Wednesday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while searching for a can of black paint.

Since the news broke that Ben Sheets will have surgery and miss most of 2009, there's been some speculation that the Brewers may try to offer him a two-year deal at a bargain price while hoping he bounces back. Adam McCalvy ended that speculation yesterday. Barring a sudden and dramatic turn, Sheets' Brewer career is over.

Braden Looper's deal is worth $4.75 million and has a mutual option for 2010, although I haven't seen the price tag on it yet. Brew City Sports has Seth McClung's reaction, but Gareth is even less impressed.

With Braden Looper in the fold, Baseball Prospectus predicts the Brewers will win 85 games, which would leave them ten games behind the Cubs and 3 games back of the Braves and Phillies, who would tie for the NL Wild Card. Looper adds two wins to the projection.

I have two bobble head notes today. First, The Brew Town Beat is one of several blogs questioning the curious choice of Jeff Suppan for a bobble head. Meanwhile, in the comments of this post on the promotional schedule, Trent Durrington raises an interesting point: with the exception of the brat, all the 2009 bobble heads are white, despite the Brewers being one of the more diverse teams in baseball.

MLB FanHouse's Better Know a Prospect series covered the Brewer system yesterday, with Mat Gamel, Alcides Escobar and Angel Salome profiled. The more I look at the Brewer roster heading into camp, the more I'm certain all three guys will spend at least a large portion of 2009 in AAA. I've got a post on that scheduled for later today. Meanwhile, Sean (Chone) Smith has a post at The Hardball Times discussing minor league defense, and Alcides Escobar draws a mention.

On the hot stove:

Angels: Are reportedly clearing roster space to make room for Bobby Abreu.
Blue Jays: Acquired former #1 overall pick Matt Bush from the Padres for a PTBNL.
Dodgers: Signed Eric Milton to a minor league deal.
Giants: Signed Ramon Ortiz to a minor league deal.
Mets: Re-signed Jose Valentin to a minor league deal.
Rays: Won their arbitration case with Dioner Navarro, who will make $2.1 million this season.
Rockies: Signed Randy Flores to a minor league deal.
Royals: Signed Jamey Wright to a minor league deal.
White Sox: Signed Ben Broussard to a minor league deal.

Baseball America noticed that, with the deal listed above, the Blue Jays will enter camp with 27 pitchers and just 13 position players on their 40 man roster. The Brewers, for comparison purposes, will have 22 if they drop a position player to add Braden Looper.

Earlier this week, I mentioned that Ray Durham was complaining about not receiving any offers this offseason. The Nationals offered Durham a shot to be their starting second baseman, and he turned it down. Durham is 37 years old and has made $7 million or more each of the last five seasons despite being a part-time player (fewer than 500 at bats) in all of them. If he's looking for similar money in this market, which can't even find money like that for Adam Dunn, then perhaps it is time for him to retire.

An increased emphasis on defense, where Durham is substandard, probably isn't helping his case either. FanGraphs wonders how far down this road baseball can reasonably go.

It's a little early in the day (still pre-coffee) for me to be trying to understand new statistical research, but Tangotiger's notes on the impact of events, sorted by position in the lineup, are interesting enough that I may come back to it once my brain is fully functional.

First, though, I may need to call and cancel my XM subscription: the AP is reporting Sirius-XM is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which likely means they won't make their scheduled payment to Major League Baseball, which will in turn likely be the end of live game broadcasts on the service.

If you missed it yesterday, be sure to stop by this post to sign up to win one of ten WhatIfSports gift certificates as part of the Brewer Advent Calendar. I've got another giveaway today, so check back around noon to sign up for that one too.

Oh, and it sounds like the Brewers got out of High Desert and the California League at the right time.

Drink up.
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