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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

J.J. Hardy Finds Success in Cable Television, Other Former Brewers Finding Work

Things have calmed down in Brewerland after the excitement this past weekend of Ryan Braun attending the Bucks game with Aaron Rodgers and fans setting record attendance at "Brewers on Deck". So, I thought this might be a good time to check in with some former Brewers and see what they're up to now. J.J. Hardy, for one, found success by creating  and starring in a show that airs on FX called "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." Hardy (pictured above with costar Danny DeVito) plays a dim-witted bar tender obsessed with Chase Utley. Who knew J.J. had a thing for Utley?

But seriously, they look at least a little alike, right? Hardy spent the 2010 season with the Minnesota Twins after being traded by the Brewers for Carlos Gomez. J.J. struggled with injuries throughout the season and played in only 101 games, batting .268 with 6 home runs and 38 RBI. The Twins traded Hardy to the Orioles this winter as they sought to add more speed in their middle infield. So long as he avoids the DL he should find plenty of playing time for an Orioles team expected to be more competitive in their division than in recent years.

Dave Bush moved on from the Brewers this winter and recently signed a minor league deal with the AL Champion Texas Rangers. He'll have a chance to make the Major League club in Spring Training. Bush never had lights out stuff, but he did an ok job for the Brewers in his five seasons with the club. He usually gave the team a chance to win, and he almost always took the ball every five days. His proclivity for serving up the long ball didn't always translate well at hitter-friendly Miller Park; indeed, he gave up four home runs in four consecutive batters this August against Diamondbacks. But, he also showed flashes of greatness, such the two times he took no-hitters into the eighth inning (2008 vs the Blue Jays, 2009 vs the NL Champion Phillies). In Texas he'll be reunited with former Brewers pitching coach, Mike Maddux. Fare thee well, Dave Bush. May your fastball velocity cease to decline and may you find some success in Texas. Your beard will be missed.

Todd Coffey also departed via free agency this winter and subsequently signed with the Nationals. He'll compete for the closer's job and likely run as fast as he can every time he enters a game from the bullpen. He pitched well in 2009 and declined slightly in 2010. Brewers fans will probably miss his bullpen entrance most of all.

Brewers fans' favorite whipping boy, Jeff Suppan, signed a minor league deal with the World Champion Giants. Similarly to Bush, he'll compete for a job in Spring Training. He's expected to provide depth to their starting rotation.

Bill Hall signed this winter with the Houston Astros, so Brewers fans should have plenty of opportunities to boo him this year. I, for one, will not boo him, as it's not his fault Doug Melvin offered him a ridiculous contract after a career year. Hall will serve as the Astros' starting second baseman.

Braden Looper also signed a minor league deal this winter; he'll compete for a job with the Cubs this spring. He sat out last year but went 14-7 with the Brewers in 2009. His record is slightly deceiving-- he received ample run support from the Crew in 2009 (much more than Yovani Gallardo) and gave up a whopping 39 home runs.

Ben Sheets had surgery in August after a season-ending injury to his flexor-tendon. That's right, folks, Ben Sheets pitched last year, and injuries once again hampered his season. In fact he made $10 million pitching for Oakland. Much to their chagrin his injury came as the trade deadline neared, losing a veteran arm as they chased the division-leading Rangers and squashing any chance for a return on their investment via trade. Sheets said in August that he's not sure if he'll pitch again, though he'll probably try as he's one season short of qualifying for the full major league pension. As someone who loves to watch Sheets pitch when he's "on" I hope he finds work somewhere (though for significantly less than $10 million) and somehow finally remains relatively injury free. Ok, let's be realistic-- he'll probably "prove" that he's healthy enough to get signed somewhere and once again will be unable to finish the season.


  1. Here's an interesting article on Hardy. Wishing the best for our homegrown shortstop!

  2. Here are some extra comments from Hardy as part of that same article.