Friday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while the dog thinks about killing you.

We're 15 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, and today the topic du jour is Zack Greinke. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN has a story on Greinke approaching free agency without an agent, Nick Prill of The Brewers Bar wonders if the Brewers can or should work out a long term deal with him, and David Golebiewski of Baseball Analytics has a look at the varying speeds of Greinke's curveball.

With a full season of Greinke on tap Matthew Pouliot of Hardball Talk has the Brewer starting five projected for a 3.81 ERA, which would be the eleventh best in baseball. Ryan Topp of Bernie's Crew has more on the topic behind the JS paywall.

The Brewers also announced two more 2012 bobbleheads yesterday: The team will give away Italian Sausage bobbles on July 1 and bobbles featuring Bob Uecker on July 29.

Earlier this week I mentioned a Bill Petti post at Beyond the Box Score showing that the Brewers have been the best team in baseball since 2002 at keeping below-replacement level players off the field. Yesterday he expanded upon that post with a great chart showing the distribution of players by team.

In the minors:

Meanwhile, Santo Manzanillo leads Orlando Arcia by just five votes and first and fifth place are separated by just eight ballots for the #13 spot in our Community Prospect Rankings. You have until 1 pm today to cast your vote, then stop back after 2 to vote for #14.

Congratulations are due out today to the Brewer marketing team, who received the National Sports Forum's Overall Award of Excellence. Follow that link for more on the honor.

If you'd like more Brewer content this morning but you're sick of reading, @Mass_Haas has links to Chris Narveson's appearance on WTMJ and Rickie Weeks' spot on WSSP from last night.

Around baseball:

Cubs: Signed pitcher Matt Garza to a one year, $9.5 million deal to avoid arbitration and signed pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith to a minor league deal.
Indians: Signed first baseman Casey Kotchman to a one year, $3 million deal, and signed pitcher Rafael Perez to a one year, $2 million deal to avoid arbitration.
Nationals: Signed pitcher Edwin Jackson to a one year, $11 million deal. Also, pitcher John Lannan lost his arbitration case and will receive $5 million this season.

Adam McCalvy says that Garza's deal should help clear the way for the Brewers to reach an agreement with Shaun Marcum, as Garza was one of the pitchers Marcum was being compared to.

Unfortunately today's top story around baseball involves Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, who was spotted drinking in a Dallas area bar Monday night in an apparent relapse of his drug and alcohol issues (FanShot). Until recently, Hamilton's "accountability partner" was new Brewer hitting coach Johnny Narron.

In former Brewers:

It should be a pretty exciting season to be a Brewer fan, but not every fan base is so lucky. Christina Kahrl of ESPN looks at the possibility that 2012 could see at least four teams lose 100 games. Dan Szymborski (in the sidebar of that article) says nine teams have a 10% or worse chance of triple digit losses.

Today in baseball economics:

  • The Mets' search for new minority owners might be over. Comcast and Time Warner are reportedly coming together to fund sports network SNY's purchase of the last four remaining shares, valued at $80 million. If this goes through SNY will own 16% of the team.
  • The Houston Business Journal used the late 90's Brewers as an example of an attendance boost the Astros might see when they switch leagues next season.

Preparations continue for Opening Day at the Marlins' new ballpark, including the installation of a massive aquarium in the fence behind home plate. My favorite story from yesterday was this one about the team inviting first baseman Gaby Sanchez to try to break the tank's glass with a baseball before they put fish in it. (h/t @bigleaguestew)

This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History remembers the second anniversary of the Brewers claiming Marco Estrada off waivers from the Nationals. It's also 1998 Brewer Eric Owens' 41st birthday, and Plunk Everyone notes that his nine HBP are fifth all time among players born on February 3. Finally, Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's been 1000 days since Zack Greinke lost a game 1-0 in 2009 and actually had his ERA go up.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to return Dan's coffee.

Drink up.

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