Friday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while verifying.

The Brewers made a relatively minor roster move yesterday, but it was an interesting one: Just a couple of days after clearing a spot on the 40 man roster to make room for Mitch Stetter, the organization turned around and outrighted him to AAA (FanShot). Stetter, who has been rehabbing from hip surgery, now has the right to become a free agent.

Stetter, who the Brewers drafted in the 16th round in 2003, was on track to be arbitration eligible for the first time this winter. He's appeared in at least a handful of games in every Brewer season since 2007, posting a 4.08 ERA over 132 appearances, but over half of those games came in 2009 when he posted a 3.60 ERA and recorded his only career save. Over his career he's held lefties to a .190/.310/.355 line, and he probably could have been a useful piece out of the bullpen in 2011 if he'd been healthy down the stretch.

All told, I'd be surprised if the Brewers don't re-sign Stetter to a minor league deal and invite him to big league camp in Maryvale. But, by giving him the chance to become a free agent they're creating the possibility he'll get a better offer elsewhere.

Elsewhere in the bullpen, John Axford won the voting for the #3 spot in our Most Valuable Brewer voting. You can see his profile here. Axford, by the way, was a guest on ESPN Radio's Scott Van Pelt Show yesterday. He's a candidate to receive the "Mustached American of the Year" award in Chicago tonight, facing competition like Mike Ditka, Herman Cain and "Chicago Tribune online ambassador Colonel Tribune."

Meanwhile, MVBrewer voting continues today: Yovani Gallardo is running away with the voting for the #4 spot.

Maybe if he had wasted a few less outs, he'd be higher in the rankings: ACTA Sports notes that Nyjer Morgan went 15-for-17 in sacrifice bunt attempts this season, one of the best success rates in the majors. In all cases, though, he surrendered an out with men on base in front of Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. So maybe they're more like "successes."

Looking ahead, Adam McCalvy has today's position-by-position offseason preview.

I guess we're going to spend a fair amount of time this winter discussing Prince Fielder's weight and its implications for his long term performance. Ryan Campbell of FanGraphs took a shot at it, using a relatively small sample size of past sluggers with above average size to form a projection. In the end he concludes that "it is clear that his (Fielder's) best days are behind him." That made my head hurt a little.

Fielder and Ryan Braun, by the way, made The Sporting News' postseason NL All Star team.

The list of this season's Super 2 arbitration eligible players is out, and George Kottaras is on it. He has two years and 149 days of major league service time, easily passing the cutoff. I doubt this will have a significant impact on the Brewers' decision to retain/not retain him, though, as it's unlikely he'll get a big payday in arbitration.

In the minors:

  • Baseball America is reporting the Brewers have re-signed pitchers Roque Mercedes and Jesus Sanchez and catcher Anderson De La Rosa to minor league deals. Mercedes is 25 and split 2010 between Brevard County and Huntsville, Sanchez is 24 and posted a 4.91 ERA in 30 appearances in his first shot at AA, and De La Rosa is 27 and caught 61 games for Huntsville.
  • Caleb Gindl had another good day in Venezuela yesterday, going 1-for-2 with a pair of walks and scoring twice in Caracas' 6-3 win over Zulia. You can read about that and more in today's Winter League Notes.
  • The Janesville Gazette's Peace and Glove blog interviewed 2011 draft pick Mitch Conner on Twitter.
  • Speaking of Twitter, 2011 Brevard County Manatee Maverick Lasker and Helena Brewer Adrian Williams are on it.

Around baseball:

Cardinals: Manager Tony La Russa has a mutual option in his contract for 2012, and is expected to return.
Cubs: Former interim GM Randy Bush is expected to remain with the team as an assistant GM.
Reds: Outfielder Fred Lewis and pitcher Chad Reineke have elected to become free agents.
Tigers: Are expected to exercise Jose Valverde's $9 million club option for 2012.

If you missed last night's World Series game, you missed some moments for the ages as a relatively sloppy game turned into a classic back-and-forth slugfest in the late innings. Before the game, though, Tony La Russa used the Moneyball movie as a jumping off point to complain about overemphasis of OBP. Dave Cameron of FanGraphs debunked his argument.

Today in baseball economics: ChicagoBusiness.com is reporting the state of Illinois is examining its deal with White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who pays just $1.5 million annually for the rights to use US Cellular Field and several businesses around it built on state-owned land.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm conflicted.

Drink up.

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