Some things to read while not getting your money back.
We are 29 days from pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale, and the Brewers team that arrives there projects to look a lot like the one that went 74-88 a year ago. As part of his team-by-team preview of the 2014 season, Jeff Passan of Yahoo discussed the wide gap between how the Brewers see themselves and how the rest of baseball sees them. Here's the opening paragraph:
The silence of the Brewers this offseason reflects the cognitive dissonance between the team's belief in itself and the industry's belief in the team. The Brewers see themselves as a victim of injuries and bad fortune who need only health as the great salve for 2014. Executives see the Brewers as a team with a potentially solid, if on-base-challenged offense, a mediocre-at-best rotation and a bullpen that ought to be forced to wear HIGHLY FLAMMABLE patches on its uniform.
I know we as a community don't always look kindly upon Passan's work, but I think that paragraph (and the story as a whole) are a pretty fair assessment of the current situation.
The Brewers' next transaction is likely to come towards the end of this week, as the organization is optimistic about their chances to settle arbitration cases with Marco Estrada and Juan Francisco. Both players (and all other eligibles across baseball) filed for arbitration yesterday and are scheduled to exchange proposals with their teams on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Brewers still have a gap at first base and Curt Hogg of Disciples of Uecker is the latest to dismiss Jonathan Lucroy as a candidate to fill it. In a related note, Nicholas Zettel of Disciples of Uecker also has the latest entry in his ongoing look at positional flexibility.
Carlos Gomez also won't be moving to first base, as his defensive skills make him much too valuable in center field. In fact, Dayn Perry of CBS Sports has Gomez's 2013 campaign on his all-time single season team for the Brewers. Gomez and Ryan Braun (2011) were the only active Brewers on the roster.
Free agent Michael Young has also been mentioned as a possibility at first base but is considering retirement instead, according to Ken Rosenthal. Young turned 37 in October and has made over $90 million across 14 MLB seasons.
If Young does retire he'll miss a chance to appear on this list a year from now: Yesterday as part of our Brew Crew Blasts series we looked at the home runs that came the closest to not leaving the park. If I do say so myself, this was my favorite installment in the series to date.
In the minors:
- All signs would suggest that most of the top prospects in the Brewers organization need more time to develop before making an impact in the majors. Noted leisured gentleman Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs used the Steamer projection system to suggest 2014 MLB performances for the Brewers' top farmhands, with largely ugly results.
- Mitch Haniger is one of the prospects projected, and was hurt by the fact that he's never played above High-A. David Laurilia of FanGraphs has an interview with the 2012 first round pick.
- The news continues to get worse for pitcher Will West, who hasn't finished serving his current 50 game suspension but will be suspended for 100 more following positive tests for amphetamines and a drug of abuse. West is still only 21 but this may be the end of the road in the Brewers organization for him.
- Meanwhile in the Dominican Republic, Jason Rogers went 0-for-3 with a walk but his offense was not needed as four Escogido pitchers combined to pitch a no-hitter in their 6-0 win over Licey (box score). Juan Francisco went 0-for-3 with a walk for the losing side.
- In Puerto Rico, Martin Maldonado went 1-for-3 in Mayaguez's 4-0 loss to Carolina (box score). Maldonado had one of Mayaguez's two hits in the game. Irving Falu went 0-for-3.
- Back stateside, yesterday the Timber Rattlers announced a new naming rights partner for their ballpark. Effective immediately, the Brewers' low-A affiliate plays their home games at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium.
- Jason Arndt of Brewers Farm Report has stories on recent minor league signees Greg Golson and Milan Post and re-signee Brock Kjeldgaard.
Indians: Signed outfielder Nyjer Morgan to a minor league contract.
Mariners: Signed catcher John Buck to a one-year, $1 million contract.
Orioles: Signed reliever Luis Vizcaino and infielder Brock Bond to minor league deals.
Padres: Avoided arbitration with outfielder Seth Smith (one year, $4.5 million).
Morgan's return to the US made this a great time for user bschles to share a college essay he wrote about Tony Plush in the FanPosts.
Today in former Brewers:
- No one will be inducted into the Brewers Walk of Fame this year. The closest candidates to induction were pitcher Teddy Higuera and Milwaukee Braves first baseman Joe Adcock.
- Jason Collette of FanGraphs has a continued look at and some visual evidence to support the ongoing theory that John Axford was tipping his pitches during his time with the Brewers. In a related note, Dobber Sports has Axford as one of five relievers that could rebound in 2014.
- Amazin' Avenue has a look at Chris Capuano's ongoing free agency.
- Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post has a preview of Jorge De La Rosa's 2014 season with the Rockies.
- The Pirates' minor league system will have three former Brewers as pitching coaches in 2014: Tom Filer at AAA Indianapolis, former Brewers bullpen coach Stan Kyles at AA Altoona and Mark DiFelice at low-A Jamestown. Pittsburgh's major league pitching coach, Ray Searage, was also a Brewer.
- Phillies Nation listed Randy Wolf as the 70th greatest Phillie of all time.
- Chris Mehring of Rattler Radio has former Brewers outfielder Johnny Briggs and hitting coaches Butch Wynegar and Rod Carew in his collection of Twins cards.
Today is Brewers bench coach Jerry Narron's 58th birthday, and we marked the occasion in Today In Brewer History. With help from Brewerfan.net and the B-Ref Play Index, we'd also like to wish a happy birthday today to:
- 2013 Wisconsin Timber Rattler Jono Armold, who turns 25.
- 2000-02 and 2007 Brewer Ray King, who turns 40.
- Seattle Pilot Mike Marshall, who turns 71. We covered his birthday in Today In Brewer History last year.
Plunk Everyone notes that Marshall's 31 career hit batsmen are the fifth most ever for a pitcher born on January 15.
Today is also the 44th anniversary of a six-player trade in 1970 that sent first baseman Don Mincher to Oakland and brought starting pitcher Lew Krausse, catcher Phil Roof and reliever Ken Sanders to Milwaukee. We covered that event in Today In Brewer History two years ago.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to put some pants on.