Some things to read while building a brick house.
We are eight days away from the official beginning of spring training in Arizona, but this morning we know that a few more Brewers are coming to camp early: Martin Maldonado is enjoying his last day in Puerto Rico today before reporting tomorrow, and John Axford is driving his family across the country in an RV on his way to camp.
Of course, both Axford and Maldonado's stays in Brewer camp will only be temporary before they leave to represent their homelands in the World Baseball Classic. Andrew Gruman of FS Wisconsin has a look at how Maldonado and Jonathan Lucroy's departures will leave the Brewers shorthanded behind the plate this spring. Baseball America also has a story on Brewers in the WBC, but it's subscriber-only.
Lucroy, by the way, was an honorable mention on Baseball by Paul's list of the top ten catchers in the game right now.
Having Yovani Gallardo and Marco Estrada out of camp for a while will allow us all to pay a little more attention to the four pitchers battling for the final three spots in the rotation. Andrew Gruman of FS Wisconsin has a profile of Chris Narveson, whose lost 2012 season was just the latest chapter in his long and winding career.
While Narveson appears to be back at full strength and ready for 2013, Corey Hart is working to get there. Over the weekend he told Adam McCalvy he's already started rehabbing his surgically repaired knee and his goal is to be back by the end of April, not the end of May as previously predicted.
For the first time in quite some time the Brewers won't have Manny Parra in camp this spring after he signed a major league deal with the Reds over the weekend. Over the weekend he tweeted out a thank you to the Milwaukee fans.
When pitchers and catchers finally do report it will mark the end of one of the quietest offseasons in recent memory. David Schoenfield of ESPN gave the Brewers a B- for their offseason efforts, though, and about 40% of voters in the attached poll expect the team to win between 85-89 games this season.
It's also been a quiet offseason for Ryan Braun, but for him that's a good thing. Adam McCalvy talked to Braun about the differences between now and this time a year ago.
The Opening Day countdown reached 56 days this morning, and The Brewer Nation is helping you count the days with their "Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers" series. Over the weekend they profiled Khris Davis (#57), Josh Prince (#58) and John Axford (#59).
In the minors:
- Alec Dopp of Brewers Rumors has his rankings of the top 15 prospects in the Brewer organization, along with 2013 predictions for each player.
- Speaking of prospect rankings, as of this writing Mitch Haniger and Hiram Burgos are tied in the voting for the #13 spot on our BCB community list. Go vote before 1 today, then stop back after 2 to vote for #14.
- Baseball America has a great story on the collegiate life of Dylan Covey, one of two first round picks from the 2010 draft who did not sign. (h/t @Mass_Haas)
Jim Callis of Baseball America reports that, because of how the calendar lines up, the deadline for 2013 draft picks to sign will be July 12. That's a few days earlier than usual and six days earlier than what it will be in 2014.
Cardinals: Avoided arbitration with reliever Marc Rzepczynski (one year, $1.1 million).
Mets: Signed outfielder Marlon Byrd to a minor league deal.
Orioles: Are expected to re-sign pitcher Mark Hendrickson to a minor league deal.
Reds: Designated pitcher Todd Redmond for assignment and signed catcher Miguel Olivo to a minor league deal.
White Sox: Claimed first baseman Lars Anderson off waivers from the Diamondbacks.
Yankees: Designated 1B/OF Russ Canzler for assignment.
For more on recent news from around the division, check out Justin Bopp of MLB Daily Dish's weekend roundup.
Today in former Brewers:
- Francisco Rodriguez is reportedly still seeking $7 million for 2013. In a related note, he's still unemployed.
- The Good Phight has a (at least partially tongue-in-cheek) defense of the Phillies' decision to sign Yuniesky Betancourt.
- Bradley Woodrum of NotGraphs has a look at how Japan has changed Brooks Conrad, who recently signed to play for the Hanshin Tigers in 2013.
- Rowland's Office is listing Dan Kolb as the seventh worst pitcher in Atlanta Braves history.
Today in baseball economics:
- The Mariners, who have already been all but assigned a fourth place finish in the AL West, are expected to have a $79 million payroll in 2013. That's down almost $40 million from their high-water mark in 2008, but still more than the Brewers are expected to spend.
- The Cubs have scheduled a press conference for Tuesday to announce a partnership with Northwestern University that will allow several NCAA sports to play home games at Wrigley Field, including a possible return for football.
If you've read all of this and still have some time on your hands this morning, perhaps it's time to start looking for a job. FanGraphs has a posting for a full-time analytics internship with an unnamed major league team.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I can't find my car keys.