Thursday's Frosty Mug: So Long, Jose Veras

Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

The Brewers started their offseason bullpen renovation yesterday, and we've got all the details and more in today's daily news roundup.

Some things to read while trying not to fidget.

Apparently the Brewers weren't interested in waiting until the deadline to make a decision on one of the more-maligned and arbitration-eligible members of the 2012 bullpen, as they outrighted Jose Veras to AAA yesterday. Assuming Veras clears waivers he plans to elect free agency, but he could still be claimed and his new team would hold his arbitration rights.

MLB Trade Rumors predicted that Veras would get $2.6 million in arbitration this winter, which seems about right for his final year. Fans who watched the Brewers all season probably remember the litany of times he struggled to get through an inning and couldn't throw strikes, but an arbitrator who didn't see those games might be swayed instead by Veras' 70+ appearances, sub-4 ERA and over ten strikeouts per nine innings.

Outrighting Veras now opens up a spot on the 40-man roster which may already be claimed: Hiram Burgos tweeted last night that he'll be added to the roster this winter. Burgos is 25 and had a breakout year in 2012, posting a 1.95 ERA over 28 appearances across three levels.

A few weeks ago I mentioned that Rickie Weeks led all Brewers in pitches seen per plate appearance in 2012. As it turns out, Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs notes that Weeks is actually the fifth most selective hitter in all of baseball according to his combined stat. I say this a lot but here it is again: If you're evaluating Rickie Weeks based on batting average and strikeouts, you're missing the point.

Weeks, by the way, was named as the second honorable mention on our list of 2012's most valuable Brewers yesterday, and you can see his profile here. The series will continue at 2 today.

Today in free agency: MLB Trade Rumors has released their list of this winter's top 50 free agents and predictions on where they'll end up. Here are the Brewer-relevant notes:

  • They've got former Brewers Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum as this winter's #1 and 19 targets and signing with the Angels and Cubs, respectively.
  • They're predicting the Brewers will sign former Cubs/Rangers starter Ryan Dempster and former Pirates reliever Jason Grilli.

This week's BCB Tracking Poll showed that fans don't expect the Brewers to be able to sign Zack Greinke or Josh Hamilton, but they do think the team should make an effort with Greinke.

Meanwhile, Francisco Rodriguez is hitting free agency with a new agent and some extra cash in his pocket: He recently received over $2 million in a settlement with WMG, his former agency who failed to submit his 2011 no-trade list and opened the door for him to be dealt to Milwaukee. The agency has fired agent Paul Kinzer.

Here's yet another reminder that the offense was not the Brewers' problem in 2012: You Can't Predict Baseball correctly predicted that the Brewers would score more runs last season (776) than they did with Prince Fielder in 2011 (721).

Corey Hart's strong season is part of the reason the Brewers were able to score so many runs. He's the subject of the third of the Brewers' ten bobbleheads in 2013, to be given away when the Brewers play the Cardinals on May 5.

In the minors: The Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game is on Saturday on MLB Network and the Brewers will be represented by first baseman Hunter Morris and reliever Johnny Hellweg.

If you'd like more Brewer coverage today but you're sick of reading, my appearance on The Watercooler with Jimmie Kaska on Sports Radio 1400 in Eau Claire has been pushed back a day and will air today at 5:05 instead.

If you love radio but wish you could read it instead, The Brewer Nation has a transcript of Doug Melvin's appearance on WSSP yesterday.

Around baseball:

Astros: Declined catcher Chris Snyder's contract option for 2013.
Blue Jays: Exercised pitcher Darren Oliver's $3 million contract option for 2013 and declined outfielder Rajai Davis' option, but then re-signed him to a one year, $2.5 million deal, claimed pitcher Scott Maine off waivers from the Indians and designated outfielder Scott Cousins and pitcher David Herndon for assignment.
Diamondbacks: Declined catcher Henry Blanco and pitcher Matt Lindstrom's contract options for 2013.
Indians: Exercised pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez's contract option for 2013 and declined options for DH Travis Hafner and pitcher Roberto Hernandez.
Orioles: Declined 1B/3B Mark Reynolds' 2013 contract option.
Pirates: Declined catcher Rod Barajas' contract option for 2013 and hired Jay Bell and Rick Sofield as their new hitting and first base coach, respectively.
Rays: Declined DH Luke Scott's contract option for 2013.
Reds: Outfielder Ryan Ludwick and pitcher Ryan Madson have declined their player options for 2013.
Rockies: Pitcher Jorge De La Rosa has exercised his player option for 2013 and will receive $11 million.
Royals: Acquired pitcher Ervin Santana and cash from the Angels for a minor leaguer and declined reliever Joakim Soria's 2013 contract option.
Tigers: Infielder Don Kelly has refused an outright assignment to the minors and is now a free agent.
White Sox: Exercised pitcher Gavin Floyd's contract option for 2013 but declined options for 1B/3B Kevin Youkilis and pitcher Brett Myers.
Yankees: Returned Rule 5 pick Brad Meyers to the Nationals. Also, 1B/3B Casey McGehee has refused an outright assignment to the minors and is now a free agent.

Today in former Brewers: Jason Kendall and Dan Plesac made High Heat Stats' team of the best players never to reach a World Series, while Ray Durham, Julio Franco, Doug Jones and current Brewer Aramis Ramirez were all honorable mentions.

As you've probably heard the Gold Gloves were handed out this week, sparking our annual debate about the correct ways to evaluate defense. Joe Posnanski has a look at why defense is difficult to evaluate statistically and a look at how Gold Glove voters did when compared to other measures.

Today in baseball economics:

  • Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs has an explanation of the "Qualifying Offer" system that has replaced Type A and B free agency in the new collective bargaining agreement.
  • The Dodgers have already broken $200 million with their 2013 payroll, and are a near-lock to break the 2008 Yankees' record of $209 million. They could be the first team to outspend the Yankees in 25 years.

This is pretty cool and probably long overdue: MLB has announced a program to allow signed and recently released Dominican players to get an education. Many of these players are signed well before their 18th birthday, so if they don't make it in baseball they don't have much to fall back on.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to develop a third strength.

Drink up.

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