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Friday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while compounding the problem.

The Brewer front office staff is back home from the Winter Meetings, so it's time to take a look at the recaps:

  • MLB FanHouse lists the Brewers as the big winner in the NL Central.
  • In-Between Hops ranked the Brewers #1 in free agent signings.
  • Big League Stew ranked the signings of Randy Wolf and LaTroy Hawkins as the meetings' 6th and 7th biggest moves, respectively.
  • John Steinmiller has a recap with pictures of what the Winter Meetings looked like from inside the Brewers' suite.

For the time being, the title of "newest Brewer" belongs to Rule 5 selection Chuck Lofgren, and he's excited for the opportunity. He's been a starter throughout the minors, but it sounds like he'll be given a shot to make the team as a situational lefty. Don't underestimate the value of having one more guy in the bullpen who could be called upon to make a spot start if needed. With that said, he is at best a complement to Mitch Stetter, not a replacement.

Meanwhile, for the second straight day I'm writing about a pitcher who doesn't actually want to be here. Yesterday, it was LaTroy Hawkins, who was "very disappointed" not to return to Houston. Today it's Randy Wolf, who really wanted to return to the Dodgers. Kudos to these guys for being honest, I guess, but would throwing in a "The Brewers are my team now, and I'll work my butt off for them" be too much to ask for?

We could be waiting a while longer for a decision from Mark Mulder. The Brewer front office staff will reportedly visit Mulder in January. Given the fact that this was being reported as a nearly done deal months ago, I'd guess there's a question about Mulder's health.

With Rickie Weeks, Alcides Escobar and Carlos Gomez all projected as members of the opening day starting lineup, Ken Macha has acknowledged he'll probably have the runners in motion much more often during the 2010 season. That prompted Miller Park Drunk to launch their "RUNNING" series. I'll link to the Ken Macha and Corey Hart chapters here...the other two are a little too obscene to even be linked from this site.

In the minors:

  • Tom H. has a great look (with a terrible headline) at the situation faced by Jeremy Jeffress, as he prepares to return to the minor leagues knowing that one more positive drug test will be the end of his baseball career. Jeffress, who will spend the first few months of the 2010 season in extended spring training, is saying all the right things, but I'll believe it when I see it.
  • Earlier this week I mentioned Project Prospect's look at the speed of AFL players, and mentioned the absence of Lorenzo Cain from the rankings. Adam Foster filled in the gap for us by looking back at video and giving Cain a 55-65 rating, which is well above average.

Voting continues for our BCB All Decade Team: You have until 4 today to cast your vote for a shortstop, where J.J. Hardy leads Mark Loretta by 281 votes as of this writing. The voting is much closer at third base, where Bill Hall leads Craig Counsell by 54 votes with Russell Branyan and Ryan Braun not too far behind. Voting for our first outfield spot will open at 4 today.

Around baseball:

Astros: Signed Pedro Feliz to a one year, $4.5 million deal and reliever Gary Majewski to a minor league deal.
Released reliever Santiago Casilla.
Nationals: Released pitcher Zach Segovia.
Reds: Signed infielder Chris Burke to a minor league deal.
Rockies: Signed Chris Iannetta to a three year deal worth $8.3 million, buying out his arbitration years.

I've already mentioned the Brewer Rule 5 draft pick, Chuck Lofgren, but he's nowhere near the best name selected in the draft. Those honors go to former National/new Blue Jay Zech Zinicola.

The possibility of winter league injury probably keeps some front office execs up at night during the offseason, and in all honesty I'm surprised it doesn't happen more often. D-Backs outfielder Gerardo Parra suffered a muscle tear in his left thigh and is coming home from winter ball in Venezuela (h/t AZ Snakepit).

If you like charts and graphs and you're looking for something to play with today, you should check out Chartball. I only spent a few minutes there this morning, but they've got some fun interactive tools to work with. (h/t Baseball Musings)

On this day in 1997, the Brewers traded Gerald Williams to the Braves for Chad Fox. The deal worked out pretty well for both sides: Williams hit .286/.341/.475 over two seasons as a Brave, and Fox was healthy for two of four seasons in Milwaukee, including the 2001 season, where he appeared in 65 games and posted a 1.89 ERA.

Happy birthday today to Josh Butler, who turns 25.

Oh, and I'm writing today's Mug before breakfast, so this was fascinating. I'm off to go find food.

Drink up.