Some things to read while consulting the experts.
We are 71 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale and yesterday the Brewers made their biggest additions of the offseason to date, signing infielder Irving Falu and catcher Matt Pagnozzi to minor league deals with invitations to major league camp.
Falu is a 30-year-old with professional experience at second base, shortstop, third base and right field. He's an eleven-year pro but has played just 25 games in the majors, including one as a member of the Royals last season. He's a lifetime .278/.342/.357 hitter in the minors, including the last five seasons with AAA Omaha. He's also a switch hitter, so it's hard to resist the urge to compare him to recent waiver claim Elian Herrera.
Meanwhile, Pagnozzi is a 31-year-old catcher who has played 42 games over parts of four MLB seasons, including nine appearances with the Astros last season. He's a career .272/.323/.326 hitter in the majors, but carries a .219/.297/.312 slash line across almost 800 career minor league games. He's played at the AAA level every year since 2007. He's unlikely to make a significant impact as a Brewer, but one can never have too many catchers in spring training.
Meanwhile, @Mass_Haas points out that both Falu and Pagnozzi are on Twitter.
Pagnozzi is probably not a threat to take significant playing time away from Martin Maldonado, but one never knows for sure. Benjamin Orr of Reviewing the Brew asks what the Brewers should do with Maldonado after his weak offensive 2013 season.
Norichika Aoki's future also remains in limbo. Craig Brown of Royals Review wonders if the veteran outfielder could be a fit for Kansas City.
While Aoki could move this winter, it's probably safe to assume these three Brewers will not: Jonah Keri of Grantland has Jonathan Lucroy 44, Jean Segura 49 and Ryan Braun 50th on his ranking of baseball's top 50 players by trade value.
Lucroy, by the way, hit the eighth longest home run by a Brewer in 2013. We looked at that yesterday in our latest installment of Brew Crew Blasts.
Yovani Gallardo is presumably outside the top 50 on Keri's list, but still could carry a fair amount of value if the Brewers decide to find him a new home. Nicholas Zettel of Disciples of Uecker reassessed Gallardo's value in light of recent contract developments.
Juan Francisco, on the other hand, will almost certainly be a 2014 Brewer after getting an arbitration offer from the Brewers earlier this week. Justin Schultz of Reviewing the Brew makes the case for him to get another shot.
While Irving Falu and Matt Pagnozzi got most of the attention, the Brewers also made a couple more minor transactions yesterday: Donovan Hand and Michael Olmsted have signed their 2014 contracts. Neither player was eligible for arbitration, so they'll almost certainly make the MLB minimum or slightly more for their time in the majors.
In the minors:
- New Brewer Irving Falu went 1-for-3 with a walk, stolen base and home run in Mayaguez's 9-2 loss to Santurce in Puerto Rico last night (box score). Martin Maldonado also went 0-for-3 in the game.
- Elsewhere in Puerto Rico, Jose De La Torre struck out the side in the eighth inning of Caguas' 3-0 win over Ponce (box score).
- And in the Dominican Republic, Jason Rogers went 1-for-4 in Este's 4-1, 10 inning loss to Licey (box score). Fellow Brewer minor leaguer Hector Gomez also went 1-for-4 in the game.
Back in Milwaukee, Nick Michalski of The Brewers Bar has a proposal that might eliminate some of the strain on the parking lots around Miller Park: He'd like to see Milwaukee's proposed streetcar run a line out to the ballpark.
Athletics: Designated pitcher Andrew Werner for assignment.
Cubs: Signed reliever Wesley Wright.
Tigers: Designated infielder Dixon Machado for assignment.
White Sox: Re-signed first baseman/DH Paul Konerko to a one-year, $2.5 million contract.
Yankees: Signed second baseman Kelly Johnson to a one-year, $3 million contract.
Today in former Brewers:
- Amazin' Avenue has a look at John Axford as a possible free agent target for the Mets.
- Let's Go Tribe listed CC Sabathia as the 25th best all-time member of the Cleveland Indians.
- David Schoenfield of ESPN says Ball Four, Jim Bouton's book about life with the 1969 Seattle Pilots, is still a classic over 40 years after its release.
- Darrell Porter is one of several one-time Brewers featured in Chris Mehring of Rattler Radio's collection of Kansas City Royals cards.
- Baseball Card Vandals had some (potentially NSFW) fun with a B.J. Surhoff card.
Today in baseball economics: Our Tweet of the Day is a fun fact to remember for the next time someone tells you baseball is dying:
Seattle Pilots fact: Averaged just 8,268 fans per game. Drew more than 20,000 twice. STILL outdrew Indians, White Sox, Phillies, Padres.— David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield) December 4, 2013
Finally, with help from the B-Ref Play Index, we'd like to wish a happy birthday to Beaver Dam, Wisconsin native and 1901 Milwaukee Brewer Pink Hawley. He would have turned 141 today, and we covered his birthday in Today In Brewer History two years ago. Hawley's 210 career hit batsmen are also easily the most ever for a pitcher born on December 5, according to Plunk Everyone.
Today is also the 23rd anniversary of the Brewers signing first baseman Franklin Stubbs as a free agent in 1990 and the sixth anniversary of the team picking up reliever David Riske in 2007. We covered those events in Today In Brewer History last year.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I feel naked.