Monday's Frosty Mug: Winter Is Upon Us

Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

I don't care what your calendar says, winter starts today as baseball opens its Winter Meetings in Nashville.

Some things to read while saving your pennies.

One of the most exciting weeks of the offseason is here as baseball's Winter Meetings open today at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville. It's a fast-paced week of rumors, transactions and tweeting from bars at 3 am, and Will Leitch of Sports on Earth called it a "made-for-Twitter event." Moments ago Mike Vassallo tweeted his agenda for the day. Joe Posnanski rewrote "Who's On First?" for the occasion. Craig Calcaterra and Mike Vassallo have photos of an empty media room and nearly-empty Brewer suite, respectively.

Before heading to Nashville, though, the Brewers pulled off a trade with the Rays to acquire right handed reliever Burke Badenhop for rookie league outfielder Raul Mondesi Jr. Badenhop is a 29-year-old five-year major league veteran who posted a 3.03 ERA in 66 appearances for Tampa Bay last season, and is very good against righties. Noah has much more on him in the link above.

Here's some reaction to the move:

The Brewers also freed up a roster spot on Friday by non-tendering Manny Parra. Parra is now a free agent. He told Adam McCalvy he's thankful for his time with the Brewers.

Before the meetings Doug Melvin was making his usual best effort to limit expectations for this week's event. He told Tom Haudricourt he anticipates scaling payroll back into the $80 million range for 2013 and told Jon Heyman he hasn't been to US Bank recently. Baseball Reference projects the Brewers' current 2013 payroll at $67.2 million. Melvin is also saying he doesn't want to go beyond a two-year deal with any free agent pitchers.

That limitation could impact the Brewers' ability to work out a deal with Ryan Dempster, whose agent told Tom Haudricourt he's interested in coming to Milwaukee but is seeking a three year deal. It's worth noting again that Dempster would be 38 by the end of that deal.

A two-year limitation may not, however, prevent the Brewers from signing another bullpen arm this week. Kevin Kimmes of Cream City Cables has a look at some left-handed relievers that could be available following a report that the team is in the market for one.

Part of the reason the Brewers are overhauling their bullpen this winter is the disappointing play and departure of Francisco Rodriguez. Lou Olsen of Reviewing the Brew picked K-Rod as the team's least valuable pitcher, and Nyjer Morgan as its least valuable position player.

With K-Rod, Jose Veras, Kameron Loe and Manny Parra all gone, the door appears to be open for a handful of pitchers to make the Opening Day roster in the bullpen. Brandon Kintzler is one candidate, and we looked at his work as a September callup in Friday's edition of Lesser Brewers.

This offseason will be an interesting one for Mark Rogers, as the Brewers' moves could have a significant impact on his future with the team. Mass Haas of Brewerfan.net has a link to a ten minute video interview with Rogers from a local TV station in Maine.

Meanwhile, things appear to be pretty quiet around Norichika Aoki, whose 2012 play would appear to have earned him an Opening Day start in right field in 2013. Jon Roegele of Beyond the Box Score notes, though, that Aoki's longest home run last season only traveled 374 feet. No other major leaguer hit ten long balls without driving one over 400.

By the way, Major League Baseball and Nippon Pro Baseball are working to revise the posting rules that have brought Aoki and many other Japanese players to the US. It sounds like they'll add a little more transparency to the bidding process for the rights to negotiate.

You might be able to ask Doug Melvin about posted Japanese players, the winter meetings and more if you attend the Madison Dugout Club banquet on January 21. Tables of ten are selling for $500 and the event benefits local youth baseball leagues.

Or you could just try to catch him at a spring training game. Cactus League tickets went on sale this morning.

Around baseball:

Angels: Acquired pitcher Tommy Hanson from the Braves for reliever Jordan Walden and claimed outfielder Scott Cousins off waivers from the Mariners.
Astros: Claimed pitcher Phil Humber off waivers from the White Sox.
Athletics: Designated pitcher Sandy Rosario for assignment and acquired pitcher Chris Resop from the Pirates for a minor leaguer.
Braves: Non-tendered pitchers Jair Jurrjens and Peter Moylan and claimed pitcher David Carpenter off waivers from the Red Sox.
Cubs: Signed pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa to a two year, $9.5 million deal and non-tendered third baseman Ian Stewart, pitchers Zach Putnam and Jaye Chapman.
Giants: Non-tendered pitcher Brian Wilson.
Indians: Non-tendered third baseman Jack Hannahan, designated pitcher Chris Seddon for assignment and claimed first baseman Mike McDade off waivers from the Blue Jays.
Mariners: Non-tendered infielder Robert Andino, but re-signed him to a one year deal.
Nationals: Non-tendered pitchers John Lannan and Tom Gorzelanny and catcher Jesus Flores.
Orioles: Non-tendered first/third baseman Mark Reynolds and acquired infielder Yamaico Navarro from the Pirates for a minor leaguer.
Padres: Signed pitcher Jason Marquis to a one year, $3 million deal and non-tendered pitcher Juan Oramas.
Phillies: Non-tendered outfielder Nate Schierholtz.
Pirates: Designated pitcher Jeff Karstens for assignment, avoided arbitration with pitcher Charlie Morton (one year, $2 million) and signed reliever Mike Zagurski to a minor league deal.
Rangers: Non-tendered catcher Geovany Soto, pitcher Jacob Brigham and third baseman Brandon Synder, then re-signed Soto to a one year, $3 million deal.
Rays: Non-tendered outfielder Ben Francisco and signed first baseman James Loney to a one year, $2 million deal.
Red Sox: Non-tendered reliever Scott Atchison.
Reds: Non-tendered outfielder Denis Phipps and utilityman Kris Negron and re-signed both to minor league deals.
Royals: Avoided arbitration with second baseman Chris Getz (one year, $1.05 million).
Tigers: Non-tendered reliever Daniel Schlereth.
Twins: Non-tendered pitcher Lester Oliveros, then re-signed him to a minor league deal.
White Sox: Non-tendered first baseman Dan Johnson and pitcher Anthony Carter.
Yankees: Claimed pitcher Jim Miller off waivers from the Athletics and designated pitcher Mickey Storey and infielder Jayson Nix for assignment.

All non-tendered players listed above (except for the ones that have already re-signed, of course) are now free agents.

We're still over a month away from the BBWAA's official announcement, but nullacct has closed voting on the Brew Crew Ball version of the 2013 Hall of Fame voting and announced that our voters have chosen to induct Craig Biggio and Mike Piazza on the first ballot this year. Better luck next year Jeff Bagwell, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and others.

95% of our BCB voters left former Brewer Julio Franco off their ballots. As of this writing 82% of voters at Bluebird Banter agree with them.

This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History marks the 23rd anniversary of the Brewers signing near-Hall of Famer Dave Parker as a free agent in 1989. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also the 111th anniversary of the American League removing the original Milwaukee Brewers and adding the St. Louis Browns. Today is also Darryl Hamilton's 48th birthday, and Plunk Everyone notes that his 17 career HBP are the third most ever for a player born on December 3.

Finally, before I wrap up for today I wanted to mention a quick housekeeping item: Since the switch to BCB's new SB Nation United format I've heard from many of you having issues using the site on mobile devices. SBN released some mobile updates last week, so if you haven't tried to access the site on your phone recently take a moment to do so today and let me know if you're still experiencing issues.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to find a coffee can.

Drink up.

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