Gross traded to Tampa

23 04 2008

UPDATE 04-23-08 6:00pm – Here’s what Baseball America has to say about Josh Butler (courtesy Tom Haudricourt and the Milwaukee JS):

“Butler reached high Class A in his first full pro season, continuing to show filthy stuff even after a sprained thumb cost him three weeks starting in mid-July. The 47th overall pick in 2006, he had his pro debut cut short by biceps tendonitis. His arm strength returned last season, and he has one of the best repertoires among Tampa Bay pitching prospects.

“Butler owns a 92-95 mph fastball with outstanding movement, including late sinking action. He has an overhand curveball with tight spin and hard, sharp slider. His changeup continues to show improvement though he tends to abandon the pitch too readily.

“The Rays like Butler’s competitive streak and his work ethic. He simply needs innings against better competition so he can become more consistent with his changeup and his release. Tampa Bay has worked with him to incorporate his legs more in his delivery. He’ll open the season back in high Class A and should move up to Double-A at some point in 2008.”

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Doug Melvin decided to alleviate some of the congestion in the outfield yesterday by shipping Gabe Gross to Tampa Bay for RHP Josh Butler.

I like this move a lot from Doug. He may not have gotten a sure thing in return for Gross, but it is much better than attempting to have him clear waivers. That almost certainly wouldn’t have happened. Getting a power arm for someone that we could have gotten nothing for is a plus.

Gabe has shown flashes of power and production with the Milwaukee Brewers, but it has been few and far between. He’s performed well the past couple of games, but he is only hitting .179/.303/.205 in 48 plate appearances. I think it is safe to call that “very bad.” Gabe has a chance in Tampa to prove that he can produce, as he should get ample playing time now that Cliff Floyd is hurt. This is a good pick-up by the Rays.

The Brewers received Tampa’s second-round draft pick in the 2006 First Player Draft. Josh Butler has struggled out of the gates this year, posting a 6.35 ERA in three starts. Don’t let that turn you off though. Josh has a fastball that runs about 93-95 mph and a very hard breaking 12-6 curveball. He has a lot of movement on his fastball, and he even has a decent change. His ground-out to air-out ratio is fantastic as well, as he has posted a 2.23 GO/AO ratio so far. Doug Melvin did a very nice job getting a quality, high-upside arm for Gabe Gross. Time can only tell if it works out for the Brewers, but the organization has done wonders for pitchers in recent years. Perhaps Butler can challenge for a spot in the bullpen a couple years down the road. I’ll keep an eye on him in the coming weeks.

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One response

23 04 2008
Dan

I’m real pleased that Gross took off for Tampa too. With Cam, Gywnn, and Kapler out I was pretty nervous that Gross was filling in center field. His range is poor and his batting even more worrisome. You talked about givinig players 10 second chances and Gross was one of them. Too much “he needs more at-bats” and “his future is bright” comments. Some players need to perform now and the Brewers made those moves (Hall and Braun) yet Gross was still trotted out and blew a lot of chances. If the Brewers want to be contenders the club can continue to trot out inexperience (and Gross isn’t all that inexperienced he just plays like it) and hope it works. Welcome back Kapler and Gwynn!

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