Monday's Frosty Mug: A gift that keeps on giving

Dilip Vishwanat

We're talking about the Brewers' best decision in 2013 and more in today's news roundup.

Some things to read while doing some last minute shopping.

We are 53 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale and, while this offseason has been a bit of a letdown to this point, it's important to remember that it could be much worse. Mike Axisa of CBS Sports says the Brewers signed Carlos Gomez to baseball's most team-friendly contract in 2013. Without the three year, $24 million deal he signed in March, Gomez would be a free agent this winter. (h/t @Mass_Haas)

The biggest story of the offseason to this point may very well be Corey Hart's decision to sign with the Mariners. Over the weekend the Hart family took out an ad in the Journal Sentinel to thank the fans and the team for his time in Milwaukee.

Hart's departure, however, has left a gap in the lineup that no newspaper ad can fill. The Brewers are still likely to add a replacement at first base this winter, and on Friday we took a look at players that could be removed from the 40-man roster to make room.

Could Jim Henderson be dealt in a move to bring in a Hart replacement? Benjamin Orr of Reviewing the Brew wonders if Henderson is expendable at this point.

Of course, no discussion of first base is complete without the obligatory mention of Hunter Morris. Pete Goodchild of Reviewing the Brew is the latest to wonder if he's the best option.

The Brewers may be having a slow winter, but at least they can take some solace in the fact that no one else in the division is running away from the field. Charlie Wilmoth of Bucs Dugout says the entire NL Central has failed to improve this offseason.

If the Brewers are going to compete in 2014, they'll likely need a great bounce-back season from Yovani Gallardo. Curt Hogg of Disciples of Uecker has a look at Gallardo's down season in 2013 and his prognosis going forward.

They'll also need Ryan Braun to have a season that gets him back onto lists like this one. Jamie Zadow of Dobbersports.com made a list of the NL Central's top ten hitters for 2014 and left the Brewers off of it.

In the minors:

  • Over the weekend the Brewers released pitcher Cody Scarpetta, a one-time top prospect who has struggled to stay healthy in recent years. Jason Arndt of Brewers Farm Report has more on Scarpetta.
  • Bernie Pleskoff of MLB.com has a scouting report on Taylor Jungmann, who he says is still a work in progress.
  • Back at Brewers Farm Report, Jason Arndt has a profile of recent minor league Rule 5 selection Vinnie Catricala.
  • Meanwhile in winter ball: Hiram Burgos pitched six shutout innings and allowed just two hits in Mayaguez's 3-1 win over Ponce in Puerto Rico yesterday (box score). Irving Falu went 1-for-3 with a double and scored a run in the game, while Martin Maldonado went 0-for-3.
  • Elsewhere on the island, Jose De La Torre pitched a scoreless ninth for the save in Caguas' 3-1 win over Carolina (box score).
  • Mayaguez is off until Friday, but will carry a 20-16 record into the final weekend of the regular season. They're currently a game ahead of Jose De La Torre's Caguas squad.
  • The regular season has wrapped up in the Dominican Republic, and Juan Francisco's Licey team reached the playoffs with a 29-21 record.
  • Morineko has much more on the week in winter ball in her weekly roundup.

Meanwhile, if you weren't around the site this weekend you might have missed JP's weekly look at what we learned over the previous seven days. Things remain quiet, but that's no excuse for falling behind.

Around baseball:

Athletics: Claimed catcher Chris Gimenez off waivers from the Rays.
Diamondbacks: Signed reliever Brad Ziegler to a two-year, $9.5 million contract extension with a club option for 2016.
Giants: Designated pitcher Eric Surkamp for assignment.
Marlins: Signed outfielder Jordany Valdespin to a minor league deal.
Nationals: Signed catcher Chris Snyder to a minor league deal.
Orioles: Opted not to sign reliever Grant Balfour to a two-year deal following his physical.
Rangers: Signed outfielder Shin-Soo Choo to a seven-year, $130 million contract.
Reds: Signed ten players to minor league contracts with invitations to spring training.
Twins: Signed catcher Kurt Suzuki to a one-year, $2.5 million contract.

The Balfour situation has turned out to be a strange one. The Orioles say they pulled their offer off the table because of concerns over the reliever's shoulder, but two different team doctors have since come forward to say they do not share the concerns. I don't think I've ever seen one team doctor come forward to contradict another.

It's a big day for former Brewers:

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

Plunk Everyone notes, by the way, that Leary's 52 hit batsmen are the fourth most ever for a pitcher born on December 23.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need more boxes.

Drink up.

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