Wednesday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while calling the kettle black.

If you're like me, you're waking up to some pretty interesting news this morning. As the dust was settling from last night's All Star Game the Brewers announced they've acquired reliever Francisco Rodriguez and cash from the Mets in exchange for two players to be named later (FanShot). Noah reacted to the deal last night. There's a lot to process here, so let's go straight to the bullet points:

  • Doug Melvin declined to specify what Rodriguez's role will be with the Brewers.
  • The Mets are reportedly sending $5 million in cash, which would cover most of Rodriguez's contract for the rest of 2011.
  • Rodriguez hired Scott Boras as his agent this week, and Tom Haudricourt wonders if that spurred the deal.
  • Rodriguez has a vesting option in his contract that will pay him $17.5 million next season if he finishes 55 games this season. He's already finished 34 as a member of the Mets. Denny Knobler of CBS Sports says it's possible Scott Boras (Rodriguez's agent) will be willing to work out a deal to get rid of that option by increasing the current $3.5 million buyout.
  • R.J. Anderson of Baseball Prospectus says "conventional wisdom suggests the Brewers should have spent their outgoing assets to fill their gaping shortstop hole."
  • Tom Haudricourt is reporting that the Mets will get to select two players off of a list of Brewer minor leaguers.
  • The terms of the deal mean many of us probably need a refresher course on some of the rules regarding trading minor leaguers. Draft picks cannot be traded until they've been signed for a full year, making it strongly unlikely any 2011 picks will be involved in this deal. Toby Harrmann points out that Tyler Thornburg was signed on June 13, 2010. If the Brewers had been dealing him, they wouldn't have needed to make him a PTBNL.
  • In fact, Toby seems pretty confident the deal won't involve any of the Brewers' top prospects.
  • With that said, Mark Attanasio reportedly told John Kruk of Baseball Tonight that he'd be ok with trading the entire farm system to win this year.
  • Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar says "The wisdom of this move obviously depends on who the two PTBNL are, but giving up anything of real value for a half season of relief pitching will always make me a little worried."
  • Tom Haudricourt says the deal "could prove to be relief version of CC Sabathia deal in middle of 2008 season."

Obviously, it's going to be impossible to fully evaluate this deal until we see all of the moving parts. My opinion of this trade could completely change if, for example, Tyler Thornburg and Kyle Heckathorn turn out to be the PTBNLs. In the meantime, though, I'm a little concerned about the possibility the Brewers just picked up a land mine

The Brewers don't need Francisco Rodriguez to close, and almost certainly won't use him in that way. To prevent him from getting the 21 more games finished he needs to vest his option, though, the organization may have to be more intentional than that. They may have to make a concerted effort to keep him out of situations where he could finish a game, whether it's the late innings of a blowout, extra innings, etc. K-Rod has $17.5 million on the table here and just hired baseball's most notorious agent. If the Brewers make a strong effort to keep him from getting that money, I can understand why he'd be motivated to make it an issue.

Meanwhile, Prince Fielder flew home last night while carrying a shiny crystal bat. He was named the All Star Game MVP after driving in three runs with the first ASG homer in Brewer history. Fielder has spent most of the last three days in front of cameras and microphones, and here's some of the better stuff:

At any rate, with Fielder's performance and the K-Rod trade Scott Miller of CBS Sports says the Brewers stole All Star night.

While Prince Fielder and Francisco Rodriguez were getting the headlines, Ryan Braun inched one day closer to returning. He took batting practice with the NL squad again yesterday and told Tom Haudricourt he feels good and is glad he made the trip to Arizona. He expects to be back in the lineup tomorrow.

Moving forward: The Brewers open an eleven game road trip with a series in Denver this weekend, and Zack Greinke is scheduled to start on Saturday. Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports listed Greinke as one of the X-factors for baseball's second half. He's also the topic of this week's edition of A Simple Kind of Fan.

The Brewers made a move last night, but team's weakest link is still at shortstop. Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs has a graph of players that could be available to take Yuniesky Betancourt's spot if the Brewers decide to make a move. Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar has a reminder that Betancourt is dead last among NL shortstops in UZR. Rob Lucas of the Beloit Daily News says it's time for the Brewers to make a move.

Despite their weaknesses, Barry Larkin is still picking the Brewers to win the Central.

In the minors:

  • Toby Harrmann of Disciples of Uecker has an interview with Wisconsin pitcher Jimmy Nelson.
  • Mitch Stetter and his wife recently had a baby, and named it CC.
  • Baseball America has a midseason organizational report for the Brewers, but it's subscriber-only.
  • All of the stateside Brewer affiliates were off yesterday, so Minor League Notes will return tomorrow.

I've never attended a Brewer Block Party, but I know some of you have. Howie Magner of Milwaukee Magazine went to one over the weekend and came back with a good story.

Around baseball:

Dodgers: Acquired outfielder Juan Rivera from the Blue Jays for a PTBNL or cash and designated outfielder Marcus Thames for assignment.

One of my favorite All Star quotes from last night has nothing to do with K-Rod or Fielder. After the game, with Rickie Weeks sitting next to him, Andrew McCutchen denied untucking his shirt following the victory. Weeks was amused by the question.

McCutchen was one of three Pirates to go to the All Star Game, while the Royals still had just one (reliever Aaron Crow, who did not pitch). Sam Mellinger reports that the Kansas City Star has sent more reporters than the Royals have sent players in each of the last 12 seasons.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go check a birth certificate.

Drink up.

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