Tuesday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while asking stupid questions.

With the Brewers rained out yesterday, all eyes turned towards the rotation. Doug Melvin told Adam McCalvy that it's hard to make trades this time of year, but the Brewers are considering external candidates for the fifth starter vacancy. Armed with that knowledge, MLB Trade Rumors made a list of potentially available starters to consider, then listed the Brewers as a candidate to acquire Kenshin Kawakami from the Braves. Here are a few other notes on the topic:

The weather could also be an interesting factor in this conversation. The Brewers are scheduled to open the season on March 31, then have an off day on April 1 before playing the Reds again on the 2nd and 3rd. That off day will allow Yovani Gallardo to come back on normal rest on April 5, in the team's fifth game. If Opening Day is rained out, though, then the Brewers would need a fifth starter one day earlier than expected. As such, I'll likely join Mass Haas of Brewerfan.net in watching the weather.

Meanwhile, we're still not sure exactly how long Zack Greinke will be out, but yesterday's news was good: Ron Roenicke told reporters yesterday that his ace is making progress in his recovery and could start playing catch again in a few days. Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus is "relatively confident" Greinke will only miss 2-3 starts.

Elsewhere in good injury news: Jonathan Lucroy had the pin removed from his pinkie finger yesterday, and could swing a bat on Tuesday for the first time since the injury. There's still an outside chance he could be ready in time for Opening Day, but I'm not sure why the Brewers would rush him at this point.

While the fifth starter battle is drawing most of the attention, there's also still a competition taking place for the final bench spots in the outfield. One Man Sausage Fest is predicting Mark Kotsay and Chris Dickerson will make the roster. I agree that's probably the most likely option, but I'll be disappointed if the Brewers don't find a way to keep Brandon Boggs.

Other notes from the field:

2011 could be a big season for Rickie Weeks, in the first year of his new multi-year deal. Peter Gammons posted this encouraging tweet yesterday:

Only more devstating BP I've seen than Rickie Weeks was Mike Stanton. K's? Yeah. Athleticism, yes. Still believe in 35 HR, .950 OPS ceiling.

By the way, Plunk Everyone notes that Rickie Weeks will most likely pick up his 96th HBP this season, breaking Geoff Jenkins' franchise record.

Elsewhere in milestones, The Hall of Very Good noted that Prince Fielder enters the season just eight home runs shy of 200. If he hits 21, he would also move into second place on the Brewers' all time list:

Brewer HR
Robin Yount 251
Geoff Jenkins 212
Gorman Thomas 208
Cecil Cooper 201
Prince Fielder 192

Ryan Braun is also nine home runs away from passing Rob Deer for the #10 spot on that list.

Neither Manny Parra or Eric Farris are likely to open the 2011 season on the Brewers' active roster, but at least they have this as a consolation prize: Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs selected them to his Team Joy Squad.

While the rest of us waste time talking about roster battles and injuries, John Axford continues the ever-important task of selecting a 2011 entrance song. He's down to four candidates, and Miller Park Drunk breaks them down.

By the way, if you'd like more stories about Axford's unlikely path to the big leagues, Tracy Ringolsby of FS Arizona and the Regina Leader-Post have you covered.

In the minors: Prospect Madness continues at Bernie's Crew. Today's matchup features Mark Rogers and Hunter Morris.

We're just a little more than a week away from Opening Day, and the FS Wisconsin crew is ready. Brian Anderson has a blog on all the features and personalities returning to the broadcasts in 2011.

Today in predictions, previews and whatnot:

  • Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker is picking the Brewers to win 87 games, win the NL Central and reach the World Series.
  • As part of his Brewer preview, Drew Silva of Hardball Talk says "the Brewers are gunning for 90 wins this year and they have the pieces to get it done if their defense proves adequate."
  • David Simmons of The Biz of Baseball thinks the Brewers could break their franchise attendance record (3.15 million) this season, but also notes that just 13 of their first 35 games are at home.

If you're looking for a place to make some predictions of your own, might I recommend (once again) Wezen-ball's contest? Or, if you'd like another option, Vegas Watch has opened their over/under contest. I think our 2011 prediction contest will open on Monday.

You could also help out with our Community Projections. Jordan asked for your opinion on the Brewer bullpen this morning.

Or, if you'd like to put your money where your mouth is, there's always this option: Breaking Down The Brewers notes that the Brewers' odds to win the NL Central were +350 in Feburary ($350 paid for every $100 bet), but have since fallen to +175.

Around baseball:

Dodgers: Third baseman Casey Blake is expected to open the season on the DL with a back injury.
Pirates: Pitcher Scott Olson will open the season on the DL with a hamstring strain.
Reds: Pitcher Johnny Cueto will open the season on the DL with shoulder inflammation (FanShot).

Cueto was expected to pitch in the Reds' season opening series against the Brewers, but now they're projecting Edinson Volquez, Homer Bailey and Bronson Arroyo at the top of their rotation instead.

Today in former Brewers:

A new season can't officially start until the first time the Cardinals feel like they've been disrespected: They were involved in a bench-clearing incident with the Nationals yesterday. No punches were thrown, but accounts from the scene suggest a pretty heated exchange between Tony La Russa and Nats manager Jim Riggleman.

Here's a news flash: The bottom of the NL Central is probably going to be pretty bad again this season. FanGraphs has started their 2011 organizational rankings, and two Central teams (the Pirates and Astros) are in the bottom three.

Today's baseball economics note shows a continued decline in spring training ticket sales in Arizona: The Dodgers and Angels have seen their Cactus League attendance fall 43 and 50%, respectively.

On this day in 2005, Jeff Sackmann wrote the introductory post for this site. Today, we celebrate the site's sixth anniversary. Thanks to Jeff and everyone who has contributed, commented or just lurked in this space over the last six years for helping keep BCB going and making it what it is today.

With help from the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to:

  • 1999-00 Brewer Sean Berry, who turns 45.
  • 1979-80 Brewer Dan Boitano, who turns 58.
  • Racine native Eric Rasmussen, who also turns 58. Rasmussen played eight major league seasons between 1975-83 as a member of the Cardinals and two other teams.
  • 1973 Brewer Carlos Velazquez, who would have turned 63.
  • 1970-71 Brewer Dick Ellsworth, who turns 70.
  • 1963-65 Milwaukee Brave Gene Oliver, who would have turned 76.
  • 1953 and 1955 Milwaukee Brave George Crowe, who turns 90.

Now, if you'll excuse me, we have absolutely exhausted all relevant topics to discuss.

Drink up.

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