Some things to read while including all the necessary commas.
We are 14 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale, but today's top story is up in the press box: This morning Bob Uecker told WTMJ he plans to reduce his broadcasting schedule for the 2014 season, continuing to call all home games but only going along on select road trips. Uecker turned 80 on Sunday and will now settle into a schedule similar to what Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully and Reds voice Marty Brennaman currently fill.
The Brewers have some experience filling Uecker's innings on the radio, as he missed significant time in 2010 following heart surgery. During that absence Cory Provus filled all nine innings and was joined in the booth by Davey Nelson as an analyst. It sounds like the plan for 2014 is similar, according to @AdamMcCalvy. Uecker's schedule is fluid at this point, so there's no set plan for which games he'll miss.
Back on the field, Matt Garza's new contract continues to be a major topic of conversation. Here's what people are saying today:
- Howie Magner of Milwaukee Magazine says we should've seen this move coming.
- Nathan Petrashek of Cream City Cables notes that Garza's unusual fifth year option is the latest application of the "Lackey clause."
- Jonathan Judge of Disciples of Uecker highlights the importance of having at least an average starting rotation.
- Bill Chuck of Gammons Daily notes that Garza's 67 career wins are the 15th most ever for a pitcher with a career .500 record.
Even with Garza in the fold, not everyone is optimistic about the 2014 season. Yesterday Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com previewed the NL Central, and said this about the Brewers:
"The farm system is weak, the Major League club is full of holes and the star player is tainted. Tough time for Brewers fans."
Gonzalez may not be optimistic, but Tom Gorzelanny is. He has yet to start a throwing program after offseason shoulder surgery but told Adam McCalvy he's still hoping to be ready for Opening Day. I'm a little more skeptical.
Garza and Gorzelanny will be in major league camp for roughly their tenth times this spring, but first baseman Jason Rogers will be reporting to his first. Yesterday The Brewer Nation profiled him as part of their "Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers" series.
In the minors:
- Grading on the Curve is the latest outlet to unveil their list of the top 15 Brewers prospects for 2014. They've got Jimmy Nelson #1, followed by Tyrone Taylor and Mitch Haniger.
- John Sickels of Minor League Ball is also working on his list, and his preliminary grades show the Brewers with one B and five B- prospects.
- Benjamin Hill of MiLB.com visited Appleton for a weekend over the summer, and yesterday he wrote an extended look at everything else he did when he wasn't at the ballpark. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to show him around a bit.
- The Caribbean World Series opens play on Saturday with Juan Francisco representing the Brewers for the Dominican Republic, Martin Maldonado on the Puerto Rican team and former Brewer minor leaguer Zelous Wheeler playing for the Mexican representative.
Closer to home, yesterday the Brewers announced the return of their "Brewers Baseball Academy" for 2014. This year they'll hold camps in ten places across the southeastern third of Wisconsin.
Cardinals: Avoided arbitration with infielder Daniel Descalso (one year, $1.29 million).
Cubs: Avoided arbitration with outfielder Justin Ruggiano (one year, $2 million).
Mariners: Signed pitcher Scott Baker to a minor league deal.
Rangers: Claimed pitcher Pedro Figueroa off waivers from the Rays and designated pitcher Chaz Roe for assignment.
Reds: Signed infielder Ramon Santiago to a minor league deal.
Royals: Acquired outfielder Carlos Peguero from the Mariners for a PTBNL or cash and designated pitcher Everett Teaford for assignment.
Twins: Signed pitcher Matt Guerrier to a minor league deal.
Yankees: Signed infielder Scott Sizemore to a minor league deal.
Today in former Brewers:
- Yesterday we compared the Brewers' likely 2014 rotation to a group of active former Brewers, and called it a tie.
- Old Time Family Baseball rewrote a song from The Smiths to help say goodbye to Yuniesky Betancourt.
- Chris Mehring of Rattler Radio has Ron Roenicke, Don Sutton and Davey Lopes among the Brewers notables in his collection of Dodgers cards.
This isn't exactly Brewer-relevant, but it could be: Nick Michalski of The Brewers Bar has a look at the movement to improve a recreational facility in Franklin to perhaps include affiliated or independent professional baseball.
And in baseball economics:
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs notes that teams could combine to spend over $2 billion on free agents for the first time this winter.
- The Dodgers have taken the unusual step of suspending sales of season tickets to ensure they'll have enough seats remaining for group events and individual game sales.
- Meanwhile, Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto appeared to issue a weird, vague threat to the Pirates in response to their lack of offseason spending.
- 2013 Brevard County Manatee Matt Miller, who turns 25.
- 2010-12 Brewer Mark Rogers, the #5 overall selection in the 2004 draft. He turns 28 and we covered his birthday in Today In Brewer History last year.
- Recent minor league signee Jeremy Hermida, who turns 30.
Plunk Everyone notes that Hermida's 21 career HBP are the fourth most ever for a player born on January 30.
Today is also the fourth anniversary of pitcher Dave Bush signing a minor league contract with the Rangers, effectively ending his Brewers career. We covered that event in Today In Brewer History two years ago.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm trying to turn left.