Some things to read while making a deposit.
Long before the first robin of spring, we get this harbinger of things to come: Jeff Passan of Yahoo has the first Brewers Spring Training preview. It's heavy on credit for Doug Melvin for putting together a potential contender in 2011.
The Baseball Opinion, though, has the opposite side of the coin. They say Doug Melvin is on the hot seat, and "if things don't work out well for the Brewers this upcoming season, it's probably an easy bet that the team will have a new GM by this time next year."
Once the Brewers report to Maryvale, a fair number of eyes will likely focus on Shaun Marcum. Vaughn's Valley listed him as the #6 Brewer Critical to 2011 Success. Baseball America has a look at the trade that brought him to Milwaukee, but it's subscriber-only.
This weekend we learned that Jeremy Reed will also be in camp: The Brewers signed him to a minor league deal with an NRI (FanShot).Reed is 29 and a very good defensive outfielder, but pretty poor offensively (.253/.311/.356 over seven major league seasons). I'd guess he's a long shot to make the team at this point, and will most likely patrol center field in Nashville.
It's unlikely Reed will factor into this conversation, but Satchel Price of Beyond the Box Score has a somewhat skeptical view of Carlos Gomez as an everyday player. He says "don't be surprised if (Chris) Dickerson is Milwaukee's primary center fielder by the middle of the summer."
Elsewhere in transactions, the Brewers avoided arbitration with Kameron Loe (FanShot). He'll make $1.25 million this season with an extra $115,000 in incentives that could be reached if he makes 78 appearances.
Here's an interesting note on Brewer pitching: We all know that the staff was pretty bad last season, but the B-Ref Blog notes that they tied for third in all of baseball with five pitchers averaging more than a strikeout per inning.
A big season from Ryan Braun would go a long way towards pushing the Brewers into contention this season. Braun was the only Brewer to make Jayson Stark's All-Underrated Team.
For the first time in a long time, it seems relatively likely that the Brewers won't be able to sign Rickie Weeks to a long term deal before he becomes a free agent following the season. The Beer Pen thinks Weeks will be gone next year. Here's what Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker had to say:
Personally, I think the ideal contract extension for Weeks would go three seasons, which would take him through his age 31 year. Of course, that might not be enough to keep Rickie around.
Here's another reminder of how far the Brewers have come: Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar has a season preview from 2002.
In the minors:
- The Journal Sentinel has a nice look at Mark Rogers and his resurrection as the Brewers' #1 prospect. Rogers is also #1 in Brewerprospects.com's annual ranking of Brewer farmhands.
- When I went to bed last night, Khris Davis and Eric Arnett were neck-and-neck in the race for the 17th and final spot in our BCB prospect rankings. Between then and this morning, Cameron Garfield picked up roughly 100 votes to take the spot. If anyone knows anything about how that happened, I'd love to hear it.
I know we're all over the map on the Packers here: some of us are fans, some of us aren't fans, and some of us don't like football, but at least there's this: In-Between Hops notes that there will only be nine days between the Super Bowl and the day pitchers and catchers report.
Angels: Acquired outfielder Vernon Wells from the Blue Jays for outfielder Juan Rivera and catcher Mike Napoli.
Blue Jays: Designated pitcher Rommie Lewis for assignment.
Cardinals: Signed infielder Nick Punto to a one year, $700,000 deal.
Mets: Signed pitcher Blaine Boyer to a minor league deal.
Rangers: Avoided arbitration with pitcher Darren O'Day ($1.215 million).
Rays: Signed Johnny Damon ($5.25 million) and Manny Ramirez ($2 million) to one year deals.
Rockies: Avoided arbitration with pitcher Jason Hammel (two years, $7.75 million).
Royals: Signed first baseman Billy Butler to a four year, $30 million contract extension.
White Sox: Exercised manager Ozzie Guillen's club option for 2012.
Today in former Brewers:
- Bill Hall is predicting big things for the 2011 Astros.
- The Nationals Enquirer wants Todd Coffey to run with the Racing Presidents.
- Minor League Ball has a look back at Trevor Hoffman's career.
- The Golden Sombrero ranks Jake Odorizzi as baseball's 35th best prospect.
- Frank Catalanotto is on Twitter. (h/t @wezen_ball)
- Felipe Lopez is still on the market.
- Former Brewer third base coach Rich Donnelly will manage the Brooklyn Cyclones (Mets, Low A) in 2011.
Today in sabermetrics:
- Once upon a time I tried a project similar to this myself, but Joe Posnanski did a better job of tackling the value of a walk.
- Jeff Zimmerman of FanGraphs has the third and final installment in his look at starting pitchers and the disabled list.
Relevant to nothing, but we have a new candidate for the minor leagues' best name: I'd like to introduce new Marlins prospect Jean Carlos Batman.
On this day in 1973 Warren Spahn was elected to the Hall of Fame, appearing on 316 of 380 ballots. In twelve seasons as a Milwaukee Brave Spahn went 234-138, pitched complete games in 232 of his 399 starts, won a Cy Young Award, finished in the top five in Cy Young voting five times, finished in the top five in MVP voting four times, and was a nine time All Star.
- 1995 Brewer Rob Dibble, who turns 47 today.
- Seattle Pilot and 1970 Brewer Sandy Valdespino, who turns 72 today.
- 1999 Brewer Charlie Greene, who turned 40 on Sunday.
- 1975-76 Brewer Kurt Bevacqua, who turned 64 on Sunday.
- 1971-72 Brewer Paul Ratliff, who turned 67 on Sunday.
- Brevard County Manatee Brock Kjeldgaard, who turned 25 on Saturday.
- 1977-84 Brewer Mike Caldwell, who turned 62 on Saturday.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to find some figs.