Thursday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while carrying a giant cassette tape.

If you missed it, scroll down to see yesterday's post on the battles in camp this year, or perhaps the lack thereof. Over at The Official Site, Adam McCalvy has three more questions facing the Brewers. I think the answers are: Braden Looper, Bill Hall, and yes for Weeks but no for Gwynn, respectively.

Tom H. says to expect the Braden Looper deal to be announced today, but we should probably expect it later in the day as the Brewers plan to announce the limited return of Retro Fridays and hold a press conference with Amtrak this morning.

It's been a while since I've complained about Retro Fridays. The Brewers did win their last three Friday home games in 2008 to bring their record up to 8-5 on Retro Fridays. I still think it's time to look forward, not back, so I welcome the switch to one Retro Friday each month. Sully Baseball, on the other hand, wants the ball and glove logo back for good.

Perhaps the decrease in Retro Fridays will create a need for the projections to be done again: Baseball Prospectus has edited their 2009 projections for a third time, giving the Brewers an extra win to get to 86-76. The Braves and Phillies both lost a win, so the Brewers are now just one game back of the wild card in the projected standings. On the flip side, the Cubs gained two wins and now project for 97.

Thanks to reader Jim Lane, who emailed me to direct my attention to the Brewers' #8 ranking in positional prospects at Project Prospect. There's only one line about the Brewers, but they use it for a glowing endorsement of Lorenzo Cain. Also, while I'm on the subject of prospects, Eduardo Morlan and Cody Scarpetta agreed to terms yesterday.

We've already seen countless projections and predictions this spring, but for gamers, one matters more than any other: The MLB 2k9 player rankings were released yesterday. Ryan Braun is rated as the top left fielder (93 out of 100), with Prince Fielder, J.J. Hardy and Corey Hart all also making the top ten at their positions.

Spring training is almost upon us: we'll open the last door on the Brewer Advent Calendar later today. In the meantime, you have until noon today to sign up to win one of ten WhatIfSports gift certificates and until noon tomorrow to sign up to win a baseball autographed by the 2008 Nashville Sounds.

On the hot stove:

Angels: Signed Bobby Abreu to a one year deal worth $5 million.
Blue Jays: Signed Kevin Millar to a minor league deal.
Mariners: May have already reached agreement on a one year deal with Ken Griffey.
Mets: Are believed to be one of four teams that have made an offer to Will Ohman.
Nationals: Signed Adam Dunn to a two-year deal worth $20 million to play first base. As a result, Nick Johnson has asked to be traded.
Royals: Are reportedly still watching the free agent market and could make another move.

Even with Dunn, Abreu, Millar and maybe Griffey off the market, there are still a lot of free agents out there. However, the MLBPA has decided not to hold a spring training camp for free agents. Apparently they're still reminded of an underwhelming turnout in 1995.

The challenges of spring training are occasionally discussed, but I have never considered "changing your sleep cycle" as one of them. David Lennon of Newsday blogged about the challenge of being at spring training by 8 when you're used to covering games at night.

Will Ken Macha try batting Jason Kendall ninth again this season? Probably not, but David Pinto of Baseball Musings used yesterday's note from Tangotiger to make the case that he, and all other managers, should.

Are you excited for the World Baseball Classic? I bet you're not as excited as the Royals. Months ago, the organization signed 17-year-old South African Dylan Lindsay to a contract, but only one member of the organization has ever seen him pitch. The rest of the franchise will be seeing him for the first time in the WBC.

Oh, and the Rays may have overpaid for Pat Burrell, but the worst end of the deal goes to Akinori Iwamura, who now has a locker next to Elvis, Burrell's English Bulldog.

Drink up.
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