Thursday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while getting a new haircut.

The Brewers and Rickie Weeks were scheduled to head into an arbitration hearing today, but now that's no longer necessary: The two sides agreed to and announced a long term deal yesterday (FanShot 1, FanShot 2). There's some difference of opinion out there about how the contract should be described. The Brewers are calling it a four year, $38.5 million deal with a vesting option for 2015, while Weeks and his agent are calling it a five year, $50 million deal. Either way, here's the financial breakdown for the first four years:

Year Salary
Signing Bonus $4 million
2011 $3.5 million
2012 $10 million
2013 $10 million
2014 $11 million

After 2014, things start to get tricky. Depending on how much Weeks is able to play, one of these three scenarios will take place:

  • If Weeks is able to make 600 plate appearances in 2014 or 1200 combined plate appearances between 2013-14 and finishes the 2014 season healthy the Brewers will pay him $11.5 million in 2015.
  • If Weeks is unable to reach those numbers and/or injuries prevent him from being ready for the 2015 season, the Brewers can void the final year.
  • If Weeks makes at least 400 PA in 2014 and the Brewers still decide to void the final year, they owe him a $1 million buyout.

A side note: Because Weeks and his agent are calling this a five year deal and the Brewers are calling it a four year deal, there's reason to suspect that Ken Rosenthal, who reported the news early as a five year deal, got the information from the player, not the team.

Here's more reaction from around the web:

I'm actually a little surprised by how near-universally positive reaction to this deal has been. The only person I've seen say anything near negative was Keith Law, who noted that Weeks has only played 140 or more games in two of his eight major league seasons. Personally, I'm hedging a bit: I recognize that a deal likely needed to be made, but I worry that the Brewers overpaid a bit coming off of Weeks' career year.

Meanwhile, all pitchers and catchers have reported to camp and the Brewers are expected to hold their first official workout today. Of the 27 pitchers in camp, only LaTroy Hawkins is limited by injury at this point. Catcher Shawn Riggans is also missing the first workout with pneumonia. John Axford has also been dealing with food poisoning, but said on Twitter that he's feeling "a bit better."

Speaking of Axford, he made Brad Johnson of The Hardball Times' All-Minimum Contract Team.

One of the healthy pitchers in camp is Mark DiFelice, back with the team after missing the entire 2010 season following shoulder surgery. He has no medical restrictions and, while he could be a long shot, has a chance to make the roster.

Here are today's notes from camp:

The Brewers may not be ready to commit to a rotation yet, but Brian Carriveau of Pocket Doppler is: He's already previewing a Zack Greinke/Bronson Arroyo Opening Day matchup.

Looking back, UmpBump gave the Brewers' offseason a B. They like the new rotation but have concerns about the bottom of the lineup, saying Carlos Gomez, Yuniesky Betancourt and Jonathan Lucroy "may very well be the biggest offensive blackhole in baseball."

Elsewhere in offseason recaps, Dayn Perry of Fox Sports listed the Brewers as one of baseball's most changed teams, predicted they'll take second in the Central, and said they "will miss Gregg Zaun's bat off the bench." Wait, what?

In the minors:

If you haven't signed up for our BCB Spring Training Countdown giveaways yet, today is your last chance: You have until 6 pm Central time today to sign up to win one of four sets of tickets from the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. Congratulations to brewersfanatic and aka mich, who each won Prince Fielder bobbleheads and other prizes from the Nashville Sounds in yesterday's drawing.

Around baseball:

Blue Jays: Avoided arbitration by signing outfielder Jose Bautista to a five year, $65 million deal and signed Scott Podsednik to a minor league deal.
Diamondbacks: Signed Russell Branyan to a minor league deal.
Dodgers: Signed pitcher Lance Cormier to a minor league deal.
Rangers: Pitcher Omar Beltre will likely open the season on the DL following surgery to correct a spinal issue. (h/t Lone Star Ball)
Twins: Avoided arbitration with outfielder Delmon Young ($5.375 million).

Today in former Brewers:

Today's spring training stories are about finding ways to get in trouble:

Of course, not everyone is spending the spring getting into trouble: Pirates OF Matt Diaz is recruiting volunteers to help build a playground in Winter Haven, Florida.

When we talk about developing young pitchers, pitch counts almost always seem to enter the conversation. They're designed to prevent young pitchers from overuse-related injuries, but do they work? Joe Janish of Mets Today makes the case that they may be on their way out of favor.

I guess it's fitting that we have this story on the same day as Russell Branyan's signing: Lucas Apostoleris of Beyond the Box Score makes the case that swinging strikes are good for pitchers, but not necessarily bad for hitters.

With help from the B-Ref Play Index and Brewerfan.net, happy birthday today to:

  • Wisconsin Timber Rattler Maverick Lasker, who turns 21.
  • 1981-83 Brewer Jamie Easterly, who turns 58.
  • Kenosha, WI native Dick Bosman, who turns 67. Bosman played eleven major league seasons between 1966-76 as a member of the Washington Senators and two other teams.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go see if my phone is fixed.

Drink up.

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