Monday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while posting bail.

We're 19 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, and over the weekend 12,118 Brewer fans crammed into On Deck for a small taste of baseball to help pass the time. Adam McCalvy has a story on the upbeat atmosphere and The Official Site has a slide show of photos from the event where John Axford signed a baby, Nyjer Morgan unveiled some new nicknames and Bob Uecker made a child cry.

This weekend's biggest story may have come from Zack Greinke, who told reporters he's still open to signing a long term extension despite the fact that he's currently operating without an agent. Tom Haudricourt quoted Greinke as saying Mark Attanasio is "probably the best owner in baseball."

Elsewhere in pitcher negotiations: Tom Haudricourt talked to Brewer negotiator Teddy Werner, who said the team has made "good progress" in an effort to avoid arbitration with Shaun Marcum. He didn't say this specifically, but the team has indicated in the past that they're working on a one year deal. Behind the JS paywall, Marcum talked to Todd Rosiak about a mechanical adjustment he's working on this winter.

Here's another reminder how far the Brewers are stretching the budget with this year's $100 million payroll: Cleveland.com says the team is getting just $12 million per season from their TV deal with Fox Sports Wisconsin. (h/t @Joe_Block) With that said, they're on pace to set another ticket sales record.

Rickie Weeks was in attendance this weekend and told reporters his ankle still isn't quite 100% (behind the JS paywall) following last season's severe sprain. With that said, he's been working out this winter with his younger brother Jemile and Prince Fielder. Aramis Ramirez was also in attendance and said he's looking forward to playing home games in a climate-controlled environment in April.

Meanwhile, Ryan Braun was not at On Deck but was still a major topic of conversation. John Axford became the latest Brewer to speak out in support of Braun. Tom Haudricourt noted that MLB will make no announcement if Ryan Braun's appeal is successful (it's supposed to be confidential), but Braun's representation will likely mention it.

Of course, On Deck wasn't the only place where cool things happened this weekend. Here at BCB, Grim Spandango posted "A Slugger Like You," an incredible parody of the Adele song "Someone Like You." Noah also shared his thoughts on Prince Fielder's departure as someone who's grown up with Fielder in the organization. Also, Tigers fans write songs too.

It'll be interesting to see if the Brewers change their strategy a bit this season with Prince Fielder gone and Ryan Braun potentially missing some time. The Associated Press suggests the team could alter their approach, but Craig Calcaterra threw cold water on the theory.

This is pretty incredible, when you think about it: High Heat Stats notes that with 796 games played, Corey Hart is now the Brewers' active career leader. That was also the topic of last week's Thursday Thinker.

We do have one minor transaction to report this morning: Baseball America is reporting the Brewers have signed pitcher Vinnie Chulk to a minor league deal. Chulk is 33 and has a career 4.33 ERA in 252 relief appearances, but hasn't pitched in the majors since 2009. He spent 2010 in Japan and 2011 in the A's organization, where he posted a 3.36 ERA for AAA Sacramento.

In the minors:

At last check Jorge Lopez leads Caleb Gindl by about 40 votes in the balloting for the #9 spot on our Community Prospect Rankings. You have until 1 pm today to cast your vote, and the voting for #10 will open at 2.

Around baseball:

Astros: Signed pitcher Zach Duke to a minor league deal.
Giants: Signed infielder Ryan Theriot to a one year, $1.25 million deal.
Phillies: Signed outfielder Hunter Pence to a one year, $10.4 million deal to avoid arbitration and signed outfielder Juan Pierre to a minor league deal.
Pirates: Signed pitcher Daniel Cabrera to a minor league deal.
Rangers: Signed outfielder Kyle Hudson to a minor league deal.
Red Sox: Signed pitcher John Maine to a minor league deal.

Early in the weekend it was widely reported (including in a FanShot here) that the Cardinals had signed Roy Oswalt, but that has since been refuted. Jason Brannon of Baseball Nation wants to know what the Brewers and Reds should do if that deal comes to fruition.

The Miller Park retractable roof is great, but this makes me wonder about its longevity: The Mariners held their annual fan fest this weekend with the Safeco Field roof partially open because the mechanism to open and close it has broken down.

In former Brewers:

Here's today's best sabermetrics note: Dave Cameron of FanGraphs notes that while reliever usage has changed over time (with pitcher outings getting shorter nearly every season for decades), reliever effectiveness hasn't really improved.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get back in the saddle.

Drink up.

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