Wednesday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while ending sexism.

We're three days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale, and the Brewers find themselves carrying an extra $375,000 in their pockets this morning. The team won their arbitration case with Jose Veras yesterday and will pay him $2 million in 2012 instead of the $2.375 million he requested (FanShot). This is kind of an awkward way to start the team's relationship with a new player, but Veras' agent says there are no hard feelings.

This will be an interesting spring training for a lot of Brewers for a variety of reasons, but eight players have more on the line than most. MLB Trade Rumors notes that Frankie De La Cruz, Tim Dillard, Mat Gamel, George Kottaras, Kameron Loe, Chris Narveson, Manny Parra and Jose Veras are out of options and will have to be exposed to waivers if they don't make the Opening Day roster. For the last five guys on that list it likely won't be an issue, of course.

Mat Gamel, by the way, is leaving tomorrow morning and driving from Florida to Arizona with his wife and two small children.

Adam Foster of Project Prospect is in the middle of an extended project to rank pitchers' arsenals and says Yovani Gallardo has one of the game's top five curveballs, and will likely have a top five fastball too. If that's the case, maybe his missing changeup won't be a big deal.

We've long known that Alex Gonzalez isn't expected to be much of an offensive improvement over Yuniesky Betancourt, but this number is still a little disappointing: David Golebiewski of Baseball Analytics notes that the Brewers' new shortstop posted a .140 wOBA on pitches outside the zone in 2011, the third worst mark in all of baseball. Of course, even if Gonzalez provides nothing at the plate his defensive value will make him worth keeping around.

The Brewers made a couple of minor transactions yesterday, signing infielder Jeff Bianchi and BCB Community #1 prospect Wily Peralta to 2012 contracts. Both players have less than three years of MLB service time and will likely make near the league minimum for any time spent in the majors this season.

I can't decide if this is a weird statistical quirk or a sign of a problem, but it's interesting either way: Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker notes that Brewer pitchers fared much worse in 2011 than one would have expected against the #8 hitters in opposing lineups. He also notes that the intentional walk was very rarely used there.

In the minors: The Brewer Nation continued their "Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers" series with a profile of Zelous Wheeler.

Around baseball:

Indians: Designated pitcher Kelvin De La Cruz for assignment.
Mariners: Catcher Chris Gimenez has refused an outright assignment to the minors and is now a free agent.
Orioles: Signed outfielder Adam Jones to a one year, $6.15 million deal to avoid arbitration.
Rays: Signed manager Joe Maddon to a three year contract extension through 2015 and signed outfielder Jeff Salazar to a minor league deal.
Royals: Exercised the club option on manager Ned Yost's contract for 2013.
White Sox: Signed outfielder Kosuke Fukudome to a one year, $1 million deal with a club option for 2013.

When the 2012 season wraps up it will be the end of an era for the Astros in more ways than one: Hall of Fame broadcaster Milo Hamilton, who has been calling games on the radio for 51 years and been with the Astros since 1985, plans to retire following the team's final National League season.

Today in former Brewers: Longtime Brewer farmhand Sam Narron has decided to retire and take a job as a minor league pitching coach for the Nationals.

My favorite sabermetric note of the day comes via Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs, who mapped out pitchers' ground ball percentage against their height and found nearly no correlation. Scouts will have to find another reason to discredit all sub-six foot pitchers in one fell swoop.

This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History celebrates early Brewer Rick Auerbach's 62nd birthday. Today is also Alex Gonzalez's 35th birthday, and Plunk Everyone notes that he's the all time HBP leader among February 15th-born major leaguers with 76.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to see if this donut is still available.

Drink up.

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