Tuesday's Frosty Mug: The Offseason Home Stretch

Christian Petersen

We're counting down the days to pitchers and catchers reporting to Arizona in today's daily roundup of all things Brewers.

Some things to read while saving the day.

We're 14 days away from the day pitchers and catchers are required to report to Maryvale for the official start of spring training, but Adam McCalvy notes that things are really getting started this week. Yovani Gallardo will be in camp by this weekend, and it's likely many of his teammates will already be there at that point.

I'm not sure when Aramis Ramirez is coming to Arizona, but he's got some work to do to repeat an excellent performance in 2012. Roger Schlueter of MLB.com notes that Ramirez had an extra base hit in 12.7% of his plate appearances in 2012, the third highest percentage ever for a third baseman.

As players report to spring training facilities in Arizona and Florida it's likely safe to assume that the last of this winter's remaining free agents will sign soon. Jayson Stark has Alex Gonzalez at shortstop and Francisco Rodriguez in the bullpen on his All-Unemployed Team.

Lyle Overbay didn't make Stark's team, but he might be poised to make the Brewers. Yesterday Ken Rosenthal reported that the two sides were discussing a potential minor league deal that would give the team another option to fill in for Corey Hart in April and May. Overbay was, of course, a Brewer in 2004 and 2005 but is 36 years old and has posted a .683 OPS over the last two seasons.

Meanwhile, Tom Gorzelanny has put free agency behind him and is ready for his first spring training as a Brewer. Justin Schultz of Reviewing the Brew gave the Brewers an A- for signing the veteran lefty to a two-year, $5.7 million deal.

Tyler Thornburg will also be in major league camp with the Brewers for the first time. He was the subject of the latest installment in The Brewer Nation's "Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers" series.

2013 will be John Axford's fourth major league spring training, and his third as the Brewers closer. Andrew Gruman of FS Wisconsin talked to Axford about his confidence and the revamped bullpen behind him this season.

Elsewhere in interviews, Peter Schiller of Baseball Reflections had a great conversation with Mark Attanasio.

In the minors:

  • John Sickels of Minor League Ball ranked the Brewers' farm system 23rd in all of baseball, still below average but up significantly from their 28th ranking last year.
  • As of this writing Mark Rogers is leading the voting for the #9 spot in our BCB Community Prospect Rankings. You have until 1 pm today to vote in this poll, then stop by after 2 to make your choice for #10.

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.

Around baseball:

Angels: Signed pitcher Robert Coello to a minor league deal.
Cardinals: Signed infielder Ronny Cedeno to a one-year, $1.15 million deal and designated pitcher Barret Browning for assignment.
Padres: Avoided arbitration with pitcher Luke Gregerson (one year, $3.2 million) and signed pitcher Freddy Garcia to a minor league deal.
Phillies: Signed pitcher Chad Durbin to a one-year, $1.1 million deal and signed "infielder" Yuniesky Betancourt to a minor league deal.
Yankees: Signed outfielder Juan Rivera to a minor league deal.

Somehow, Yuni keeps finding work. Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs has a look at the remarkable defensive decline of one of baseball's least valuable players. Tyler Maas of Miller Park Drunk found a song about Yuni that I opted not to listen to.

Elsewhere in former Brewers:

Today's baseball economics note is something I hadn't considered: David Pinto of Baseball Musings notes that, with the enormous value of new TV deals, MLB has an opportunity to shorten between-inning commercial breaks and improve the pace of the game.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have more complaints.

Drink up.

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