Some things to read while caroling.
We are 60 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale, and the Brewers are pressing on without an answer to the question mark at first base. The field of options got a little narrower on Friday when the Rays re-signed James Loney to a three-year, $21 million contract. Even the former Brewers options are drying up a bit as Mat Gamel signed a minor league deal with the Braves.
Meanwhile, skepticism remains about the Brewers' ability to get production from their internal options. Derek Harvey of The Book of Gorman says Hunter Morris is not the answer at first base.
Adding a little more icy rain to the offseason parade: Mike Bates of SBNation.com wrote a prescription for the Brewers to punt the 2014 season. He says "given the lack of impact players in the upper levels of the farm system there is no realistic way this club pushes past the big three at the top of the division." He didn't add "Happy Holidays" at the end, but I'm sure he meant to.
If the Brewers do prove Mike wrong by competing in 2014, a big year from Scooter Gennett will probably be a part of it. Gennett has struggled to hit lefties during his limited time in the majors and throughout his minor league career, but Jonathan Judge of Disciples of Uecker says he should not be platooned this season.
In the minors:
- MLB Prospect Guide has released their list of the Brewers' top prospects for 2014, led by 2013 Wisconsin outfielder Tyrone Taylor.
- Matt Garrioch has Taylor Jungmann among the "B" prospects on that list. Justin Schultz of Reviewing the Brew has more on the former #1 pick's long-term projections.
- The winter leagues were quiet yesterday but are entering the home stretch of their 2013 campaigns, as regular seasons across the Caribbean all end between now and December 30. Morineko has a recap of Brewers performances over the last week.
If you weren't around the site over the weekend, you might have missed JP's weekly look at what we learned over the previous seven days. The site was a hub of activity during the Winter Meetings (even if the Brewers weren't), so that recap is a great place to start if you've fallen behind.
Cardinals: Signed second baseman Mark Ellis to a one-year deal.
Cubs: Signed infielder Ryan Roberts to a minor league deal and claimed pitcher Liam Hendricks off waivers from the Twins.
Diamondbacks: Signed pitcher Daniel Hudson to a minor league deal.
Dodgers: Signed infielder Juan Uribe to a two-year, $15 million contract.
Indians: Are expected to sign John Axford to a one-year deal, signed infielder David Adams to a one-year deal and signed pitchers Tyler Cloyd and Travis Banwart and outfielder Matt Carson to minor league deals.
Mariners: Designated outfielder Travis Witherspoon for assignment.
Pirates: Designated pitcher Ryan Reid and outfielder Jerry Sands for assignment.
Red Sox: Signed pitcher John Ely to a minor league deal.
Royals: Signed infielder Omar Infante to a four-year, $30 million contract and signed pitcher Cory Wade, infielder Brian Bocock and outfielder Johermyn Chavez to minor league deals.
Tigers: Designated infielder Danny Worth for assignment.
Twins: Re-signed pitcher Mike Pelfrey to a two-year, $11 million contract and outfielder Jason Kubel to a minor league deal.
Today in former Brewers:
- The Marlins are apparently interested in bringing Casey McGehee back from Japan to play third base.
- Corey Hart will wear #27 with the Mariners, although top prospect Taijuan Walker isn't too happy about it.
- Eric Nusbaum has visual evidence that Russell Branyan is playing winter ball in Mexico for Mexicali. (h/t @jh_moore)
- @MLBCathedrals has an aerial view of County Stadium from the 1982 World Series.
Finally, with help from the B-Ref Play Index, we'd like to wish a happy birthday today to:
- 2008-10 Brewer Alcides Escobar, who turns 27.
- 2003-04 Brewer Matt Kinney, who turns 37.
- 2000 Brewer Chris Jones, who turns 48.
- 1975 Brewer Tommy Bianco, the #3 overall pick in the 1971 draft, who turns 61. We covered his birthday in Today In Brewer History last year.
Escobar has been hit by 20 pitches in his career, by the way, and Plunk Everyone notes that he's third on the all-time list among players born on December 16. Kinney also hit 12 batters, which is the fourth most ever for a pitcher born on this day.
Today is also the 14th anniversary of the Brewers signing infielder Jose Hernandez to a three-year deal in 1999. We covered that event in Today In Brewer History two years ago.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to resequence my gifts.