Thursday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while searching for top shelf material.

The biggest news from yesterday is the trade sending Eric Fryer to the Yankees for Chase Wright. Finally, a little depth has been added for the starting rotation. Tom H. has quotes from management on what they see/expect from Wright, and there's reason to believe he can contribute. Both The Grand National Championships and View From Bernie's Chalet like the move.

Also noted in the Tom H. link above: The Brewers signed Ramiro Mendoza to a minor league deal. Mendoza hasn't pitched in the majors since 2006, but posted a sub-2.00 ERA in Venezuela this winter and will pitch for Panama in the World Baseball Classic. All told, he's probably ticketed for AAA, but he's another veteran with starting experience, so worse moves have been made.

If you didn't catch Jeff's post from last night on starting pitching depth, scroll down, read it now, and come back to the Mug later. I'd rather have Odalis Perez, but Bernie's Crew thinks the Brewers should have pursued John Parrish.

Meanwhile, Corey Hart's arbitration hearing continues to creep closer. Pocket Doppler thinks a lot of Brewer fans are reacting negatively to Hart because of his comments in September on fans booing. This quote, which has been making the rounds lately but I most recently mentioned in Saturday's post on Hart, is a much bigger source of concern for me:
"Nothing is working right now with a lot of the guys. We’re trying to see pitches and see what we can do. … I’m not going to sit there and walk, though. I’ll eventually find it, and hopefully we’ll still be in it." -Corey Hart
With 286 votes in, 23% of readers share my concern - that Hart's lack of plate discipline has led pitchers to figure him out. 30% think he'll post an OBP around .300 again in 2009. Hart's demands are a pretty steep price to pay for a guy who projects at that level.

Just one minor note today: Alcides Escobar and Mat Gamel made USA Today's list of 100 players you should know coming into 2009.

If you read the Mug frequently, you've probably guessed that I wish the Brewers still had Gabe Gross. If you share that sentiment, you can re-live his last game as a Brewer tomorrow on MLB.com.

I'm reluctant to even bring it up, because even he admits it's not worth my time, but The Furious Wedge has responded to some of the commenters from his prediction post I linked on Tuesday. I won't burn too much time on it, except for this quote regarding Tony Gwynn:
I've watched A LOT of baseball. I've seen Tony Gwynn about 6 times and every time, he was, to me, clearly one of the two best players on the field.
Clearly, this is the biggest possible indictment of the 2008 Nashville Sounds.

Is a story still news when it happens every day? Jon Heyman is reporting a previously unmentioned team has interest in a Scott Boras client. In this case, it's the Rangers and Andruw Jones. Lone Star Ball lists the reasons why this move would make no sense for the Rangers. Earlier this week, Rich Lederer of Baseball Analysts discussed the relationship between Boras and Heyman.

On the hot stove:

Blue Jays: Claimed LHP Brian Burres off waivers from the Orioles.
Padres: Have reportedly agreed to terms with Cliff Floyd.
Rangers: MLB.com beat reporter TR Sullivan doesn't expect the team to sign Ben Sheets.
Rockies: Acquired Matt Murton from the A's for minor league infielder Corey Wimberly. They're also reportedly out of the running for Joe Beimel and Braden Looper.

If you've been following the links to FanGraphs the last couple of days, you've probably seen estimations that replacement level catchers, first basemen, second basemen and shortstops all fall somewhere between 1.5 and 2 wins below average. Today, we have third base (-1.5 wins) and left field (-2 wins), and they both fall into the same range.

Even in this market, apparently a bad contract is available to those who will look for it: Driveline Mechanics thinks the Mets made a mistake giving 3 years, $36 million to Oliver Perez.

As I've mentioned before, I live in Iowa, well out of the range of FSN Wisconsin but still within the Brewers' "local market," so I haven't been able to watch a national broadcast of a Brewer game at home for several seasons, just games with the Cardinals and the occasional Cub game on WGN. I had high hopes for plans to rework the blackout policy this winter, but the movement to do so has been tabled indefinitely. Thank you, Major League Baseball, for one again making it harder for me to watch your product.

On a somewhat related note: Tangotiger wants to know what you think Bud Selig should make. There are two interesting points being made in the discussion: First, Selig is effectively the CEO of a corporation worth over $15 billion dollars. But, secondly, there are probably also a fair number of people out there who would gladly take his job for less money and perform at his level. Some might be significantly better.

Of course, Selig is nowhere near the top of the charts in the running for worst person ever: Former Mets reliever Ambiorix Burgos, currently facing charges for two murders stemming from a hit-and-run accident, allegedly tried to shoot another player yesterday in response to a dispute over a game of dominoes. Joe Posnanski tells a related story about Burgos' departure from Kansas City.

Things are looking up for the Washington Nationals, but only because they couldn't go any farther down: In October the Nationals were given 300:1 odds to win the 2009 World Series. Yesterday, those odds were upgraded to 150:1. (The Brewers, by the way, are 35:1.)

Finally, as a former organizer who certainly managed his share of failed events (hence the former), I still occasionally have nightmares that go something like this one: The Marlins held an event on day 1 of their Winter Caravan, and no one came.

Drink up.
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