Some things to read while keeping track.
Award season opens its march through November tonight, as the AL and NL Gold Gloves will be awarded. In a somewhat surprising note, Ryan Braun is one of three nominees to win the NL Award in left field (FanShot). This is the first season where the outfield awards are separated by position instead of being given to three outfielders. Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar nailed the situation with this quote:
"Braun being named a finalist only really tells us two things -- one, the list of good defenders in left (especially in the National League) is incredibly short; two, offensive numbers are still largely being considered for a defensive award."
The Milwaukee chapter of the BBWAA handed out their 2011 awards yesterday (FanShot). Ryan Braun was the unanimous choice for team MVP, while John Axford, Jonathan Lucroy, Nyjer Morgan and LaTroy Hawkins won the Most Valuable Pitcher, Unsung Hero, Top Newcomer and Good Guy awards.
Meanwhile, MLB Trade Rumors has predictions for each of their top 50 free agents. They think Fielder (ranked #2 overall) will go to the Mariners, Francisco Rodriguez will be a Marlin and the Brewers will sign Jose Reyes. Dave Cameron of FanGraphs rated Fielder as this winter's fourth best free agent, and ranked K-Rod 30th.
Elsewhere in Fielder notes:
- Jon Heyman says the Cubs and Nationals are the current favorites to land Fielder.
Steve Melewski of MASN thinks it makes sense for the Orioles to pursue Prince Fielder, but says pitching should be their top priority.
The JS notes that the Brewers have four ranked free agents this winter: Prince Fielder, Francisco Rodriguez and Takashi Saito are Type A's while Yuniesky Betancourt is a Type B. Saito's contract prevents the Brewers from offering him arbitration, but Tom Haudricourt says the Brewers might offer it to the other three.
On the less-heralded free agent front: Matthew Pouliot of Hardball Talk is taking another shot at ranking this winter's free agent class and has Jerry Hairston Jr 91st out of 111. If other teams really think Hairston's value is that low, I'd be happy to have him back as a Brewer.
Here's an interesting note on Hairston's defensive abilities: Tom Tango of The Book Blog is wrapping up the Fan Scouting Report this week (go vote if you haven't), and noticed that Nationals fans rated Hairston's defensive skills significantly higher than Brewer fans did.
LaTroy Hawkins is also a new free agent, and he's spending his first week of freedom touring Taiwan with a team of MLB players. Adam McCalvy has the first story from over there.
The Red Sox's managerial search continues, and we'll continue to follow it as long as Dale Sveum is a candidate. Mark J. Miller of Yahoo reports that the Sox expect to interview "five or six" candidates.
Elsewhere in managerial news: Tony La Russa's retirement yesterday could mean Ron Roenicke will get to manage the NL All Star Team in 2012. Derrick Goold reports that the Commissioner's Office will choose between Roenicke and whoever replaces La Russa in St. Louis. Roenicke said he was surprised by La Russa's decision to leave.
Randy Wolf probably won't win many awards this winter, but at least he'll have this: The Platoon Advantage named him (and former Brewer Damian Miller) to their "All Hallow's Eve Team."
Being named "Mustached American of the Year" has to give John Axford the inside track in this competition: The Outside Corner matched him up with reliever Clay Zavada in the first round of their Movember MLB Mustache Madness tournament. The Hall of Very Good has pictures of people who were Axford for Halloween.
If you'd like, today we have another opportunity to look back on the 2011 season: Pat Lackey of The Outside Corner has the 2011 Brewers' Post-Mortem.
In the minors:
- Daniel Meadows was one of five pitchers to combine on a three hit shutout as Peoria beat Salt River 8-0 yesterday in AFL play. You can read about that and more in today's Winter League Notes.
- The AFL Rising Stars game is on Saturday, and the rosters for the contest will be announced at 1 pm today.
Brewersprospects.com unveiled their 2011 All Farm Team yesterday.
Are you ready to put your money on the 2012 Brewers? Bodog lists them at 22:1 odds to win the World Series next season, making them the eleventh most likely team.
If you haven't yet, please take a moment today to vote in this week's BCB Tracking Poll. The poll will remain open through the day today and results will be posted tomorrow.
Blue Jays: Exercised third baseman Edwin Encarnacion's 2012 club option ($3.5 million) and declined reliever Jon Rauch's.
Braves: Exercised 1B/OF Eric Hinske's $1.5 million club option for 2012.
Cardinals: Declined pitcher Octavio Dotel and shortstop Rafael Furcal's 2012 club options.
Cubs: Declined pitcher Jeff Samardzija's club option for 2012, but he remains under team control.
Diamondbacks: Exercised Henry Blanco's $1.15 million 2012 option, declined second baseman Aaron Hill and pitcher Zach Duke's and announced that infielder Willie Bloomquist declined his mutual option.
Indians: Acquired pitcher Derek Lowe and cash from the Braves for a minor league pitcher.
Mariners: Pitcher David Aardsma has elected to become a free agent.
Marlins: Announced that infield coach Perry Hill and bench coach Brandon Hyde will not return for 2012.
Nationals: Bench coach Pat Corrales will not return for the 2012 season.
Padres: Declined outfielder Brad Hawpe and pitcher Chad Qualls' 2012 club options.
Pirates: Declined 2012 options for catchers Chris Snyder and Ryan Doumit, pitcher Paul Maholm and shortstop Ronny Cedeno and removed pitchers Brian Burres, Kevin Hart and Aaron Thompson, infielder Brandon Wood and 1BOF Steven Pearce from the 40 man roster.
Rangers: Exercised pitchers Colby Lewis ($3.25 million) and Yoshinori Tateyama's ($1 million) club options for 2012.
Rays: Exercised pitchers James Shields ($7.5 million) and Kyle Farnsworth's ($3.3 million) club options for 2012 and declined catcher Kelly Shoppach's.
Red Sox: Declined pitchers Scott Atchison and Dan Wheeler's 2012 club options.
Reds: Exercised second baseman Brandon Phillips' $12 million club option for 2012, declined Francisco Cordero's and removed pitchers Daryl Thompson and Jared Burton from the 40 man roster.
Royals: Exercised reliever Joakim Soria's $6 million club option.
Tigers: Outrighted catcher Omir Santos and pitcher Brad Thomas off the 40 man roster. Both will be free agents.
Twins: Claimed pitcher Jeff Gray off waivers from the Mariners and pitcher Matt Maloney off waivers from the Reds.
White Sox: Exercised reliever Jason Frasor's $3.75 million) club option for 2012.
Yankees: Signed CC Sabathia to a one year contract extension for 2016 that guarantees him an additional $30 million and has a vesting option for 2017.
The Biz of Baseball has my favorite infographic from today: A look at Twitter use during the World Series.
Today in former Brewers:
- Robin Yount and Bob Uecker are both partial owners of an expansion Northwoods League team that will play its home games in Mequon. The team name will be announced at a press conference today.
Value Over Replacement Grit included Hernan Iribarren, Dave Krynzel, Kevin Mench, Dave Nilsson, Eric Plunk and Ron Roenicke on their Periodic Table of Ballplayers.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to consult my lawyer.