In the interest of getting it done as early as possible, today's Mug is bullet pointed again:
- Prince Fielder finished fourth in the NL MVP balloting, appearing on all 32 ballots and getting five second place votes (FanShot). Ryan Braun also appeared on 16 ballots en route to an 11th place finish, but was ranked no higher than fifth on any of them. The link above has the full voting. Hopefully we'll soon find out which three voters had Prince Fielder tenth on their ballot, and who cast votes for Jeremy Affeldt, Brad Hawpe and Shane Victorino.
- John Halama is a Brewer, having signed a minor league deal yesterday. Halama will turn 38 before opening day, hasn't pitched in the majors since 2006, and would be pitching for his eighth major league team if he makes the Brewers. With that said, Adam McCalvy blamed his 2006 departure from the Orioles on family issues, so perhaps he's ready to bounce back.
- Speaking of pitchers who could bounce back, Chris Capuano will be back for another season on a minor league deal. Capuano made a few short appearances down the stretch for the Brewer rookie league affiliates, and if his rehab continues to progress he could be ready to pitch in the major leagues by spring training.
- Project Prospect ranked baseball's top 15 shortstop prospects, and Alcides Escobar is #1, ahead of recent AFL standout Starlin Castro. TheJay had a post earlier today on players who do not have rookie eligibility next season, but Escobar is not one of them...and he's probably an early candidate for Rookie of the Year.
- Al has a look at ten free agents that could become Brewers. Aside from the top two, there's no one else on that list I've even heard mentioned in connection with the Crew.
- As for transactions, the Braves signed former Royals minor league pitcher Juan Abreu to a major league deal.
- For whatever it's worth, MLB Daily Dish thinks Ben Sheets will end up as a Mariner this offseason.
- It's no secret that the Braves would like to deal Derek Lowe this offseason. The Ghost of Moonlight Graham has a look at the market for his services, and thinks the Brewers made the right decision by not trading Corey Hart for him.
- If you'd like something to overanalyze today, here's a candidate: Recent Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman has decided to switch agents, dumping the agency that helped get him out of Cuba, and Jon Heyman says at least one exec sees the move as a potential character issue. Obviously, the agency lost some money on the deal, but I'm having a hard time getting worked up over it.
- Something else to think about this afternoon, in Sporcle form: How many of Kenny Lofton's teams can you name?
- Friend of the site Stephen C. Smith of SpaceCoastBaseball.com has a post-mortem on the Florida Winter Baseball League, which lasted all of a few weeks, despite telling staff it had enough financial resources to last for multiple seasons (h/t Rattler Radio). Meanwhile, if you're one of the seven people who purchased tickets to a FWBL game and didn't get to use them, the Brevard County Manatees will allow you to use them next season.
- On this day in 1969, Dave Bristol was hired to manage the Seattle Pilots. A few months later the team would move to Milwaukee and Bristol would become the first manager of the Milwaukee Brewers.
- Happy birthday today to Cal Eldred, who turns 42, and Ben McDonald, who also turns 42.
- On and it's probably a little late to help you today, but this cereal flow chart might make tomorrow morning a little easier. (h/t C. Trent Rosecrans)