Some things to read while making new travel plans.
The Brewers added one more guy to the race for the bench outfield spots yesterday, signing Norris Hopper to a minor league deal (FanShot). Hopper is 30 years old and last appeared in the majors in 2008, when he hit .200/.286/.200 in 58 plate appearances for the Reds. He split 2009 between Louisville, Syracuse and Charlotte (AAA affiliates of the Reds, Nationals and White Sox, respectively) and hit .281/.337/.330 in 453 plate appearances. He played all three outfield positions.
If Hopper was your excuse for buying a plane ticket to spring training, you may want to hold off for a bit: Adam McCalvy corrected his story to note that Hopper has not been invited to big league camp. With that said, one can probably assume he'll get invited eventually, as the Brewers' current base of outfielders (Braun, Gomez, Hart, Gerut, Oeltjen, Cain) likely isn't enough to get through spring training games.
I think we can officially move the Brewers from "rumored to have interest" to "interested" in Doug Davis. Davis' agent confirmed that the Brewers have been in touch.
As Tyler Barnes predicted earlier this week, there will be an induction into the Miller Park Walk of Fame this season: Lew Burdette, who won 173 games over eleven seasons as a Milwaukee Brave, was the only player to reach the necessary 75% of the vote. Burdette is just the fourth member elected in the last five votes.
In the minors:
- Minor League Baseball Prospects has a list of the top 40 speed prospects in the minors, with Alcides Escobar (15th) and Lee Haydel (17th) representing the Brewers.
- David Laurila of Baseball Prospectus has an interview with Mark Rogers, discussing his rehab, his first full season back, and pitching to Jonathan Lucroy.
- Elsewhere in interviews, Timber Rattlers' pitcher-turned-3TO guy Brock Kjeldgaard is the subject of this week's Interrogation Room.
- The Timber Rattlers need your help selecting a center fielder for their 15th anniversary team.
- You have until 4 pm today to cast a ballot in the voting for the #9 prospect in our BCB Community Prospect Rankings. As of this writing, Lorenzo Cain leads Kentrail Davis and Caleb Gindl by four and five votes, respectively.
- And, while it's still too early, Andy Seiler has compiled his second mock draft, and has the Brewers selecting Washington high school outfielder Josh Sale with the 14th overall pick.
Braves: Avoided arbitration with Melky Cabrera, who will earn $3.1 million in 2010.
D-Backs: Avoided arbitration with Conor Jackson, who will make $3.1 million in 2010, signed Adam LaRoche to a one year, $4.5 million deal with a team option for 2011, and will reportedly release Eric Byrnes to clear a space for him on the roster.
Giants: Designated reliever Merkin Valdez for assignment.
Marlins: Signed Josh Johnson to a four year extension worth $39 million.
Padres: Avoided arbitration with Heath Bell, who will make $4 million in 2010.
Rangers: Have signed reliever Colby Lewis to a two year deal.
Red Sox: Avoided arbitration with Hideki Okajima, who will make $2.075 million in 2010.
Rockies: Avoided arbitration with Jorge de la Rosa ($5.6 million), Clint Barmes ($3.225 million) and Taylor Buchholz ($1.055 million).
Tigers: Signed Jose Valverde to a two year, $14 million deal with an option for a third year.
It's not really the traditional season for knee surgery, but for the second straight day I'm mentioning one. Brad Lidge underwent an arthroscopic procedure yesterday and may not be ready for Opening Day.
A great writer can make you care about anything. As proof, I present to you Joe Posnanski's speech on turf.
On this day in 1970, the Brewers traded Don Mincher and Ron Clark to Oakland for four players, including reliever Ken Sanders. Sanders would go on to lead the AL in appearances (83), games finished (77) and saves (31) in 1971. His 83 games is still the club record.
Happy birthday today to:
- Seattle Pilot Mike Marshall, who turns 67.
- 2000-2002 and 2007 Brewer Ray King, who turns 36.
- Mitch Stetter, who turns 29.
It's fitting that King and Sanders should come up in the Mug on the same day. I already mentioned Sanders' 83 appearances: King appeared in 82 games in 2001, becoming the only other Brewer to break 80.
Can't decide how you feel about today's Mug? Perhaps Lookout Landing's SBN Player Picture Mood Chart can help you.
Oh, and I knew there was a reason I didn't see Avatar.
That's all I have for you today, unless you're looking for reviews of filthy, poorly staffed, delicious Mongolian barbecues.