Some things to read from the inside.
We are 57 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale, and the Brewers continue to search in every crack and crevice for a new first baseman to bring to camp. Yesterday Ken Rosenthal reported they've been in touch with former Ranger, Dodger and Phillie Michael Young, who is currently a free agent. Adam McCalvy notes (via Twitter) that Doug Melvin has been a longtime fan of Young's.
At first blush I was ready to hate this rumor. Young has become something of a running joke around the internet in recent years. Here's an example:
Brewers said to be interested in Michael Young because they didn't ground into enough double plays last year— keithlaw (@keithlaw) December 19, 2013
Young does ground into a lot of double plays. But he's also a career .300/.346/.441 hitter, and posted a somewhat serviceable .279/.335/.395 line while playing four positions for the Phillies and Dodgers last season. He's been one of baseball's least valuable commodities for several years now, though, because of an awful contract, where the Rangers committed to pay him $80 million over five seasons.
Here's the thing, though: That contract is over now. So instead of comparing Young to the unrealistic expectations of his high salary, we can look at him for what he is: a relatively productive veteran MLB hitter whose age will likely make him available on a relatively inexpensive deal. He's not going to save the franchise and he's unlikely to be an All Star at first base, but the Brewers have certainly done worse.
And, for what it's worth, the market isn't exactly flooded with better options. Even one-time sabermetric darling Kila Ka'aihue is staying in Japan for 2014, while Casey McGehee is coming back to the US with the Marlins and Travis Ishikawa signed a minor league deal with the Pirates.
Meanwhile, Kendrys Morales continues to sit on the free agent market, held in place by the first round pick teams would have to give up to sign him. Mike Petriello of FanGraphs notes that Morales was primarily a DH as a Mariner, and says he "simply can't be in a place where he needs to wear a glove more than once a week." Tom Tango of The Book Blog says Morales' situation was inescapable.
Presumably the Brewers could also have Ike Davis from the Mets, but only if they're willing to give up Tyler Thornburg to get him. Steve Garczynski of Disciples of Uecker has a look at Thornburg's value at this point.
For what it's worth, Brewer fans seem to have reached an unlikely consensus that the team made the right decision passing on three other options. A majority of voters in this week's BCB Tracking Poll approved of the organization's decisions not to offer more for Corey Hart, Logan Morrison or James Loney.
In the minors:
- Moments ago the Brewers announced they've re-signed pitchers Santo Manzanillo and Johnnie Lowe to minor league deals. Manzanillo is still only 24, a former member of the 40-man roster and appeared in 46 games between Huntsville and Brevard County in 2013. Lowe posted a 3.53 ERA in 37 appearances for Nashville last season.
- Southern League owners have officially approved Huntsville's move to Biloxi for the 2015 season. It remains to be seen what that means for the Brewers, whose player development contract with the Stars expires following the 2014 season.
- Benjamin Orr of Reviewing the Brew has an attempt to predict the future for 2013 Brevard County outfielder and Arizona Fall League standout Mitch Haniger.
- Meanwhile in the Dominican, Elian Herrera went 2-for-4 with a walk and scored a pair of runs in Oriente's 9-4 win over Cibao last night (box score).
- Jason Rogers went 0-for-3 but did walk and score a run in Este's 4-3 loss to Escogido (box score).
- Juan Francisco went 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts in Licey's 7-4 loss to Aguilas (box score).
- Irving Falu went 1-for-3 and had Mayaguez's only hit in their 1-0 loss to Santurce (box score). Martin Maldonado struck out as a pinch hitter in his only plate appearance.
- Jason Arndt of Brewers Farm Report has stories on Hiram Burgos' performance in Puerto Rico this winter and Huntsville reliever Eric Marzec's winter ball experience in Australia.
Back in Milwaukee, the Brewers announced three front office promotions yesterday: Bob Hallas is the team's new VP of Stadium Operations, Teddy Werner is the VP of Business Development and Michael Boettcher is the new Director of Grounds.
Angels: Signed outfielder Raul Ibanez to a one-year, $2.75 million contract.
Astros: Claimed pitcher Collin McHugh off waivers from the Rockies and acquired 1B/OF Jesus Guzman from the Padres for infielder Ryan Jackson.
Braves: Acquired catcher Ryan Doumit from the Twins for a minor league pitcher.
Diamondbacks: Re-signed 1B/3B Eric Chavez.
Mariners: Designated pitcher Chance Ruffin for assignment.
Marlins: Designated catcher Kyle Skipworth for assignment.
Padres: Signed reliever Joaquin Benoit to a two-year, $15.5 million contract.
Phillies: Signed catcher Lou Marson, outfielders Tony Gwynn Jr. and Dave Sappelt and pitcher Sean O'Sullivan to minor league deals and designated catcher Sebastian Valle for assignment.
Pirates: Signed pitchers Kyle McPherson, Daniel Schlereth, Adam Wilk, Brandon Mann, Elvin Ramirez and first baseman Travis Ishikawa to minor league deals.
Rangers: Signed pitcher Justin Germano to a minor league deal.
Reds: Signed pitcher Chien-Ming Wang to a minor league deal.
Rockies: Acquired outfielder Drew Stubbs from the Indians for pitcher Josh Outman and acquired pitcher Franklin Morales and a minor leaguer from the Red Sox for infielder Jonathan Herrera.
Royals: Acquired third baseman Danny Valencia from the Orioles for outfielder David Lough.
Today in former Brewers:
- Amazin' Avenue has a look at Francisco Rodriguez's free agency.
- Ron Villone, who spent 2013 as the Cubs' pitching coach at low-A Kane County, has been promoted to high-A Daytona for 2014.
- Livan Hernandez is putting his 1997 World Series ring and MVP trophy up for auction.
- Chris Mehring of Rattler Radio has cards for one-time Brewer Mike Marshall, one-time Brewers manager Jerry Royster and one-time Milwaukee Brave Phil Niekro in his collection of Braves cards.
And in baseball economics: The average MLB salary reached $3.39 million in 2013, although obviously the median is much lower.
- 2012 Brewer Vinnie Chulk, who turns 35.
- 2004-05 and 2008 Brewer Russell Branyan, who turns 38.
- 1995 Brewer Joe Slusarski, who turns 47.
- 1985-95 Brewer Bill Wegman, who turns 51. We covered his birthday in Today In Brewer History last year.
- 1976 Brewer Art Kusnyer, who turns 68.
- 1973 Brewer Rob Gardner, who turns 69.
Today is also the third anniversary of the 2010 trade that brought Zack Greinke to Milwaukee. We covered that event in Today In Brewer History two years ago.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to wake up.