Some things to read while not making decisions.
So, last night, roguejim (and likely others) got their mellow harshed by the sudden and somewhat unexpected news that the Brewers see themselves as being done spending for the offseason.
Here are the things I do understand: This year's Opening Day payroll projects at right around $80 million, which is where the Brewers also stood on Opening Day last year. And I also know the Brewers aren't in a market to out-spend the Yankees and Red Sox. But, with that said, in the last two weeks the Brewers have gone out of their way to mention both of the following:
On ticket sales:
"Typically, we do not reach the one million mark until group tickets are made available, but this year the pace has been extraordinary and we reached the milestone through selling multi-game packages alone," said Brewers vice president Rick Schlesinger.
"Fan enthusiasm was at an all-time high at the end of last season, and that has carried over to give us tremendous momentum in early 2009."
And on sponsorships:
"We are very sensitive to what's going on, and we're very careful in what we're looking at," said Rick Schlesinger, the Brewers' executive vice president for business operations. "But I will tell you that ticket sales, suite sales, sponsorship -- we're seeing growth in all areas."
I added the emphasis to the final paragraph. Growth in all areas...except the payroll. And the payroll isn't growing despite tickets selling at a record pace, and double-digit sponsorship growth. If the Brewers go into Opening Day without having added a pitcher to the rotation and having spent their last $6 million on a 41-year-old closer, I'm not sure how this offseason can possibly rate any higher than a two or three on an out-of-ten scale. I've added a new poll to the sidebar to get your opinion on it.
The timing of the "we're done" announcement is also puzzling at best, because this weekend is the Brewers On Deck event. You can still stop by, though, to pick up 2009 Timber Rattler tickets and merchandise.
But, Prince Fielder is signed to a two-year deal worth $18 million. The JS reports Fielder ranks sixth all time in AB/HR before age 25. On the flip side, Intersportswire has a quote suggesting Fielder might have the biggest waist in baseball uniform history.
EDIT: The details on Fielder's contract are in, via Tom H: Fielder received a $1 million signing bonus, and will be paid $6.5 million in 2009 and $10.5 million in 2010.
Rumor has it Craig Counsell may also be coming back. That would solve the "who is the backup shortstop?" dilemma.
Speaking of shortstops, be sure to stop by and offer your insight into the community projections at shortstop. Also, I forgot to mention it yesterday, but there's still some time this morning to add your thoughts to the third base projections.
Not bad for a first year outfielder: Of the Brewers three everyday outfielders from 2008, Ryan Braun is the only one who rated above average in The Hardball Times' 2008 Outfield Arms Rankings.
Yesterday I noted that Ryan Braun and Corey Hart both made FakeTeams' Top 10 NL Fantasy Outfielders. They expanded on the rankings today, and Mike Cameron is #18.
On the hot stove:
Dodgers: Are reportedly close to a deal with Randy Wolf.
Mets: Signed Freddy Garcia to a deal that could be worth as much as $9 million with incentives.
Phillies: Could be getting ready to sign Moises Alou, who could be getting ready to turn to dust.
Rockies: Along with the Dodgers, D-backs, Rangers, Padres, Indians and Cardinals, they will watch Kris Benson throw on Saturday.
So Keith Law revealed his top 100 prospects yesterday, although 26-100 are behind the Insider curtain at ESPN.com. This link would have made the top half of the post, but no Brewers made the top 25.
If you've enjoyed our pieces explaining the arbitration process, Rule 5 draft and others, then you may also find some value in this Houston Chronicle piece explaining the waiver system. (h/t Shysterball)
There wasn't a Winter League Update today because no Brewers played in games yesterday. In the Dominican Winter League Championship Series, no baseball was played at all as Cibao forfeited Game 3 of their best of nine series to protest a suspension stemming from a player/umpire incident in Game 2. The player, Cibao second baseman Felix Martinez, took the field to start Game 3 as if nothing were wrong, and the entire team left the field when informed he had been suspended.
If you're a young pitcher with a low pitch count, perhaps you should learn to pitch to contact: Tangotiger crunched the numbers and discovered that the average ball in play from 1993 to 2008 only took 3.29 pitches, but the average K took 4.82. (The average walk? 5.60.)
Nationals outfielder Elijah Dukes has found yet another way to get into trouble: he owes over $40,000 in child support, and will go to jail if it isn't paid today. All of this is compounded by the fact that Dukes has reportedly spent his entire 2008 salary (nearly $400k), and won't get paid again until Opening Day.
The torch has been passed and baseball now has a new oldest living player. Bill Werber, a former teammate of Babe Ruth, died yesterday at 100 years old. The new oldest living player appears to be Tony Malinosky, who spent one season with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1937.
Oh, and forgetting Brian Clutterbuck may be the first sign old age is setting in.