Some things to read while trimming your eyebrows.
We are 30 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale, and the Brewers will bring two of baseball's best up-the-middle players to camp in 2014. MLB Network has started their annual rankings of the top ten players by position across baseball, and they have Jean Segura fifth among shortstops and Carlos Gomez sixth among center fielders. Adam Wieser of Disciples of Uecker has more on the selections.
It's a pretty amazing thing when Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura, who are both coming off career years, are treated as a sure thing but Ryan Braun is not. Steve Gardner of USA Today has a wide range of speculation on what could lie ahead for Braun after an injury-riddled season ended with a suspension in 2013.
Elsewhere in uncertainties, we have the Brewers' first base situation. If the organization isn't interested in the remaining free agent options or in overpaying for Ike Davis of the Mets, Mariner Justin Smoak could be available. Lookout Landing has a look at his disappointing tenure in Seattle and uncertain role if he remains with the team.
Meanwhile, Jim Henderson is being treated as a near certainty to open the season in the closer role. Ryan Connor of Reviewing the Brew may suggest a different direction, though, noting the relatively high trade value of "proven closers."
The Brewers made one minor transaction yesterday, signing outfielder Greg Golson to a minor league deal. Golson is a career .264/.311/.398 hitter across ten minor league seasons, and is likely just an organizational depth addition for a team that's well-stocked with outfielders.
Beyond that, however, the Brewers remain quiet and are still the only team that has not signed a major league free agent this winter. Derek Harvey of The Book of Gorman asks where the money is going at this point.
Some of the Brewers' money is going into the contract extension Carlos Gomez signed about a year ago. Gomez hit 2013's longest home run, and we discussed it yesterday in Brew Crew Blasts.
In the minors:
- Marc Hulet of FanGraphs unveiled his ranking of the top 15 Brewers prospects this morning. His list starts with Tyrone Taylor, then Jimmy Nelson.
- Speaking of Nelson, Jason Arndt of Brewers Farm Report has a post on his ascent to the majors.
- The Brewers announced their full minor league coaching staffs yesterday, with the highlight being new managers in Nashville (Rick Sweet) and Huntsville (Carlos Subero). Combined, the two have almost 40 years of managerial experience.
- One story I missed in the above link is the return of longtime Brewers minor league coach Al LeBoeuf, who will be back in coaching with the AZL Brewers after missing the 2013 season to fight cancer. (h/t @AdamMcCalvy)
- Jason Arndt also has a post on Subero.
Astros: Signed infielder Cesar Izturis to a minor league deal.
Giants: Signed pitchers Kameron Loe, J.C. Gutierrez and Sandy Rosario to minor league deals.
Orioles: Signed outfielder Delmon Young to a minor league deal.
Phillies: Signed shortstop Ronny Cedeno to a minor league deal.
Rays: Signed outfielder Justin Christian to a minor league deal.
Reds: Signed pitcher Jeff Francis and outfielder Thomas Neal to minor league deals.
White Sox: Avoided arbitration with outfielder Dayan Viciedo (one year, $2.8 million).
Meanwhile, the biggest news around baseball yesterday (and this is sad, really) was the Cubs announcement that they're going to add a new mascot, Clark the Cub. The decision has not been well-received, and SBNation.com has a roundup of the reactions.
Finally, with help from the B-Ref Play Index, we'd like to wish a happy birthday today to:
- Terry Forster, 2002 inductee into the Appleton Baseball Hall of Fame, who turns 62.
- Seattle Pilot Ron Clark, who turns 71.
Plunk Everyone notes that Forster's 24 career hit batsmen are the fourth most ever for a player born in January 14.
Today is also the 38th anniversary of the Brewers signing longtime MLB outfielder Vada Pinson as a free agent and the 14th anniversary of the team trading outfielder Alex Ochoa to the Reds for 1B/OF Mark Sweeney. We covered those events in Today In Brewer History last year and two years ago, respectively.
Now, if you'll excuse me, the next wave of candidates is coming.