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Paul Molitor

Paul Molitor, shown stretching during training camp in 1989, led the Milwaukee Brewers after the 1992 season when he was allowed to leave as a free agent. It should have ended differently in Milwaukee for one of the team's all-time greats.

Kudos to Brian Guetekunst for a shrewd trade in one of his first transactions as Green Bay Packers general manager.

Not only did he rid himself of a team distraction in Damarious Randall, he received a quarterback who just might be a legitimate prospect down the road. Don’t laugh. DeShone Kizer was brutal as a rookie for the Cleveland Browns, where quarterbacks go to die, but some scouts were rating him as a first-round talent just one year ago.

What could be a better situation for the Packers than allowing him to develop behind Aaron Rodgers for the next few years and see what happens? As much as Brett Hundley tried in Rodgers’ absence last season, his performance was unacceptable and something had to be done. There’s no way the Packers could chance Hundley trotting onto the field next season if Rodgers is hurt again.

The Packers have nothing to lose. And just maybe, they hit on a future star with Kizer, who was only 21 in his lone disastrous season in Cleveland.

While the departure of Randall can only be seen as addition by subtraction, the Packers’ secondary is nevertheless paper thin without him. Gutekunst will presumably address that via free agency, but a distressing thought comes to mind.

Wouldn’t former Packers cornerback Casey Hayward, who the Los Angeles Chargers’ gave a three-year $36 million contract extension to Sunday, look great in Green Bay?

Ted Thompson, Gutekunst’s predecessor as Packers general manager, slipped in the last half of his tenure. Letting Hayward escape as a free agent after the 2015 season, when Hayward was just developing into a standout, will rank as one of Thompson’s biggest blunders.

And to think Hayward is still only 28.

A salute to the Hawks

Congratulations on a great season to the Prairie boys basketball team, which fell short of its goal of qualifying to to the WIAA Division 4 state tournament Saturday.

Coach Jason Atanasoff did everything he could to toughen this senior-dominated team by scheduling elite competition. And everything appeared to be on track Thursday night when the Hawks derailed defending state champion Milwaukee Destiny in a sectional semifinal.

But even talented players who have been coached well aren’t likely to succeed when they make three of 22 3-point attempts, as the Hawks did in a 60-50 loss to Madison Roncalli Saturday in the sectional championship.

It would have been wonderful to see JC Butler, Logan Krekling, Troy Mikaelian, Buddy Ladwig, Teddy May, Henry Hua, Branden Osiecki, Brian Eitel and others play under the bright lights of the Kohl Center this weekend.

But as members of the 1974 St. Catherine’s, 1985 Horlick and 2012 Racine Lutheran teams can attest, things don’t always go according to plan.

A case for Suter

Milwaukee Brewers general manager David Stearns should be lauded for showing restraint and not biting on free-agent pitcher Jake Arrieta. Instead, the Philadelphia Phillies, who were 66-96 last season, were suckered into sinking $75 million over three years into a pitcher with plenty of miles on his odometer.

Perhaps Stearns was emboldened by what he has seen during training camp. Brent Suter, a Harvard graduate who dabbles with a guitar and writes songs, has likely caught Stearns’ eye. The left-hander has not allowed a run in eight innings in spring training one year after posting a 3.40 earned run average in 103 innings for the Brewers.

One sure can’t say Suter doesn’t have athletic genes. His father, Mike, was a safety on Penn State’s 1982 national championship football team. And his mother, Shirley, won four letters as a swimmer for Penn State.

Getting back to Arrieta, one most wonder what he was thinking. He turned down a reported four-year $110 million offer to return to the Cubs in January. And now he’s going to take less from a bad team to play in hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia.

Reflections on

“The Ignitor”

Was it really 25 years ago this spring that Paul Molitor moved on to the Toronto Blue Jays after inexplicably getting lowballed by the Brewers? Molitor was still only 35 at the time and still had 1,038 hits remaining in his magic bat with the Blue Jays and Minnesota Twins.

To me, there’s no question Molitor is the greatest Brewer of them all (Henry Aaron, who had little left when he returned to Milwaukee for his final two seasons, doesn’t count).

Molitor missed almost the entire 1984 season and big chunks of several others with injuries, yet is 10th on the all-time career hits list with 3,319. Without his injuries, he could have been third behind only Pete Rose and Ty Cobb.

And in two World Series (1982 with the Brewers, 1993 with the Blue Jays), Molitor went 23 for 61 (.418) with two doubles, two triples, two homers, 11 RBIs and a .475 on-base average.

According to baseballreference.com, Molitor’s last salary with the Brewers in 1992 was $3,453,333. His first salary with the Blue Jays in 1993 was $3,650,000. And the Brewers couldn’t afford to keep him?

It’s still painful to see his retired No. 4 on display in Miller Park. It should have ended so differently for him with the Brewers.

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