Some things to read while getting in over your head.
Today is Day 3 of spring training and the team will be on the field this morning for the first official workout of the 2014 season. All the pitchers and catchers are in attendance (and the Brewers tumblr has visual evidence) with a couple of notable exceptions: Miguel De Los Santos, who spent all of 2013 on the restricted list and apparently remains unavailable, and Francisco Rodriguez, who is dealing with a visa issue (h/t @AdamMcCalvy).
You may recall that Rodriguez also had visa issues when he re-signed with the Brewers last season, leading to him missing a large chunk of what was supposed to be a 30-day trial in the minors. He's not expected to report for another 7-10 days, which means he'll show up sometime around the first Cactus League game.'
Position players aren't required to report until Friday and I haven't heard if Jean Segura is in camp yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if he is. Over the weekend Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reported that the Brewers are expected to talk to their young shortstop about a possible extension this spring. Adam McCalvy (via Twitter) says the Brewers also made Segura an offer last spring, and J.P. Cadorin of Time Warner Cable SportsChannel (also via Twitter) says he doesn't understand the rush to lock him up.
The more interesting part of Cotillo's story may actually have been the second note, though: He says the Brewers are not discussing any kind of long-term extension with Yovani Gallardo. Gallardo's contract expires following this season but the Brewers hold an option for 2015.
Meanwhile, BCB Community #1 prospect Jimmy Nelson is in camp competing for a spot on the Opening Day roster. Kelsie Heneghan of MiLB.com has a Q&A with him about life on the fringe of the major leagues. (h/t @Mass_Haas)
Nelson is probably a long shot to open the season in the starting rotation, but he could also have a shot in the bullpen. Curt Hogg of Disciples of Uecker has a breakdown of the competition for the final spots, and Ryan Connor of Reviewing the Brew listed the bullpen as one of five things to watch this spring.
Elsewhere in long shots, we have Rule 5 pick Wei-Chung Wang. Adam McCalvy talked to Wang about learning he was coming to the Brewers and attempting to make the jump from rookie ball to the majors.
Alfredo Figaro made five starts for the Brewers in 2013, but in 2014 his only shot to make the roster will likely come as a reliever. Over the weekend The Brewer Nation profiled him as part of their "Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers" series.
Donovan Hand also made seven starts for the Brewers last season, but found himself bumped off the 40-man roster when the team recently added Francisco Rodriguez. Hand told Adam McCalvy he was surprised to find himself on the outside looking in, but still loves the organization and wants to work his way back up the ladder.
Figaro and Hand were bumped from the rotation conversation by the emergence of several younger candidates and the addition of Matt Garza. On Friday Jordan attempted to project the 2014 performance of Garza and the rest of the top end of the rotation. Adam McCalvy also has a preview of the rotation.
Marco Estrada is projected to be a part of the back end of the rotation, but at least one analyst isn't optimistic about his work. Baseball by Paul has a profile of the 30-year-old right hander and gave his mechanics an F grade.
The Brewers' exhibition schedule opens a week from Thursday as the Brewers head to Phoenix Municipal Stadium to take on the A's. They'll play their first home game in Maryvale on March 1 against the Dodgers, and our Tweet of the Day shows that the field is ready:
Once the Brewers hit the field, though, it'll be time to start wondering how much these results actually matter. Evan Kendall of Beyond the Box Score has a look at several teams who have been above .500 in the spring in recent seasons, including the Brewers.
One of the new Brewers looking to prove themselves this spring will be former Red and Pirate Zach Duke, another candidate for one of the final spots in the bullpen. Adam McCalvy has a story on Duke's attempt to join his third NL Central team.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Lucroy is all but assured a spot on the roster, freeing him up to spend the spring working to improve. Todd Rosiak says Lucroy is trying to step up defensively in 2014 and working to adjust a flaw in his throwing mechanics.
In the minors:
- As of this writing Mitch Haniger leads the field by around 30 votes for the fourth spot in our BCB Community Prospect Rankings. That poll will close at noon today and we'll ask for your help selecting #5 around 1.
- Jason Arndt of Brewers Farm Report has a profile of first baseman Garrett Cooper, a sixth round pick who made his professional debut in 2013.
- Chris Mehring of Rattler Radio has photos of a snowy Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium with less than seven weeks remaining until Opening Day.
Back in Milwaukee, the Brewers are reaching out to 2013 ticket holders to encourage them to come back to Miller Park for 2014. Robert J. Baumann of NotGraphs was one of many fans to receive a valentine and a gold ball from Carlos Gomez, throwing him into a bit of a mental quandary.
The Brewers may be planning on using that ticket money to buy a going away gift for Derek Jeter. Adam Wieser of Disciples of Uecker has a look at some of the things the Brewers could get for the longtime Yankees shortstop.
Of course, no one knows the Brewers' financial plans better than COO Rick Schlesinger. He sat down with Adam McCalvy to talk about the team, economics and long term expectations.
Not everyone who's getting ready for the 2014 season is doing so in Arizona: Steve Kabelowsky of OnMilwaukee.com has a story on Brewers Spanish play-by-play man Andy Olivares, who expects to call around 30 telecasts this season.
If you weren't around the site this weekend you might have missed JP's weekly look at what we learned over the last seven days. We're past the late-winter lull and moving full speed ahead into spring now.
Athletics: Avoided arbitration with outfielder Josh Reddick (one year, $2.7 million).
Braves: Signed closer Craig Kimbrel to a four-year, $42 million extension with a club option for 2018 and starter Julio Teheran to a six-year, $32.4 million extension.
Cubs: Signed infielder Emilio Bonifacio to a minor league deal.
Indians: Won their arbitration case with reliever Josh Tomlin, who will receive $800,000 in 2014 and signed pitcher Aaron Harang to a minor league deal.
Mariners: Avoided arbitration with first baseman Justin Smoak (one year, $2.675 million with a vesting option for 2015).
Nationals: Signed reliever Josh Roenicke to a minor league deal.
Orioles: Claimed outfielder Jimmy Paredes off waivers from the Marlins.
Phillies: Designated pitcher Joe Savery for assignment.
Rangers: Avoided arbitration with first baseman Mitch Moreland (one year, $2.65 million).
Red Sox: Announced that pitcher Ryan Dempster will not play in 2014, avoided arbitration with pitcher Andrew Miller (one year, $1.9 million) and signed reliever Francisco Cordero to a minor league deal.
Reds: Pitcher Mat Latos' status for Opening Day is uncertain following surgery to repair his meniscus.
Tom Haudricourt (via Twitter) notes that the Brewers made a push to sign Dempster before the 2013 season.
Today in former Brewers:
- Our best wishes go out this morning to Hank Aaron, who had to have partial hip replacement surgery after falling on the ice in Atlanta recently. He's expected to make a full recovery.
- Over the weekend the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers announced that Rollie Fingers, Gorman Thomas, Jim Slaton, Rob Deer and Bernie Carbo will be making appearances at Neuroscience Group Field this season as part of the team's "Brewers Sundays" promotion.
- Justin Klugh of Philly.com has a look into Bob McClure's philosophy as the Phillies' new pitching coach. (h/t BBTF)
Today's quintessential spring training story comes from the Reds, where Mark Sheldon of MLB.com has a look at their policies on facial hair.
Today in baseball economics:
- TaxaBall has a look at how different states handle income taxes on athletes, and shows how Arizona's tax laws can save hundreds of thousands of dollars for players training in the Cactus League. (h/t @Mass_Haas)
- When the Dodgers underwent an ownership change in 2012 one of their first moves was to reduce the price of parking outside Dodger Stadium from $15 to $10. This year they're moving it back to $15.
With help from the B-Ref Play Index, we'd like to wish a happy birthday today to:
- 2012 Brewer Cody Ransom, who turns 38.
- Milwaukee native and UW-Madison alum Mike Hart, who turns 56. Hart played in the majors as a member of the 1984 Twins and 1987 Orioles.
- 1981-83 Brewer Jamie Easterly, who turns 61.
- Kenosha, Wisconsin native Dick Bosman, who turns 70. Bosman played eleven MLB seasons between 1966-76 as a member of the Washington Senators and two other clubs. We covered his birthday in Today in Brewer History last year.
Plunk Everyone also notes that Bosman's 34 hit batsmen are the third most ever for a pitcher born on February 17, and Easterly's 16th are the fourth most.
Today is also the 15th anniversary of free agent first baseman John Jaha signing with the A's, effectively ending his Brewers career. We covered that event in Today In Brewer History two years ago.
Finally, time seems to be flying by this winter, so a couple of weeks ago I missed a minor milestone. Friday, February 7 was the sixth anniversary of the first Frosty Mug. Thanks to everyone who has made BCB a part of their day over the last six years and kept this thing going.
Now, if you'll excuse me, it's almost my next anniversary.