Some things to read while finding someone who cares.
We are 70 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale, which means the clubhouse attendants have a little more than two months to replace Norichika Aoki's locker with one for Will Smith. The Brewers traded Aoki for the young lefty yesterday, ending ongoing speculation about his role with the team.
If you're not familiar with Smith, we've got a quick introduction for you. And yes, he's heard all of your Fresh Prince jokes. Go ahead and get them all out of the way. You guys are all so original and clever.
Instead of talking about Smith's name, I think he'd prefer we talk about his slider. Mark Simon of ESPN and Alec have great notes on it in our two-part Tweet of the Day:
Will Smith's nasty slider to lefty hitters in heat map form ... pic.twitter.com/IbHZuVYHpv— Mark Simon (@msimonespn) December 5, 2013
Will Smith's slider held batters to .093/.130/.186 line in 2013 & generated 55.6% chase rate -- 2nd highest amg pitchers w/ 33 IP. #Brewers— Alec Dopp (@alecdopp) December 5, 2013
As you might expect, we've got much more on the deal from around the web:
- Adam McCalvy reports that the trade made sense for both Aoki and the Brewers, with Aoki seeking a guarantee of more playing time with Khris Davis moving into the lineup.
- Andrew Vrchota of Wisconsin Sports Blog gave the trade a B-.
- Old Time Family Baseball said "It's not a sexy move, but it's a smart ploy from both Midwest teams looking to achieve different things."
- Badgernoonan of Ron Roenicke Stole My Baseball took the opposing view, making the case that the Brewers have overvalued Smith.
- Royals Review approved of the move, saying, "It's rare that (Royals general manager) Dayton Moore makes a move that is supported almost universally amongst us critical spirits, so we should give credit when it is due."
- Kings of Kauffman piled on, saying, "Getting that type of a player for a pitcher who may not have even cracked the Royals roster for the next couple of seasons may turn out to be a steal for the Royals."
- Keith Law (via Twitter) called the move a "great pickup" for the Royals.
- We looked at the Brewers' top candidates to bat in the leadoff spot with Aoki gone.
- Jonathan Lucroy (via Twitter) called Aoki one of his all-time favorite teammates, but said he's also looking forward to seeing what Smith can do.
- Smith appeared on WTMJ yesterday.
- Smith and Johnny Hellweg are friends from their time together in the Angels organization, and are already making plans to room together next spring. (h/t @AdamMcCalvy)
- Howie Magner has a reminder (on Twitter) that Aoki will be back in Milwaukee when the Brewers and Royals play exhibition games at Miller Park on March 28-29.
- John Steinmiller reports (via Twitter) that the Brewers are working on a plan for Aoki's scheduled bobblehead day in June.
Smith, by the way, is on Twitter as @White_Willy31.
If nothing else, the Aoki trade took most of our minds off of Corey Hart free agency stories for a while. Derek Harvey of The Book of Gorman predicted Hart's new contract will be one year for about $5-6 million, with incentives that could more than double its value.
Meanwhile, there continues to be almost no chance the Brewers would consider trading Carlos Gomez, 2013's most valuable Brewer. Jonah Keri of Grantland wrapped up his trade value rankings yesterday and has Gomez as the 33rd most valuable player in all of baseball.
Gomez was also second on Brian Creagh of Fake Teams' ranking of fantasy players on the 2014 Brewers. Ryan Braun, as you may have expected, was #1.
In the minors:
- Irving Falu went 1-for-6 with a triple and scored a run in Mayaguez's 4-3, 12 inning win over Carolina in Puerto Rico last night (box score). Martin Maldonado went 0-for-5 with a walk in the game.
- Meanwhile in the Dominican Republic, Elian Herrera went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI in Oriente's 4-3 loss to Este (box score). Jason Rogers went 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI for the victors.
Juan Francisco's winter ball season may be over, as he hasn't appeared in a game for Licey since November 26. Curt Hogg of Disciples of Uecker has a look at Francisco's past and potential future as a Brewer.
Back in Milwaukee, this weekend is the Brewers' annual Clubhouse Sale, and John Steinmiller and Caitlin Moyer have a preview.
Cubs: Forfeited their 2013 Rule 5 draft pick to the Phillies to settle a grievance over 2011 Rule 5 pick Lendy Castillo.
Dodgers: Re-signed reliever Brian Wilson to a one-year, $10 million contract with a player option for 2015.
Marlins: Signed infielder Rafael Furcal to a one-year, $3.5 million contract.
Orioles: Signed pitcher Ryan Webb to a two-year, $4.5 million contract.
Phillies: Signed pitcher Jeff Manship to a minor league deal.
Rangers: Signed pitchers Jose Contreras and Nate Adcock and outfielder Bryan Petersen to minor league deals.
Red Sox: Signed reliever Edward Mujica to a two-year, $9.5 million contract.
Twins: Designated pitcher Liam Hendricks for assignment.
White Sox: Signed reliever Ronald Belisario to a one-year, $3 million contract.
Today in former Brewers:
- Roch Kubatko of MASN says the Orioles are becoming more likely to sign John Axford.
- Halos Heaven listed 1974 Brewer (and 20-game loser) Clyde Wright as the 55th greatest Angel of all time.
- Today's strangest story comes from Jim Gantner, who had a shotgun stolen when it flew off the back of his pickup truck on the highway.
Today is also the third anniversary of the Brewers acquiring Shaun Marcum from the Blue Jays in 2010 and the 37th anniversary of the Brewers acquiring Cecil Cooper from the Red Sox in 1976. We covered those events in Today In Brewer History last year and two years ago, respectively.
Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time to make a change.