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Wednesday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while flashing gang signs to your astronomy buddies.

At the very least, today is off to a better start than yesterday, since I titled today's post "Wednesday's Frosty Mug" and it actually is Wednesday.

So, as you've probably read and perhaps even commented on, Salomon Torres announced his retirement yesterday. I don't think anyone is counting it as an absolute certainty that he won't pitch in 2009, but this makes it seem pretty likely. The Brew Town Beat recounts the story of Torres' final Brewer hat. Where have you gone, Andy Van Slyke? remembers the early career of Torres, including a four-year retirement and return to the big leagues via Korea. Al has some quotes from Doug Melvin and a look at what's left in the bullpen.

CC Sabathia finished fifth in the NL Cy Young voting, behind Tim Lincecum, Brandon Webb, Johan Santana and Brad Lidge. He finished fourth in the voting at BirdLand. I guess he'll have to settle for being Jeff Passan's #1 rated free agent. (h/t Bless You Boys)

Here are the other Brewers on the list, of 183 free agents:

8. Ben Sheets
40. Brian Shouse
48. Ray Durham
90. Gabe Kapler
91. Russell Branyan
105. Guillermo Mota
107. Mike Lamb
109. Craig Counsell
113. Eric Gagne

MLB FanHouse has their offseason preview for the Brewers, and says their #1 focus should be retaining Sabathia. I've decided my #1 focus for winter will be getting the sun to stay above the horizon longer. I'll let you know how that goes.

Ken Rosenthal has interesting logic. He notes that Doug Melvin doesn't seem to want to make trades unless they net pitching. Then, he suggests the Brewers should trade Mike Cameron and Prince Fielder to the Yankees for Melky Cabrera, Robinson Cano and "young pitching." Unless that young pitching is big enough to be the centerpiece of the deal, the answer is still no.

As he navigates through the offseason, it's important to remember Doug Melvin must be doing something right, as he's the Negro League Museum's 2008 NL Executive of the Year. This is much bigger than yesterday's "Good Guy Award."

Also worth noting: apparently Melvin has a good relationship with the Red Sox, or at least Tony Massarotti said so in his blog listing the Brewers as a possible trading partner with the Red Sox.

Baseball Musings' Probabilistic Model of Range has the Brewers eighth in left field defense in 2008, and Ryan Braun above average at 101.50. Does this officially make him a better defensive outfielder than Corey Hart, who rated slightly below average in right? I'm interested in hearing the debate.

Brewerfan.net has their season ending Power 50 up. Not a lot of big moves or surprising names in there. (h/t Bernie's Crew)

Here's what's simmering on the hot stove:

Blue Jays: C Gregg Zaun, who was upset over the way his request to be traded was handled, will not be back in 2009.
Cubs: Have reportedly offered Ryan Dempster a 4 year/$50 million deal.
Tigers: Kenny Rogers filed for free agency Tuesday. He could retire, but this will at least let him size up the market before making a decision.
Reds: Have reportedly contacted the Rockies to express interest in Willy Taveras, Garrett Atkins and Yorvit Torrealba.

Also, this isn't really hot stove news, but the Marlins may be in trouble with the Players Association regarding failure to pay per diem to players sent away from the team for rehab assignments.

What is a replacement level player? Sean Smith of The Hardball Times breaks it down for you.

Could a replacement level player add some value by bringing postseason experience to the table? Tangotiger suggests they might.

Oh, and if you've ever wondered what it's like to be in the front office of a team that's cutting ties with the face of its franchise and a first-ballot Hall of Famer, Paul DePodesta can offer some insight.

Drink up.