Some things to read while taking a break.
We start today with a headline I don't think any of us expected to see this week: The Brewers have a new manager and it's Ron Roenicke, the same guy Jon Heyman listed as their fourth choice over the weekend (FanShot). Roenicke reportedly met one-on-one with Mark Attanasio on Monday night before the other candidates were informed of the decision yesterday morning. There's a ton of reaction coming in from around the web, and nearly all of it is positive:
- Rays manager Joe Maddon is a former colleague of Roenicke's with the Angels, and said the Brewers are "getting a really bright baseball person, and one of the most honest people I've met in my life." He also said Roenicke is "a guy who is very good on details, really well-thought out and well-prepared."
- Roenicke reportedly received endorsements from Maddon, former Angels GM Bill Stoneman and Brian Anderson.
- Padres manager Bud Black also coached alongside Roenicke in Anaheim, and said, "What I like about Ron the most is he's a realist and a straight shooter. He tells it like it is. He'll look you in the eye and tell you."
- Torii Hunter said Roenicke "picks up everything. Any signals or weaknesses he sees, and the next thing you know I know about it. He's really helped me a lot."
- Miller Park Drunk loves the move.
- Jordan Schelling says he "couldn't be happier" to hear the final choice is not Bobby Valentine.
- 61% of the Journal Sentinel voters approve too.
- Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar says "it's not necessarily an indicator of future success, but it's hard to argue with how well other Scioscia disciples have fared as managers."
- View From Bernie's Chalet says the fact that Roenicke beat out Bob Melvin, Bobby Valentine and Joey Cora "says a lot about Roenicke's credentials."
- Keep Turnin' Up the Heat! says they're "not crazy about hiring someone from the Angels," who "play the type of baseball I can't stand to watch."
- Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker says he's "just glad that the search is over and the team can start addressing the product on the field."
If you'd like more on Roenicke, here's the scouting report we posted a couple of weeks ago and another one from Batter's Box Interactive. If you're worried about pronunciation, here's your guide, courtesy of Rev Halofan:
It's Ren (like Ren and Stimpy) ick (like gross) KEY (this is the syllable you emphasize)
- They declined Doug Davis, Trevor Hoffman and Gregg Zaun's options for 2010, paying them $1 million, $750,000 and $250,000 to go away, respectively.
- They claimed reliever Justin James off waivers from the A's.
- They added catcher Martin Maldonado to the 40 man roster.
James is a 29 year old right handed reliever who made his major league debut in September. Before that, he split 2010 between AA and AAA, posting a 1.83 with 49 strikeouts and just 16 walks in 39.1 innings. Adam McCalvy noted that he's tall (6'3") and throws hard (94), so he fits the organization's new stated priorities. Jane Lee of MLB.com wrote this story about him when he was called up to the A's. (h/t McCalvy)
Maldonado has a reputation as an excellent defensive catcher with weak offensive skills. He's a career .225/.300/.303 hitter in seven minor league seasons, and hit .239/.310/.374 while splitting time between Brevard County, Huntsville and Nashville in 2010. I believe he would have been eligible for minor league free agency if the Brewers hadn't added him to the 40 man roster. He's unlikely to make the team this spring, but would likely be called up to serve as an emergency catcher if someone goes down.
Meanwhile, you can mark Detroit down as the first rumored offseason destination for Prince Fielder: TigerBlog reports the Tigers are rumored to have interest in acquiring him, but they're not sure how he'd fit into their defensive alignment.
Like the rest of the Mug, this paragraph is "for entertainment purposes only:" Bodog has the Brewers at 65:1 to win the 2011 World Series. Those are the eighth longest odds in all of baseball, ahead of only the Pirates, Nationals, Diamondbacks, Indians, Royals, Orioles and Mariners.
In the minors:
- Jeremy Jeffress had an impressive day in the AFL yesterday, pitching two scoreless innings for Surprise. Jason Grey of ESPN reports that Jeffress hit 100 on the gun and had a couple of nice curveballs in his best AFL performance. Adam Foster of Project Prospect has a gif of Jeffress' fastball.
- John Steinmiller is in Arizona watching the Brewer prospects in the AFL and has quotes from Jeffress and new Brewer Justin James, along with several pictures from yesterday's action.
- Jeffress and outfielder Caleb Gindl will represent the Brewers in this weekend's AFL Rising Stars Game.
- Michael Fiers also had a nice outing this week, pitching four scoreless innings for Surprise on Monday. Danny Wild of MLB.com says Fiers has been working on a cutter this fall.
Minor League Baseball Prospects projects Brett Lawrie to be baseball's eighth best hitter under age 25 in 2015.
I'm headed out to Arizona for spring training for the first time next season, but if I had done a better job of thinking it through I'd have planned an AFL trip instead. Minda Haas has a look at low attendance at AFL games and the potential reasons for it. (h/t Royals Review)
Athletics: Exercised outfielder Coco Crisp's option for 2011. He'll make $5.75 million. (h/t Baseball Musings) Pitcher Boof Bonser rejected an outright assignment to the minors and is now a free agent.
Braves: Exercised infielder Alex Gonzalez and Omar Infante's contract options for 2011 for $2.5 million each, re-signed reliever Scott Proctor and declined options for reliever Kyle Farnsworth and outfielder Rick Ankiel.
Diamondbacks: Declined first baseman Adam LaRoche's option for 2011. He's now a free agent.
Marlins: Will retain interim manager Edwin Rodriguez.
Orioles: Declined pitcher Mark Hendrickson's option for 2011. He's now a free agent.
Padres: Catcher Yorvit Torrealba and pitcher Jon Garland declined their halves of mutual options for 2011, and are now free agents. The team exercised first baseman Adrian Gonzalez's 2011 option for $6.2 million.
White Sox: Re-signed Omar Vizquel to a one year, $1.75 million deal.
Yankees: Pitcher Chad Gaudin rejected an outright assignment to the minors and is now a free agent.
The Brewers are unlikely to make a major splash in free agency this offseason, but this would be one interesting way to do it: Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma has been posted, and teams have until Friday to bid for exclusive negotiation rights with him. Iwakuma is 29 and posted a 2.81 ERA in 153 strikeouts in 201 innings in Japan this season. Several teams are expected to bid more than $10 million for his posting fee.
The World Series is over, but will the Rangers continue to pay the price for participating? Baseball Think Factory has a link to an interesting note exploring the possibility that a month of extra baseball may have a negative impact on their pitching next season.
On this day in 1981 Rollie Fingers won the AL Cy Young Award, receiving 22 of the 28 first place votes. Exactly one year later Pete Vuckovich won the award, getting 14 of the 28 votes.
Happy birthday today to Brevard County Manatee Daniel Meadows, who turns 23.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to pack a lunch.