Some things to read while planning a trip.
Across Arizona and Florida, pitchers and catchers have begun reporting to spring training and the 2011 season is underway. We're still a couple of days away from the Brewers' mandatory report date, but John Axford is already in Maryvale and posted a picture of the facility to hold you over. Speaking of Axford, CBC.ca is the latest to post a story about his rise to stardom.
As spring training approaches, so also does the deadline to sign Rickie Weeks to a contract. Over the weekend, Doug Melvin said the team is still working on a potential long-term deal with Weeks, but he's since stopped publicly discussing it. If the two sides can't work out a deal they'll meet with an arbitrator on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Tom Haudricourt sat down with Ron Roenicke for a Q and A over the weekend, discussing his expectations and preparations for his first spring training as a major league manager.
One can assume we'll see a fair number of spring training preview stories over the next couple of days, as pitchers and catchers report to camp around baseball. Tim Brown of Yahoo has one, and he listed the Brewers as one of his top five stories from Arizona.
Last week I mentioned the possibility that Michael Young could help the Brewers, and the possibility was somewhat universally dismissed. This week Buster Olney is also discussing it...and the possibility probably still should be universally dismissed.
Milwaukee's core of young talent is inching closer to free agency, but Jonah Keri of FanGraphs still listed three Brewers on his NL All-Zero-to-Three Team: Casey McGehee, John Axford and Zach Braddock.
In the minors:
- Call to the Pen has a look at the Brewers' farm system, rating the upside and downside of 16 players.
- Bernie's Crew has started a new project: a monthly tournament of Brewer prospects. Today's matchup features Cody Hawn and Eric Arnett. Over the weekend, #1 seed Kyle Heckathorn steamrolled Dominican signee Hitaniel Arias.
- Brewersprospects.com has a scouting report for Khris Davis.
- Brewerfan.net has the full list and thoughts on every player Doug Melvin has signed out of independent ball since taking over as GM.
We spend a lot of time around here discussing the minor leagues and prospects in the system, but it's always important to remember not to get too carried away. This Royals Review post on the success and failure rates of top prospects has a ton of notable charts and graphs and includes this note: 65% of the Brewers' top prospects have failed to make a significant impact in the majors...and that's the eighth best percentage in baseball.
It's time to bring back the "projections, predictions and power rankings" section of the Mug: Today we have updated CAIRO projections - they have the Brewers tied with the Cardinals at 86.6 wins, and .6 wins back of the first place Reds.
If you haven't checked in since Friday, you might have missed three opportunities to sign up to win great prizes as part of our BCB Spring Training Countdown. There's still time, though, to sign up to win a Prince Fielder bobblehead and other prizes from the Nashville Sounds, a team-autographed ball from the Huntsville Stars and a copy of John Sickels' Baseball Prospect Book 2011.
I received a package in the mail on Saturday containing one of the first copies of the Maple Street Press Brewer Annual, and I couldn't be more impressed with it. Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar has the full list of articles and authors, which include Jack Moore, Drew Olson and Jordan Schelling, in addition to the two of us and many more. And, despite Carson Cistulli's assumptions, not all of the articles are about Zelous Wheeler. You can pre-order it here if you'd like, or look for it on newsstands around March 1.
Dodgers: Avoided arbitration with first baseman James Loney ($4.875 million) and signed pitcher Juan Rincon to a minor league deal.
Orioles: Avoided arbitration with pitcher Jeremy Guthrie ($5.75 million).
Phillies: Signed outfielder Cory Sullivan to a minor league deal.
Today's former Brewer notes:
- I was pretty surprised to discover that no pitcher has thrown an Opening Day complete game since Ben Sheets did it against the Dodgers in 2007. In fact, of the last nine pitchers to do it, three were Brewers (Steve Woodard in 2000 and Bill Wegman in 1993).
- Jim Edmonds signed a minor league contract with the Cardinals recently, but the team isn't sure if he'll be healthy enough to take part in camp. Edmonds underwent surgery this offseason to repair a torn Achilles tendon.
- Former prospect Brent Brewer has found himself in some trouble. Brewer left the organization to play football at Tennessee and has been suspended from the team after being arrested for domestic assault.
I'm not sure how relevant this is to the Brewers' situation with Rickie Weeks (or any other player, for that matter), but I thought it was interesting: The OC Register has data showing that players who lose arbitration hearings usually end up leaving via free agency.
Here's today's best timekiller: DRaysBay has a Choose Your Own Adventure story where you get to play the part of Joe Maddon during and after a game against the Yankees. I've only played it once but somehow I inadvertently impregnated a stripper. Oops.
We have sad news to report today, as longtime major league manager and 1955-57 Milwaukee Brave Chuck Tanner has passed away at the age of 81. Brian McTaggart has Phil Garner's memories of his former manager.
I don't have an "On this day" for today, but Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times has this: 20,000 days ago today, Warren Spahn pitched a shutout and hit a solo home run as the Milwaukee Braves swept a doubleheader against the Reds.
- Takashi Saito, who turns 41 today.
- 1996-97 Brewer Kelly Stinnett, who also turns 41 today.
- 1983-86 Brewer Jaime Cocanower, who turns 54 today.
- AZL Brewer T.J. Mittelstaedt, who turned 23 on Sunday.
- 1993-97 Brewer Matt Mieske, who turned 43 on Sunday.
- 1981 Brewer Donnie Moore, who would have turned 57 on Sunday.
- 1977-81 Brewer and former GM Sal Bando, who turned 67 Sunday.
- 2010 Brewer Adam Stern, who turned 31 on Saturday.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need a new clock.