Wednesday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while solving problems you don't have.

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and happy Truck Day. Sometime today, the Brewer equipment truck is scheduled to leave Milwaukee for Maryvale, where the weather is a little nicer and preparations are underway for spring training. If you're looking for an estimate on timeframes, here's a note from Better off Red that will give you a starting point: It took the Reds equipment truck slightly more than 30 hours to get to their facility in Goodyear, where it took the equipment staff one hour and eight minutes to unload.

Meanwhile, one more pitcher is packing for Maryvale as Scott Schoeneweis signed a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training yesterday (FanShot). Schoeneweis is coming off a very difficult year in Arizona, where he posted a 7.12 ERA for the Diamondbacks and missed significant time following the sudden and unexpected death of his wife. He's lefthanded and was recommended by Rick Peterson, so he'll come to camp as insurance for Mitch Stetter and a possible candidate to be a second lefty in the bullpen.

Schoeneweis will only get that opportunity, though, if the Brewers can find some innings for him. As Tom Haudricourt noted in a tweet yesterday, the Brewers are inviting 32 pitchers to major league camp, prompting Doug Melvin to say this in Adam McCalvy's post linked above:

"You never know, but you get to the point where you've got too many people," he (Melvin) said. "You don't want to be where nobody can get innings and nobody can get at-bats. We're probably getting close to that point. We're pretty deep right now."

A handful of those invitees (Alex Periard, Amaury Rivas, Mark Rogers, Cody Scarpetta, Eric Arnett and Kyle Heckathorn) probably won't be in camp very long, but that still leaves 26 pitchers needing spring training innings, which is a challenge that could become difficult to manage in a hurry.

While the truck is rolling towards Arizona, the Brewer front office staff is headed to St. Petersburg, Florida, where Corey Hart's arbitration hearing is scheduled for Thursday. Don't rule out the possibility of a last-minute agreement, but the Brewers say there haven't been any negotiations with Hart since January and do appear to have drawn a line in the sand.

Maybe it's not too late to add a Corey Hart Bobble-Contract: The Brewers announced their promotional giveaways for next season yesterday. I know it's the 40th anniversary season and all that, but one thing jumped out at me immediately: the Brewers are giving away six bobbleheads next season, and there's not a single current player featured.

Maybe next year there can be an Alcides Escobar Bobble. Brian Anderson has been getting a lot of questions about Escobar, and posted about the wide range of possible outcomes for the rookie shortstop this season. Escobar also came up yesterday in Baseball Musings' Players A to Z series.

As the season approaches, it's becoming more and more apparent that the health and productivity of Rickie Weeks will be a major factor for the 2010 Brewers. Baseball Reflections looked at the Brewer offseason position by position, and determined Weeks is the deciding factor when assigning it a positive or negative score. Hotstove.com recently asked two Brewer luminaries and myself to weigh in on Weeks, his outlook for 2010 and the possibility he could be moved.

In the minors:

  • Wisconsin Sports Tap has finished their position-by-position look at the minors and unveiled their Top 20 Brewer Prospects yesterday. They have Caleb Gindl (#6) and Logan Schafer (#8) much higher than we do in the Community Prospect Rankings, and are lower on Jake Odorizzi (#13) and Kentrail Davis (#16).
  • Wisconsin pitching coach Chris Hook sat down with Chris Mehring in the latest installment of The Interrogation Room.

If you're interested in more discussions about the Bud Selig statue outside Miller Park, Big League Stew has a debate. This is the third straight day it's come up, and it will likely be the last time I mention it unless something changes.

Around baseball:

Athletics: Released outfielder Willy Taveras.
Indians: Signed pitcher Jamey Wright to a minor league deal.
Mets: Avoided arbitration with Angel Pagan ($1.45 million) and claimed outfielder Jason Pridie off waivers from the Twins.
Nationals: Have reportedly reached a deal with Chien-Ming Wang.
Orioles: Re-signed pitcher Mark Hendrickson to a one year deal worth $1.4 million, signed reliever Will Ohman to a minor league deal and designated reliever Armando Gabino for assignment.
Padres: Placed pitcher Greg Burke on unconditional release waivers.
Twins: Signed Jacque Jones to a minor league deal, and designated outfielder Jason Pridie for assignment.

Last week I mentioned that the Mariners had signed Erik Bedard to a one year, $1.5 million deal with multiple incentives for innings pitched, starts and days on the active roster. USS Mariner has the breakdown of those incentives, and estimates Bedard could earn between $3.5 and $4.85 million if he is ready to pitch sometime between May 1 and June 1 and doesn't suffer any setbacks.

The Cubs and Mesa's plan to use a Cactus League-wide ticket surcharge to pay for a new stadium will probably be one of the spring's more interesting (and drawn out) stories. The Brewers have joined the opposition (h/t Brewerfan.net), and several Cactus League teams have joined forces and hired a lobbyist to argue against the legislation. Carrie Muskat's update for today included this quote:

"If it's a choice between this surcharge and the Cubs leaving for Florida, I would gladly put on my work gloves and help them pack up the truck," one Cactus League team official said.

So, it sounds like the Cubs' fellow Cactus League members are calling their bluff.

Landon Evanson of Bugs & Cranks has an interview with former Brewer Jim Abbott today. The Brewers don't come up, but Abbott's efforts to overcome adversity, his no-hitter at Yankee Stadium and his current work as a motivational speaker are all featured topics.

On this day in 1971, the Brewers acquired Andy Kosco from the Dodgers for starter Al Downing. Kosco would go on to appear in 98 games for the Brewers, hitting .227/.291/.379. Downing won 20 games in 1971, posting a 2.68 ERA in 262.1 innings for the Dodgers.

Kosco, by the way, was a journeyman before being a journeyman was cool: Between the end of the 1967 season and Opening Day 1973, he was an A, Twin, Yankee, Dodger, Brewer, Angel, Red Sox, and Red, in transactions that included a purchase, a Rule 5 selection, and five trades.

Happy birthday today to:

Drink up.

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