Monday's Frosty Mug

We still don't know what's going on with Ryan Braun.

Some things to read while demonstrating poor taste.

We're 12 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, and we're starting yet another week without any level of certainty regarding Ryan Braun's situation.Tom Haudricourt (behind the JS paywall) is reporting that the arbitration panel handling his case has a 25 day window to render a judgment, which expires a week from today.

The Brewers did cross one item off of their to-do list on Friday, signing Shaun Marcum to a one year, $7.725 million deal just before the two sides were scheduled for an arbitration hearing (FanShot). The deal represents the exact midpoint between the two sides and leaves Jose Veras as the Brewers' only potential case. Veras and the team are only $375,000 apart but the team is reporting no progress in negotiations. Adam McCalvy speculates that their hearing is likely sometime between today and the 18th, when pitchers and catchers report to Maryvale.

In less newsworthy transactions, the Brewers have also signed Frankie De La Cruz, Santo Manzanillo, Eric Farris, Mat Gamel, Taylor Green, Zelous Wheeler and Logan Schafer to 2012 contracts. All seven have less than three years of major league service time so they'll likely make near the league minimum (which is going up to $480,000 this season) for their time in the majors.

Coming into camp it looks like the Brewer bullpen will be more or less set, with John Axford, Francisco Rodriguez Kameron Loe, Zach Braddock, Manny Parra and Marco Estrada coming back and joined by Jose Veras. The situation may not be that simple, though, and Reviewing The Brew has a look at what could happen.

Speaking of bullpen candidates, The Brewer Nation continued their "Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers" series with profiles of Brandon Kintzler and Frankie De La Cruz.

They're not often credited as the reasons for the Brewers exceeding expectations in 2011, but Baseball Daily Digest notes that both Corey Hart and Yovani Gallardo outperformed their PECOTA projections last season by a fair amount.

Finally, the Brewers wrapped up last week's bobblehead announcements by naming Aramis Ramirez as the final honoree: His bobbles will be distributed against the Mets on September 16.

In the minors:

  • Seedlings to Stars compiled the results of six top 100 prospect lists and noted that six Brewers made appearances on at least one, but no one appeared on more than three. They also say Wily Peralta might be "the most under-appreciated prospect in the game."
  • Hiram Burgos allowed just one run on four hits and struck out six over five innings but was the tough luck-loser as Mexico beat Puerto Rico 7-0 in the Caribbean World Series. You can read about that and more in today's Winter League Notes.
  • Cream City Cables has an interview with Nashville second baseman Eric Farris. (h/t @Mass_Haas)

It looks like voting for the #14 spot in our Community Prospect Rankings is going to come down to the wire, as Zelous Wheeler leads Orlando Arcia by one vote as of this writing. You have until 1 pm today to weigh in, and voting for #15 will open at 2.

Today's lone prediction/power ranking comes from The Baseball Index, who predicts the Brewers will finish third in the Central behind the Cardinals (division winner) and Reds (Wild Card).

Looking back, Jon Baas stopped by this weekend to offer an update on his Milwaukee Brewers Replay project, which has now used Baseball Mogul to re-simulate the 2011 season through June. This month's most significant development might be Mat Gamel's breakout performance.

Around baseball:

Dodgers: Signed pitcher Todd Coffey to a one year, $1.3 million deal with a club option for 2013.
Marlins: Lost their arbitration case with pitcher Anibal Sanchez, who will make $8 million in 2012.
Nationals: Re-signed outfielder Rick Ankiel to a minor league deal.
Orioles: Designated pitcher Clay Rapada for assignment and released pitcher Rick VandenHurk.
Pirates: Signed pitcher Brian Tallet to a minor league deal.
Rays: Won their arbitration case with pitcher Jeff Niemann, who will receive $2.75 million in 2012.
Red Sox: Signed pitcher Alfredo Aceves to a one year, $1.2 million deal to avoid arbitration.
Rockies: Acquired pitcher Jeremy Guthrie from the Orioles for pitchers Matt Lindstrom and Jason Hammel and signed reliever Matt Belisle to a one year contract extension that will pay him $4.3 million in 2013.

Last week I mentioned that 2012 could be a bad year for baseball in several cities, as nine teams are projected to have a 10% or better chance of losing 100 games. I guess it's only fair that I present this opposing view: Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports says 2012 could be the best season ever.

In former Brewers:

  • The Cecil/Prince Fielder situation took another turn for the worse this weekend when Cecil said he was planning to "take the high road" while being inducted into the Ted Williams Hitters Hall of Fame, but then proceeded to publicly bash his son anyway.
  • Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times has a great post today on one-hitters, which mentions that Jerry Hairston Jr. has provided the single hit in a game for three different teams. Follow the link for notes featuring Ben Oglivie, Paul Molitor, Charlie Moore and James Mouton.
  • High Heat Stats also notes that Hairston's eighth inning HBP on September 26 was tied for the tenth most valuable plunk in all of baseball in 2011.
  • Carson Cistulli of NotGraphs remembers the time Glenn Braggs broke a bat across his back.
  • Baseball America has a story on Craig Counsell's transition to the front office, but it's subscriber-only.

Sunday's edition of Today In Brewer History celebrated Hank Aaron's 78th birthday, and Plunk Everyone notes that his 32 career HBP are the third most ever for a batter born on February 5. This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History celebrates Bob Wickman's 42nd birthday.

Now, if you'll excuse me, it's in my head again.

Drink up.

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