Some things to read while starting to decline.
We're 44 days away from spring training and, in what might qualify as this week's biggest news, we have a minor transaction to report. Baseball America is reporting the Brewers have signed former Nationals reliever and 2011 Marlins farmhand Victor Garate to a minor league deal. Garate is 27 and his only major league appearances came with the Nationals in 2009, but he posted a 2.73 ERA and struck out 9.4 batters per nine innings for AAA New Orleans in 2011.
The team hasn't officially announced the Garate signing, so we don't know yet if he'll be invited to spring training. John Steinmiller has a list of uniform numbers for the Brewers' official camp invitees:
|Anderson De La Rosa||75|
It's possible I'm reading too much into this, but Izturis and Maysonet's low numbers would seem to imply that both have a shot of making the Opening Day roster.
Meanwhile, the Brewers are expected to work out Japanese outfielder Norichika Aoki in Maryvale this weekend. With the Braun situation still a long way away from its conclusion, I don't think the organization will commit much money to a problem they're not certain will exist in the regular season.
Elsewhere in money the team probably isn't going to spend: Tom Haudricourt says the current budget probably doesn't have room for Carlos Pena at first base.
There might, however, be money available in the long term budget for this: Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com has new year's resolutions for all 30 MLB teams and thinks the Brewers should resolve to work out long term extensions with both Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum.
Today in Prince Fielder notes:
- Roughly 55% of voters at this SweetSpot post think the Rangers would be better off if they signed Fielder instead of extending Josh Hamilton.
- Marc Normandin of Baseball Nation says the Nationals are the best fit for Fielder.
- MLB.com talked to current Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche, who says he won't hold a grudge if the team replaces him with Fielder. (h/t MLBTR)
- Steve Rudman of Sportspressnw.com says Safeco Field in Seattle should scare Fielder.
- Blaine Blontz of Call to the Pen weighed in on the notion that Reds first baseman Joey Votto, who will be a free agent following the 2013 season, is impacting Fielder's market.
Nicknames, anyone? Zack Greinke is one of the candidates (and currently second in the voting) to be assigned the "Science or Bravery?" moniker at NotGraphs.
In the minors:
- Miller Park will be hosting a Wisconsin game again this season: The Timber Rattlers will host Dayton in a Midwest League game on April 27.
- Chris Mehring of Rattler Radio has pictures of a lightly snow-covered Time Warner Cable Field.
- The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers have posted another edition of "Spot The Difference," this time with a photo taken at Miller Park. I was able to get four of five.
- It's much too early to start thinking about this, but Matt Garrioch of MLB Bonus Baby has the Brewers selecting Massachusetts high school outfielder Rhett Wiseman with the #28 pick in his current mock draft.
Finally, I wanted to take a moment this morning to thank Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar for filling in yesterday while I slept off The Night Of 1000 Mugs. I'd also like to thank everyone that came out to be a part of the event: It meant a lot to me to be able to celebrate the milestone with so many of you. If you missed it, mark your calendars now for The Night Of 2000 Mugs sometime in late 2015, or start pestering Nicole to put something together between now and then.
Angels: First baseman/DH Mark Trumbo won't be ready for Opening Day following a setback in rehab for his foot injury.
Diamondbacks: Signed first baseman Mike Jacobs to a minor league deal.
Indians: Signed pitcher Robinson Tejeda to a minor league deal.
Mariners: Signed Japanese shortstop Munenori Kawasaki to a minor league deal.
Marlins: Acquired pitcher Carlos Zambrano and a lot of cash from the Cubs for pitcher Chris Volstad, and signed third baseman Greg Dobbs to a two year, $3 million deal.
Mets: Signed infielder Omar Quintanilla to a minor league deal.
Nationals: Signed reliever Dan Cortes to a minor league deal.
Orioles: Acquired outfielder Jai Miller from the Athletics for cash.
Pirates: Signed pitchers Jo-Jo Reyes and Logan Kensing to minor league deals.
Rangers: Acquired infielder Brandon Snyder from the Orioles for cash.
Red Sox: Signed pitcher Jesse Carlson to a minor league deal.
Tigers: Signed second baseman/outfielder Eric Patterson to a minor league deal.
With the possible exception of the Zambrano trade, the Astros might have had yesterday's most interesting transaction: They've hired former Cardinals assistant Sig Mejdal to serve as their "Director of Decision Sciences."
Houston also hired Stephanie Wilka, an Ivy League-educated lawyer with baseball PR experience, to serve as their new coordinator of amateur scouting. Stan McNeal of The Sporting News, though, was more interested in the fact that she's a former cheerleader.
In former Brewers:
- Ed Romero will spend the 2012 season managing the Astros' Gulf Coast League (Rookie) affiliate.
- Darrell Porter is the catcher on Richard Barbieri of The Hardball Times' All-January birthday team.
- Bluebird Banter listed Lyle Overbay as the 43rd greatest Blue Jay of all time.
As fans of a mid-market team, we spend a lot of time discussing the Brewers' "window" to compete: the opportunity they have to win with their current players before they become too expensive to retain or leave as free agents. At Grantland, Jonah Keri throws a bucket of cold water on the theory that teams need to endure periods of losing while building for their next opportunity. (h/t BBTF) Here's the telltale quote:
But far more often it's a bullshit excuse. It's a vague, faraway goal that always seems several years out of reach. It's a cover for cheap, greedy ownership, lousy scouting, drafting, and player development, and myopic trades. It's a weak attempt to placate a fan base screwed over by years of management incompetence and indifference.
The Brewers are pretty lucky to have an owner that's willing to put long term success ahead of the team's bottom line, but this takedown of teams that aren't so fortunate feels a little heavy-handed to me.
Today's Thursday Thinker will be up in a bit, but here's something else to keep you occupied while you're waiting: Sporcle would like you to name all 210 ERA leaders between 1970-2011. I was able to name 91 over five minutes before deciding I really should be working on this post instead. (h/t Lone Star Ball)
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to catch up on Big Bird reading.