Some things to read while opening one early.
We are 59 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale, and when Carlos Gomez gets there he'll be faced with the challenge of repeating his career year in 2013. Over at Baseball Analytics, Alec Dopp has a look at how increased proficiency to the opposite field caused Gomez's value to spike.
Gomez is still only 28, so if he keeps his production up he could perhaps appear on one of these lists next year. High Heat Stats has the Brewers unrepresented on their lists of MLB's most productive hitters under age 30.
Meanwhile, there's a chance today could be the day the Brewers move on a first baseman. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (via Twitter) that the Giants could move Brett Pill off their 40-man roster today to make room for Michael Morse, whose contract is not yet official. The Brewers and Giants reportedly discussed Pill at the Winter Meetings.
Adam McCalvy also has a new candidate to consider: Yesterday he mentioned on Twitter that Kyle Blanks of the Padres is "another possible target." Blanks is 27 and has dealt with injury issues over the last few seasons, but is a career .228/.312/.404 hitter while playing home games at Petco Park, one of baseball's least power-friendly environments.
Neither Blanks nor Pill are the sexiest options to play every day at first base, but it might be important to remember just how bad the Brewers were at that spot in 2013. Walk Like A Sabermetrician hammers that point home several times in their annual look at hitting by position.
The real question is whether someone like Blanks or Pill would significantly outperform Hunter Morris. Justin Schultz of Reviewing the Brew asks if the Brewers believe in 2013's AAA first baseman.
Any first baseman that comes to Milwaukee will have Ryan Braun playing behind them in right field. Noah is encouraging everyone to vote for Braun to represent the Brewers in MLB's Face of the Franchise contest, which is supposed to move on to Milwaukee today.
Braun is moving to right field to make room for Khris Davis in left, which is pretty high praise for a guy with 153 MLB plate appearances. One of those PAs ended with the season's fourth longest homer, though, and we took a look at it yesterday in Brew Crew Blasts.
In the minors:
- Ben Badler of Baseball America (via Twitter) says the Brewers "don't have any locks" to appear on the magazine's list of top 100 prospects this winter.
- Jason Rogers has been off for a little while now in the Dominican Winter League, but @Mass_Haas points out that he's played 159 games this year between the minors, Arizona Fall League and winter ball.
Back in Milwaukee, yesterday Bucks owner Herb Kohl talked to reporters about his call for new investors to step forward to help keep the team in Milwaukee. This isn't something I'd normally mention but one name that keeps coming up as a possibility is Mark Attanasio. Howie Magner says (via Twitter) that he's "not sure how realistic" Attanasio is as a candidate.
If you haven't yet, please take a moment today to vote in this week's Brew Crew Ball Tracking Poll. We're collecting responses through the day today and the results will run tomorrow.
Astros: Signed pitcher Matt Albers to a one-year, $2.45 million contract.
Braves: Avoided arbitration with pitcher Brandon Beachy ($1.45 million) and signed pitcher Gavin Floyd to a one-year, $4 million contract.
Diamondbacks: Acquired pitcher Addison Reed from the White Sox for third baseman Matt Davidson.
Dodgers: Re-signed reliever J.P. Howell to a two-year, $11.25 million contract with a vesting option for 2015.and signed pitcher Josh Ravin and infielder Josh Bell to minor league deals.
Indians: Signed pitcher Shaun Marcum to a minor league deal.
Rockies: Designated pitcher Collin McHugh for assignment.
Floyd is a really interesting case, as Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter) is reporting that he turned down a two-year, $20 million offer from the Orioles to take much less in Atlanta. Ravin was in the Brewers organization briefly at the end of the season after being claimed off waivers from the Reds. McHugh could be an interesting option for the Brewers, and we looked at him last night in the latest installation of Freely* Available Talent.
Yesterday MLB officially announced a new posting agreement with Nippon Pro Baseball, governing the transition of players from Japan to the US. Noah has a look at how the new deal impacts the Brewers going forward.
In former Brewers:
- Josh Duggan of MLB Daily Dish listed the Norichika Aoki/Will Smith deal as one of the five most underrated moves of the offseason...for the Royals.
- Nullacct profiled Rollie Fingers as the Face of the Franchise for the 1980's.
Today in baseball economics: Investors and the City of Oakland are working together on a concept for a potential new waterfront ballpark for the A's, but Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk notes that there's already strong opposition to the idea.
A couple of years ago we tried the idea of a Brew Crew Ball Book Club, getting together in this space to discuss The Extra 2%. I don't think we're going to do another club this winter, but I'm guessing the folks and Red Reporter would be ok with it if you wanted to join them in reading The Art of Fielding.
Finally, with help from the B-Ref Play Index, we'd like to wish a happy birthday today to:
- 1986 and 1989 Brewer Bryan Clutterbuck, who turns 54. We covered his birthday in Today In Brewer History two years ago.
- Cal Ripken Sr., 2004 inductee into the Appleton Baseball Hall of Fame, who would have turned 78.
- Stoddard, Wisconsin native Roy Patterson, who would have turned 137. Patterson pitched seven MLB seasons with the White Sox from 1901-07.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I should be somewhere else.