Some things to read while time marches on.
We are 31 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale, ending what could be the quietest Brewers offseason any of us can remember. Doug Melvin recently told Tom Haudricourt he expected the team wouldn't be very active this winter, for what it's worth. Milwaukee's Own Brew Crew Fans wonders if Melvin has an overall plan for this team.
If the Brewers aren't going to make a major move to improve the first base position this winter, then a minor transaction to add depth could be in order. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (via MLBTR) reports that the Brewers and Astros have expressed interest in Lyle Overbay. He's 36 and appeared in 142 games for the Yankees last season, hitting .240/.295/.393 with 24 doubles and 14 home runs. A decade ago he set the Brewers' single-season doubles record with 53 in 2004.
Yovani Gallardo probably isn't an option to play first base for the Brewers in 2014, but he might outhit some of the players who spent time there last season. Daniel Bailey of Gammons Daily mentioned Gallardo as one of the game's best hitting pitchers.
Wily Peralta is a much lesser threat at the plate (going 7-for-50 with no extra base hits or RBI in 2013), but if he continues to improve as a pitcher it won't matter. Justin Schultz of Reviewing the Brew has a look at Peralta's control as a factor in his potential long term success in the majors.
Meanwhile, the Brewers' bullpen remains in a state of flux for 2014. Benjamin Orr of Reviewing the Brew has a two-part post where he looks at the likely top candidates (Jim Henderson and Brandon Kintzler) and seven other possibilities to pitch in relief this season.
It's worth noting that Brewers relievers combined for the fifth-best ERA in all of baseball last season. Baseball In-Depth notes, though, that only one team has posted a top 5 bullpen ERA in consecutive seasons since 2011.
Jonathan Lucroy is a near lock to spend most of 2014 catching those relievers. He also hit 2013's second longest homer, and we looked at it on Friday as part of our Brew Crew Blasts series.
Scooter Gennett's role on this team is less certain, but only slightly so. Curt Hogg of Disciples of Uecker has a look at several ways the Brewers could improve his scheduled bobblehead day.
In the minors:
- In addition to previously reported minor league signings for pitchers Brad Mills and R.J. Seidel, the Brewers have re-signed 2013 Huntsville outfielder Brock Kjeldgaard. He's 27, a converted pitcher, and a .222/.333/.417 hitter in 526 plate appearances for the Stars last season.
- Jason Arndt of Brewers Farm Report has a look at left-handed pitching in the minors, noting that the Brewers have a lack of southpaws in the upper levels of the organization but are well-stocked in the lower levels.
- Juan Francisco went 1-for-4 yesterday in Licey's 4-1 win over Aguilas in the Dominican Republic (box score). Alfredo Figaro retired one batter and allowed a run in the game.
- Jason Rogers reached on an error as a pinch hitter but it was not enough as Escogido lost 6-5 to Cibao in ten innings (box score). Even with the loss, Escogido holds the Dominican's best record in the round robin playoffs. Licey is currently second at 7-7.
- In Puerto Rico, Martin Maldonado went 1-for-4 with a run scored and Irving Falu also had a hit in Mayaguez's 5-4 win over Carolina (box score). Mayaguez is now 7-1 in round robin play, taking a commanding lead on the field.
- Meanwhile, Jose De La Torre allowed three runs in a single inning of work in Caguas' 8-5 loss to Ponce (box score). Yadiel Rivera entered the game as a defensive replacement at shortstop and went 0-for-1.
- There was a scary moment in Mayaguez following last night's game as an earthquake hit north of the island. Maldonado reports he and his family are ok.
- Morineko has more on the last seven days in winter ball in her weekly roundup.
- Hiram Burgos did not pitch this weekend, but he was a unanimous choice for Puerto Rico's pitcher of the year award. Burgos worked 38.2 innings for Mayaguez and posted a 1.40 ERA with 35 strikeouts.
- I thought this was official a while ago, but apparently it's "re-official now:" The Southern League has approved the sale of the Huntsville Stars, opening the door for them to move to Biloxi in 2015.
Back in Milwaukee, you can bet someone's taking a little closer look at the books this morning. An Arizona Republic report suggests there's a nearly $500,000 discrepancy in the rent the Brewers have been charged for Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix. The linked story is unclear on whether the Brewers have paid too much or not enough, and the AZ Republic story is behind a paywall.
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. News is slow right now, but that's no excuse for falling behind.
Diamondbacks: Claimed pitcher Santos Rodriguez off waivers from the White Sox.
Giants: Signed pitcher Dontrelle Willis to a minor league deal.
Nationals: Avoided arbitration with pitcher Stephen Strasburg (one year, $3.975 million).
Marlins: Re-signed pitcher Kevin Slowey to a minor league deal.
Orioles: Signed infielder Alexi Casilla to a minor league deal.
Rangers: Pitcher Derek Holland is likely to open the season on the DL following knee surgery.
Royals: Avoided arbitration with catcher Brett Hayes (one year, $630,000).
Yankees: Third baseman Alex Rodriguez has been suspended for the 2014 season. Also, the team designated outfielder Vernon Wells for assignment and signed pitcher Robert Coello and infielder Scott Sizemore to minor league deals.
It's been a slow offseason for the Brewers, but in our two-part Tweet of the Day Chris Cotillo has a reminder that things are slow all over right now:
Last major league contract agreement (#Astros Crain) came on 12/31. Almost two weeks of crazy inactivity.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) January 12, 2014
By my count, only 6 MLB FA signings since 12/18. 25 days ago.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) January 12, 2014
In former Brewers:
- Tyler Drenon of MLB Daily Dish has a largely tongue-in-cheek look at Yuniesky Betancourt's long MLB career, but includes this note that gave me pause: All of Yuni's other MLB employers (the Royals, Mariners and Phillies) have been teams that are reportedly behind the curve in the use of advanced statistics.
- Bill Baer of Hardball Talk has a story about how the Cardinals reportedly informed John Axford he'd been tipping his pitches after he was traded to St. Louis. It's Pronounced "Lajaway" wonders if the Cardinals inadvertently did the Indians a favor by fixing their new reliever.
- The Blue Jays had been attempting to convert Jeremy Jeffress to a starting pitcher, but have abandoned those plans.
- Speaking of the Blue Jays, Bluebird Banter has a look at Kevin Seitzer's philosophies as their new hitting coach.
- Dan Plesac's name has come up as a possibility for the Phillies' vacant color commentator position, but he's reportedly not interested.
- The LA Times has a recap of Luis Cruz's 2013 season with the Dodgers.
- Lawrence Rocca of the Newark Star-Ledger is one of six voters who named Hideo Nomo on their Hall of Fame ballots. He left Greg Maddux off his ballot, though.
If you're done reading the Mug and need something else to do this morning, I can recommend AZ Snakepit's Saturday Sporcle asking you to name (in order) the players who have been inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame since 2000. There have been 15 new additions in Cooperstown since Paul Molitor's election in 2004.
- 2013 Huntsville Star Eric Marzec, who turns 26.
- 2005-07 Brewer Jose Capellan, who turns 33.
- 2007 Brewer Elmer Dessens, who turns 43. We covered his birthday in Today In Brewer History last year.
- 1985-87 Brewer Billy Jo Robidoux, who turns 50. We covered his birthday in Today In Brewer History two years ago.
- 1988 Brewer Odell Jones, who turns 61.
- 1979 Brewer Bob Galasso, who turns 62.
Plunk Everyone notes that Dessens' 24 career hit batsmen are the second most ever for a pitcher born on January 13. Dessens was also the winning pitcher in the last game at County Stadium.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to gather my meeples.