Wednesday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while starting a business. (h/t @Massaconsin)

It's a slow news day, so we'll lead with potentially outdated information: Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar noted that Jon Heyman is listing the Brewers as one of twelve teams interested in free agent reliever Brian Fuentes. Fuentes turns 35 in April and posted a 2.81 ERA in 48 appearances between the Angels and Twins last season. He's believed to be seeking a three year deal.

It's possible the Brewers inquired on Fuentes before signing Takashi Saito, but it seems unlikely they're still interested now. If nothing else the 40 man roster is full, so someone would have to be removed to make room for the latest multi-year deal for a late-30's pitcher.

If the Brewers did manage to sign Fuentes he'd likely fill the last open slot in the bullpen, ending this spring training competition before it began: Bernie's Crew has a look at the nine pitchers projected to battle for the final spot on the Opening Day roster.

Bernie's Crew also has a look at Casey McGehee's increasing tendency to swing at pitches outside the strike zone, which might have led to some of his power decline last season.

Fortunately it hasn't come up much this offseason, but it's probably time for the Brewers to shed the "small market" label. This report at FanGraphs showed the Brewers' final 2010 payroll at $94.5 million, the 13th highest in baseball. (h/t to Gaslamp Ball, who also noted that the Padres, not the Marlins, had baseball's lowest total.)

Elsewhere at FanGraphs, Jesse Wolfersberger's study of microeconomics and offense shows the Brewers ranking well above league average in on base percentage but only slightly below average in terms of stranding runners on base. Say it with me: The offense is not the problem.

Early projections continue to trickle in: The Replacement Level Yankees Weblog has unveiled their latest CAIRO projections for 2011 and they have the Brewers at 87.2 wins, three games back of the Cardinals. They're projected to make the playoffs 36.7% of the time. (h/t R.J. Anderson)

No transactions today.

Today's former Brewer note is a somewhat depressing one: Lone Star Ball's lunchtime pop quiz yesterday asked readers to name six players who had retired in the 2000's with at least 8000 career plate appearances and an OPS under .750. It turns out five of the six are former Brewers: B.J. Surhoff, Devon White, Marquis Grissom, Royce Clayton and Tony Fernandez.

A side note: I didn't understand the rules so I accidentally "spoiled" that quiz by checking my work before posting correct answers. So, if the handful (or more) of you that hate me are looking for a new place to congregate and/or recruit followers, that thread might be a good place to try.

It's relevant to nothing but I thought it was interesting: Larry Stone of the Seattle Times has a great post on the lone sub-.500 playoff team in major league history, and a consideration of what might have been if the AL West had been allowed to play out in 1994.

Today in sad news: Adam McCalvy reports that former Brewer exec Bill Lajoie has passed away. He was 76. Lajoie spent two years working under Dean Taylor in the early '00s.

With help from the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to:

Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time to get serious.

Drink up.

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