Friday's Frosty Mug

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 18: Dale Sveum, the new manager of the Chicago Cubs, speaks during a press conference at Wrigley Field on November 18, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Some things to read while watching out for haters.

The center of the baseball universe was in Chicago this morning, where Dale Sveum was officially introduced as the Cubs new manager (FanShot). Tom Haudricourt had these and many more quotes from the press conference:

Asked Sveum if he can get Cubs to sign Prince Fielder. He said, "I've only been the manager 24 hours. Don't know how much influence I have."

Sveum said he won't try to get #Brewers icon Robin Yount to join his staff. "It might not be in his best interests," said Sveum, smartly.

Sveum made it clear that watching from #Brewers side, he didn't see every Cubs player playing the game hard and the right way.

Sveum: "That's my biggest job and my biggest pet peeve is seeing guys not play hard on a daily basis. You have control of that."

Tyler Maas of Miller Park Drunk says he's happy for Sveum, but losing him won't really change anything for the Brewers. I'll second that notion: I'm looking forward to seeing if a new voice in his former role can have a positive impact on the team. Jeff Sullivan of Baseball Nation has a great look at the "highlights" ESPN showed while announcing Sveum's hiring. Meanwhile, Benjamin Hill of MiLB.com is all over the Sveum promotional opportunities.

So now the organization has a hole to fill on their coaching staff. Sandy Guerrero has already been mentioned as an internal candidate, but Doug Melvin said that he also wouldn't rule out Craig Counsell. Melvin apparently alluded to the possibility that the team could have two hitting coaches next season.

The Brewers made some headlines this week with speculation that they could look to sign Shaun Marcum, Zack Greinke, John Axford and now perhaps Jonathan Lucroy to extensions this winter. Ryan Campbell of FanGraphs took a look at a possible Marcum deal yesterday and said that a three year, $30 million contract makes sense but "the Brewers would probably be better off isolating themselves from that risk with a one-year deal."

Those offseason extensions are probably all more likely than a deal with Jimmy Rollins: Doug Melvin wasn't able to meet with agent Dan Lozano, who represents Rollins, at the Pfister this week.

Here are today's Prince Fielder notes:

The NL Cy Young was announced yesterday, with Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers taking home the award as expected. Yovani Gallardo was named on four ballots and finished seventh in the voting, while John Axford was named on two ballots and finished ninth.

The Brewers made a series of offseason roster moves yesterday, releasing nine minor leaguers (FanShot). None of the names are too significant:

  • Pitcher Charly Bashara was a former non-drafted free agent who pitched for Wisconsin in 2011.
  • Pitcher Dan Britt was a 29th round pick in 2010, and made 30 appearances in 2011 for Wisconsin.
  • Pitcher Skyler Crawford split 2011 between Helena, Wisconsin and Brevard County.
  • Pitcher Greg Davis was a former NDFA who pitched for Arizona in 2011.
  • Catcher Doug Elliot was a 35th round pick in 2011 but retired after just four games in Helena.
  • First baseman/outfielder Steve Felix was a former NDFA who split 2011 between Arizona and Helena.
  • Outfielder Robbie Garvey was a former NDFA who split 2011 between Helena and Wisconsin.
  • Pitcher Alex Jones was a 27th round pick in 2010 and pitched for Helena in 2011.
  • Pitcher Jose Oviedo was a 31st round pick in 2009, and pitched for Arizona in 2011.

Today will likely be another big transaction day for the Brewers, as it's their last opportunity to add players to the 40 man roster to protect them from December's Rule 5 draft. The Brewers currently have nine spots open on the roster, so they could protect a lot of players.

Elsewhere in the minors:

You've probably heard once or twice about Brewer bullpen catcher Marcus Hanel's "Koos For Kids" program, but it's cool to see the results: Hanel and friends delivered hundreds of winter coats to several Milwaukee-area schools yesterday.

Our player-by-player look at the 2011 Brewers continued yesterday with this look at Marco Estrada. We'll have another profile later today.

Around baseball:

Angels: Released pitcher Anthony Ortega.
Mariners: Signed pitcher Sean Henn to a minor league deal.
Nationals: Promoted Randy Knorr to be their new bench coach.
Padres: Named Alonzo Powell their new assistant hitting coach.
Rockies: Signed infielder Brandon Wood to a minor league deal.
Tigers: Signed catcher Gerald Laird to a one year deal with a club option for 2013.
Twins: Signed pitchers Jared Burton, Samuel Deduno, Luis Perdomo and Brendan Wise and outfielders Matt Carson and Wilkin Ramirez to minor league deals.

Craig Calcaterra noted that the Rays will be the eighth team to employ one of the Molina brothers.

It's a good thing the Brewers are set at catcher for the foreseeable future: Matthew Pouliot of Hardball Talk notes that most of this winter's top free agent backstops are already off the market.

The big story around baseball yesterday was this one: MLB officially announced plans to move the Astros to the AL West in 2013, and Bud Selig reaffirmed his commitment to adding a fifth Wild Card team to each league (FanShot). Let's start with the notes on the Astros for a second: Matthew of Lookout Landing has a look at the number of 9 pm Central time starts that will be added to Houston's schedule now that they share a division with the A's, Mariners and Angels.

Now, let's jump back to the fifth Wild Card. I still have no idea why anyone would be in favor of this. Mark my words: A year or two from now in one of the two leagues, something like this is going to happen:

  1. Wild Card team #1 is going to make the playoffs with something like 92-95 wins. Their record is going to be better than at least one of the division winners in their league.
  2. Wild Card team #2 is going to finish with something like 85-87 wins, meaning they'll be somewhere between five and ten games worse than the other wild card entry.
  3. For reasons I will never understand, Wild Card team #1 will have to play a one game, winner take all playoff against Wild Card team #2, a team they clearly outclassed during the season. And they'll do it while at least one division winner with a worse record gets a bye.

I get that more playoff teams = more revenue and whatever. Matthew Carruth of FanGraphs notes that teams in both leagues will now have a 33.3% chance of making the playoffs. But I think that revenue is going to be minimal for the two teams that play exactly one playoff game (frequently on the road). I just don't get how this adds much to the playoff system, and it creates a huge risk of unfairness. Selig says the single game playoffs "will be dramatic," but so would a single game World Series. That doesn't make it a good idea.

At least we can be happy for continued labor peace: The MLB and MLBPA have reportedly agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement and will announce it on Monday.

Today in former Brewers:

The Outside Corner's MLB Mustache Madness tournament continues, and Bernie Brewer is facing Magglio Ordonez in the semi-finals. Follow the link to vote.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to continue the search.

Drink up.

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