Some things to read while coming so close.
Thanks to Rubie for filling in yesterday while I was on my way back from a long travel weekend. I'm home now and will also write Mugs tomorrow and Thursday, health permitting: Somewhere on my travels, I managed to pick up a cold. If today's Mug drifts off into incoherence, now you know why.
The holiday week is usually a quiet one for transactions, but Adam McCalvy said the Brewers likely aren't done adding players in a recent Inbox. He also handled questions on a possible Opening Day lineup, Zach Braddock, and the roof at Miller Park.
Further proof that Gregg Zaun is a better catcher than Jason Kendall, at less than half the price: Beyond the Box Score's Catcher Block Percentage rankings have Zaun listed as the best catcher in baseball at preventing wild pitches and passed balls, adding roughly seven runs per 120 games to his value. Jason Kendall was worth roughly two runs, while Mike Rivera projected out to 5.5 runs per 120 games.
Speaking of Rivera, he's signed a minor league deal with the Yankees, with an invitation to spring training.
Meanwhile, LaTroy Hawkins has probably already finished packing and moving, because he's got plenty of experience in the field. The Northwest Indiana Post-Tribune notes that the Brewers will be Hawkins' eighth team.
Speaking of much traveled pitchers, Adam Foster of Project Prospect had an interesting note on John Halama: He faced 210 batters in winter ball and issued just three walks. Halama's Dominican team has been eliminated from postseason contention, along with Alcides Escobar and Hernan Iribarren's Venezuelan team. For more on that, plus notes on several new Brewers and the winter ball debut of Angel Salome, check out today's oversized Winter League Update.
Blue Jays: Have reportedly reached a deal to acquire Brandon Morrow from the Mariners for pitcher Brandon League and a minor leaguer.
Braves: Signed infielder Joe Thurston to a minor league deal.
Indians: Acquired pitcher Mitch Talbot as the PTBNL in the Kelly Shoppach deal, and signed reliever Saul Rivera to a minor league deal.
Marlins: Signed utilityman Danny Richar to a minor league deal.
Nationals: Signed Jason Marquis to a two year, $15 million deal.
Padres: Acquired catcher Dusty Ryan from the Tigers for a PTBNL or cash.
Phillies: Announced plans to exercise Jimmy Rollins' option for 2011.
Pirates: Signed reliever Javier Lopez to a one year deal.
Rangers: Signed Darren Oliver to a one year deal.
Reds: Re-signed Laynce Nix and restructured and extended Scott Rolen's contract.
Tigers: Signed pitcher Phil Dumatrait and catcher (and former Brewer minor leaguer) Andy Bouchie to minor league deals.
White Sox: Claimed pitcher Freddy Dolsi off waivers from the Tigers.
I've mentioned this topic several times: sorry if you don't think it's interesting, but I find it fascinating. The Blue Jays are apparently bucking the minor league per diem trend and giving their players $25 dollars a day for meal money instead of $20 next season. The change will cost the team less than $50,000, but could go a long way towards helping their prospects get proper nutrition.
With 93 career wins, a Cy Young Award, and six straight seasons with an ERA under 4, Pete Vuckovich has a lot to be proud of from his major league career. Of course, all of that pales in comparison to his induction into the MLB Mustache Hall of Fame.
Happy birthday today to:
And a couple of belated ones I missed over the weekend: