If you were hoping the Brewers would ride the wave of a playoff run in 1981 into a harmonious season without controversy in 1982, you’re about to be disappointed.
Charlie Moore has demanded to be traded.
Moore, unhappy that Ted Simmons has cut into his playing time, wants to go to a team that will allow him to be a regular. General manager Harry Dalton has said that he will try to accommodate Moore.
“We’ll talk around,” said Dalton, “but at this point there is not a great amount of interest. The trade market usually dies every year around this time.”
It’s too bad, really. We all love Charlie. He’s been a Brewer since he was drafted in the fifth round in 1971. He made his debut two years later. He’s been around ever since as a catcher, outfielder, designated hitter, even a second baseman. He wasn’t a regular, but a key part of the team.
But in 1979 and 1980, Charlie Moore played really well. He played 111 games in each season, hitting .300 in 1979 and .291 in 1980. It appeared he was the catcher of the present and the future.
Then, the Brewers turned the trade of all trades. They acquired Rollie Fingers, Pete Vuckovich and Ted Simmons from the Cardinals.
Last season, during that confusing yet exciting campaign, Simmons took over as the starter. Moore, meanwhile, hit .301 as the back-up and occasional DH and outfielder.
It was only natural that Moore would want to be a larger part of this team. And it probably didn’t help that Simmons, a one time offensive force, hit only .216 in his Milwaukee debut.
It was a bit confusing to Brewers fans, too. We know the history of Ted Simmons. We know that he’s on a Hall of Fame pace. But he didn’t hit anything like Charlie Moore, a fan favorite, did a year ago. Yet Simmons gets the playing time, and all signs from manager Buck Rodgers indicate the depth chart won’t be changing anytime soon.
So now we’re in a pickle. Moore wants to be traded to a team that will allow him to play every day — or close to every day. The Brewers have to decide if they’re better off with Simmons, who may be declining at the age of 31, or Moore, who seems to be entering his prime at the age of 28.
It’s a difficult call. Simmons is a veteran presence who brings a leadership element to this team, and he is the better catcher. And who knows? Maybe the shortened 1981 season was a fluke. Moore is now emerging as a very good offensive catcher, though not a great defender.
Ideally, the Brewers would have perhaps the game’s greatest catching tandem if Moore stuck around. But that may not be possible. Do we stick with Simmons and trade Moore? Do we switch back to Moore and trade Simmons? Or do we stick with them both, even if it means upsetting one of them?
There are some other possibilities floating around, but I won’t get into those yet. What do you think?