Some things to read while sniffing for treasure.
We are 28 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale, and a longtime NL Central opponent will be in the clubhouse when they get there. Yesterday the Brewers announced they've signed former Pirates and Reds lefty Zach Duke to a minor league deal. Duke is 30 and has a long MLB track record as a below-average starter, but closed the 2013 season with a hot streak in the bullpen for the Reds. @AdamMcCalvy confirms the team plans to try using him as a reliever. Duke, by the way, is on Twitter as @zach_duke.
So another new reliever has entered the mix, but a former Brewers reliever remains a hot topic of conversation. The story that John Axford may have been tipping his pitches during his time with the Brewers has not gone away, and Justin Schultz of Reviewing the Brew heard Rick Kranitz say he's unsure if it's true. Also at Reviewing the Brew, Benjamin Orr asks if the Brewers failed Axford.
The Brewers also made news yesterday by announcing game times for their full 2014 schedule, so get out your calendar and start filling in games. It looks like you'll still have plenty of free time on Sunday nights, though, as the Brewers have been left off ESPN's schedule through at least July 20.
That means a national TV audience will likely miss out on getting to see Jean Segura's sophomore season. Ryan Connor of Reviewing the Brew looked for comparable players for the Brewers' young shortstop and says he's closer to Rafael Furcal than Angel Berroa.
Two of Segura's likely Opening Day teammates, Scooter Gennett and Khris Davis, were late round selections in the 2009 draft. Ryan Topp of Disciples of Uecker has a look back at that draft, where the Brewers got some great value in the late rounds but may have struck out early with players like Eric Arnett, Kentrail Davis, Kyle Heckathorn and Max Walla.
Yovani Gallardo may have lost his post as the Brewers' Opening Day starter, but he continues to show more power at the plate than many of his position-playing teammates. Yesterday we looked at Gallardo's two 2013 home runs as part of our Brew Crew Blasts series.
The Brewers haven't announced their full list of non-roster invitees to spring training yet, but when they do it's probably safe to assume David Goforth will be on it. The 2011 seventh round pick posted a 3.17 ERA across 34 appearances between high-A and AA last season, and Adam McCalvy says his recent relief work puts him in position to make the transition to the big leagues.
In the minors:
- We'll start today in the Dominican Republic, where Jason Rogers went 2-for-3 and scored a run in Escogido's 2-0 win over Aguilas in postseason round robin play (box score).
- Elsewhere on the island, Juan Francisco went 0-for-4 with a walk in Licey's 6-4 win over Cibao (box score). The two teams combined to commit nine errors, including three by one-time 40-man roster member Hector Gomez.
- And in Puerto Rico, Irving Falu went 1-for-3 with a walk and drove in two runs in Mayaguez's 4-3, 10 inning loss to Caguas (box score). Martin Maldonado went 0-for-4 in the game, while Jose De La Torre pitched a scoreless eighth for the winning side.
Back in the states, the Nationals have reached an agreement to extend their player development contract with AA Harrisburg through the 2018 season. This is news for the Brewers because the Nationals are one of several teams that could have feasibly attempted to bump the Brewers out when their PDC with Huntsville/Biloxi expires following the 2014 season. The franchise's new ballpark in Biloxi could make them a hot commodity on the affiliate market.
Bringing our attention back to Milwaukee, Nick Michalski of The Brewers Bar has a look at beer prices across MLB and asks if the Brewers should be the cheapest on a per ounce basis. They're currently tied for tenth with three other teams.
Astros: Signed infielder Gregorio Petit to a minor league deal.
Cubs: Signed third baseman/outfielder Chris Coghlan to a minor league deal.
Diamondbacks: Avoided arbitration with pitcher Josh Collmenter (two years, $2.425 million).
Dodgers: Signed pitcher Clayton Kershaw to a seven-year, $215 million contract extension.
Indians: Avoided arbitration with pitcher Josh Outman (one year, $1.25 million).
Mariners: Avoided arbitration with outfielder Michael Saunders (one year, $2.3 million).
Mets: Avoided arbitration with shortstop Ruben Tejada (one year, $1.1 million).
Orioles: Signed outfielder Tyler Colvin and pitcher Alfredo Aceves to minor league deals.
Rangers: Avoided arbitration with reliever Neal Cotts (one year, $2.2 million).
Red Sox: Avoided arbitration with reliever Burke Badenhop (one year, $2.15 million).
Rockies: Avoided arbitration with reliever Franklin Morales (one year, $1.7125 million).
Royals: Signed pitcher Brad Penny to a minor league deal.
Yankees: Released outfielder Vernon Wells.
Today in former Brewers:
- Yesterday we reported that no one will be inducted into Miller Park's Walk of Fame in 2014. Rob Neyer of Baseball Nation notes the anticlimactic nature of a vote where no one wins and has some suggestions to improve the process going forward.
- The Mariners organization will have plenty of former Brewers among their minor league coaches in 2014. Yesterday they announced that Jaime Navarro will be the pitching coach for AAA Tacoma, Lance Painter and Roy Howell will be the pitching and hitting coaches for AA Jackson and Andrew Lorraine will be the pitching coach for High-A High Desert.
- The Astros also announced their minor league coaches yesterday, and Ed Romero will return as the manager of their short season-A affiliate in Tri-City.
- nullacct has a look at Dan Plesac as the face of the 1991 Brewers.
Meanwhile, the Brewers announced yesterday that the media and staff parking lot outside Miller Park will be renamed in honor of longtime Milwaukee Braves shortstop Johnny Logan. Logan passed away in August.
- 2013 Brevard County Manatee Alex Moore, who turns 23.
- 2007-11 Brewer Mitch Stetter, who turns 33. We covered his birthday in Today In Brewer History two years ago.
- 2012 Brewer Brooks Conrad, who turns 34.
- 1996-97 Brewer Ron Villone, who turns 44.
Plunk Everyone notes that Villone's 68 career hit batsmen are the most ever for a pitcher born on January 16.
Today is also the 30th anniversary of the Brewers re-signing catcher Ted Simmons (although by this point he was more of a 1B/DH) as a free agent in 1984. We covered that event in Today In Brewer History last year.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a party to attend.