Monday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while summing it up nicely.

The Brewers got the offseason started on the right foot yesterday, announcing they're declining their 2012 club options for Yuniesky Betancourt and Francisco Rodriguez (FanShot). The Brewers paid the two players $6 million to go away, but that certainly beats paying them a combined $23.5 million to be Brewers next season. Tom Haudricourt says the Mets, not the Brewers, are actually paying most of Rodriguez's buyout.

This might not be the end of the road for Yuni, but it's a step closer to it. Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar wrote a eulogy for Betancourt's Brewer tenure, but Tom Haudricourt is still saying the organization could look to bring him back at a lower price. Meanwhile, Bay City Ball is predicting Betancourt will be the Giants' 2012 starting shortstop.

Betancourt and Rodriguez were among the eight Brewers to file for free agency yesterday (h/t MLBTR). The others were Craig Counsell, Prince Fielder, Jerry Hairston Jr, LaTroy Hawkins, Mark Kotsay and Takashi Saito (FanShot). The Brewers have five days to negotiate with these players before they hit the market, but Doug Melvin is currently in the Dominican Republic so it's unlikely any serious offers will be made.

Elsewhere in offseason renovations:

  • Brandon Berg of Chippewa.com has a look at the Brewers' options at first base, shortstop and third.
  • Clint Barmes is a name that's probably going to keep coming up. He's a Type B free agent, so the Astros would receive compensation if he leaves but the Brewers wouldn't have to give up their first round pick.

A lot was made of the Brewers' struggle to get production from the third base position this season, as Casey McGehee and the other hot corner custodians drove in just 67 runs in 2011. Larry Stone puts it in perspective, though: Mariners' third basemen only had 39 RBI all season.

Let's move on to today's Prince Fielder notes:

Meanwhile, the new collective bargaining agreement could hold some bad news for the Brewers and any other team losing a Type A or B free agent this winter: Jon Heyman is reporting that MLB is willing to give up free agent draft compensation if the union will agree to hard slotting for draft picks. If that happens, it could potentially cost the Brewers as many as four picks in 2012.

The potential loss of those compensation picks brings this prediction into question: Thomas Neumann of ESPN's Page 2 is picking the Brewers to win the World Series in 2020 (FanShot).

The mark the Brewers left on this postseason wasn't as big as many of us were hoping for, but at least they have this: Kevin Kaduk of Big League Stew listed Nyjer Morgan's walkoff NLDS winning single as October's tenth most memorable moment.

Last week I reported he didn't appear to be a serious candidate for the position, but apparently I was wrong: Tom Haudricourt says the Brewers have given the Red Sox permission to interview Dale Sveum for their managerial vacancy.

In the minors:

  • The AFL was off yesterday, but Michael Fiers pitched five scoreless innings en route to his first winter league win in Caracas' 5-0 victory over Magallanes in VWL play. You can read about that and more in today's Winter League Notes.
  • Brewersprospects.com has a 2011 season recap for Scooter Gennett.
  • 2011 Wisconsin Timber Rattler Daniel Britt and Nashville Sound Martin Maldonado (mostly in Spanish) are the latest minor leaguers to show up on Twitter.

Award season continued over the weekend, as John Axford was honored as the Robert Goulet Memorial Mustached American of the Year on Friday night (FanShot). Meanwhile, Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, John Axford and Doug Melvin have been nominated for Greatness in Baseball Yearly (GIBBY) awards.

Elsewhere in awards: Zack Greinke current has the lead by about 20 votes in the race for the #5 spot on our Most Valuable Brewers list. Follow the link to cast your vote, if you haven't already. If you missed it on Friday, Yovani Gallardo won the #4 spot and was profiled here.

Around baseball:

Angels: Hired former Diamondbacks assistant Jerry DiPoto as their new GM.
Astros
: Claimed catcher Craig Tatum off waivers from the Orioles.
Braves: Declined outfielder Nate McLouth's 2012 club option.
Cardinals: Manager Tony La Russa has decided to retire (FanShot). The club also exercised catcher Yadier Molina's $7 million club option for 2012.
Cubs: Third baseman Aramis Ramirez has declined his half of his 2012 mutual option and will be a free agent, while pitcher Ryan Dempster has exercised his $14 million player option.
Giants: Exercised pitcher Jeremy Affeldt's $5 million club option for 2012 and signed reliever Javier Lopez to a two year, $8.5 million extension.
Indians: Exercised pitcher Fausto Carmona's $7 million club option for 2012 and declined outfielder Grady Sizemore's.
Nationals: Exercised manager Davey Johnson's club option for 2012.
Orioles: Pitcher Chris Jakubauskas has elected to become a free agent.
Padres: Hired Phil Palntier as their new hitting coach and announced that pitcher Aaron Harang has declined his player option and will be a free agent.
Red Sox: Exercised infielder Marco Scutaro's $6 million club option for 2012.
Rockies: Exercised their $1 million mutual option with 1B/PH Jason Giambi and declined pitcher Aaron Cook's club option.
Yankees: Exercised 2012 club options on second baseman Robinson Cano ($14 million) and 1B/OF Nick Swisher ($10.25 million) and signed GM Brian Cashman to a three year contract extension. Also, CC Sabathia has opted out of his contract and is now a free agent.

It should be another busy day on the transaction wire today: MLB Trade Rumors has a look at 30 club options that have to be resolved before midnight tonight.

I didn't do a lot of World Series coverage in this space this season, but I do have some tidbits to share this morning:

Today in baseball economics:

  • The Mets have some tough decisions to make this winter regarding Jose Reyes, Prince Fielder and other possible expenditures, but I wonder if this will be a potential hindrance to their plans: They still haven't paid back a $25 million loan they received from MLB this season.
  • The Angels likely won't be big players in free agency this winter: Owner Arte Moreno told reporters he's "comfortable" with the team maintaining a payroll in the $130-140 million range, and their 2012 commitments are already around $125mm.

Every time I think about a long offseason, I remember that this year spring training almost came before I was ready for it. Jeff Sullivan of Lookout Landing says baseball will be back before you know it, and has a reminder that the 2012 regular season will open in Japan.

If you need more baseball to help bridge the gap, though, then you might be interested in the exhibition series that opens in Taiwan tomorrow. LaTroy Hawkins is there and took this picture of yesterday's press conference. Michael Morse of the Nationals is also there, and has apparently taken on the nickname "Beast Mode."

Today in former Brewers:

This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History remembers this day in 2005, when Carlos Lee became the first Brewer ever to win an NL Silver Slugger Award. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also the 39th anniversary of the 1972 trade that brought Don Money to Milwaukee in a six player deal.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need another update.

Drink up.

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