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Tuesday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while establishing an acceptable salutation.

In the weeks following the 2009 season we've spent a fair amount of time discussing what went wrong, but this graph at Beyond the Box Score probably sums it up better than any other: The Brewers were the fourth worst team in all of baseball at keeping below-replacement level players off the field, losing 5.4 wins.

Looking forward, the Brewers have unveiled their spring training schedule (FanShot). Mark your calendar now: the first game will start at 1 pm Arizona time on Thursday, March 4. I've got roughly four months to figure out if Arizona time in March is one hour or two hours behind Central time.

Could Felipe Lopez have a tough time finding a home this offseason? Jorge Says No! has a look at the developing market for second basemen, and doesn't see many teams with money to spend.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee may not be the first choice for Wisconsin native Jarrod Washburn, who told a reporter he'd like to return to Seattle. Hopefully the front office won't overspend to convince him otherwise.

View From Bernie's Chalet is holding out hope for the return of Ben Sheets, and proposes a one year deal with an option for a second. I still think Sheets is going to disappoint someone next spring by reporting to camp out of shape and nowhere near ready to compete after a year off. If he can prove he's ready to pitch, I'd be willing to take him back...but I'm not sure how one can do that in a non-WBC season.

I'm operating under the assumption he'll be back until told otherwise, but Miller Park Drunk seems relatively confident that Mike Cameron is already gone, and has a look at Jody Gerut as a possible 2010 replacement. He presents three possible outcomes: Gerut is good, bad, or injured.

Jonathan Lucroy is tearing up the AFL, hitting .385/.407/.615 through his first seven games, but that wasn't enough to earn him a spot in the Rising Stars Showcase, which will be televised on MLB Network this Saturday. In fact, the only Brewer prospect on the roster will be Mark Rogers, who's posted a 12.27 ERA in 7.2 AFL innings. Zach Braddock was also snubbed, despite allowing just one earned run in 8.2 innings and picking up two saves.

Elsewhere in the minors:
  • Minor League Ball needs your help selecting a Community Top Five prospects for the Brewers. In the early going, guys like Cody Scarpetta, Jake Odorizzi and Eric Arnett, who all have high ceilings but are very far from the big leagues, are getting a lot of attention, while guys like Angel Salome and Jonathan Lucroy are not.
  • Project Prospect ranked Mat Gamel as baseball's sixth best third base prospect.
  • Rattler Radio has a look at some of the holiday specials the Timber Rattlers are working on, if you're looking for something to get that special someone in Appleton...or me.
I don't have any transactions to report today, so we'll jump straight into other notes: This might be one of the creepier things I've seen in a while, but superstition would suggest it now needs to happen for World Series Games 6 and 7: Todd Zolecki has a photo of The Harry Kalas Cake that was in the press box before last night's game. Kalas, a long time Phillies broadcaster, passed away earlier this season.

I haven't spent much time discussing the Cubs' sale because it moves at an excruciatingly slow pace and is covered well enough elsewhere, but I thought this milestone was worth noting: With the sale finalized, investor Laura Ricketts is Major League Baseball's first openly gay owner.

I link to Beyond the Box Score a lot, as you've probably noticed, as it's quickly developed into one of the premier places for stat-based baseball conversation and research. A lot of the credit for that development belongs to Sky Kalkman, who announced yesterday that he's moving on. If you've enjoyed Sky's work at BtB as much as I have, stop by sometime today to say thank you.

On this day in 1981, Rollie Fingers was awarded the AL Cy Young and a year later, Pete Vuckovich was awarded the 1982 version.

I was unable to find a Brewer birthday today (Fatter than Joey will probably point one out in the comments), so we'll have to settle for wishing a happy birthday to Hall of Famer Bob Feller, who turns 91.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention: I'm leaving on vacation in a few hours, and will be gone until Sunday. Fear not, though, I've left the site in capable hands with the moderators you all know and love and an All Star cast of Guest Muggers while I'm gone, and I've got some posts scheduled to appear during my absence, as well. All told, you probably won't notice I'm gone...or may wish I'd stay away. Either way, I'll be back on Monday morning.

Drink up.