Tuesday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while evening out the teams.

It turned out to be a pretty active first day of the Winter Meetings. The Brewers were the talk of the late night rumor mill, based on reports that they're close to signing a three year deal with Randy Wolf (also noted in Rumorville). Tom H. says the deal is rumored to be in the $25-27 million range, and is also quantifying the amount of smoke surrounding it.

With that said, the deal mustn't be done yet, because Arn Tellem, who represents Wolf, is meeting with the Mets this morning. Jon Heyman says the Mets aren't willing to offer Wolf a three year deal.

Is this the move you were hoping for from the Brewers? I'd be happy with it at this point, as long as the price isn't much above $27 million. There's always some risk involved, but this is almost certainly a better deal than, for example, the four year deal Joel Pineiro is seeking.

Wolf might not be the only starting pitcher the Brewers acquire this week. They've reportedly discussed a deal with the Mets that would send Corey Hart to New York for John Maine, a former student of Rick Peterson who has missed most of the last year with shoulder issues (FanShot). It's unclear how much fire is behind this smoke, but the Mets are also rumored to be discussing a similar trade with the Angels, with Juan Rivera taking Hart's place.

The Brewers also added a little depth to their middle infield yesterday, claiming shortstop Luis Cruz off waivers from the Pirates (FanShot). Cruz played seven positions (everything but pitcher and catcher) last season in AAA, but has virtually zero ability with the bat (a .274 OBP in AAA last season), and Adam McCalvy confirmed the move was made for minor league, not major league depth. The Brewers don't have a true shortstop prospect in the minors above Brent Brewer and Josh Prince, neither of whom played above A-ball last season.

The Brewer bullpen suffered a blow yesterday, as Mark DiFelice underwent surgery to repair damage to his labrum and rotator cuff, and will miss the entire 2010 season (FanShot). DiFelice is 33 and undergoing his second major shoulder procedure, but intends to try to pitch in the majors again in 2011, telling Adam McCalvy "I don't want it to end like this."

This raises the stakes a little bit in the search for additional bullpen help, but the Crew won't be getting said help from Rafael Betancourt. Late in the day yesterday it was reported that the Brewers were unlikely to lure Betancourt away from a return to the Rockies. I haven't seen it confirmed, but I'm pretty sure he accepted arbitration late last night.

Looking back at a rumor from the weekend, In-Between Hops has come out against a Jeff Suppan-for-Juan Pierre deal, fearing the extra $4 million in salary the Brewers would have to take on would make it difficult for them to sign a pitcher like Randy Wolf.

And, looking back even farther, Dave Allen of FanGraphs has a look at the pitch-blocking ability of Gregg Zaun. Ken Macha is making me crazy: I should see this as a positive, but instead I see it as the excuse that might be used to keep an underperforming/overused Zaun in the lineup and a more deserving catcher on the bench.

In the minors, Brewerfan.net has a new Power 50 up. It's always interesting to see how guys move up and down the charts during the offseason. This edition's big gainers were Kentrail Davis, Jake Odorizzi and John Axford, with Hernan Iribarren, Chris Cody and Max Walla losing significant ground.

And around here, we're looking for your help to select a Brewer All-Decade Team in a series we're calling Making Your '00 Face. That link will take you to the voting for first base, where Prince Fielder has opened up what will likely turn out to be an insurmountable lead. Voting for second base will open at 4 pm today.

Around baseball:

Braves: Reliever Rafael Soriano has accepted the team's offer of arbitration.
Cardinals: Have agreed to a one year, $7.5 million deal for Brad Penny, pending a physical.
Nationals:
Signed Ivan Rodriguez to a two year deal worth $6 million, acquired reliever Brian Bruney from the Yankees for a PTBNL, and released reliever Saul Rivera.
Pirates: Signed reliever Vinnie Chulk to a minor league deal.
Rangers: Acquired pitcher Clay Rapada from the Tigers for a PTBNL or cash.
Red Sox: Signed pitcher Fabio Castro and re-signed Kason Gabbard.
Rockies: Released outfielder Matt Murton, who is expected to spend 2010 in Japan.
Tigers: Re-signed Adam Everett to a one year deal, and signed reliever Brad Thomas, who has spent the last two seasons pitching in Korea.
Twins:
Carl Pavano has accepted the team's arbitration offer.

The Rule 5 Draft is on Thursday, so I'm almost done burying you in links like these: Harry Pavlidis of The Hardball Times and Lisa Winston of MiLB.com have a look at several players who recently played in the Arizona Fall League and were left unprotected in the draft.

Competition is heating up in the market for Edwin Jackson. One report yesterday had the Tigers receiving 12 offers for his services. I guess that's what you get when you put a pitcher who threw over 200 effective innings last season and is due about $5 million on the market.

Speaking of pitchers the Brewers might be interested in, Justin Duchscherer declined the A's offer of salary arbitration.

I think most of us will be happy to see these former Brewers sign elsewhere, and keeping one of them in the division would be a double bonus: Jason Kendall is reportedly drawing interest from the Royals, and Braden Looper has expressed interest in pitching for the Cubs.

In case you were wondering, Keith Law has an explanation of how the Winter Meetings, usually held in a warm vacation spot, ended up in Indianapolis. The cold temps and snow haven't kept people from exchanging some tidbits of info you probably would never have known without the internet (and might not have missed):

  • There was apparently a small tiff between Scott Boras and new Hall of Famer Whitey Herzog over comments Herzog made about Matt Holliday, a Boras client.
  • Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez didn't shoot anything while out deer hunting with Bobby Cox last week.
  • Former D-Back, Indian, Ray and Ranger Nick Bierbrodt, who hasn't pitched in the majors since 2004, is attempting a comeback.
  • New Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopolous is battling a cold this week, so he's not shaking anyone's hand.
  • Speaking of the Blue Jays, radio reporter Mike Wilner has an annoying ring tone and left his phone in the media workroom yesterday.
  • Craig Calcaterra brought an airport card to the meetings, making him one of the few writers not reliant on slow internet service.

And, of course we're all having fun this week, but Paul DePodesta has a reminder for all of us that many of this week's rumors will be just that, and not to get too worked up over them. Of course, no one ever gets too worked up around here, right?

Away from the meetings, here's a strange story. After months of investigation, Major League Baseball has concluded that new Twins prospect Miguel Angel Sano, who claims to be 16, is somewhere between 16 and 18. Sano also recently changed his name to Miguel Jean. If he turns out to be Miguel Tejada in disguise, the Twins will probably be very upset.

On this day in 1991, Brewer reliever Julio Machado was arrested for murder after shooting a passenger in a car that had just been involved in an accident. Machado was later found guilty and served 12 years in prison.

I don't have any Brewer birthdays today, but it is a Woot-off day, so there's that.

Drink up.

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