It appears Braden Looper has agreed to terms. Adam McCalvy picked a pretty good first day to launch his MLB.com blog, as he almost immediately got to cover breaking news. News that Looper agreed to terms capped a long day of Looper coverage here as well, with a FanShot when the initial story broke, my in-depth analysis of his horoscope, jihad's look at Looper's pitching, and finally another FanShot when the deal was done.
Unfortunately, Looper signed too late to make the cut for a 2009 bobblehead. In the FanShots, John Brew has the list of bobbleheads this season. Waiting until August 30 to issue the Jeff Suppan bobblehead is a little risky...if he's posting a 5+ ERA at that point, it may not exactly be a source of excitement.
Speaking of Suppan, Baseball by Paul rated 154 starting pitchers for 2009, and Suppan comes in at 130. Carlos Villanueva, Dave Bush, Manny Parra and Yovani Gallardo check in at 101, 64, 41 and 25, respectively. Braden Looper somehow missed the list.
Meanwhile, Baseball Analysts has another cool graph, this time categorizing relief pitchers by ground ball and strikeout rates. Trevor Hoffman and Carlos Villanueva are on the right side of this one, with former Brewers Brian Shouse and Salomon Torres on the wrong side.
As the early predictions come out, it's becoming somewhat trendy to rate the Brewers low in the NL Central. The Recliner GM has the Brewers fifth in the division, although this was before the Looper signing.
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers play their first home game as a Brewer affiliate on Thursday, April 9. The 2009 Timber Rattlers will likely feature Jake Odorizzi, Cody Scarpetta, Brett Lawrie and Cutter Dykstra, but if you needed another reason to go see them, they're giving away a double bobblehead featuring Bernie Brewer (complete with bizarre eyes) and Fang. So, if you're looking for something new that will creep you out while you're trying to sleep, here's your opportunity.
As I looked over the Baseball America minor league transactions this morning looking for former Brewers, I stumbled across a note on the Brewers signing a RHP named Heri Olivo. Baseball Reference doesn't have him listed, so it's officially a mystery.
Have you ever been to Helfaer Field, the youth baseball facility by Miller Park? Would you like to work there? The Brewers are hiring event staff for the facility.
On the hot stove:
A's: Signed reliever Edgar Gonzalez to a minor league deal.
Cardinals: Released Adam Kennedy, who had requested to be traded in 2008.
D-Backs: Could re-sign Juan Cruz.
Dodgers: Signed Jeff Weaver to a minor league deal.
Padres: Invited 20 players, including former Brewer prospect Will Inman, to spring training.
Reds: The team is cutting some front office jobs and is likely done spending in the wake of slow ticket sales for 2009.
Things could always be worse for Ben Sheets. Sure, he needs surgery and may not pitch at all in 2009, but Romanian handball star Marian Cozma, who looks a lot like Sheets, was stabbed to death in Hungary over the weekend.
The tie between Ben Sheets and a site tracking MLB injury histories is so obvious I don't even need to write a segue for it.
If you're a fan of the Three True Outcomes, you may want to turn away for a moment: Driveline Mechanics has a look at five players who put the ball in play more than any others. It's worth a read just for the flow chart on Dusty Baker's hitting philosophy. Also, "Russell Branyan and the Three True Outcomes" may be my next Rock Band creation.
Following the Brewers while living outside of Wisconsin can be a challenge, but it might get even tougher this season as Sirius-XM is considering dropping coverage of MLB games. That'd be the end of my subscription. (h/t Baseball Musings)
Oh, and Ichiro hit 92 on the gun while preparing to pitch in the WBC.