This is a man whose surname is Aoki. He is not Norichika Aoki, but it's the only picture that comes up when I plug "Aoki" into the picture search engine. So, uh. Yeah.
This morning's Mug is the 997th in Brew Crew Ball History, and we're now less than a week away from The Night Of (Approximately) 1000 Mugs at Rounding Third on January 3. We'll see you there, yeah?
Some things to read while getting your epic limerick on ...
We sit 52 days from the official report date for pitchers and catchers for Spring Training 2012, and, just like yesterday, it's (nearly) all quiet on the baseball front for YOUR Milwaukee Brewers. Yesterday's news concerned potential new Brewer Norichika Aoki, as a Japanese report appeared to provide a glimpse into the team's contract negotiations with the outfielder: Patrick Newman of NPB Bullet Points writes that Sanspo is reporting that the Crew is offering backup money (around $1 to $1.5 million) to Aoki. At Bernie's Crew, Jim Breen says that he doubts that offer would get a deal done, as Aoki made $4.25 million in Japan last season.
It hasn't been confirmed that Zack Greinke approached Doug Melvin on his own about a five-year contract extension, but at Yahoo! Sports, Jeff Passan lists Greinke No. 4 among 2012's potential free agents, noting that the Brewers ace could get a nine-figure deal if he hits the open market.
If it's the week before the New Year, that means it's time for lists: today's submissions come from The Sporting News' Anthony Witrado, who includes Ryan Braun's offseason drama in his list of baseball's most memorable moments in 2011, and Yahoo!'s Dan Wetzel, who writes that baseball's captivating postseason got a bit overshadowed by Braun's reported positive test.
Today in Prince Fielder:
- There were rumblings yesterday that Team Fielder might take a three-year deal and take another crack at a big free-agent contract after the 2014 season, but Scott Boras says that's a load of poppycock: Boras says any rumor that Fielder would accept a three-year contract is "inaccurate and delusional."
- So who does that leave as potential suitors for Prince? At SB Nation Dallas, Jonathan Tjarks links to a report that the Rangers are "still lurking" as a potential destination for Fielder. Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says that Texas would make a lot of sense as Fielder's next home.
- There are apparently still some Nationals fans who believe that Prince might wind up in D.C., but Patrick Hilley of The Nats Blog warns against holding your breath, writing that Adam LaRoche seems set as Washington's opening day first baseman.
In the minors:
It wasn't a noteworthy day at the dish for the Brewers playing Winter League baseball, as Sergio Miranda of Mayaguez was the only farmhand to collect a hit. On the bump, Efrain Nieves scattered seven hits over five innings to pick up his first Winter League win of the year. You know all that and more if you've read today's edition of Winter League Notes.
It's another silent day around the Show, with no transactions around the league. Apropos of nothing, then, here's a recipe for Paula Deen's peppermint bark. (I'm sure it calls for three sticks of butter. You might want to skip that step.)
Today in priorities:
Here's something I found a little surprising, but probably shouldn't have: despite all the Brewer news (both good and great, and then bad), the Journal Sentinel's Hubbub blog reports that the 10 most-read sports stories on the JS website were all Packer-related. So, uh: footbawwwwww, I guess.
That's all I've got for you today. Until tomorrow, please enjoy King Crimson.