Some things to read while struggling to write legibly.
The final trucks were loaded up yesterday and sent off to Maryvale, as the spring training countdown has reached the final days. The Official Site has video of the Racing Sausages loading the truck (with commentary from Craig Counsell), and Adam McCalvy has photos from the day.
Roque Mercedes wasn't loaded on the truck (I think), but he'll be in major league camp in Maryvale anyway: He cleared waivers this week and was assigned to Nashville, but received a non-roster invitation to big league camp anyway (FanShot). Toby Harrmann noted that he'll need to be added back to the 40-man roster by season's end or he'll be eligible for minor league free agency.
The Brewers' offseason work continues to draw praise from around the web: Jayson Stark gave the team an A- for their improvement effort. The Cubs (B) were the only other team in the Central to get anything better than a C+.
Prince Fielder's power draws a lot of attention, but his plate discipline also adds a lot to his value: Rich Lederer of The Baseball Analysts recently graphed major league hitters by their walk and strikeout rates, and Fielder's ability to draw a walk put him out in territory all by himself. Yuniesky Betancourt's inability to walk also left him in unique company.
If you're a fan of ballpark giveaways, keep your calendar handy: John Steinmiller said the Brewers plan to announce 2011's all-fan bobbleheads today.
In the minors:
- The Brewers made a small investment in the Dominican Republic yesterday, signing 17 year old outfielder Elvis Rubio for $95,000. This is likely the last we'll hear about him until/unless he reaches the states.
- Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker noticed a somewhat unfortunate comparison between Astros first baseman Brett Wallace and Mat Gamel.
Brewersprospects.com has a profile of Cutter Dykstra.
Since yesterday was a slow news day, I took the opportunity to start a conversation on Michael Young. Most of you seem to agree with Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar, who said the Brewers should avoid Young at all costs. As it turns out, the Angels, Astros, A's, Cardinals, Reds, Rockies, Tigers and Twins aren't interested either. Joe Pawlikowski of FanGraphs has a look at some teams that could swap bad contracts for Young, but Jeff Sullivan of SBNation.com says "at this point, Young sticking with the Rangers is a very good and very awkward possibility."
I still think it's pretty likely Young will be moved, but I doubt the Rangers will get much for him anymore: Every team in baseball knows they need to move him and aren't getting many offers. I understand teams' reluctance to acquire him, but I still think someone will get a bargain once the Rangers get desperate enough to eat a fair portion of his salary.
Giants: Signed pitcher Elmer Dessens to a minor league deal.
Rays: Designated outfielders Leslie Anderson and Justin Ruggiano for assignment.
Red Sox: Signed pitcher Alfredo Aceves to a one year, $650,000 deal.
Today in former Brewers:
- Former Brewer farmhand David Welch threw a no-hitter this week in the Australian Winter League playoffs. It's his third career no-hitter: He combined with three other pitchers to throw one for Helena in 2005 and pitched one by himself in a seven inning game for Huntsville in 2007.
- John Sickels of Minor League Ball has a comparison between new Braves closer Craig Kimbrel and Jeremy Jeffress.
- The B-Ref Blog has a list of the 20 major leaguers with the fewest singles per plate appearance (minimum 3000 PA), and Greg Vaughn, Jeromy Burnitz, Jose Valentin, Gorman Thomas and Rob Deer are all on it.
- I'm surprised Russell Branyan wasn't on that list: John Sickels has a look at his career.
Today's most interesting graphics come via Kevin Lai at The Hardball Times, demonstrating just how much luck and circumstance is involved in determining if a fly ball will be a home run.
Here's today's baseball economics note: A Simple Kind of Fan compares baseball's payroll disparity to a slanted game of Monopoly.
You've got a few more days to kill before pitchers and catchers report to spring training, right? Maybe you'd be interested in dabbling in surnacronyms.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to my workout.