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Monday's Frosty Mug

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Surprise! The Mug isn't taking today off after all. The weather altered my travel plans a bit, so I've got time to gather links one more time before the holiday. Enjoy.

As noted in the FanShots, the JS and on the Official Site, the Brewers are talking with Braden Looper about joining the club. At one point, sources said the two sides were "close," but Melvin quickly backed down from that. Rumor has it Looper is also talking to the Orioles, so they can't be that close.

Elsewhere, the CHONE Projections for pitchers are up. Would you have guessed Mark DiFelice would project as the second-best Brewer reliever? Me either.

Both are still free agents in a market that seems to be closing down, so which would you rather have, Ben Sheets or Derek Lowe? The Diamond Cutter takes a look at the argument. Both, of course, would be preferable to Jarrod Washburn.

It's a one line note and it may or may not be worth anything, but the Chicago Tribune (via the Charlotte Observer) is reporting the Brewers may still consider sending J.J. Hardy to the Twins for young pitching.

How does one define a baseball IQ? After a little diatribe on the irrelevance of the actual IQ, Don Ehrke of Dugout Central takes a look at some of the skills involved, and Jason Kendall shows up on all three charts. Some of those charts share a few inputs with previously published GRIT measurements, though.

Via MLB Trade Rumors, Peter Gammons is reporting the Yankees lost interest in the Mike Cameron trade because Melky Cabrera is showing better plate discipline in winter ball. If a sample size that small can convince them to change their mind on a player, someone should send them video of Chad Moeller hitting for the cycle.

On minor notes: Unless you and 100 of your friends stop by and vote for Angel Salome in the next couple of hours, Jeremy Jeffress will win the voting for #3 prospect in our Community Prospect Rankings. Voting will close at noon today and the nominees for #4 will be posted next Monday.

On the hot stove:

Angels: Have reportedly taken their 8 year, $160 million offer to Mark Teixiera off the table.
A's: Placed Bobby Crosby on outright waivers over the weekend, but he went unclaimed. They're also talking to Jason Giambi.
Braves: Re-signed Greg Norton to a one year deal.
Mariners: Have offered a split major/minor league deal to R.A. Dickey, and are waiting to hear back.
Nationals: Signed former Oriole Daniel Cabrera for $2.6 million.
Orioles: Have reportedly offered Mark Teixiera the highest annual salary, but may not be willing to go eight years.
Padres: Re-signed Jody Gerut to a one year deal.
Pirates: Signed Ryan Doumit to a three year deal, buying out his arbitration years.
Rays: Sold 1B Dan Johnson to the Yokohama BayStars of Japan.
Reds: Signed LHP Aaron Fultz to a one year deal.
Yankees: CC Sabathia's contract calls for him to be paid bi-monthly year round, instead of the normal in-season payments. They may also be close to signing Manny Ramirez to a three year, $75 million deal.

I'm planning on calling today to see if I'll get the MLB Network in my neighborhood. They're planning on airing Ken Burns' Baseball on Tuesday nights.

If you're looking for work in baseball, though, this isn't good news: Major League Baseball has initiated a hiring freeze and is taking 20% of its employees' vacation time in 2009.

Maybe he thinks there will be more openings next season? Bobby Valentine will reportedly part ways with his Japanese team following the 2009 season.

Oh, and be nice to the bio majors.

Drink up. I'll be back a week from today. Enjoy the holidays.