Thursday's Frosty Mug

PHOENIX AZ - FEBRUARY 18: Manager Ron Roenicke #10 of the Milwaukee Brewers talks with pitchers during a MLB spring training practice at Maryvale Baseball Park on February 18 2011 in Phoenix Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Some things to read while hitching a ride.

We're 100 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, but we now have another date to count down to: The Brewers announced their spring training schedule yesterday, which will open with a home game against the Giants on March 4, 115 days from now. Meanwhile, April 1 could be the Brewers' last home game in Maryvale, as their lease expires following the season.

The Brewers are expected to bring their entire 2012 coaching staff with them to Maryvale (including bullpen catcher Marcus Hanel), unless Dale Sveum moves on to manage in Boston or Chicago. The Red Sox have asked Doug Melvin to extend their window to talk to Sveum, meaning he's probably headed in for a second interview. Reviewing the Brew thinks the Brewers should be prepared to start looking for a new hitting coach.

Maybe that process can start today: Doug Melvin and Ron Roenicke are scheduled to meet with Mark Attanasio in LA sometime today.

Looking ahead to 2012, Brandon Berg of Chippewa.com has a look at the starting rotation. All five members of the 2011 staff are likely to be back, and that's probably a good thing. I can't think of the last time we've been able to say that.

Meanwhile, the Jose Reyes speculation might actually end sooner than we thought. Yesterday some guy on Twitter reported that Reyes has reached a deal with the Marlins and I was skeptical, but today the rumor has reached "a guy who knows somebody." It'll be interesting to see what comes of this. Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar is the latest to point out that the Brewers don't really have money for Reyes anyway.

Speaking of money, 49% of voters in this week's BCB Tracking Poll think the Brewers need to non-tender or trade some players on their current roster to make payroll space for this winter's needed moves. There's a difference of opinion, however, in how they should get there.

It sounds like the team might need some money if they intend to pursue Clint Barmes: This MLB.com story implies he's already received a fair amount of interest.

Elsewhere in free agency, here are today's Prince Fielder notes:

If you see John Axford today, you might not recognize him: He's shaved off his trademark mustache and is starting over as part of Movember, an event to raise awareness regarding prostate cancer.

In the minors:

Our player-by-player look at the 2011 Brewers continued yesterday with this profile of Carlos Gomez. He was the 12th player profiled, and the 13th will be up later today.

Around baseball:

Astros: Signed outfielders Travis Buck and Nick Stavinoha to minor league deals.
Diamondbacks: Signed infielder Willie Bloomquist to a two year, $3.8 million deal.

The Pirates' roster turnover continues this offseason, and there's not a single player on their current roster that was with the team before 2008. By my quick count, the Brewers have seven such players.

Yu Darvish is drawing most of the attention this winter, but at least one other player is potentially crossing the Pacific to make an impact: 2011 Korean League MVP Suk-Min Yoon has hired Scott Boras as his agent and is reportedly preparing to make the jump to MLB.

Today in baseball economics:

  • Marlins president David Samson told reporters the team is expecting to draw 30,000-35,000 per game in their new ballpark next season. I think he's going to be in for a rude awakening come August.
  • Braves GM Frank Wren says the team's payroll will go up next season, but doesn't appear interested in offering a long term deal to any of this winter's top free agents.
  • Draft pick compensation is believed to be one of the final sticking points in baseball's new collective bargaining agreement. MLB Trade Rumors has a look at two ways the situation could be resolved.

Today in former Brewers:

  • If you only click on one link in today's Mug, make it this one: Gary D'Amato of the Journal Sentinel has a great story on Larry Hisle and the work he's doing to help at-risk youth in the community.
  • Robin Yount has advanced to the second round in The Outside Corner's MLB Mustache Madness tournament, and now faces Bobby Grich.

Eventually we're going to tire of mustaches, and I really hope unibrows become the new fad. If that happens, The Common Man will be a forerunner of cool with another post on Wally Moon's single eyebrow.

This morning's Thursday Thinker is up, challenging you to name each and every member of the 2011 Brewers. If that wasn't enough Sporcle for you, try this one on for size: I was able to name 130 of the 200 players who finished in the top five in home runs between 1970-2009. (h/t Brewers in 11)

This isn't a big story for me, but I know a fair number of you will be interested: The Padres unveiled their new 2012 uniforms yesterday. Most of the reaction I'm seeing around the web is disappointment.

To be honest, it's been hard to focus on anything else this morning while this story is still ongoing: Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos, who was back in his native Venezuela this offseason playing winter ball, was abducted yesterday by four armed gunmen at his home (FanShot). The kidnappers are expected to demand a ransom but, as of this writing, have yet to make contact. Here's hoping he's returned safely soon and those responsible are brought to justice.

Drink up.

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