Some things to read while waiting by your inbox.
Hot stove season will heat up next week as baseball descends on Nashville for the Winter Meetings, but you can safely assume that at least one Brewer's name will not come up in trade discussions: Jonah Keri of Grantland listed Ryan Braun as baseball's sixth most valuable player in his top 50, grouped under "untouchables." David Schoenfield of ESPN says he'd actually move Braun up to 3.
It's probably a good thing the Brewers have locked Braun up long term, because if he were a free agent now he'd almost certainly be a Dodger. Wendy Thurm of FanGraphs has a look at the Dodgers' new local TV deal and compares it to 29 other teams' contracts. The Brewers, of course, rank near the bottom.
Today in free agency:
- Nicholas Zettel of Disciples of Uecker has a statistical look at the rarity of a "dependable" starting pitcher, and uses it to make a case against spending money on veteran free agents.
- Jim Bowden of ESPN is reporting the Dodgers "appear to be committed to outbid" their competitors in the Zack Greinke chase.
- Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com says it's possible the Angels are out on Greinke.
Meanwhile, the free agent market will likely expand a bit by the end of this week. Major league teams have until Friday to decide whether or not to offer 2013 contracts to their arbitration-eligible players, and the Brewers have yet to announce their plans for Chris Narveson or Manny Parra.
Speaking of pending decisions, the Brewers have until the end of spring training to figure out what they're going to do with Mat Gamel, who is out of options but doesn't really have a clear role on this team. We discussed Gamel in yesterday's edition of Lesser Brewers.
We haven't spent much time talking about it, but if I had to guess I'd say "can Rickie Weeks bounce back?" will be one of the primary storylines of spring training 2013. You can count Alex Kantecki of Fake Teams among those expecting him to return to form next year.
And, of course, unless they change the rule "Doug Melvin doesn't like September callups" will be a story we'll see again next fall. That's one of nine rules Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated would like to rework.
Hometown newspaper stories are a frequent source of offseason Mug fodder, but at the end of the day most of them aren't that interesting. Clay Best of the Smithfield Herald's story on Brewer hitting coach Johnny Narron, however, might be the single most insightful story we've seen on his role with the team and his coaching philosophy.
In the minors:
- Noted leisured gentleman Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs is ranking Jean Segura among the Dominican Winter League leaders in his SCOUT stat.
- The Helena Brewers have released their 2013 schedule and will open their season on the road on June 20.
- The Nationals have signed former Brewer minor leaguer Bobby Bramhall.
Back in Milwaukee, the Brewers have announced three front office promotions: Mike Vassallo is now the senior director of media relations, Tom Flanagan is the senior director of baseball operations and Vickie Wise is the new director of accounting.
Angels: Signed reliever Ryan Madson to a one year contract (terms undisclosed at this point).
Astros: Signed outfielder Trevor Crowe and pitcher Sergio Escalona to minor league deals.
Cubs: Signed pitcher Scott Feldman to a one year, $6 million deal.
Mets: Are expected to non-tender pitchers Mike Pelfrey and Manny Acosta and outfielder Andres Torres.
Phillies: Catcher Carlos Ruiz has been suspended for 25 games for testing positive for amphetamines. The team signed catcher Humberto Quintero to a minor league deal.
Reds: Signed reliever Jonathan Broxton to a three year, $21 million deal.
White Sox: Named Harold Baines their new assistant hitting coach, Bobby Thigpen their new bullpen coach and Daryl Boston their new first base coach.
Today in former Brewers: Chris Mehring of Rattler Radio was in attendance for and remembers Larry Hisle hitting a pair of home runs off Ron Guidry in 1978.
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History marks the 34th anniversary of Jim Slaton's return to the Brewers as a free agent after one season with the Tigers. Today is also Sixto Lezcano's 59th birthday, and Plunk Everyone notes that his 19 career HBP are tied for the fifth most ever for a player born on November 28.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to burn my checkbook.