I didn't get to see it, but it sounds like there was a good crowd out for this weekend's Winter Warm-Up Festivities. Back here at home, we had less fun discussing recent reports involving Alcides Escobar. Al took Bleacher Report (and me, I guess) to task for publishing the report, calling it "one-sided." I agree that the report was one-sided, but I'm hoping that, by mentioning it, the story can get out to a wide enough audience that it will have to be addressed and we can hear from all sides. I'm hoping this will be the last conversation we have about it until more facts are known.
Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart would like to settle on contracts without going to arbitration. The team reportedly has not reached out to them with offers at this point, but Mark Attanasio said the team is "open to multi-year proposals from Jeff Berry and Lon Babby, the agents for Hart and Weeks, respectively."
There's Ben Sheets news all over the place today:
- The Rangers are still concerned about the elbow injury that ended Sheets' 08 season.
- The Yankees reportedly might give up on Andy Pettitte and shift their attention to Sheets.
- Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated says Sheets has new medical reports that may calm the concerns over his health.
- USA Today (via DRaysBay) reports that the Brewers are hoping Eduardo Morlan can fit into the middle of their bullpen.
- R.J. Swindle has decided not to pitch for Canada in the WBC.
Two minor league notes today: FakeTeams noted Alcides Escobar's appearance on a top 10 list of NL prospects. Keith Law listed Caleb Gindl and Lorenzo Cain as two Brewers who could be on next year's top prospect lists.
This is relatively old news, but Craig Counsell will be back as a Brewer in 2009 after signing a one-year deal. Before he signed, Beyond the Box Score profiled him as an undervalued free agent.
There's a possibility that five Brewers could hit 30 HR in 2009. Craig Counsell will not be one of them. Ryan Braun likely will: Be sure to stop by the BCB Community Projections for left field and offer your opinion on his 2009 performance.
If you want to compare Jeff Suppan to Braden Looper, here's a little more ammunition: Both rank in the bottom thirty in strikeouts per 100 pitches. (h/t Baseball Musings) Peter Gammons (via MLB Trade Rumors) reports that Looper, Jon Garland and Randy Wolf are all receiving similar offers of about $5 million per season.
On the hot stove:
A's: There's reason to believe the team may be interested in free agent Garret Anderson, who is spending the offseason working out with new A Matt Holliday. They may also be close to signing Russ Springer.
Blue Jays: Fired assistant GM Bart Given over the weekend. The team is filling his responsibilities from within.
Mets: Signed Rob Mackowiak to a minor league deal.
Orioles: Have reportedly offered a three-year deal worth $30 million to Brian Roberts, who is due to become a free agent after the season, but he wants a fourth year.
Phillies: Are reportedly interested in signing Ty Wigginton to serve as a backup at second and third base.
Red Sox: Have reportedly made a formal offer to Jason Varitek.
Tigers: Agreed to a one-year deal with Brandon Lyon.
Also, Sean Casey has decided to retire and take a job with the MLB Network. It's starting to sound like a fair number of free agents would make more money working in TV than playing baseball.
In Friday's Mug, I mentioned that Elijah Dukes was due to be arrested if he didn't pay over $40,000 in owed child support that day. Dukes paid up and avoided jail.
That's all for today. Drink up.