Some things to read while being more careful with your stars.
We're 65 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale, and yesterday's big story was Aramis Ramirez's introductory press conference. Todd Rosiak was in attendance and has the story. Ramirez will wear #16 as a Brewer, with George Kottaras switching to #9.
By the way, if you're reading this morning's Mug on the front page you'll notice that Ramirez and Kottaras' new numbers are reflected on the 40 man roster on your left, which is freshly updated. Thanks to -JP- for cleaning up the mess over there, which until this morning still showed Daniel Ray Herrera and Brett Carroll as members of the team.
With Ramirez in the fold the Brewers' Opening Day payroll projects to be somewhere between $95-100 million, which will easily be a record. Howie Magner noted that it looks like Mark Attanasio is willing to lose some money this season in an effort to put a contending team on the field. Let that be your daily reminder that this franchise has one of baseball's best owners.
Beyond that, yesterday was a pretty quiet day. This morning's second biggest news story might be Ryan Braun's legal representation: His agency has hired David Cornwell to serve as their counsel, and he has a pretty significant depth of experience defending clients in drug testing disputes. This week's BCB Tracking Poll shows a majority of voters haven't decided yet regarding Braun's guilt or innocence and are waiting for more details to emerge.
The Brewers, meanwhile, say they're continuing with business as usual while the Braun situation plays out. Doug Melvin says he first learned about the positive test and possible suspension when Tim Kurkijian told him about it at the Winter Meetings.
Today's a pretty good day for rumor and speculation, so let's move on to that. The Crawfish Boxes listed the Brewers as the top candidate to acquire Carlos Lee, but says they'd be surprised if he waived his no-trade clause to accept that deal.
Camden Chat is taking on a pretty cool project this winter, trying to put together one trade the Orioles could make with each major league team. Their Brewer installment in the series has them sending pitcher Jeremy Guthrie and first baseman Mark Reynolds to Milwaukee in exchange for Nick Bucci and Michael Fiers.
This is the spot in the Mug where I dump Prince Fielder notes:
- Larry Stone of the Seattle Times wonders if Fielder would be the biggest free agent signing in Seattle sports history.
- Chicken Friars wonders how Fielder would look as a Padre...but then decides they're better off without him.
In the minors:
- Edwin Maysonet had three hits last night for Caguas in their 4-3 loss to Mayaguez in Puerto Rico, raising his batting line to .362/.400/.447 in 14 games. You can read about that and more in today's Winter League Notes.
- It's been eight days since Mat Gamel appeared in a winter league game. It's possible he's returned home, but if that's the case then his winter league season was only 15 games long.
- I've found more video from the Arizona Fall League: Here's Kentrail Davis hitting a triple.
Projection season usually doesn't start until after Christmas, but at least one writer is getting an early jump on it this year: 2012's first CAIRO projections have the Brewers going 92-70 and taking the Central by two games over the Cardinals. (h/t BBTF)
This morning's Mug is the 988th in Brewer history. Since we all love big, round numbers, I'm hoping you'll join me to celebrate The Night Of (Approximately) 1000 Mugs on January 3.
Astros: Acquired infielder Jed Lowrie and pitcher Kyle Weiland from the Red Sox for pitcher Mark Melancon and designated infielder Brian Bixler for assignment.
Giants: Re-signed pitcher Guillermo Mota to a one year, $1 million deal.
Mariners: Re-signed catcher Chris Gimenez to a one year deal.
Nationals: Signed pitcher Waldis Joaquin to a minor league deal.
Pirates: Signed pitcher Ryota Igarashi to a minor league deal.
Red Sox: Signed infielder Nick Punto to a two year, $3.5 million deal.
Twins: Signed third baseman Sean Burroughs, catcher Rene Rivera and pitcher P.J. Walters to minor league deals and are expected to sign outfielder Josh Willingham to a three year, $21 million deal.
Today in baseball economics: Dave Stewart pitched in the majors for 16 years, won 20 games in four straight seasons, was an All Star and finished in the top five in Cy Young voting four times. But he's Matt Kemp's agent now, and he's making more in that role than he ever made in a single season as a player.
Now, if you'll excuse me, something adorable has taken over my couch.