Some things to read while maintaining the separation.
After a pretty quiet week, the Brewers finally gave us some minor roster moves to discuss yesterday: Needing to clear two spots on the roster to make room for Manny Parra and Mitch Stetter's reinstatements, the Brewers outrighted infielder Josh Wilson and pitcher Mark DiFelice to Nashville (FanShot). Both players will be minor league free agents.
As I mentioned last week, the fact that Wilson was left off the postseason roster probably told you almost everything you need to know about the team's faith in his ability to contribute anything notable going forward. I, like many, wish he would've been given a more extended opportunity to compete for playing time at shortstop but he hit .227/.266/.360 in 54 games for the Brewers this season, so it's not like he lit the world on fire when given a shot.
It's hard to tell what this decision means for Mark DiFelice, who made it all the way back to the big leagues this season but made just three appearances before being sent back to Nashville and finishing the season on the minor league DL. The organization stuck with DiFelice through a season-long rehab project in 2010, so it's possible he'll feel like he owes it to them to stick around. With that said, the best move he could make for his career is probably to look elsewhere for a team willing to give him a better shot next spring.
Elsewhere in minor roster moves, the team re-signed infielder Edwin Maysonet to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training (FanShot) and activated reliever Brandon Kintzler off the DL. Tom Haudricourt says Kintzler is healthy enough to pitch now and hoping to get a few innings in the AFL.
We're also heading into offseason surgery season. Chris Narveson kicked it off this week by having an arthroscopic prodcedure performed on his left hip to repair a chronic issue (FanShot). He's expected to be ready in time for Opening Day.
Lost in all of this is a really weird symmetry angle. While Chris Narveson is recovering from his surgery, Mitch Stetter is in Arizona rehabbing from a smiliar procedure, and he points out that Manny Parra also had hip surgery last winter. I'm not sure if three left handed pitchers with similar injuries at the same time is a trend, but it's certainly an interesting coincidence.
Looking ahead, the Brewers are hopefully about to become players in this market: The Outside Corner has a look at the top ten free agent shortstops available this winter. Yuniesky Betancourt is ninth on the list.
Elsewhere in pending free agencies: Noah Isaacs of FanGraphs has a preview of the upcoming relief pitching market, and lists both LaTroy Hawkins and Takashi Saito as "near replacement level" options. I recognize that age is a factor in the likely future value of both pitchers, but that still seems like an underestimation of their abilities.
Hawkins, by the way, will represent the Brewers on a team of major leaguers playing an exhibition series in Taiwan starting next week. The games in that series will be televised on MLB Network.
Meanwhile, here's another note on the upcoming Prince Fielder sweepstakes: Chris Jenkins of the AP watched Theo Epstein's introductory press conference in Chicago yesterday and said Epstein was "not giving off a 'let's buy Prince' vibe."
Award season is upon us, but this is a pretty unique case: On Friday John Axford will be in Chicago attending the American Mustache Institute's "'Stache Bash." He's a nominee for the institute's "Robert Goulet Memorial Mustached American of the Year" award.
Elsewhere in awards: Prince Fielder appears to have locked up the voting for the #2 spot on our MVBrewer list, but there's still time to cast your vote if you haven't yet. Here's the profile for MVBrewer #1, Ryan Braun.
In the minors:
- Last night's AFL game was rained out, but Caleb Gindl went 1-for-4 with a walk in Caracas' 7-2 win over Aragua in Venezuelan action. You can read about that and more in today's Winter League Notes.
- 2011 Wisconsin reliever Casey Medlen and Helena outfielder Max Walla are on Twitter. I've added them to the list.
Recent financial reports don't have a lot of good news for Journal Communications, parent company of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and WTMJ, but there is this: The company's radio division, fueled largely by the Brewers' extended playoff run, was the only part of the company that saw revenues go up this year over the third quarter of 2010.
This is one of the cooler projects I've seen in a while: Reader Jon Baas is using Baseball Mogul to replay the 2011 Brewer season, and using this Facebook page to crowdsource managerial decisions to see if all of us working together can take this team to the World Series. I'd strongly encourage you to go check it out.
Athletics: Claimed pitcher Evan Scribner and outfielder Cedric Hunter off waivers from the Padres and declined reliever Michael Wuertz's 2012 option.
Padres: Catcher Rob Johnson has been removed from the 40 man roster and elected to become a free agent.
Red Sox: Promoted assistant GM Ben Cherington to general manager and announced that pitcher John Lackey will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the 2012 season.
Royals: Hired former Yankee coach Dave Eiland to be their new pitching coach.
Twins: Declined pitcher Joe Nathan's 2012 club option.
World Series play resumes tonight...but once again the dreaded "weather permitting" tag is out. It's expected to rain pretty steadily in St. Louis today, and MLB has supposedly scheduled a meeting for 1 pm to discuss the possibility of postponing tonight's game. Of course, many of you will remember that baseball had a similar situation in St. Louis before NLCS Game 3 and that contest was played without incident.
While the Rangers and Cardinals finish up the World Series, executives across baseball are hanging around waiting for the offseason to start. Free agency begins five days following the last World Series game, so if the Rangers finish the series off tonight then the market will open on Tuesday.
The coaching carousel, however, isn't waiting for the World Series to end. The Red Sox reportedly had some interest in Blue Jays manager John Farrell for their vacancy, causing Toronto to alter its policy to prevent employees to interview for lateral moves.
Today in former Brewers: The B-Ref Blog is listing Dave Nilsson's 1999 season as the ninth best ever for a 29 year old catcher. He's in some relatively elite company on that list.
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History remembers infielder Gus Polidor, who would have turned 50 today. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also the 52nd anniversary of the day when the Milwaukee Braves released Andy Pafko, ending his major league career. Pafko was a Brave for each of the franchise's first seven seasons in Milwaukee, patrolling the outfield and batting .275/.324/.411.
Now, if you'll excuse me, the string is tangled again.