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Thursday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while trying not to dance.

LaTroy Hawkins was in Milwaukee yesterday for his physical, making his deal official (FanShot). As mentioned previously, he's due $3.5 million in 2010 and $4 million in 2011, plus $550k available if he maximizes his incentives. One thing I didn't know until reading it afterwards: Hawkins grew up in Gary, Indiana and played basketball against former Buck Glenn Robinson.

I've mentioned previously that the bullpen situation is starting to fill up, but realized yesterday that I've been leaving Carlos Villanueva out of all of my projections. As Adam McCalvy noted in his story on Hawkins, the bullpen now has Trevor Hoffman, Hawkins, Todd Coffey, Mitch Stetter, Claudio Vargas, Carlos Villanueva and David Riske, and barring a trade or injury, it looks like Chris Smith, Chris Narveson, Chuck Lofgren and Zack Braddock, among others, are on the outside looking in.

While there may not be much competition for a spot in the bullpen, there will be an interesting race to see who opens the season as the backup catcher. View From Bernie's Chalet handicaps the candidates, and is hoping for George Kottoras to open the season in the majors, with Jonathan Lucroy in AAA and Angel Salome on the trading block. Two quick thoughts on that:

  • Kottoras is out of options, so unless one of the prospects blows him out of the water this spring, he'll likely make the team.
  • You can never have too many catchers, so don't be surprised if the Brewers hang onto both Lucroy and Salome and try to work out some kind of rotation in Nashville.

Speaking of competitions involving backup catchers, we need your vote to help select a backup catcher for the BCB All Decade Team. As of this writing, Mike Rivera leads Jason Kendall by 15 votes.

At Mike Cameron's press conference in Boston yesterday, we heard some insight for the first time into Ken Macha's feeling toward the running game last season. 2009 was the first time in Cameron's career he's had single-digit stolen bases, and he said he "ran into a little situation where I had to abide by the rules of the manager, even though I’ve been pretty successful, I mean, 80 percent of the time that I’ve ran." Macha has admitted he'll have to open up the running game a little more this season, but this is the first time I can recall hearing a player talk about restraints last season.

Every now and then the Mug provides me an "Ask and you shall receive" moment. Yesterday I asked about differences in attendance at Miller Park based on the starting pitcher, and Wisconsin Sports Tap did the research, discovering no correlation. Many, if not most, Brewer tickets are probably purchased too far in advance to predict starting pitching assignments, so that's likely what I should have expected.

In the minors: FanGraphs unveiled their Top Ten Brewer Prospects yesterday. Alcides Escobar sits atop the list, as he likely will in just about every set of rankings coming out this winter, but Brett Lawrie climbed in front of Mat Gamel for the #2 spot. We'll be doing our Community Prospect Rankings in January, and I'm curious to see where Lawrie will rank there.

Around baseball:

D-Backs: Signed pitcher Rodrigo Lopez to a minor league deal.
Dodgers:
Signed infielder Jamey Carroll to a two year deal worth $3.85 million and signed reliever Luis Ayala to a minor league deal.
Orioles:
Signed reliever Mike Gonzalez to a two year deal worth $12 million, and third baseman Garrett Atkins to a one year deal.
Rangers: Signed pitcher Geoff Geary and infielder Ray Olmedo to minor league deals.
Tigers: Re-signed infielder Ramon Santiago to a two year deal.

The Blue Jays, Phillies, Mariners and A's also finalized their four way deal involving Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. It's been a time for change in Toronto over the last few months: Jordan Bastian noted that the Rogers Centre features three-story images of Alex Rios, Scott Rolen, B.J. Ryan and Roy Halladay. All four will now need to be removed.

In the interest of keeping conversation going and providing fresh content on the site each day, I occasionally post things that wouldn't be front page-worthy during the season, but keep things lively in December. Occasionally when I do that, someone stops by the comments to make sure I know I'm wasting their time, or ask why we're voting for bench players on the All Decade Team. Yes, I know those posts aren't hard-hitting news, but they beat spending a day ranking and discussing your favorite Pixar movies, like Keith Law and Rob Neyer did yesterday.

Earlier this week he celebrated a birthday, and today former Brewer Matt Kinney is the subject of Lookout Landing's Faces series.

Happy birthday today to 1986 and 1989 Brewer Bryan Clutterbuck, who turns 50.

Drink up.