Some things to read while waiting to see if it's a good mail day.
Is the Brewer front office the only group of people in baseball who don't realize their starting rotation has a depth problem? The team has stated for weeks now that they're not looking to spend big money on a starter, and that's fine, but now Ken Rosenthal reports they're also not interested in offering minor league deals to veteran starters like Mark Redman and Victor Zambrano or reclamation projects like Kris Benson and Jason Jennings. (h/t Al) Their interest in Mark Mulder is described as "lukewarm."
Since 2000, the Brewers have used 8, 13, 13, 12, 12, 8, 12, 8 and 8 starting pitchers, respectively. That's an average of about 10 and a half starting pitchers per season for the past nine seasons. Here's the current depth chart for starting pitchers, as I see it:
1. Yovani Gallardo
2. Manny Parra
3. Dave Bush
4. Jeff Suppan
5. Seth McClung
6. Chris Capuano (after May or so, if all goes well)
7. Mark DiFelice
8. Carlos Villanueva
After eight, it becomes anyone's guess, with names like Tim Dillard, Chris Narveson and Lindsay Gulin coming into play. I'm not sure why the front office seems to be in no hurry to add pitchers to this list.
The Brewers agreed to terms yesterday with seven players on their 40-man roster: Dillard, Mitch Stetter, Alcides Escobar, Mat Gamel, Casey McGehee, Brad Nelson and Angel Salome. In a related note, the Brewers recently sent Salome to the 2009 Rookie Career Development Program, and while he was there he was interviewed for MLB.com.
Speaking of interviews, The Sporting News took a few minutes to catch up with Mark Attanasio for a Q and A. They asked him about (what else?) the salary cap (three times), then they had a brief conversation about the Brewers. (h/t BBTF)
I guess there is one advantage to having a fair number of free swingers on your team: The Brewers were below league average in strikeouts looking in 2008.
On the hot stove:
A's: Signed Russ Springer to a deal reported to be worth more than $3 million.
Braves: The team has reportedly stopped pursuing Adam Dunn and will not offer more than a minor league deal to Andruw Jones.
Cubs: will reportedly trade Rich Hill to the Orioles once Baltimore has cleared some space on their 40-man roster to take him.
Dodgers: Spoke to the agents for both Braden Looper and Randy Wolf yesterday.
Giants: Signed Juan Uribe to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.
Mariners: Signed Mike Sweeney to a minor league deal. They may also be considering an 11-man pitching staff.
Marlins: Signed Kiko Calero and Jason Standridge to minor league deals.
Mets: Signed Bobby Kielty, Tony Armas Jr., Matt DeSalvo and Valerio de los Santos to minor league deals.
Orioles: Will not retain Kevin Millar.
Pirates: Signed Paul Maholm to a three-year deal, buying out his three arbitration seasons. The deal also has an option for a fourth year. They're also reportedly ready to sign Eric Hinske.
Red Sox: Jason Varitek, apparently unhappy with the offers he's received as a free agent, is threatening to sit out the 2009 season. (see update)
Reds: May sign Luis Gonzalez to help fill out their bench.
Yankees: We've had several conversations about how this works, but apparently we were all wrong and the Yankees have filled their quota of Type A/B free agents. (see update 2)
UPDATE: ESPN is reporting Varitek has accepted a one-year deal from the Red Sox.
UPDATE 2: Or not. The Yankees can still sign more free agents.
Do you have MLB Network? (I don't.) Are you losing your mind waiting for the first televised spring training games? (I am.) If so, perhaps Caribbean World Series games can help tide you over. The network will have 12 games between February 2 and 7. Odds are my cable company will continue to hold out and I won't see any of them.
Oh, and it appears Rays reliever J.P. Howell can't draw straight lines.