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There is Nothing Going On

I used that headline recently, but it's even more appropriate now. I'm going to do another "Five Fun Facts" this evening or tomorrow, but in the meantime let's take a gander at Adam's spring training preview:

The team is expected to ask Hall, who mostly manned shortstop last season and has been an infielder his whole life, to play center field. He appeared seven times as an outfielder in 2006, but will need all of Spring Training to acclimate himself to playing there every day. "I'm looking forward to it," said Hall, who led the '06 Brewers with 35 home runs and 85 RBIs. "I want to be one of the best center fielders in the game."
For all the worries this winter about Billy going to left field, or (heaven forbid) having to compete for the left field job, I'd say this is a happy ending. He got a serious commitment from the front office, and he's got a useful job on the field. For all the hemming and hawing about other options, I'd say Doug did the right thing.
The list of non-roster invitees is highlighted by infielder Yohannis Perez, a potential dark horse -- depending on Koskie's condition -- who is coming off a long layoff after defecting from Cuba two years ago.
Interesting. Maybe I just haven't been paying attention, but I didn't even know Perez was invited to spring training. He's a shortstop, but as we know, shortstops can play third base. I have no idea (and I doubt the team has much idea, either) of how good this guy is, but it's nice that we have one more option to keep third base warm for Ryan Braun. Speaking of...
The NRI list also includes arguably the Brewers' top two prospects. Right-hander Yovani Gallardo led all of the Minor Leagues in strikeouts last season and reportedly pitches older than his 20 years (he'll turn 21 on Feb. 27). And third baseman Ryan Braun will get a chance to compete for Koskie's spot after slugging his way through the Minors.

Neither Gallardo nor Braun has played an inning above the Double-A level, so their arrival in Milwaukee could be postponed to midseason.

I love that Braun will be in the mix, but I'm not sure it matters a lot whether he gets the job. Sure, I don't want a Graffasell platoon there any more than anybody else does, but Braun is probably going to have a steep learning curve in the big leagues. Heck, he was slow to catch on a year ago in the Florida State League!

To me, the best case scenario is to have Koskie back and healthy, but that seems far-fetched. Next best: let's have Braun start in Nashville with Counsell and Graffanino (and one of Hall, Perez, or Rottino in there, too) handling third base. It's always possible that Koskie could jump in there by May or June.

If Braun is absolutely tearing it up, a la Corey Hart last year, let's bring him up and give him the job. If he bombs, it's not like we'd be sacrificing much offense. However, letting him play that extra half season in AAA might keep his arbitration clock from starting for another year. Melvin has said that that's not his style, but at the same time, if Braun is any good, he'll get expensive fast, and I'd rather have 6.5 years of him than 5.75, which is what we're going to get from Rickie Weeks.

We're counting down: three days from pitchers and catchers, and ten days from everybody. Good times!