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Tuesday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while staking your claim.

If the Brewers keep up this pace, they'll have all of their offseason work done by Thanksgiving: One day into the offseason, the Brewers have one problem solved, as Trevor Hoffman signed a one year deal worth $8 million with a team option for 2011 (FanShot). Tom H. is reporting that both the option year and potential buyout contain escalators tied to games finished in 2010.

Here's some reaction around the web:
  • Evan Brunell of The Hardball Times thinks it was a logical move.
  • Jorge Says No! thinks the Brewers overspent and could have better used the money on other priorities.
  • Rob Neyer notes that Hoffman's BABIP has been very low over the course of his career, but that's also true of many other premier closers.
  • Dave Allen of FanGraphs notes that Hoffman has a lot of "rise" on his fastball, which leads to more infield flies and a lower BABIP.
While Trevor Hoffman was signing his new deal, the list of Brewers awaiting surgery continued to grow. On top of Casey McGehee (knee), Craig Counsell (knee) and Braden Looper (knee), it was announced yesterday that Manny Parra will have arthroscopic surgery to "clean up" the AC joint and "remove some friction" in his shoulder (FanShot). The issue didn't prevent Parra from making his final starts of the 2009 season, but that doesn't keep me from wondering if it should have.

Meanwhile, there was good news on the medical front for Corey Hart, who met with a hand specialist and received confirmation that his injured fingers were sprained, not fractured. He should be fine in a month's time.

BBWAA ballots for postseason awards are due in on the final day of the regular season (which, as it turns out, is now today), but it will still be several weeks before we find out where Prince Fielder stands in the race for NL MVP. Walkoff Walk compared Fielder's 2009 season to some of the best years at the plate in Brewer history, and ranked him third on their NL MVP ballot. Meanwhile, Quevedo at the Buffet makes a passionate case against trading Fielder this offseason.

Speaking of awards, Yovani Gallardo finished second in the balloting for NL Comeback Player of the Year, far behind Chris Carpenter.

With Trevor Hoffman back in the fold, the Brewers have one less opportunity to get compensation picks for free agents this offseason, but they still could cash in: The latest Elias rankings are out, and they have Felipe Lopez as a Type A free agent, along with Jason Kendall, Mike Cameron, Braden Looper and David Weathers as Type Bs. Kendall did not receive any bonus points for leading the majors in beer plunks.

MLB Trade Rumors also has a list of players who could be non-tendered this offseason, and Dave Bush, Seth McClung and Jody Gerut are on the list. The three of them would likely command around $8 million in arbitration for next season.

Seth McClung doesn't sound very optimistic about the possibility of coming back in 2010, but BCB has started a Facebook petition in an effort to convince the Brewers to bring him back. As of this morning, it had already climbed over 20 members. Let's push that number a little higher today.

Attendance at Miller Park was down about 1% this season, but that's better news than you'd think: According to the chart at that link, 19 major league teams saw a larger decline in attendance this season, with eleven teams losing more than 10% and four teams losing over 20%.

Alcides Escobar can probably be penciled in as the Opening Day starter at short for the 2010 Brewers, but does he have a brighter future than Washington's Ian Desmond? FakeTeams has the argument for both sides, and a poll.

In the minors:
  • BaseballHQ has scouting reports for the Arizona Fall League, and ranks Mark Rogers and Rob Wooten as the second and third best pitchers on the Peoria Javelinas. AFL play opens one week from today.
  • Jonathan Mayo is working on a formula to determine the minor league pitcher of the year, and Evan Anundsen checked in at #8 on his list. He posted a 2.69 ERA and struck out 118 in 130.1 innings in Brevard County this season.
As I just mentioned, the AFL starts soon with other winter leagues soon to follow, but if those aren't enough for you the Wisconsin Sports Tap has an offseason survival guide. Hopefully we'll start the countdown to spring training soon, but the report date for pitchers and catchers has yet to be determined.

Need a mental warmup this morning? It took me 30 seconds to name the seven ways a batter can safely reach first base. I got the hard ones first and spent 20 seconds with a brain cramp before remembering an obvious one.

Is anyone out there a member of SABR? After reading Wezen-ball's pitch this morning (and noting SABR's discounted membership for anyone under 30) I decided to give it a shot for a year.

How much does defense impact a mediocre pitcher? Fungoes uses Jeff Suppan as a teaching tool to answer that question. If you're making a list of proper uses for Suppan, "teaching tool" and "batting practice" should both appear above "starting pitcher."

And, from one bad contract to another: Dugout Central chronicles the life and times of Bill Hall.

Happy birthday today to Jerry Stephenson, who appeared in two games for the Seattle Pilots and turns 66, and Valerio de los Santos, who appeared in 183 games as a Brewer and turns 37.

Drink up.