Tuesday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while firing a driver.

The Brewers announced their 2011 coaching staff yesterday, and it features a couple of newcomers: Former Reds and Rangers manager Jerry Narron will be Ron Roenicke's bench coach, and former Marlins and Orioles manager Rick Kranitz will take over the pitching coach duties. Longtime Brewer minor league coach Garth Iorg (pronounced "orge") will be the first base coach, with Ed Sedar (moving from first to third), Stan Kyles and Dale Sveum returning from last year's staff. (FanShot)

If you weren't around last night, you might have missed this post with quick bios of the three new hires. Ron Roenicke has no previous experience with any of the members of his first coaching staff, but told Tom Haudricourt he did have input into each hiring.

Kranitz's hiring means the Brewers decided not to retain Rick Peterson, despite the fact that he still has a year remaining on his contract and is owed $450,000 (FanShot). It's still possible Peterson could be reassigned within the organization, but it also wouldn't surprise me if he's not. Tom Haudricourt talked to Peterson, who said he's disappointed to be leaving the team but is glad his biomechanics system will remain in place.

Here are a couple of relatively interesting reactions to the Peterson dismissal from around the web:

  • Jon Heyman says he's not surprised the Brewers let Peterson go, saying the team "wanted to purge selves of all vestiges of Macha regime." Heyman mustn't be aware of the fact that three coaches from Macha's 2010 staff (Dale Sveum, Ed Sedar and Stan Kyles) are returning.
  • Nicole is hoping Rick Kranitz will carry over some of Peterson's memorable features.
  • Craig Calcaterra was reminded of Office Space.

Peterson might land on his feet, though. Despite only having been unemployed for about 24 hours, he's already a candidate for the same job with the Yankees.

Elsewhere in former Brewer employees: Ken Macha is reportedly a candidate to become the Mets bench coach, once they're done hiring a manager.

Meanwhile, Doug Melvin is in Florida this week, attending the annual GM meetings and starting the search for pitching. He also surprised some people a bit with this quote regarding Prince Fielder (FanShot):

"We're not shopping Prince,'' said the Brewers GM. "I'd like to keep him. He's a homegrown player who wants to play every inning of every game. But we'd like to get something done by the end of the off-season. I don't want to negotiate during the year."

This should probably be taken with a grain of salt. It's posturing season, after all, and it wouldn't be the first time we've seen Melvin say one thing and do the opposite. But it's still interesting.

Beyond that, don't expect much news to come out of this week's meetings. Yankees GM Brian Cashman told ESPN New York that no deals will happen this week, noting that GMs are in meetings eight hours each day and have little time to conduct team business.

Elsewhere in inactivity: The Brewers still aren't projected to do much on the free agent market. Four Hardball Times writers predicted the eventual destination of 31 free agents and the Brewers were mentioned just one time, on one ballot (Jorge De La Rosa).

If they wanted to be active on the "buy-low" market, though, an opportunity may be presenting itself: The Braves outrighted pitcher Kenshin Kawakami off of their 40 man roster yesterday. He posted a 5.15 ERA in 87.1 innings in 2010, but Jack Moore of FanGraphs and Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar noted that his peripheral numbers are still good and he's a likely candidate to bounce back next season.

Here's another potential minor deal: Jon Paul Morosi is reporting the Brewers have interest in signing utility infielder Jack Hannahan. Hannahan spent the 2010 season in the minors but is a career .224/.311/.347 hitter over four major league seasons. He's played mostly at third base, but made brief appearances at both second base and shortstop in the majors and minors.

As of this morning, 50% of voters in this poll think the Brewers shouldn't be trading prospects away this offseason. It's worth noting, though, that the Padres have expressed interest in Brett Lawrie and likely do have pitching to trade.

We didn't talk about Rickie Weeks' defense as much as we usually do this year, mainly because we were too busy watching his offensive explosion. It's worth noting, though, that Weeks' defense remains a concern: Lee Panas of Tiger Tales averaged four defensive metrics and estimates Weeks at -5 runs, 16th out of 19 players studied.

Speaking of offensive explosions from below-average defenders: David Pinto of Baseball Musings recently featured Corey Hart as part of his Players A to Z series, and has a look at how Hart's slugging percentage on balls in various locations in and around the strike zone changed between seasons.

It's possible Carlos Villanueva has pitched in his last game as a Brewer, as he's a non-tender candidate this offseason. At least getting rid of him would speed up the game a bit: This Beyond the Box Score study shows Villanueva as baseball's fifth slowest-working pitcher in 2010.

In the minors:

  • Adam Foster of Project Prospect answered a reader question yesterday about Jeremy Jeffress, characterizing him as "an adrenaline guy" who will likely slot into the bullpen. Foster also has video of Jeffress warming up.
  • Speaking of Project Prospect, they've made their scouting reports of last season's top 100 prospects available online. Follow that link to see what they had to say about Alcides Escobar, Brett Lawrie and Jonathan Lucroy.
  • MiLB.com unveiled the Brewers' organizational All Stars over the weekend with catcher Tyler Roberts, first baseman Joe Koshansky, second baseman Brett Lawrie, shortstop Zelous Wheeler, third baseman Mat Gamel, outfielders Brendan Katin, Erik Komatsu and Khris Davis, DH Chris Dennis and pitchers Kyle Heckathorn, Dan Merklinger and Chris Smith taking home the honors.

Last year, Caitlin Moyer of John & Cait...Plus Nine had a great series of features looking at the offseason activities of various Brewer team employees. She's starting that feature up again this year, and wants your vote for her first subject.

Around baseball:

Athletics: Claimed third baseman Edwin Encarnacion off waivers from the Blue Jays.
Diamondbacks: Signed infielder Geoff Blum to a two year, $2.7 million deal.
Dodgers: Signed pitcher Hiroki Kuroda to a one year, $12 million deal.
Indians: Signed pitcher Anthony Reyes to a minor league deal with an NRI.
Nationals: Signed reliever Tim Wood to a minor league deal and announced that reliever Joe Bisenius has rejected an outright assignment and is now a free agent.
Padres: Acquired outfielder Cameron Maybin from the Marlins for relievers Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica.
Phillies: Signed infielder Pete Orr, pitcher Eddie Bonine and catcher Erik Kratz to minor league deals and signed Jose Contreras to a two year, $5.5 million deal.
Pirates: Hired Rangers hitting coach Clint Hurdle to be their new manager.
Red Sox: Claimed pitcher Taylor Buchholz off waivers from the Blue Jays and acquired pitcher Andrew Miller from the Marlins for pitcher Dustin Richardson.
Reds: Signed catcher Ramon Hernandez to a one year, $3 million deal.
Royals: Signed reliever Steven Shell to a minor league deal.

Looking for something to watch tonight? At 7, MLB Network's Prime 9 series will look at the greatest infields in major league history, and I received an email this morning letting me know that the '82 Brewers will be featured.

The Brewers have made a fair number of headlines over the last couple of months as they fired Ken Macha and hired Ron Roenicke, but was it necessary? Craig Calcaterra makes the case that teams should give their managers more slack.

If we've learned anything over the last two decades, it's that one should never, ever, shovel dirt on the career of Jamie Moyer. Moyer left his Dominican Winter League team with elbow trouble but remains committed to rehabbing and pitching again, even if the elbow requires Tommy John surgery.

By now I'm sure you're familiar with Wezen-ball, where friend of the site Lar routinely posts some of the most fascinating and creative baseball content on the web. He's outdone himself with this one, though: Here's the explanation of his project creating a Periodic Table of Hall of Famers. Follow this link for a better look at the table.

We close with some sad news today: 1977 Brewer Ed Kirkpatrick has passed away at age 66, losing his battle with throat cancer. Kirkpatrick played the final 29 games of his major league career with the Brewers.

Happy birthday to:

  • 1961-65 Milwaukee Brave Frank Bolling, who turns 79 today.
  • Superior, WI native Morrie Arnovich, who would have turned 100 today. Arnovich played seven major league seasons between 1936-46 with the Phillies and two other teams, and was a 1939 All Star.
  • Wisconsin Timber Rattler Efrain Nieves, who turned 21 Monday.
  • Milwaukee native and 1997-98 Brewer Paul Wagner, who turned 43 Sunday.
  • 1993-96 Brewer Mark Kiefer, who turned 42 Saturday.
  • Racine native Ed Killian, who would have turned 134 Friday. Killian played eight major league seasons between 1903 and 1910, seven of them as a Tiger.

Now, if you'll excuse me, they're playing my song. (h/t Colin Fly)

Drink up.

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