Monday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while 8-bit dancing.

We're 46 days away from Opening Day, and spring training is officially underway as pitchers and catchers reported to Maryvale Saturday and underwent physicals yesterday (FanShot). The only pitcher unaccounted for is Francisco Rodriguez, who is late for undisclosed reasons but expected to report by the middle of the week. Meanwhile, Rodriguez is reportedly suing former agents Paul Kinzer and Arn Tellem for failing to submit his no-trade list last season, leading to him being dealt to the Brewers and moved out of a closer role.

Elsewhere in things that aren't happening, Shaun Marcum confirmed over the weekend that he and the team aren't currently working on a contract extension to prevent his pending free agency. Dan Moore of SB Nation St. Louis says it's pretty clear the Brewers are waiting to see if Marcum is healthy before making any commitment. Eric Seidman of FanGraphs suggests that next winter's free agent market is loaded with pitching and the Brewers may be able to get a better deal by waiting to sign Marcum (or someone else) until then.

Of course, if you mention the name "Shaun Marcum" and the phrase "contract extension," you're obligated to once again point out that Zack Greinke is also approaching free agency. Jack Moore listed Greinke as the Brewers' "player to see" in a SweetSpot post. Marcum and Greinke are, of course, big parts of Adam McCalvy's preview of the Brewer rotation.

Chris Narveson is also a key part of that conversation. He told Tom Haudricourt he's working on learning to throw a cutter this spring after seeing how much it helped Randy Wolf last year.

I haven't heard if Rickie Weeks is already in camp, but at least one person is predicting a huge season from him: You Can't Predict Baseball unveiled their predictions for the 2012 season over the weekend and suggested Weeks could lead the Brewers in home runs. He was fourth behind Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun and Corey Hart last season. Aramis Ramirez may also have something to say about this. Weeks was also #6 on MLB Network's list of the game's top second basemen.

John Axford is in camp, but for the third straight year his journey to Maryvale contained an unexpected adventure: Todd Rosiak (linked via Twitter) has more details on the passport issues that delayed his family's trip to Phoenix this spring.

Nyjer Morgan, meanwhile, took no chances. He told Tom Haudricourt he's already been in camp for two weeks.

Here's today's reminder that we still don't know what's going on with Ryan Braun's appeal. Jayson Stark of ESPN listed the Brewers and Braun's situation as the NL's third biggest spring training story, and his poll of executives resulted in the Brewers being named the NL's third least improved team. @Ladywezen has a potential explanation for the extended delays in the appeal process.

Non-roster and/or unlikely major league pitchers were a hot topic of conversation over the weekend:

In the minors:

Even with a lot going on in Brewer camp, this might be today's best news: WMLW is adding an HD channel on March 12, meaning the Brewer games broadcast on that network this season should be upgraded from the low-quality standard definition they used last year.

If you haven't planned your spring training trip yet but you're still thinking about it, maybe this will help you make up your mind: The team is giving away leftover John Axford bobbleheads on March 6, Nyjer Morgan rally towels on March 13 and Zack Greinke towels on March 27.

If you don't go to Maryvale to get that stuff, odds are some of it will end up here: Bob Brainerd of OnMilwaukee.com has a great story on the Brewer time capsule under Miller Park.

Around baseball:

Braves: Pitcher Tim Hudson will open the season on the DL following back surgery.
Mariners: Re-signed outfielder Mike Wilson to a minor league deal.
Nationals: Outfielder Mike Cameron announced his retirement (FanShot).
Phillies: Signed pitcher Kyle Kendrick to a two year, $7.5 million contract.
Pirates: Acquired pitcher A.J. Burnett from the Yankees for a minor league pitcher and outfielder.
Yankees: Signed outfielder Raul Ibanez (one year, $1 million) and pitcher Clay Rapada (minor league deal). Also, pitcher Hideki Okajima failed his physical and his contract will likely be voided.

As one might expect, there's lots of stuff out there about Mike Cameron:

Elsewhere in former Brewers:

The Brewers aren't the only ones talking about expiring contracts this spring: The Cardinals have tabled talks regarding a new deal for catcher Yadier Molina, and Reds manager Dusty Baker says he's not concerned by the fact that 2012 is the last year on his contract.

Today in baseball economics: The average arbitration-eligible player received an 89% raise this winter, the lowest since 1996 and down from 123% last offseason.

This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History notes the 71st birthday of 1974 Brewer Clyde Wright, the only pitcher in franchise history to lose 20 games in a season. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also been 6000 days since Craig Counsell's MLB debut.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get my calculator.

Drink up.

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