Thursday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while drinking a lot more coffee.

The fields in Maryvale were quiet yesterday as the Brewers took their lone off day of the spring, and players were ordered to stay away from the facility. With the break out of the way, the Brewers now play seven games in the next six days before heading off to Cincinnati.

It's time once again this morning to give Mark Attanasio the credit he deserves for turning things around in Milwaukee. Forbes issued their annual team value estimates yesterday, and the Brewers came in 22nd at $376 million (FanShot). They're already getting close to being worth double what Attanasio paid for them in 2005.

Ryan Braun's contribution to the franchise value is probably non-negligible. MLB.com is reporting that Braun's jersey is baseball's 14th most popular. (h/t Adam McCalvy)

The final infield spot on the bench is one of many questions the Brewers still need to answer before Opening Day. One-Man Sausage Fest has a look at the contenders and predicts the Brewers will keep Luis Cruz. I'd prefer they keep Erick Almonte but the roster situation (Cruz is on the 40 man and out of options, Almonte is on a minor league deal) means it probably makes sense to do it this way. Brian Carriveau of Pocket Doppler has a post on Almonte.

Mat Gamel is one of the candidates listed in the above piece, but he's already been optioned back to Nashville. Chris Cwik of FanGraphs has a look at the decision to ship Gamel out and his potential long term value.

Speaking of uncertainty, you can scratch Blue Jays pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes off the list of candidates for the fifth starter vacancy. He's needed now in Toronto since starter Brandon Morrow is going to open the season on the DL.

Other notes from camp:

If you only click one link in today's Mug, you could do worse than this one: Tim Brown of Yahoo has a great story on Prince Fielder, his potential final spring in Brewer camp and his relationship with his new manager.

If my math is correct, Yovani Gallardo is likely due one final tune up start before getting the ball on Opening Day a week from today. Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLB Trade Rumors says the fact that Gallardo is starting the opener is a sign that signing him to an extension was a good decision.

Speaking of Opening Day, if you're planning on making the trip to Cincinnati you might be interested in this list of Opening Weekend festivities.

If you bought Opening Day tickets, you probably got them hoping to see Zack Greinke. Dave Sheinin of The Washington Post has a look at the series of events that led to Greinke turning down a $100 million contract extension from the Nationals and waiving his no-trade clause to come to Milwaukee.

If I had to guess at this point, I'd say Greinke, Corey Hart, Jonathan Lucroy, Manny Parra and LaTroy Hawkins will start the season on the DL, although all of them should be ready to rejoin the team by the end of April. Jerry Crasnick notes that players who open the season on the DL cannot be reinstated before April 6.

Meanwhile, Carlos Gomez will almost certainly patrol center field on Opening Day. Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar has a look at his 2011 goals.

In the minors:

I'm surprised we haven't seen this announced sooner: Miller Park is one of eight ballparks that will be selling Food Network Branded Concession items this season. Follow the link for a description of the Red, White & Blue Steak Sandwich.

Here's a somewhat miscellaneous collection of predictions, previews and rankings:

Around baseball:

Angels: First baseman Kendrys Morales will open the season on the DL with a sore foot.
Nationals: Claimed pitcher Lee Hyde off waivers from the Braves and signed pitcher Oliver Perez to a minor league deal.
Yankees: Claimed pitcher Jose Ortegano off waivers from the Braves.

Today in former Brewers: The Blue Jays sent Brett Lawrie to minor league camp yesterday.

Here's today's baseball economics note: When Liberty Media, owners of the Braves, bought the team in 2008 they gained a tax advantage for five years. Those years are almost up, so they're expected to put the team up for sale soon.

I don't post about this as often as I used to when I lived in Des Moines, but it's worth noting that baseball's ridiculous blackout rules (which black out games in Iowa for the Brewers and five other teams) are still in effect.

Speaking of ridiculous things, here's a nominee for baseball's strangest 2011 giveaway: The Mariners are letting fans take home free compost. Now we know what happened to Jesus Colome.

If you only click two links in today's Mug, click the Tim Brown link above, then click this one from The Platoon Advantage to read about MC Hammer working for the A's.

If you're anything like me, you probably have a Netflix list with about 200 DVDs on it (and two DVDs you've been holding since January and still haven't watched). If you'd like to add some more, though, Larry Granillo of Baseball Prospectus has Bob Uecker's filmography.

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

Now, if you'll excuse me, I can't find my glasses.

Drink up.

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