Some things to read at a chelonean pace.
We're nine days away from Opening Day and today Jonathan Lucroy remains our top story: The Brewers officially announced his five year contract extension yesterday, which will pay him between $11 and $13 million (depending on his arbitration status following the season) and contains a club option for 2017 which could buy out his first free agent season. The Helena Brewers, by the way, found a picture of Lucroy in their archives.
With Lucroy's deal done many will likely shift their attention back to some of the Brewers' other extension candidates. Doug Melvin declined to comment on Zack Greinke's situation yesterday, but said he had talked to John Axford's agent earlier in the day.
Back on the field the Brewers and Royals combined for seven home runs yesterday, but the Royals had five of them and claimed a 9-7 victory. I've got the recap here if you missed it.
Other notes from the field:
- Alex Gonzalez, who homered yesterday, was back in the lineup after missing two days with a sore heel.
- Caleb Gindl started in place of Norichika Aoki yesterday and had two hits. Aoki sat out for the day with tightness in his hamstring.
- 2652 fans paid to see yesterday's game, the lowest number I remember seeing recently.
Shaun Marcum's chances of making the Opening Day roster appear to have been set back a bit: He'll pitch in a minor league game his next time out so his DL stint can be backdated if he's not ready to open the season on the major league roster. Marco Estrada is stretched out and could start in Marcum's place if needed.
Elsewhere in injured pitchers, Juan Perez pitched a bullpen session yesterday for the first time since being hospitalized with a collapsed lung. He's still not going to make the team, but he might be ready in time to open the season in the minors.
The Brewers made a minor transaction yesterday, returning catcher Paul Phillips to minor league camp. Phillips went 2-for-12 in seven games this spring, and his future is a bit uncertain at this point: With Martin Maldonado and Mike Rivera already in the organization there's not likely to be a need for him in Nashville.
Aramis Ramirez will make more in 2014 than Jonathan Lucroy is getting over the full length of his new deal. Chris St. John of The Platoon Advantage says Ramirez was this winter's fourth most overpaid free agent.
It's time once again for our daily reminder that 2012 is a big season for Mat Gamel: The Outside Corner listed him as the Brewers' burning question for this season.
Speaking of first base, George Kottaras played there for the last couple of innings of yesterday's game. He's also the subject of The Brewer Nation's latest installment of "Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers."
Based on the fact that you're here, I'm assuming you're already excited for the 2012 season. If you're not, though, Wisconsin Sports Tap has 43 reasons why you should be.
Nyjer Morgan's life is perpetually interesting. Today he and his cat Slick Willie are working with PETA to encourage pet adoption.
In the minors: Congratulations are due out today to Chris Mehring of Rattler Radio, who celebrated his site's sixth anniversary yesterday. There aren't many teams in the minors that provide the kind of daily coverage we've come to expect from Chris.
Today in predictions, projections, previews and whatnot:
- Richard Justice of MLB.com says the Brewers have the Central's best rotation and bullpen but still picked them to finish second behind the Cardinals.
- Baseball Nation averaged four projections to show the Brewers winning 85 games and tied for third in the Central.
- The Giants Baseball Blog also has the Brewers third.
- I contributed to this NL Central preview at View From The Bleachers.
If you'd like more Brewer coverage today but you're sick of reading, you have several options:
- @Mass_Haas has a link to archived audio from Doug Melvin's appearance on WSSP yesterday.
- New Nashville broadcaster Jeff Hem has interviews with Melvin and Rickie Weeks.
- I'll be appearing on The Watercooler with Jimmie Kaska on AM 1400 in Eau Claire at 5:15 today.
If you haven't yet, please take a moment today to vote in this week's BCB tracking poll. It will remain open through the day today and results will be posted tomorrow.
Astros: Released infielder Joe Thurston.
Padres: Outfielder Kyle Blanks is likely to open the season on the DL with a shoulder impingement.
Rockies: Released third baseman Casey Blake.
Twins: Released pitcher Joel Zumaya.
The big story around baseball this morning comes from Japan, where the Mariners and Athletics kicked off the 2012 season with a game early this morning. This has to be the first time in decades where the season's first game was not televised live to a national audience, though, and even Baseball Reference wasn't prepared for it.
That's not today's only big news, though: The Dodgers' sale saga is also almost over as Frank McCourt has agreed to sell to a group led by Magic Johnson for $2.15 billion. That's easily the highest price ever paid for a sports franchise.
In former Brewers:
- Matt LaPorta is opening the 2012 season in AAA with the Indians.
- The Beloit Snappers are giving away Prince Fielder bobbleheads this season. The timing on that seems pretty weird.
- The JS (behind the paywall) has a profile of Cubs third base coach Pat Listach.
- Adarowski of Beyond the Box Score has a post unveiling a stat attempting to quantify managerial wins above replacement, and lists Phil Garner as the 11th worst of all time.
If you're ready to make some 2012 predictions, Beyond the Box Score would like to invite you to participate in their contest. There's also still time to predict Brewer playing time for Tom Tango's community projections. I'll probably have our over/under contest next week...and at some point I need to go back and figure out who won last season.
Baseball Nation's Arizona spring training tour continued yesterday with a look at Goodyear Ballpark. They covered my memories of the park pretty well: It's relatively far removed from Phoenix (but would still be a short trip by Florida standards), it's a nice park and it's only slightly less empty than the abandoned planes located nearby.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going for a sleigh ride.