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Monday's Frosty Mug

Pitchers and catchers report in (approximately) 75 days. Are you ready?

Two things I need to bug you about, briefly:
  • If you haven't yet, please take a few moments to take the BCB Reader Survey. I'm curious to hear what you think about what we're doing.
  • Two spots remain in the BCB Whatifsports league. For a brief period of time yesterday we were down to one spot. The sooner we can fill the league, the sooner games will begin and I can stop bugging you about it.
Now, with that out of the way, on to the news. By 11 pm tonight, the Brewers will need to make a decision to offer arbitration (or not) to four players: CC Sabathia, Ben Sheets, Brian Shouse and Eric Gagne. It's almost a given that the team will offer arbitration to Sabathia, but they might consider not offering it to Sheets and Shouse. As for Gagne, I'm surprised they haven't already announced a decision to decline.

Ken Rosenthal, via MLB Trade Rumors, says the Brewers' decision on Sheets could impact his market value, as a decision to decline paying an ace-caliber starter $12-14 million next season would be a clear indication that they don't think he can stay healthy. Meanwhile, Roy Oswalt wants Sheets to sign with the Astros. The Astros, however, are citing economic uncertainty and slowing down their negotiations with Randy Wolf.

Here's today's Sabathia Smorgasbord:
  • Peter Gammons thinks it will take more than $140 million to get Sabathia.
  • Rob Neyer says Sabathia doesn't have much in common with most of the other pitchers who have received $100 million deals.
  • David Chalk of Bugs and Cranks has Sabathia at 300-to-1 odds to win Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year.
Tim Kurkijian lists the Brewers among his teams with holes to fill, and says they need starting pitching. Also, breaking news: the sun will rise in the east again tomorrow, as scheduled.

Adam McCalvy's mailbag cites the glut of closers on the market and suggests the Brewers could be players for a free agent closer, but also names Carlos Villanueva and Seth McClung as candidates for the job. Between the Green Pillars says the large number of relievers on the market gives the Brewers flexibility as they look to improve their pitching staff.

If you still want to move J.J. Hardy away from shortstop, here's another argument against you: Chone Smith ranks Hardy as the best defensive shortstop in baseball in 2008.

On the hot stove:

Padres: Trevor Hoffman said his odds of returning to San Diego are "not even 99-to-1." Reports say the Padres will likely not offer him arbitration.
Phillies: The team may not offer arbitration to Pat Burrell.
Rangers: Reportedly will offer arbitration to Milton Bradley.
Red Sox: Reportedly have agreed to a three year deal with Japanese pitched Junichi Tazawa.
Royals: Have signed veteran journeyman catcher J.R. House.

I track it everyday, and even I have a hard time remembering who plays on what team in Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic, so Jon Shields' idea for one unified winter ball league in the US appeals to me. Of course, then no one would get to be an international man of mystery.

Drink up.