Tuesday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while enjoying your severance package.

So, I'm confused this morning. The Official Site is reporting that the Brewers are done spending. Again. Just like they did last week and two weeks ago. So, if nothing has changed, why is it treated like news every time Doug Melvin or Mark Attanasio says it?

The problem is, the more often they say it, the less I believe it. It strikes me as possible this is just a bizarre negotiation tactic to lower the price on a free agent like Ben Sheets. Tom H. says it's Texas or bust for Sheets now that the Mets signed Oliver Perez. Meanwhile, El Lefty Malo and Phillies Nation think the Giants and Phillies, respectively, should get involved. The Ciskie Blog says the Brewers need to Sheets or get off the pot.

Brian Anderson has a new blog up with notes on Prince Fielder and Jim Powell. Anderson has unique insight on the search for Powell's replacement, having recently been part of a similar search himself.

Admittedly, I'm not the biggest optimist regarding 2009. With that said, a reader at Goat Riders of the Apocalypse has taken it to the next level and predicted the 2009 Brewers will finish fifth in the NL Central. Even in the worst case scenarios in my head I can't imagine the Brewers being worse than both the Astros and Reds.

UPDATE: It's been brought to my attention that the blog post linked above was actually written by a reader of GROTA, and not one of their main writers. I fixed the paragraph above.

The downside to the internet is that everyone can write a blog and if they write about the Brewers, I'll likely notice it even if it's terrible. The first thing I read this morning was The Furious Wedge's 2009 Brewer preview, which included all of the following quotes:

Kendall is reliable and good in the clutch.

For some reason this organization does not give Tony Gwynn a fair shot, in my opinion, and he's one of the best minor leaguers I've seen in a while.

Who is the ace? He'd have to be healthy. Dave Bush? His ERA against the Cubs was over 6.00. That's not an ace.

I like the combination of Hoffman and Julio.

If you were awakened to a steady "thud, thud, thud" around 7 this morning, that was me banging my head on my desk.

On the hot stove:

A's: Acquired Michael Wuertz from the Cubs for two minor leaguers.
Blue Jays: Have offered a minor league deal to Kevin Millar. They also signed Ken Takahashi to a minor league deal.
Mariners: May be interested in signing Garret Anderson.
Padres: They have a few million left to spend and are reportedly considering Livan Hernandez and Cliff Floyd.
Rangers: Are reportedly working on a deal with Eddie Guardado.
Red Sox: Signed Brad Wilkerson to a minor league deal.
Reds: Signed Humberto Cota to a minor league deal.
Rockies: Scott Podsednik has a clause in his minor league deal allowing him to become a free agent if he's not on the 25 man roster on April 3.
Twins: May have interest in trading for Jarrod Washburn.

So what happens when these free agent deals don't work out? In some cases, the player becomes a part of the All Paid By My Former Employer team. Mike Lamb is on that team for 2009, as the Twins continue to pay most of his salary.

If you're looking to acquire more talent during spring training, a fair number of these guys might be available: MLB Trade Rumors is working on a list of players who are out of options in 2009, and will either have to win a job or be placed on waivers. Tony Gwynn Jr. is on that list, along with former Brewers Dennis Sarfate, Nelson Cruz and Gabe Gross.

As we continue to measure players' win value above replacement, another question comes up: Where do we set the bar for replacement level? FanGraphs is taking a look at available players this offseason, and they've already set the bar for a replacement level catcher and first baseman in 2009.

You could pay an awful lot of those players with the Commissioner's budget. Bud Selig made approximately $18.35 million between October 2006 and 2007, more than all but four players in baseball took home.

Are you busy this afternoon? Sky Kalkman of Beyond the Box Score is hosting a live chat at 1 pm (Central time) this afternoon. If you've got a moment, stop by and say hi.

I feel like a lot has been said about the role of blogs in team coverage and the media in general, but you might have missed a big step forward yesterday. Dodger Thoughts, Jon Weisman's blog on the Dodgers, has been picked up by the LA Times. Unfortunately, with that news comes word that Baseball Toaster, which hosts several other good baseball blogs, is shutting down.

Oh, and the Astros and Houston Rockets are sitting in on each others' scouting meetings.

Drink up.

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