What we learned this week: February 15, 2014

USA TODAY Sports

Catch up on Brewers news as spring training begins today. Stories in the last week include how the Brewers market, the beginning of projections, and the curious case of an international signing.

Spring training begins today...but you already knew that.

Sunrise in Maryvale today is 7:12 AM, and the first rays of light are just starting to shine across the sky. In just a matter of a few hours, Brewers pitchers and catchers will be arriving at the Brewers complex in Maryvale. The first official workouts will begin, the media will be out there in full force, and there will be plenty to talk about. In Brewers camp, everyone will be present except for two pitchers: Francisco Rodriguez and Miguel de los Santos. The issue with Rodriguez is easy: He's working on a work visa, and should be in camp soon. However, Miguel de los Santos is still on the restricted list and not going to be there anytime soon. Doug Melvin has commented that he isn't expected to contribute, at least anytime soon.

Marketing is going in full force right now.

One of the things that the Brewers have always been able to do well is market. They can get the crowds in with some exciting promotions. Earlier this week, the Brewers released their official promotional schedule. In addition to the 14 in 14 promotion that was advertised earlier, there are some of the standard promotions (Retro Friday, 5 County 5 Day Celebration, etc.), as well as some new ones. Of course, the 14 in 14 promotion needed one more bobblehead to complete it, and that was announced as Jim Henderson got the fan's vote for the last bobblehead spot. As the fan's choice, it should be a popular bobblehead. Hopefully that is the case.

It won't be long before the first TV spots come out for the Brewers as well. The Brewers tend to put together some good commercials, but they put out a twist this year. They want the fans to suggest some commercials, and they might use some of those ideas. Of course, Kyle had has own idea, and he asked for the community to put together their own suggestions. Could any of these end up on TV? It's possible, if the ideas were submitted.

Of course, sometimes the best promotions can be the ones that you don't have to plan. One of those came up this week when Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees announced his retirement. This is one of the rare years that the Yankees will visit Miller Park, so he will make one more visit. His visit is expected to be a popular one, and ticket prices are expected to rise once single-game tickets go on sale. As one of the faces of MLB, his "farewell tour" will be popular, and that will help the Brewers fill Miller Park for at least a few games.

Projections are starting to build up.

It's projection time of year, and the picks are starting to build up. The Brewers projections were looking a bit bleak until they started making some unexpected moves. The moves improved the team and their chances of competing. though not everyone was impressed. Vegas has begun releasing their over/under lines for wins, and The Atlantic Casino put their line at 79.5 wins (for entertainment purposes only). It may seem low, but it doesn't matter at the end of the day. It's just another projection to look at.

Beyond the total win projections, there are also plenty of player projections to look at. One that will be fun to project is the front end of the rotation. Last year, the rotation was a big part of the problems that the team had. They will need to improve, but can they get better? Jordan projected if this will happen with an analysis of the front half of the rotation. What does he think? You'll have to read it to find out.

This week has also been about the curious case of Yirver Gilbert Lara.

One odd case that has come up this week is with an international prospect named Yirver Gilbert Lara. On Sunday, a report came out that he had signed with the Brewers on a $3.2 million deal. It was a surprise deal, not only because of the timing, but because of the amount (four times higher than their previous record for an international signing). Later that day, there was another report that came up that he hadn't agreed to any deal. A few days later, another report came out about a verbal agreement, but was once again refuted. It's important to note that the Brewers can't officially sign any international free agents until July 2, so the denials could just be the Brewers covering themselves. However, it could also be a sign of things to come.

Reviewing the BCB Community Prospect Rankings

Vote for #1 (Winner: Jimmy Nelson)
Vote for #2 (Winner: Tyrone Taylor)
Vote for #3 (Winner: Victor Roache)
Vote for #4 (Voting in progress)

The Collection of Mugs

2/10/2014: The children are our future
2/11/2014: Upgraded
2/12/2014: The preview parade
2/13/2014: In the mix
2/14/2014: Bring your leashes to camp

Test Your Knowledge

The Thursday Thinker: Shorstops Since Jeter

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