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Friday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while waiting to see The Fort Wayne Tin Caps' new uniforms. Spoiler alert: The team will most likely not wear tin caps.

It's quiet this morning, but it likely won't stay that way for long as today is the first day teams can offer contracts to free agents from other teams. Brewed Sports wants the Brewers to make an early splash by signing Kerry Wood and Randy Johnson. Tyler Maas of Bugs & Cranks wants the Brewers to sign Eric Hinske. I'm just hoping the Brewers don't sign anyone who will join Eric Gagne, Jeff Suppan and Jeffrey Hammonds on a future version of this top ten list of worst contracts in Wisconsin sports history.

Baseball Digest Daily released their free agent rankings today. Since lists make a short Mug seem longer, here are the Brewer highlights:
  • CC Sabathia is the top rated starting pitcher.
  • Ben Sheets is the third rated starting pitcher.
  • Russell Branyan is ranked third among third basemen.
  • Ray Durham is ranked fourth among second basemen.
  • Brian Shouse is the fifth rated lefty reliever.
  • Mike Lamb is ranked fifth among third basemen.
  • Gabe Kapler is ranked sixth among right fielders.
  • Guillermo Mota is the sixth rated "utility reliever."
  • Eric Gagne is the eighth rated closer.
  • Craig Counsell is ranked eleventh among shortstops.
Depending on who you ask, the Mets may or may not make a play for CC Sabathia. MetsBlog downplays the possibility.

Technically, Salomon Torres could have been a free agent as well, but the Brewers exercised his option so he will be under team control if he decides to return. The Official Site has an overview of the bullpen situation.

As noted in the FanShots, Ryan Braun became the eighth Brewer in franchise history to win a Silver Slugger Award yesterday.

If Braun lives up to his Bill James projection for 2009, he might win another one: .301/.364/.620. Bill James projections for individual players are available on the player pages at FanGraphs. If you want the whole collection, you're supposed to buy the book. I sat down yesterday with a notepad file and Baseball Musings' Lineup Analysis tool and discovered that, despite low projections for Mike Cameron and Bill Hall, a 2009 Brewer lineup featuring Weeks, Hardy, Braun, Fielder, Hart, Cameron, Hall, Kendall and the pitcher's spot projects to 4.965 runs per game. The 2008 Brewers only scored 4.630.

While I'm on the subject of stats, R.J. Anderson of Beyond the Box Score is working on numbers to quantify the volume of wins or losses added by a manager. His initial numbers have management costing the Brewers approximately .04 wins in 2008. I'm pretty sure Yost was responsible for more than that.

Does the entire Brewers' organization have defensive problems? No less than five Brewer prospects appear on Recondite Baseball's leaderboards for errors in the minor leagues this season.

Two trades were completed yesterday, one sending Nick Swisher to the Yankees and one sending Kevin Gregg to the Cubs. Two other stove notes today:

D-Backs: Negotiations with Randy Johnson have apparently hit an impasse, leading Johnson to declare free agency.
Marlins: The team is reportedly listening to offers but not actively seeking a trade involving Jeremy Hermida or Dan Uggla.

Do you love physics and want to use it to understand why a sidearmer's pitches have different movement? It's a bit much for me, but maybe Matt Lentzner of The Hardball Times' article is just what you were looking for.

Oh, and NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum is perpetuating the theory that he's only 15 by spending the offseason getting braces and a puppy.

Drink up.