Some things to read while the sky is falling.
Today is day five of spring training, meaning Matt Garza has had almost a week to introduce himself to his new teammates. The AP has a story on Garza's efforts to settle into a new home after playing for four organizations in his first eight MLB seasons.
This spring also has to be a new experience for Brandon Kintzler, who pitched his way into a prominent role in the Brewer bullpen in his first full MLB season in 2013. Kintzler is heavily featured in Adam McCalvy's preview of the Brewers relievers, and High Heat Stats notes that last year he became the first Brewer pitcher since 1980 to pitch over 75 innings and allow fewer than .3 home runs per nine innings.
Meanwhile, Martin Maldonado is the first Brewer this spring to report being in the "best shape of his life." He lost 26 pounds over the winter and took just four days off between the end of the Caribbean Series and reporting to camp in Maryvale.
Other notes from camp:
- Tom Haudricourt reports (via Twitter in two parts) that Mark Reynolds and Elian Herrera reported to camp on Tuesday. All position players are required to be in Maryvale by Friday.
- ASU student Brendan Capria of the JS talked to Rob Wooten and Michael Blazek about the Olympics.
- Fellow ASU student Gabby Castillo has video from her conversations with Brandon Kintzler and Caleb Gindl about their offseason activities.
Of course, one of the spring's biggest ongoing stories remains Jean Segura's contract situation. Yesterday Doug Melvin was quoted as saying "we like to get deals that have at least a year of free agency if we can," which would mean a six-year deal for the young shortstop. Ben Tannenbaum of Reviewing the Brew says "there is no downside to exploring an extension, but Melvin should not be trigger happy to get a deal done now."
Marco Estrada, meanwhile, is two years away from free agency and is drawing less attention. He does, however, feature prominently in Jordan's efforts to project the back half of the rotation and bullpen's 2014 performances, and he's featured in the latest entry of The Brewer Nation's "Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers" series.
Wily Peralta projects to win the #4 or 5 spot in the rotation this spring, and a big season from him would go a long way towards helping the Brewers compete. Craig Goldstein of MLB Daily Dish listed Peralta as one of the NL Central players most likely to improve this season.
Logan Schafer is also looking to improve on his first full season in the majors after posting a .211/.279/.322 batting line in 337 plate appearances last year. He talked to Tom Haudricourt about injuries and putting a positive spin on his struggles.
Schafer is the likely backup in center field behind one of baseball's best defenders. We all know about Carlos Gomez's ability to make incredible catches, but Joshua Mastracci of Beyond the Box Score says he also has one of the game's best throwing arms. Norichika Aoki is also among the leaders.
Khris Davis started his rapid ascent in the Brewers organization with a hot spring last year, and a year later he's been penciled in as the likely Opening Day starter in left field. Looking back, Chris Mehring of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers remembers Davis' top five games in the Midwest League in 2010.
Elsewhere in the minors:
- As of this writing Johnny Hellweg holds a narrow lead over Devin Williams in the voting for the #6 spot in our BCB Community Prospect Rankings. You have until noon today to cast your vote, and the ballot for #7 will be up around 1.
- Space Coast Stadium, home of the Brevard County Manatees, is also the spring training home of the Washington Nationals. The Nats have been looking to leave for a while, though, and now they're talking about a shared facility with the Astros in Palm Beach County.
Today in previews, predictions, projections and stuff: Bleed Cubbie Blue has a pretty Braun-centric preview of the Brewers, but also says "this team has a fair amount of talent and it wouldn't surprise me to see them return to a winning year in 2014."
Braves: Released first/third baseman Mat Gamel.
Giants: Avoided arbitration with first baseman Brandon Belt (one year, $2.9 million).
Indians: Avoided arbitration with pitcher Justin Masterson (one year, $9.76 million).
Gamel was let go after re-injuring his twice surgically repaired knee in an offseason workout. Ryan Connor of Reviewing the Brew remembers the night in San Diego when he injured the knee the first time.
Elsewhere in former Brewers:
- Reliever Mike Adams had shoulder surgery last July and may not be ready for Opening Day.
- Chris Capuano remains a free agent but is believed to be discussing potential deals with the Red Sox and Mariners.
- Outfielder Brett Carroll has signed a minor league deal with the Blue Jays but will not be invited to MLB camp.
So Carroll has found work for 2014 but guys like Nelson Cruz, Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew have not. Draft pick compensation is at issue again here, but Matt Sullivan of MLB Daily Dish wonders if the issue is at least partially teams overvaluing their first round picks. For what it's worth, Mark Brown of Camden Chat says the Orioles made the right decision by forfeiting the #17 overall pick to sign Ubaldo Jimenez.
Today in baseball economics: The Dodgers are about a week away from debuting SportsNet LA, their new cable network, but many of their fans may be unable to see it. The network is operated by Time Warner Cable, and other TV providers have balked at the price they're charging for the right to carry it.
Meanwhile, my favorite unusual ongoing topic of the spring continues to be teams reviewing their facial hair policies. The Marlins will allow beards for the first time this season, provided they're "kept clean."
The Pirates haven't weighed in on the great facial hair debate (as far as I know, anyway), but they have gotten a jump on the field by announcing that Francisco Liriano will start on Opening Day. I think this is the only official Opening Day assignment to date.
Finally, with help from the B-Ref Play Index, we'd like to wish a happy birthday today to:
- 2002 Brewers pitching coach Dave Stewart, who turns 57. We covered his birthday in Today In Brewer History last year.
- 1963-65 Milwaukee Brave Bob Sadowski, who turns 76. We covered his birthday in Today In Brewer History two years ago.
Plunk Everyone notes that Stewart's 62 career hit batsmen are the second most ever for a pitcher born on February 19, and Sadowski is fourth with 16.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to start a new trend.