Wednesday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read with one cold foot.

We're 73 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale, but we're still no closer to knowing what the 2012 Brewers will look like. Doug Melvin told reporters he didn't meet with any player agents or other GMs at the Winter Meetings yesterday and has no offers pending, leading me to wonder why he's there at all.

With that said, apparently after that conversation things changed. Jon Heyman tweeted last night that Mark Attanasio met with Prince Fielder's representatives yesterday, and Doug Melvin said the two sides had a spur-of-the-moment discussion after Scott Boras contacted him.

Here are the rest of today's Fielder notes:

Elsewhere in free agency: Peter Gammons reported last night that Francisco Rodriguez will decline the Brewers' arbitration offer, eliminating the risk that the Brewers would owe a setup man eight figures next season (FanShot). Tom Haudricourt says Rodriguez could break the Brewer budget by accepting their offer. K-Rod is still looking for an opportunity to pitch the ninth inning and Jayson Stark has a list of five teams still looking for a closer (although two of them are K-Rod's former employers), plus two more "dabbling" in the market.

Another reliever will likely return, though: Tom Haudricourt said last night he expects the Brewers to bring back Takashi Saito for another season (FanShot). Saito will turn 42 in February and pitched just 26.2 innings in 2011 but has a 2.18 ERA over his six seasons as a major leaguer.

It's hard to believe there's much interest in the marketplace for Yuniesky Betancourt, and it's also hard to believe this will help: Agent Jamie Torres told the media Betancourt is willing to play second base if interested teams would prefer to have him there, and "wouldn't be surprised" if his client has a new deal before the meetings wrap up tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the Brewers remain a contender for Aramis Ramirez, with agent Paul Kinzer saying the team is a favorite to sign him at this point. Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Phillies have backed off on him. My gut feeling is that Kinzer is posturing at this point, publicly acknowledging the Brewer offer in the hopes someone will come along and beat it. Doug Melvin declined to comment on the situation.

Apparently someone did beat the Brewers' offer to new Dodger Jerry Hairston Jr. Doug Melvin says the team never offered him more than one year.

In the minors: Four Brewers combined to go 2-for-14 across the Caribbean last night, and Martin Maldonado had both hits in Mayaguez's 6-3 win over Caguas in Puerto Rico. You can read about that and more in today's Winter League Notes.

We wrapped up our 29 part, Brewer-by-Brewer look at the 2011 Brewer season yesterday with this brief look at six players we hadn't discussed yet. That post also includes links to all of the other profiles in the series, if you missed them.

The SB Nation network had some technical difficulties last night and forced us to postpone our BCB Book Club meeting. We're now planning on meeting tonight at 7, giving you an extra day to catch up on your reading of The Extra 2% and come join us.

This morning's Mug is the 981st in BCB history. If you haven't already, mark your calendar and make plans to join us for The Night of 1000 Mugs on January 3.

Around baseball:

Blue Jays: Acquired reliever Sergio Santos from the White Sox for a minor league pitcher.
Cardinals
: Outfielder Allen Craig may not be ready for Opening Day after undergoing knee surgery.
Cubs
: First baseman Carlos Pena is expected to decline arbitration.
Dodgers: Signed catcher Josh Bard to a minor league deal.
Giants: Acquired outfielder Angel Pagan from the Mets for outfielder Andres Torres and pitcher Ramon Ramirez.
Indians
: Designated pitcher Hector Rondon for assignment.
Marlins: Signed pitcher J.D. Martin to a minor league deal.
Mets: Signed pitchers Jon Rauch (one year, $3.5 million) and Frank Francisco (two years, $12 million).
Padres: Signed reliever Dale Thayer to a minor league deal.
Pirates: Signed outfielder Nate McLouth to a one year deal.
Red Sox: Re-signed pitcher Andrew Miller to a one year deal.

The biggest story in Dallas this week is still unfolding, as three teams have reportedly offered deals in excess of $200 million to Albert Pujols. Doug Melvin was the GM in Dallas when Alex Rodriguez signed his $250 million deal, and provided a cautionary tale about overspending on one player.

Behold the wonder of Winter Meetings media scrutiny: If you were on Twitter last night, you probably even know what Marlins execs ate yesterday. At least they probably paid for their food, though: Tigers manager Jim Leyland may not have.

The Rule 5 draft is tomorrow, so at least that will give us something to discuss. Adam Foster of Project Prospect threw some cold water on that discussion, though:

The cumulative value of every player taken in the Rule 5 Draft in the last four years is less than one Matt Stairs.

In former Brewers: Robert J. Baumann of NotGraphs wonders what happened to Ronnie Belliard.

This is how you know you've been dying your hair too long. Rays manager Joe Maddon showed up at the Winter Meetings sporting what might be his natural color, and people are freaked out by it.

Of course, conversation about Maddon's hair isn't the only thing going on at the meetings this week. Benjamin Hill of MiLB.com has visual evidence of some of the things going on at the Trade Show. Also, the hotel has a pool.

This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History remembers the day in 1992 when Paul Molitor left Milwaukee for good. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also the 27th anniversary of the trade that sent Don Sutton to Oakland.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to step up my game.

Drink up.

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