Wednesday's Frosty Mug: Rule 5 day of reckoning

USA TODAY Sports

We're looking at candidates to be added to the 40-man roster and more in today's roundup of all things Brewers.

Some things to read while not being sorry.

We're 86 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale, and today is the deadline for teams to add minor leaguers to their 40-man roster to protect them from next month's Rule 5 draft. Players who signed at age 18 and have five professional seasons or signed at 19 or older and have four pro seasons are eligible to be selected if they're not protected by their organization. Brewerfan.net has the full list of Brewers who project to be eligible.

The Brewers have four open spots on their 40-man roster, but I'll go out on a limb and predict a relatively quiet day today. The two near-locks to be added to the 40-man are Hunter Morris and Jason Rogers, and I think they'll leave the other two spots vacant.

For what it's worth, Adam McCalvy disagrees with me on that assertion and suggests (on Twitter) that the Brewers will consider adding pitchers Kevin Shackelford and Tyler Cravy. McCalvy also has a story on Shackelford, Cravy and David Goforth celebrating an AFL championship a year after winning the Midwest League together with Wisconsin in 2012.

If the Brewers do fill up their 40-man roster today, then they'd need to free up a spot later if they decide to re-sign Corey Hart. Hart talked to MLB Network Radio yesterday and revealed that he's had discussions with the Rays, Red Sox, Rockies and Brewers about a possible contract.

The biggest story from the Hart interview, however, might be the fact that he still won't be medically cleared until December 3 at the earliest. Rubie Q reacted to that news in our Tweet of the Day:

With or without Hart, the Brewers chances of competing in 2014 likely rely on the assumption that many of their young players will continue to develop at the major league level. Unfortunately, sometimes that plan doesn't work out. Nick Michalski of The Brewers Bar argues against counting on improvement from your existing players.

If the Brewers invite him back they'll be hoping for big steps forward from Juan Francisco, who showed a power bat but also some real offensive and defensive deficiencies in his first season as a Brewer in 2013. Yesterday Noah profiled Francisco as part of our player-by-player look at the 2013 season. Check back this afternoon to see who we're profiling today.

Meanwhile, it's probably safe to assume that Michael Gonzalez will not be invited back for 2014. Bryan Grosnick of Beyond the Box Score singled out the lefty reliever in his piece on shutdowns and meltdowns, noting that he "had 18 meltdowns to go with only 10 shutdowns, making him more of a cautionary tale than a major-league pitcher. For a guy with 75 appearances and 50 innings pitched, that's not a great track record."

In the minors:

  • Juan Francisco went 2-for-6 with an RBI but also struck out four times as Licey beat Oriente 3-2 in 13 innings in the Dominican Republic last night (box score). Alfredo Figaro pitched three scoreless innings with five strikeouts in relief in that game, and Elian Herrera went 4-for-6 with an RBI for Oriente.
  • Chris Mehring of Rattler Radio has a look at four pretty impressive patterns mowed into the field at Fox Cities Stadium in 2013.

Back in Milwaukee, the Brewers are getting ready for their annual clubhouse sale. Adam McCalvy has details on the event, scheduled for December 6-7.

Around baseball:

Angels: Hired Rick Eckstein as their new "player information coach."
Indians: Signed outfielder David Murphy to a two-year, $10 million deal.
Mets: Signed first baseman Brandon Allen to a minor league deal.
Nationals: Hired former minor league coach Bob Henley as third base coach and signed pitcher Chris Young to a minor league deal.
Padres: Signed pitcher Josh Johnson to a one-year, $8 million deal.
Phillies: Signed infielder Reid Brignac to a minor league deal.
Pirates: Re-acquired pitcher Duke Welker from the Twins for pitcher Kris Johnson.

Today in former Brewers:

Today is the 24th anniversary of Robin Yount winning the 1989 AL MVP Award and the 44th anniversary of the Seattle Pilots firing Joe Schultz, the first manager in franchise history, in 1969. We covered those events in Today In Brewer History two years ago and last year, respectively.

Finally, with help from Brewerfan.net and the B-Ref Play Index, we'd also like to wish a happy birthday to:

  • 2013 Brevard County Manatee Chad Pierce, who turns 26.
  • 2001 Brewer Brandon Kolb, who turns 40.
  • Milwaukee native and 1901 Milwaukee Brewer George McBride, who would have turned 133. McBride went on to play 13 seasons with the Washington Senators from 1908-20.

Plunk Everyone notes that McBride's 64 career HBP are the most ever for a player born on November 20.

Now, if you'll excuse me, my head hurts.

Drink up.

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