Wednesday's Frosty Mug

Here's a picture of Prince Fielder taken last December. I'd say it's safe to say he's put some weight back on since then.

Some things to read while cleaning out your locker.

For me, at least, the offseason started yesterday. As such, it's time to start looking ahead: MLB Daily Dish has some suggestions for how the Brewers can avoid the "mid-market peak." Off The Bench also says the 2012 Brewers shouldn't be counted out.

In a related note: Bodog has released odds on Prince Fielder's eventual free agent landing spot, with the Cubs the current favorite at 3/1 and the Brewers sixth at 11/2. Babes Love Baseball has a look at his pending decision, while Tyler Lockman wonders why Miami isn't being considered as a serious candidate. In a related note to this related note, Fielder is the overwhelming favorite to receive Dayn Perry's latest nickname: "Good, Round Friend."

Assuming Fielder doesn't return, where does that leave the Brewers? Eno Sarris of FanGraphs has a look at how other teams have responded to losing a player of his caliber.

Elsewhere in unusually-shaped major leaguers, Frankie De La Cruz will most likely return to the Brewers in 2012. Seedlings to Stars used the Pitch f/x data from FDLC's first extended major league action in 2011 to get a good look at his stuff.

While I (and presumably many of you) start to look ahead, there's still time for others to take one last look back. Howie Magner has his final thoughts on the 2011 season, as does Call To The Pen. Miller Park Drunk still doesn't seem to be taking it well.

Ron Roenicke talked to WTMJ yesterday morning, telling Jay Sorgi the Brewers "didn't play as well as we would have liked to" in the NLCS. UW-La Crosse economics professor Michael Haupert makes the case in the Washington Post for Ron Roenicke to be considered baseball's best manager.

Putting it this way makes it seem so far away: John and Cait note that the countdown to Opening Day 2012 is at 169 days. I prefer to look at it as roughly 125 days until pitchers and catchers report to Maryvale.

In the minors:

  • Dan Szymborski of Baseball Think Factory has released his 2011 zMLE's, an attempt to translate hitters' minor league performances last season into a major league equivalent. Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs noted that Taylor Green had baseball's second best zMLE.
  • It was a relatively quiet day for Brewers in the AFL yesterday, but Erick Almonte went 2-for-5 with a double and scored two runs in Gigantes' 5-3 win over Escogido in the Dominican Republic. You can read about that and more in today's Winter League Notes.
  • Elsewhere in the AFL, The Outside Corner has scouting reports for Kentrail Davis, Logan Schafer, Scooter Gennett, Cody Scarpetta, Tyler Thornburg and several of their teammates on the Peoria Javelinas.
  • Baseball America has a report card for the Brewers' 2011 draft, but it's subscriber-only.

Here's a cool, somewhat under publicized note: The Brewers donated 150 saplings to be planted along the Hank Aaron State Trail this season. Many have been planted this fall, with others due to be added next spring.

If you haven't yet, please take a moment today to vote in our BCB Tracking Poll dealing with the Brewer coaching staff and front office. The poll will remain open through the day today and results will be posted tomorrow.

Around baseball:

Indians: Outrighted outfielder Jerad Head and pitcher Mitch Talbot off the 40 man roster. Both players will be free agents.
Nationals: Returned Rule 5 pick Elvin Ramirez to the Mets.
Phillies
: Outrighted outfielder Brandon Moss and infielder Pete Orr off the 40 man roster. They'll both be free agents.

The World Series opens tonight, but if you haven't picked a favorite yet you're not alone: Ryan Braun told Adam McCalvy he's not rooting for either team in the Fall Classic. Personally, I'd just like a quick series so the offseason can officially get going.

What does the Brewers' 2011 success mean for other small market teams? Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star says the Brewers (and Cardinals) have provided a template the Royals can follow to success.

Today in former Brewers:

It seems unlikely to be included in the new CBA, but several US Senators are making a push for MLB to ban the use of smokeless tobacco on the field. It's rare to see a camera shot into the Brewer dugout where you can't spot at least one guy with an obvious wad of chew in his mouth.

Here's something to get your brain going this morning: Sporcle wants you to name the 100 players who have reached 200 hits in a season since 1989. I limited myself to five minutes and was able to name 64. (h/t Lone Star Ball) By the way, the Thursday Thinker will likely resume tomorrow.

If you're looking for something else to do until then, Teenage Mutant Ninja Noses is good for a laugh.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to explain the definition of "first pitch."

Drink up.

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