Wednesday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while waiting it out.

It's speculation season, but there's a reason it's also called "silly season." Yesterday Peter Gammons reported that the Brewers could consider trading Ryan Braun this offseason, and listed the Red Sox as a potential destination (h/t Jeff Sherman). There's next to no chance the Brewers would ever consider such a deal: Braun is under team control for five more years and makes $12 million or less each season. Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar says this rumor is "The Stupidest Thing You'll Hear This Winter," and as long as you steer clear of the JS comments he's probably right. Adam McCalvy is also skeptical.

It's actually probably more likely (maybe 1% vs .1%) the Brewers will sign Cliff Lee than trade Ryan Braun. In-Between Hops says the Brewers should go for it, and "signing Cliff Lee would immediately make them a top contender in the NL Central." At Pocket Doppler Brian Carriveau listed ten pitchers the Brewers could potentially acquire this winter, including Lee.

Elsewhere on the free agent front, Derrek Lee's name continues to come up and I'm still not sure I understand why. Toby Harrmann says he could live with a contract for Lee if the Brewers were certain his laundry list of injuries had healed, but that seems unlikely. And, of course, the Brewers would have to have traded Prince Fielder for any deal with Lee to make sense.

Here's some news on the Brewers' outgoing free agents:

  • Jeff Passan of Yahoo ranked this offseason's free agents from 1-164 and Chris Capuano (#91) is the only Brewer to crack the top 100. Dave Bush (102), Craig Counsell (106), Gregg Zaun (113), Trevor Hoffman (156) and Doug Davis (162) were all in the bottom 64. (h/t Howie Magner)
  • Trevor Hoffman told Barry Bloom of MLB.com he's going to weigh his options before deciding if he'll retire this offseason. It still seems likely he'll hang up his spikes but there's an outside chance he could end up closing in Arizona under former Padres GM Kevin Towers.
  • Gregg Zaun, meanwhile, is interested in returning to the Rays.

Looking further ahead, the Brewers unveiled their spring training schedule yesterday. I'll likely finalize my plans for my first-ever trip to Arizona this week.

Ron Roenicke continues to settle into his new office, and Adam McCalvy has another look at the new manager and the tree he was plucked off of. Roenicke also continues to work on filling out his coaching staff and had interest in former Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu before he decided to take the bench coach job in Toronto.

Elsewhere on the coaching front:

Awards week got underway yesterday with the announcement of the AL Gold Gloves, and continues today with the NL's fielding awards (Spoiler alert: There won't be any Brewers.). Looking ahead to the MVP race, though, J.C. Bradbury of Sabernomics ranked Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder as the NL's 11th and 16th most valuable position players, respectively.

Alcides Escobar may win a Gold Glove someday, but today likely will not be that day. Lee Panas of Tiger Tales averaged four defensive metrics and estimated Escobar's defense at +2 runs this season, tied for tenth among 22 shortstops studied.

Elsewhere in statistics: Yesterday I mentioned that Bill James' 2011 projections are now available at FanGraphs. Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar has a look at some of the more notable Brewer results.

And elsewhere in sabermetrics: Every now and then we have a conversation about the somewhat false notion that Miller Park is a hitter's park. At the new Roto Hardball site, Jack Moore has a graph comparing wRC+ (runs created) to wOBA that shows Milwaukee as tied for baseball's third most pitcher-friendly environment.

In the minors:

  • Minor League free agency officially opened this week. Baseball America has the full list of 533 players that hit the market, including Chuck Lofgren, Angel Salome, Norris Hopper and 14 other Brewer farmhands.
  • Dan Merklinger had a pretty good day in the AFL yesterday, starting for Phoenix and posting three hitless innings. Danny Wild of MLB.com has quotes from Merklinger on the outing and switching AFL teams.

Around baseball:

Reds: Outfielder Laynce Nix was removed from the 40 man roster and is now a free agent.
Twins: Signed pitcher Eric Hacker to a major league deal.

It wouldn't be award season if we didn't have a terrible decision to discuss. Derek Jeter won his fifth Gold Glove yesterday despite ranking 46th out of 47 shortstops in fielding runs this season, according to Baseball Reference.

For teams looking for a middle infielder this offseason, the market might be about to present another interesting option: Japanese 2B/SS Tsuyoshi Nishioka may be posted this week.

The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are expected to unveil their new logos later this week, but the bar has been set pretty high: For my money, these new Asheville Tourists logos are the best I've seen this offseason.

On this day in 1964 the Braves signed a 25 year lease for Atlanta's new Fulton County Stadium. They went on to play one more season in Milwaukee before departing for the south.

Happy birthday today to:

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some shopping to do.

Drink up.

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