Some things to read while running a virus scan.
We are 49 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale, but apparently that's not too soon to start lowering expectations for the 2014 season. Ryan Topp of Disciples of Uecker noted a Ron Roenicke interview where he said "we know everything has to go right" for the Brewers to contend in 2014.
One of the aforementioned things that needs to go right for the Brewers is Ryan Braun's return after injuries and a suspension limited him to just 61 games and nine home runs in 2013. Curt Hogg of Disciples of Uecker has a look at Braun as a key to contending.
In addition to that, Scooter Gennett probably needs to prove that his hot debut in 2013 wasn't a fluke. Jim Owczarski of OnMilwaukee.com talked to Gennett about his first partial season in the majors and parlaying it into success this season.
I think many of us are treating 2014 as Aramis Ramirez's final season with the Brewers, but Mass Haas of Brewerfan.net has a reminder that that's not necessarily the case. Ramirez has a mutual option for 2015 and he suggests that the Brewers' lack of internal options plus the sunk cost of the $4 million buyout may lead to the team bringing him back for one more year.
Meanwhile, the Brewers need to sell some more season tickets to pay for that contract. Yesterday they unveiled a Jean Segura All Star bobblehead as an exclusive for season seat holders.
Sean Halton remains on the 40-man roster at this point while the Brewers search for alternatives at first base, but should he be #1 on the depth chart? Jason Arndt of Brewers Farm Report suggests he's the most viable option at this point.
In the minors:
- Jason Arndt of Brewers Farm Report has a look at Hiram Burgos' hot stretch playing winter ball in Puerto Rico. Burgos leads his league with a 1.60 ERA this winter.
- Brewer affiliates in Huntsville and Nashville will both be playing in new facilities in 2015 (with Nashville getting a new stadium and Huntsville moving to Biloxi), but are building those parks a good deal for their communities? Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk directed our attention to this story from Ramapo, New York about a minor league ballpark projected to cost $20 million that left taxpayers on the hook for three times that number.
If you weren't around the site yesterday, you might have missed this week's Thursday Thinker: The latest edition of our weekly Sporcle quiz looks at this winter's top 50 free agents and the places they've signed.
It was a quiet day on the transaction wire yesterday, so instead of an "Around Baseball" section we'll give you some Cake:
Today in former Brewers:
- As part of his list of five awful moves that "almost have to happen," Josh Duggan of MLB Daily Dish predicts Yuniesky Betancourt will land with the Phillies.
- Both the Brewers and Bob Uecker have issued statements on the passing of original Brewer and longtime Milwaukee broadcaster Mike Hegan.
Finally, with help from the B-Ref Play Index, we'd like to wish a happy birthday today to 1996-2001 Brewer Jeff D'Amico. He turns 38, we covered his birthday in Today In Brewer History two years ago, and Plunk Everyone notes that his 26 career hit batsmen are the fourth most ever for a pitcher born on December 27.
Today is also the third anniversary of the Brewers signing Takashi Saito as a free agent in 2010. We covered that event in Today In Brewer History last year.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to make a better train.