Some things to read while getting chased.
We're 40 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale, and the Brewers have added another name to their list of spring training invitees: Over the weekend they signed former Braves infielder Brooks Conrad to a minor league deal (FanShot). Conrad turns 32 next week and is a career .229/.305/.428 hitter over four major league seasons. He appeared in 92 games for the Braves last season but made just 122 plate appearances.
Conrad can play second and third, so his primary competition for a spot on the Opening Day roster is probably Taylor Green. Odds are many of you will only recognize Conrad's name because of one awful game in the 2010 playoffs. If you need help remembering, @Mass_Hass has you covered.
Meanwhile, the Brewers are running out of time to make a decision on Japanese outfielder Norichika Aoki, as their negotiating window closes a week from today. Adam McCalvy points out that the two sides need to agree to a contract and have a physical completed before that point, although it is possible the team got the physical out of the way at his workout in Maryvale this weekend. Baseball America has a story on Aoki, but it's subscriber-only.
As we've previously suspected, the Brewers will have to make a decision on Aoki before they know what's going to happen with Ryan Braun and his potential season-opening suspension. MLB Network reported over the weekend that Braun's appeal hearing is scheduled for January 23 or 24 (FanShot). Jonathan Lucroy spoke up in Braun's defense on WTMJ over the weekend.
Another round of voting has passed, and once again the Brewers will induct no one into the team's Walk of Fame in 2012. Tom Haudricourt says the team needs to dump the current election process, which has produced no honorees for four of the last five seasons. Adam McCalvy says former Braves shortstop Johnny Logan should have been elected, and notes that Prince Fielder won't be eligible until he's been out of baseball for three years.
Here are today's other Prince Fielder notes:
- Cecil Fielder, who is apparently speaking with Prince again, told MLB Network Radio he expects his son to sign with the Nationals. Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar has a transcript of some of the key points.
- Lookout Landing has another installment in PRINCE FIELDER WATCH 2012.
In the minors: Hiram Burgos got a playoff start in Puerto Rico yesterday, allowing three runs on three hits over five innings in Mayaguez's 6-2 loss to Ponce. You can read about that and more in today's Winter League Notes.
Angels: Signed second baseman Howie Kendrick to a four year, $33.5 million deal, avoiding arbitration, and signed infielder Jorge Cantu to a minor league deal.
Cardinals: Announced that former interim pitching coach Derek Lilliquist will take on the full time job.
Cubs: Acquired first baseman Anthony Rizzo from the Padres for pitcher Andrew Cashner (FanShot).
Mets: Signed infielder Ronny Cedeno to a one year, $1.1 million deal.
Red Sox: Signed pitcher Aaron Cook to a minor league deal.
Reds: Hired Mack Jenkins as their new assistant pitching coach.
Winter league baseball is a unique opportunity for young players to continue to hone their craft and work towards the majors, and Astros infielder Jose Altuve is a perfect example of that: Between the majors, minors and Venezuelan Winter League play he accumulated 898 plate appearances in 2011.
In former Brewers: Elmer Dessens has decided to hang it up. He last pitched in the majors in 2010 as a Met, was a Brewer in 2007 and won the last game ever played at County Stadium as a member of the Reds in 2000.
Earlier this winter we talked about a binder Scott Boras had prepared and delivered to interested teams regarding Prince Fielder. It turns out he also made one for Edwin Jackson, and it's 56 pages long. I'm not sure I could write 56 pages about Jackson without giving Casey McGehee his own page.
Florida may have no state income tax, but they also have this: New Marlins pitcher Mark Buehrle has been forced to find a new home outside the city of Miami after learning of Miami-Dade County's pit bull ban.
Today in sabermetrics: If you're familiar with the genre then you've probably read terms like wOBA, FIP and the like. But can you say them out loud? Jason Brannon of Baseball Nation has a pronunciation guide that probably won't help, but does have a fun Family Guy clip.
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History celebrates Brandon Boggs' 29th birthday and could serve as the textbook definition of "slow news day." Meanwhile, Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that Rick Helling has now been alive for 15,000 days.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to fire someone.