Thursday's Frosty Mug

Francisco Rodriguez attempts to catch the value of his new contract, which has been stuffed into a giant sack and dropped from the roof at Miller Park.

Some things to read while Ozzie Guillen discusses the Brewer offseason.

There are 72 days remaining until pitchers and catchers report to Maryvale, but it's hard to believe any of those days will be as disappointing as Wednesday. The Brewer offseason budget took a serious hit yesterday when Francisco Rodriguez decided to accept the Brewers' arbitration offer (FanShot). Rodriguez earned $13.5 million in 2011, and will likely get a similar amount in 2012. Doug Melvin says the decision to offer arbitration was not a miscalculation. This quote from Tom Haudricourt sums the situation up nicely:

I don't want to hear closing is important to K-Rod. He went for the money. Shocker.

It's worth noting that the Brewers are not technically required to pay Rodriguez the full value of whatever he'll get in arbitration. Arbitration deals are non-guaranteed, so if the Brewers cut Rodriguez before a certain point this spring they'll only owe him 30 days' severance pay, which is roughly 1/6th the value of the deal. Unless they can find someone who wants to trade for him, this seems like their best move.

With that said, the Brewers have already paid K-Rod $4 million to go away at one point this offseason. It's possible the Brewers rejected his ridiculously overpriced $17.5 million club option for 2012, and in the long run will actually end up paying him more than if they'd just accepted it.

Here's more reaction from around the web:

If Rodriguez gets more than $13.5 million in 2012, he'll be the highest paid Brewer. This week's Thursday Thinker wants to know how many of the highest paid Brewers from 1985-2010 you can name.

Meanwhile, the repercussions of this decision are already being felt elsewhere. The Brewers are now much less likely to work out new deals with Aramis Ramirez or Jimmy Rollins (who had already canceled a meeting with them anyway), and will likely not have the resources to bring back Takashi Saito as previously reported. LaTroy Hawkins has also already moved on, taking a one year, $3m deal with the Angels (FanShot).

And of course, as you might expect, having to pay K-Rod makes it even harder for the Brewers to potentially pay Prince Fielder. The Brewers are once again talking about moving on.

It'll be interesting to see what the Brewers do with Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart in 2011, now that they'll likely have to shuffle the lineup to adjust for the loss of Prince Fielder and their inability to acquire a new #4 hitter. Walk Like A Sabermetrician notes that Weeks and Hart combined to score the second most runs of any leadoff spot in baseball last season.

In the minors:

  • The Rule 5 draft was this morning and, while they didn't draft a player, the Brewers did lose one. The Mariners selected LHP Lucas Luetge with the #3 overall pick (FanShot). Luetge made 46 appearances (one start) for Huntsville in 2011 and posted a 3.13 ERA with nine strikeouts and three walks per nine innings. He was a 21st round pick in 2008.
  • The Brewers did make a selection in the AAA phase of the draft, grabbing shortstop Domnit Bolivar from the Cardinals organization. Bolivar is 22 and hit .276/.340/.427 in 104 games between low and high A in 2011. Full results of the draft can be seen here.
  • Santo Manzanillo got some rare good news yesterday: He won't need surgery to repair damage done to his shoulder in last week's car accident.
  • Five Brewers were in action last night and four of them had hits in games across the Caribbean. Martin Maldonado had the big shot: a two run homer in Mayaguez's 9-2 win over Carolina in Puerto Rico. You can read about that and more in today's Winter League Notes.
  • The one Brewer held hitless was Erick Almonte, but he's still ranked tenth among Dominican league hitters in Carson Cistulli's SCOUT stat.
  • Congratulations to Wisconsin trainer Jeff Paxson, who yesterday was named Minor League Trainer of the Year.
  • Speaking of the Timber Rattlers, they have another "Spot the Difference" challenge up. This time I was able to get three of the five, which might be the best news I've gotten today.
  • Huntsville pitcher Kyle Heckathorn is now on Twitter. I've added him to the list.

With all the other excitement going on, we were a little distracted during last night's meeting of the BCB Book Club. There's still time to stop by and discuss chapters 4-6 of The Extra 2% if you haven't already, or to finish reading Chapters 7-9 before we meet again on Tuesday.

This morning's Mug is #982 in BCB history. If you haven't yet, cancel your other engagements and make plans to join us on Tuesday, January 3 for The Night Of 1000 Mugs.

Around baseball:

Angels: Have reportedly signed Albert Pujols to a ten year, $250 million deal (FanShot).
Astros: Hired former Cardinals executive Jeff Luhnow as their new general manager.
Athletics: Outfielder Josh Willingham has declined arbitration.
Blue Jays: Second baseman Kelly Johnson has accepted arbitration.
Cardinals: Pitcher Edwin Jackson rejected arbitration.
Cubs: Third baseman Aramis Ramirez rejected arbitration.
Marlins: Signed pitcher Mark Buehrle to a four year, $58 million deal.
Orioles: Acquired pitcher Dana Eveland from the Dodgers (terms unknown) and named DeMarlo Hale and Bill Castro their new third base and bullpen coaches.
Padres: Acquired closer Huston Street from the Rockies for a PTBNL and cash and designated outfielder Jeremy Hermida for assignment.
Phillies: Shortstop Jimmy Rollins, outfielder Raul Ibanez and closer Ryan Madson have rejected arbitration.
Pirates: Signed pitcher Erik Bedard (1 year, $4.5 million), designated catcher Jason Jaramillo and infielder Pedro Ciriaco for assignment, released pitcher Ross Ohlendorf and announced that first baseman Derrek Lee has rejected arbitration.
Red Sox: Reliever Dan Wheeler declined the team's offer of arbitration.
Tigers: Signed reliever Octavio Dotel.

The Tigers are Dotel's 13th team, setting a new major league record. He's also never played for the same team twice.

Meanwhile, I don't usually feel bad for major league baseball players but this quote made me feel bad for Huston Street:

"Huston says he had a bunch of friends on the Padres...then upon listing them realized most of them are no longer on the team."

Given the day they had yesterday, I wouldn't be surprised if this guy who fell into a reflecting pool at the Winter Meetings is a Brewer employee.

Today in former Brewers: Francisco Cordero is an honorable mention on Red Reporter's list of the top 100 Reds of all time, and listed as the 13th best reliever in franchise history.

This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History remembers the day the Brewers acquired Marquis Grissom and Jeff Juden from the Indians for three pitchers. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also the 31st anniversary of the Brewers selecting Tom Candiotti from the Royals in the 1980 Rule 5 draft.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm severing the connection.

Drink up.

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