one go back more than a year. Burnie supposedly was going to San Diego last winter for Phil Nevin. It never happened.

A deal with the Mets was rumored last July. It never happened, but resurfaced several weeks ago. No deal so far. The Detroit rumor also has been around for a while, since former Brewer manager Phil Garner is there.

Why can't Taylor get a deal done? He made some when he first came to the Brewers. He made another this summer when he sent David Weathers to the Cubs for promising youngster Ruben Quevedo. But, he has not really pulled off the biggie for Burnie.


It might be that Taylor is still considered a newbie among GMs. It could be that the Brewers are looked at overall as lightweights, compared to the Mets, Yankees, Indians and other big market clubs.

It also could be that Burnitz does not offer much ammo. The word is out on the Brewers' rightfielder. He plays hard, which is good. He has power, which also is good.

But, he strikes out a lot. He is very streaky, a player who can carry a team for a week and kill it for three. At the end of the season, his stats look pretty good, but if you have watched him all season you know he should be a supplementary player on a team that already has a solid core. He isn't a player you can build around.

The Mets reportedly had him ranked third or fourth on their priority list. The Padres refused to pay him what the Brewers did, which nixed the deal last winter.

At one time, the rumors about the Mets deal included pitcher Jeff D'Amico. Some reports said Taylor did not want to include the often-injured pitcher. Why not?

Again, by the time you read this, Taylor might have made a deal. Let's hope that he did, and maybe another player or two, for a couple players who honestly can help the Brewers improve next season.

Gutierrez Report

Baseball Weekly reported this week that the Brewers, "saying they want to install some fiery spirit on the team," are interested in signing free agent shortstop Ricky Gutierrez. If Taylor did that, what would he do with Jose Hernandez?

To quote Stosh, "don't hold your breath."

Team Awards

Richie Sexson was chosen the team MVP and will receive the award at the Jan. 25 Diamond Dinner. Sexson also was picked The Brew Crew Review Player of the Year.

Other team awards went to: Chad Fox, most valuable pitcher; Mark Loretta, Harvey Kuenn hitting award; Ray King, Michael Harrison Award for community service and manager's award; and Billy Castro, Unsung Hero award.

Casanova Signs

Raul Casanova signed a one-year contract this week. The catcher, who ended the season among the Brewers' injured, has been playing well in winter ball. He likely will share time behind the plate with Henry Blanco and Kevin Brown.

Gregg Hoffmann writes The Brew Crew Review on Thursdays and The Milwaukee Sports Buzz on Mondays for OMC.

Gregg Hoffmann Special to
Gregg Hoffmann is a veteran journalist, author and publisher of Midwest Diamond Report and Old School Collectibles Web sites. Hoffmann, a retired senior lecturer in journalism at UWM, writes The State Sports Buzz and Beyond Milwaukee on a monthly basis for OMC.