Some things to read while throwing a party.
We're ten days away from Opening Day but yesterday's biggest news came off the field, where the Brewers and Jonathan Lucroy reportedly agreed to a five year contract extension worth at least $11 million (FanShot). The deal, which could increase in value if Lucroy would have been eligible for arbitration following the 2012 season, covers this season and what likely would have been his four arbitration years. Tom Haudricourt says the team will announce the deal today. Here's some reaction from around the web:
- Nick Prill of The Brewers Bar says this is a solid move right now, and has the potential to be a bargain later.
- View From Bernie's Chalet notes that Lucroy is the Brewers' only home-grown Opening Day catcher since Mike Matheny in 1998.
- Reviewing the Brew recaps Jonathan Lucroy's career to this point.
Back on the field, the Brewers picked up a 6-5 win over the Indians in Goodyear yesterday when Norichika Aoki drove in the game winning run with a triple in the ninth. If you missed the recap yesterday, you can see it here.
Alex Gonzalez was held out of the lineup for the second straight day yesterday with a sore heel, but Ron Roenicke said he could be back in there today. Gonzalez, by the way, was the subject of yesterday's edition of The Brewer Nation's "Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers" series.
Other notes from the field:
- George Kottaras started in place of Jonathan Lucroy yesterday and went 2-for-4 with a run scored.
- 3181 fans came to see the game in Goodyear.
The Brewers return home today to face the Royals at 3:05, with Yovani Gallardo taking on Bruce Chen. Mike Vassallo has the lineup, which has Ryan Braun back in there for the fourth consecutive day.
Gallardo remains on pace to start Opening Day, and the rotation behind him appears set: Zack Greinke and Randy Wolf will follow Gallardo on Opening Weekend, and Shaun Marcum and Chris Narveson will pitch the first two games against the Cubs. Ron Roenicke said he wants to keep Marcum in between Wolf and Narveson to separate the two lefties.
Corey Hart's status continues to change daily. Todd Rosiak of the JS (linked via Twitter) says Hart will start playing minor league games tomorrow, but appears unlikely at best to be ready for Opening Day. Hart told Rosiak he's hoping to be ready in time for the Cubs series that opens a week from Monday. If that's the case he'll almost certainly open the season with a backdated DL stint.
The Brewers made a couple of minor transactions yesterday, returning Josh Butler and Daniel Meadows to minor league camp. Butler had appeared in eight games this spring and posted a 5.40 ERA over 8.1 innings, and might be ticketed for the end of Nashville's rotation. Meadows appeared in five games and posted a 4.26 ERA over 6.1 innings, and will likely pitch in the Sounds' bullpen.
The 2012 Brewer roster is more or less set, so are you ready to make some predictions? Tom Tango of The Book Blog needs your help projecting playing time for the team. I was the first person to make a projection this morning, let's get him a few dozen more by the end of the day.
Looking ahead, David Fung of Beyond the Box Score has a graphic look at the Brewers' window to win. It's a pretty clear representation of what we've known for a while now: Every Brewer position player is in for the long haul but pitching going forward is a significant question mark.
Mat Gamel is having a very good spring and Alex Gonzalez has the advantage of not being Yuniesky Betancourt, but as of this writing 63% of voters in this JS poll (behind the paywall) think Aramis Ramirez will be the Brewers' best new regular in 2012.
Francisco Rodriguez isn't likely to get many save opportunities this season unless something unforeseen happens, but this number might still be within reach: The Hall of Very Good notes that he's nine saves away from becoming just the 24th pitcher ever to reach 300.
New Nashville broadcaster Jeff Hem has a recap of Brewer camp from yesterday on his blog, along with audio from interviews with Mat Gamel, Tim Dillard and John Axford.
In the minors:
- Pitcher Sean Albury, who pitched for Helena in 2011, had rotator cuff surgery this winter and is likely out for all of 2012.
- Stadium Journey has a ranking of all 30 AAA parks, and has Nashville's Greer Stadium 26th.
If you're into bobbleheads, you've probably already marked your calendar for the Brewers' six giveaway days this season. Caitlin Moyer has pictures of the first three bobbles: Yovani Gallardo, Jonathan Lucroy and Nyjer Morgan.
I wonder if bobbleheads are recyclable: The U.S. Green Building Council has given Miller Park LEED certification, the highest certification a building can receive for environmental sustainability. Miller Park is only the third baseball stadium to receive the honor, and the first retractable roof facility.
Today in predictions, projections and whatnot: Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports is picking the Reds to win the Central.
If you're reading this before 3 pm (and if you're not, where have you been all day?) there's still time to enter your Prognostikeggers predictions for today's game.
Astros: Released pitcher Zach Duke and outfielder Jack Cust.
Blue Jays: Signed pitcher Dustin McGowan to a two year, $4.1 million contract extension with a club option for 2015.
Cubs: Released pitcher Trever Miller and signed pitcher Shawn Camp to a minor league deal.
Dodgers: Pitcher John Grabow has opted out of his minor league deal.
Giants: Released pitcher Ramon Ortiz.
Indians: Roberto Hernandez (formerly Fausto Carmona) has restructured his contract and will now receive $2.5 million plus incentives in 2012 instead of $7 million.
Mets: Signed pitcher Chris Young to a minor league deal.
Orioles: Placed second baseman Brian Roberts on the DL with a concussion.
Rangers: Released pitchers Joe Beimel and Mitch Stetter and first baseman Conor Jackson.
Today in former Brewers: Jamey Wright has been informed he's made the Dodgers. Since the Brewers traded him in 2002 he's been a Cardinal, Royal, Rockie, Giant, Ranger, Royal again, Indian, Mariner and now Dodger.
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History marks the first anniversary of the trade that brought Nyjer Morgan to Milwaukee. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also been 20,000 days since Doug Jones was born. Finally, today would have been former Milwaukee Brave Wes Covington's 80th birthday, and Plunk Everyone notes that his 24 career HBP are the fourth most ever for a March 27th-born player.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get out of this box.