Some things to read while getting rid of spiders.
We are one day away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale, where each of them might be given a new puppy. Yesterday friend of the site J.D. Fox directed my attention to a story about packs of stray chihuahuas running lose in Maryvale and causing issues by barking all night. You can't make this stuff up.
Anyway, once the Brewers get past the dogs they'll have to confront some pretty low national expectations for the 2014 season. Yesterday a casino in Reno set their over/under for the season at 78.5 wins, a win lower than their line from a year ago.
They will, however, enter the season with a much higher payroll as compared to 2013. Yesterday Brewers COO Rick Schlesinger told Adam McCalvy the team expects payroll to be over $100 million on Opening Day, setting a new franchise record.
$7 million of that payroll is going to Carlos Gomez, as he looks to continue the momentum from his career year in 2013. Spencer Manners of the FanGraphs Community has Gomez starting in center field against lefties on his Platoon-Split All-Star Team.
Much less of that payroll will go to Hiram Burgos, who will likely receive the league minimum for whatever time he spends in the majors this season. Yesterday The Brewer Nation profiled him as part of their "Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers" series.
Jim Henderson will also make around $500,000 this season in his second full campaign in the majors. Stuart Wallace of Beyond the Box Score has a look at how lefty-righty splits impact closer performance, and has Jim Henderson near the top of a chart I wasn't quite able to figure out.
Still less of that payroll is likely to go to former Phillies closer Ryan Madson. The Brewers were one of several teams in attendance when he threw for scouts recently, but Doug Melvin told Adam McCalvy the team hasn't contacted his agent to discuss a potential contract. Madson has missed the last two seasons due to injury.
In the minors:
- As of this writing Victor Roache leads Mitch Haniger and others in the voting for the #3 spot in our Community Prospect Rankings. You have until noon today to cast your vote, and the poll for the #4 spot will pop up early this afternoon.
- The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers have announced their promotional schedule for the 2014 season. This year they're giving away nine bobbleheads, ten player posters, four player magnets and much more.
- The T-Rats also have a look back at their Brewers Sunday jerseys from the 2011 season, including a picture of me with then-closer Greg Holle.
If you'd like more Brewers coverage today but you're sick of reading, my Thursday appearance on The Sports Den with Downtown Ollie Burrows on Sports Fan 100.5 in Wausau has been archived. My spot starts at 31:45.
Mariners: Outfielder Franklin Gutierrez will not play in 2014 due to gastrointestinal issues.
Nationals: Acquired catcher Jose Lobaton and two minor leaguers from the Rays for pitcher Nathan Karns.
Pirates: Signed Taiwanese pitcher Yao-Hsun Yang to a minor league deal.
Rays: Signed pitcher Erik Bedard to a minor league deal.
Gutierrez is an unfortunate story, as he won a Gold Glove in 2010 but hasn't been able to play a full season since. He'll turn 31 in February and it's possible his career is over at this point. Jeff Sullivan of U.S.S. Mariner has a look at how things can go wrong.
Finally, with help from the B-Ref Play Index, we'd like to wish a happy birthday to:
- Ken Henderson, the Brewers' first round pick in the 1991 draft (#5 overall, didn't sign), who turns 41. We covered his birthday in Today In Brewer History last year.
- 2011 Brewer Takashi Saito, who turns 44. We covered his birthday in Today In Brewer History two years ago.
- 1996-97 Brewer Kelly Stinnett, who turns 44.
- 1983-86 Brewer Jaime Cocanower, who turns 57.
Plunk Everyone notes that Stinnett's 42 career HBP are the second most ever for a position player born on February 14, and Cocanower's 20 hit batsmen are the third most ever for a pitcher born on this date.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need more ice cream.