Some things to read while digging out your guitar.
We're still five short days away from Brewer pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale, but we're already talking about "visa issues:" John Axford's trip to Arizona over the weekend was delayed when homeland security wouldn't allow his young son into the country. I'd assume this will be resolved in plenty of time for Axford to make it to the first scheduled workout, but as of yesterday it was still an issue.
Elsewhere in delays, Ryan Braun's appeal process continues to drag out. The arbitration panel's 25 day window to render a judgment expires today but Tom Haudricourt says no announcement is expected, meaning they've likely asked for (and inexplicably been granted) more time. Ken Rosenthal makes the case that a Braun suspension would be a good thing for baseball as it would remove any doubts about favoritism in the system.
Meanwhile, the Brewers are still facing the challenge of preparing for the season without knowing if the reigning NL MVP will be available on Opening Day. Matthew Pouliot of Hardball Talk has projections for the Brewer starting lineup with and without Braun. Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports says "the onus will be on the pitching staff" to cover the offensive production gap left with Prince Fielder gone and Braun potentially suspended.
Regardless of how the Braun situation plays out, the Brewers' best chance to win in the next few years is probably 2012. Adam McCalvy addressed the perception that this is an "all-in" year in his spring training preview. Tyler Lockman of Fox Sports Arizona also has a camp preview.
I find it hard to believe the Brewers are still active on the free agent market at this point, but Jon Heyman lists them as one of three teams that could be a good fit for veteran shortstop Edgar Renteria. Renteria is 35 and hit .251/.306/.348 in 96 games for the Reds last season, playing almost exclusively at short and making $2.1 million. UZR/150 says he's been a league average or above shortstop defensively each of the last three seasons.
I still think it's possible, however, that the Brewers could work out an extension with Zack Greinke in the coming days. Keep Turning Up The Heat! says the team needs to make extending Greinke their first priority.
It'll be interesting to see how Nyjer Morgan handles his second season in Milwaukee following his meteoric rise to stardom in year one. No matter what happens, though, he'll always have this: Sully Baseball notes that he's one of just 24 players that have ended a postseason series with a walkoff hit. Morgan also hit a home run off a 61.2 mph Tim Wakefield knuckleball last season, and Baseball Nation says it was the slowest pitch hit out all year.
Carlos Gomez projects to spend most of 2012 as the other half of Nyjer Morgan's platoon in center field. Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker uses heat maps to make a compelling case that Gomez should be standing a little closer to the plate while batting.
Ron Roenicke is getting ready for his second season as a major league manager, and the JS (behind the paywall) has a Q&A with him. Topics discussed include Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Johnny Narron, Doug Melvin, Mat Gamel and more.
Roenicke's rookie campaign will be a tough act to follow: Brewers 101 wonders if the 2011 Brewers were the best team in franchise history.
In the minors:
- Seedlings To Stars compiled several top 100 prospect rankings and used them to rank the Brewer farm system 24th in all of baseball.
- Speaking of top 100 lists, Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus has Wily Peralta #92 on his. Peralta is the only Brewer mentioned.
Cream City Cables has profiles of Peralta and Taylor Jungmann, while Brewer Nation has a look at Caleb Gindl.
- BCB Community Prospect #3 Tyler Thornburg is now on Twitter. He's been added to the list.
Your first opportunity to start earning free 2012 tickets is upon us: The Brewers and BP are bringing back the "C'mon Back Card" promotion this season.
Cardinals: Signed reliever Scott Linebrink to a minor league deal.
Indians: Signed shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to a one year, $4.55 million deal to avoid arbitration and signed pitcher Jon Garland to a minor league deal.
Orioles: Signed reliever Luis Ayala to a one year deal with a club option for 2013 and designated outfielder Matt Angle for assignment.
Rangers: Signed catcher Mike Napoli to a one year, $9.4 million deal to avoid arbitration.
If you'd like a recap of this winter's free agent movement, Flip Flop Fly Ball has a great graphic showing when and where players signed this offseason.
The Brewer spring training countdown still has a few days left, but Mariner pitchers and catchers have already reported to Arizona and held their first workout yesterday. (h/t Baseball Musings) Lookout Landing is on top of it and already has their first evaluation of a player haircut.
Today in baseball economics: A rumor surfaced over the weekend that the Padres' new TV deal will be worth $75 million per season, although Gaslamp Ball was quick to throw some cold water on it. Regardless, Baseball Nation has a look at how surging local TV revenue could impact the game going forward.
In case you'd forgotten, here's a reminder that relief pitcher usage has changed dramatically in the last 50 years: High Heat Stats notes that Warren Spahn had more career complete games (382) than wins (363). The Brewer career record for complete games is 81, held by Mike Caldwell. Ben Sheets (18) and CC Sabathia (7) are the only Brewers to collect more than 5 since 2000.
You may also have forgotten that at one point in history we relied pretty heavily on pay phones. Larry Granillo of Baseball Prospectus unearthed an old listing of pay phone numbers one could call to get an update on the score at various ballparks.
This might be my favorite post from the weekend, and it's a cautionary tale for all of us: If you're getting your picture taken with your favorite player, make sure the person taking the picture knows what they're doing.
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History celebrates Matt Mieske's 44th birthday. Today is also Sal Bando's birthday, as celebrated over at The Platoon Advantage. Bando was hit by 75 pitches in his career, the most ever for a player born on February 13. Ben Oglivie celebrated his birthday on Saturday, and his 35 HBP are the third most ever for a player born on February 11.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to tampering.