Some things to read while being shown the door.
We're 26 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, and for the first time in a long time we may have good news regarding Ryan Braun: Dan Patrick cited a source this morning saying there's a good chance Braun may not be suspended after all (FanShot). There's still no official timetable for an announcement of the results of Braun's appeal, but maybe this fight isn't over after all.
Braun, of course, was in New York on Saturday in a velvet tuxedo to officially accept the NL MVP Award. He didn't specifically mention his current issues in his speech but alluded to them several times by mentioning the "challenges" he faces at this point. You can see full video of his speech here or read a transcript at Brewer Nation. Jon Heyman called the speech "appropriate." Ken Rosenthal left a voicemail with his reaction. Alex Poterack of Disciples of Uecker has a response to the pundits who said Braun should have given the award back. Tom Haudricourt said nearly a dozen members of the Brewer organization attended the event.
A crew spent this morning installing the 2011 NL Central Champions banner at Miller Park, and John Steinmiller has a picture (FanShot). Get a good look while you can: Tom Haudricourt notes the team will probably cover it with a drape until unveiling it on Opening Day.
Here's the latest on Norichika Aoki's new contract: Jon Heyman says he could earn slightly more than $8.6 million over the next three years if he maxes out his incentives. Those incentives probably include bonuses for things like All Star appearances and award voting, and even if he gets them all he'll still be making less than he did in Japan last season.
I don't want to read too much into this, but it's possible the Brewers still have a little budget space left: Brewer Executive VP Rick Schlesinger recently spoke to a group in Green Bay and a Brewerfan.net reader reports he said the payroll going forward is "projected at about $108-112 million." Currently 2012 payroll projections have the team slightly under $100 million.
Here are today's Prince Fielder notes:
- Jon Heyman is reporting Fielder and Scott Boras have "narrowed the field" down to a final four candidates for Fielder's services. That implies that more than four teams were interested recently, which seems dubious.
- Tom Haudricourt speculates that the four teams could be the Nationals, Rangers, Orioles and Mariners.
- Dodger Thoughts wonders if momentum could be building for the Dodgers to make a move.
- Federal Baseball has another comparison between Fielder's free agency and the winter that led Adam Dunn to sign with the Nationals.
- There was a rumor circulating last night that the Nationals were close to a deal with Fielder, but that's since been debunked.
- Rangers co-chairman Bob Simpson told reporters he'd rather work out an extension with Josh Hamilton than sign Fielder.
- Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness just wants this to be over already.
This winter's massive collection of other developments has overshadowed Nyjer Morgan somewhat, and that's a feat that's not easy to accomplish. Nick Prill of The Brewers Bar has a look at what we can expect from Tony Plush in his second season in Milwaukee.
We've spent plenty of time this winter, meanwhile, discussing expectations for Mat Gamel. Baseball America has a story on the subject, but it's subscriber-only.
In the minors:
- Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com compiled a list of the top ten second base prospects in the minors and listed Scooter Gennett eighth.
- Wisconsin Sports Tap ranked the top five catchers in the Brewer organization, led by Martin Maldonado.
- Reviewing The Brew has a look at the season that lies ahead for Wily Peralta.
- They probably could have picked up the win without him, but Francisco Rodriguez pitched a scoreless ninth for La Guaira yesterday in their 16-1 win over Magallanes in the Venezuelan playoffs. You can read about that and more in today's Winter League Notes.
Meanwhile, Jed Bradley has a 137 vote lead on Logan Schafer for the #5 spot in our Community Prospect Rankings. You have until 1 today to cast your vote, and the balloting for #6 will open at 2.
I've previously mentioned MLB Network's new Baseball IQ game show, but Adam McCalvy has a reminder that it debuts tomorrow and a profile of the Brewer representative, senior account executive Jeff Hibicke.
Astros: Signed catcher Chris Snyder to a one year deal with a mutual option for 2013.
Athletics: Signed outfielder Jonny Gomes to a one year deal.
Giants: Signed pitcher Sergio Romo to a one year, $1.575 million deal to avoid arbitration.
Indians: Acquired pitcher Kevin Slowey from the Rockies for a minor league pitcher and signed infielder Julio Lugo to a minor league deal.
Mariners: Signed pitcher Kevin Millwood to a minor league deal.
Marlins: Signed pitcher Gary Glover to a minor league deal.
Nationals: Signed outfielder Mike Morse to a two year, $10.5 million deal to avoid his final two arbitration seasons.
Orioles: Signed pitcher Dennys Reyes to a minor league deal.
Rangers: Signed first baseman/outfielder Brad Hawpe to a minor league deal.
Rays: Signed first baseman Carlos Pena to a one year, $7.25 million deal.
Red Sox: Signed pitcher Daniel Bard to a one year, $1.6125 million deal to avoid arbitration.
Rockies: Acquired shortstop Marco Scutaro from the Red Sox for pitcher Clayton Mortensen.
Yankees: Signed outfielder Brett Gardner to a one year, $2.8 million deal to avoid arbitration.
Today in former Brewers:
- Doug Glanville of ESPN shared his memories of Craig Counsell and an excellent endorsement of his work ethic as a fellow former player. (h/t @Joe_Block)
- Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times has a look at Counsell's career highlights.
- High Heat Stats used wins above replacement (rWAR) and Baseball Reference's user-powered "EloRater" to come up with a list of the 50 most overrated position players in baseball history, and Dante Bichette and Dave Parker are on it.
- Bill Champion, Mark Clear, Rob Dibble, Ray King, Ted Savage and Bill Sharp are among the 219 players of Value Over Replacement Grit's list of players with verbs for their first and last name.
Bill James made a list of 2011's 100 best pitching duels for Grantland, and surprisingly there are only two Brewer games on it: Zack Greinke and Chris Carpenter's matchup on September 7 and Randy Wolf and Ryan Dempster's confrontation on June 13. (h/t Halos Heaven)
In baseball economics:
- As part of their bankruptcy proceedings the Dodgers told the US Bankruptcy Court the franchise is $573 million in debt.
- The Reds' payroll is taking a slight dip this season, from $80 million in 2011 to a projection of less than $76 million in 2012.
Don Walker of the JS (behind the paywall) notes that the pending Dodger sale has a Brewer tie-in: One of the potential new owners believed to have submitted a bid is Brewer minority owner Tony Ressler.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm out of gummy bears.