Thursday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while road raging on Twitter.

A pair of Brewers picked up awards last night as Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder were named Silver Sluggers (FanShot). For Braun it's the fourth time in as many years: He's the first Brewer ever to win the award four times and the first NL outfielder to win four straight since Barry Bonds. It's Fielder's second such award: He won his other one in 2007.

You can see video of Ryan Braun's reaction to winning the award here. He told Adam McCalvy he was more excited for Prince Fielder. Braun and Fielder now combine for six of the franchise's 18 Silver Sluggers.

You may not have noticed a major difference, but the free agent market is open for the first time this morning. Justin Hull of The Home Stretch took a look at the Brewers' needs and possible acquisitions in yesterday's Daily Nickel. Brad of View From Bernie's Chalet thinks Prince Fielder and Francisco Rodriguez will sign with the Red Sox and Marlins but the Brewers will pick up Jose Reyes, Casey Kotchman and Frank Francisco. Mark J. Miller of Yahoo is also listing the Brewers as a frontrunner for Reyes.

Elsewhere in offseason notes: Craig Counsell, Mark Kotsay and Jerry Hairston Jr's free agency and Josh Wilson's outrighting means the Brewers will likely see a fair amount of turnover on the bench before next season. Brandon Berg of Chippewa.com has a look at their options.

The Crew will probably also see some turnover in the bullpen and hopefully at shortstop. Matthew Pouliot of Hardball Talk ranked Takashi Saito, LaTroy Hawkins and Yuniesky Betancourt as this winter's 83rd, 75th and 71st most valuable free agents, respectively.

Betancourt, by the way, is the subject of this week's Thursday Thinker discussing shortstops who have played more than 149 games in a season.

The Brewers still could offer Betancourt arbitration, but just 13% of voters in this week's BCB Tracking Poll think they should. Voters do think the Brewers should attempt to retain Jerry Hairston Jr, Takashi Saito and LaTroy Hawkins.

It'll probably be a while yet before we have any actual offseason moves to discuss, but here's something to ponder in the meantime: Dave Cameron's Offseason Plan at USS Mariner has Seattle trading first baseman Mike Carp to the Brewers for Casey McGehee and Marco Estrada. Carp is 25 and hit .276/.326/.466 with 12 home runs in 79 games for the Mariners last season.

Speaking of McGehee, Jim Breen of Bernie's Crew noted that MLB Trade Rumors projected him to earn over $3 million in arbitration next season. I think McGehee is an interesting candidate to bounce back but if he's going to get that much money it might make sense to non-tender him.

Grady Sizemore is a name that's come up several times this week: He could be an interesting signing this winter but the Brewers may not have a spot for him if they're unwilling to move Corey Hart to first base. Sizemore's agent says his client is "open to anything," but "anything" in this case appears to mean "jobs in center or a corner outfield spot."

Dale Sveum's Offseason Adventure continued yesterday as he interviewed for Boston's managerial vacancy and met with reporters afterward. It remains to be seen what will happen there, but even if he doesn't get that job it sounds like he could be a top candidate in Chicago.

Given the volume of times Zack Greinke was unlucky (or "unlucky") this season, you'd think he'd want a new number: Flip Flop Fly Ball notes that Greinke is one of 25 players around the majors to wear #13.

In the minors:

  • Scooter Gennett had three hits yesterday in Peoria's 4-2 win over Salt River. You can read about that and more in today's Winter League Notes.
  • Brandon Kintzler made his AFL debut yesterday, but was roughed up a bit and was unable to finish an inning. It was his first game action since May.
  • Even with the win yesterday, Peoria is still only 12-13 and currently seven games back with 12 to play.
  • The Brewers are opening a new facility in the Dominican Republic today, and Adam McCalvy has the first look.

Our MVBrewer series continued yesterday: Nyjer Morgan won the voting for the #7 spot and was profiled here. Rickie Weeks is currently leading the balloting for the #8 spot.

Around baseball:

Athletics: Designated reliever Trystan Magnuson for assignment.
Braves: Removed catcher J.C. Boscan, reliever Stephen Marek and outfielders Wilkin Ramirez and Antoan Richardson from their 40 man roster. All will be free agents.
Cubs: Fired manager Mike Quade (FanShot).
Diamondbacks: Re-signed shortstop John McDonald to a two year, $3 million deal and announced that catcher Henry Blanco has rejected his half of a mutual option and is now a free agent.
Dodgers: Re-signed outfielder Juan Rivera to a one year, $4.5 million deal with a club option for 2013.
Mariners: Infielder Luis Rodriguez has elected to become a free agent.
Nationals: Re-signed pitcher Chien-Ming Wang to a one year deal.
Orioles: Claimed reliever Darren O'Day off waivers from the Rangers and announced that catcher/first baseman Jake Fox has elected to become a free agent.
Rangers: Removed pitchers Eric Hurley, Omar Beltre and Merkin Valdez, infielder Andres Blanco and utilityman Esteban German from their 40 man roster. All will be free agents.

Today in former Brewers:

Maybe once that mustache tournament is over, they can have a unibrow challenge. At NotGraphs, The Common Man dug up an old Vin Scully Gillette commercial that features Wally Moon and the greatest single eyebrow of all time.

I've already mentioned this week's Thinker, but if that wasn't enough for you then you should try this one: I was able to name 22 major league GM's.

If you're wondering why teams like the Brewers are having a hard time finding offensive upgrades this winter, here's part of the reason: High Heat Stats notes that offense across baseball was down significantly in 2011, continuing a trend. Baseball In-Depth notes that walk totals this season were the lowest they've been in over a decade.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I've found the silver lining.

Drink up.

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