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Wednesday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while fending off the penguin army.

Dave Bush is 30 and posted a 6.38 ERA last season, the second time in three years his ERA has been over 5. Is he done? Dave Pinto of Baseball Musings posted a note on Bush as part of his Players A to Z series, and called his down year "an extreme outlier in a decline phase of his career." He set career highs in both BB/9 and HR/9 last season.

Thankfully, his new pitching coach appears ready to emphasize the importance of throwing strikes. Rick Peterson offered some analysis on Twitter yesterday regarding the value of 0-2 and 1-2 counts, and including three exclamation points for extra emphasis. Meanwhile, Yovani Gallardo could really use some work in that area: just 59.2% of his pitches in 2009 were thrown for strikes, the second lowest among 78 qualified pitchers.

When we discuss the Gregg Zaun signing, it's freqently noted that he can't be much worse offensively than his predecessor. However, Zaun has done one thing Jason Kendall has never done: Go 0-for-7 twice. He's one of just 42 players in major league history with multiple games recording seven plate appearances without reaching base. Kendall missed the list for obvious reasons: Given seven opportunities, he'd get hit by a pitch at least once.

MLB Trade Rumors has a roundup of offseason moves in the NL Central, if you're falling behind. The quality of the Brewer acquisitions has yet to be determined, but they're certainly building up some volume, having acquired, signed or re-signed 18 players since the end of the season.

After a few months of waiting, the market may finally be heating up for Felipe Lopez. With Mark DeRosa and Kelly Johnson off the market, the Cardinals are reportedly expressing interest, but may want Lopez to play third, not second. Orlando Hudson is also still unsigned.

Somehow, Lopez missed the cut for Miller Park Drunk's list of ten Brewers to get drunk with.

In the minors, Jim Breen of Bernie's Crew has an interesting post comparing the top two center field prospects in the Brewer organization, fast-rising Logan Schafer and Lorenzo Cain, who saw his development stalled a bit by injuries in 2009. Both could feasibly start the 2010 season in Huntsville.

Voting is coming down to the wire in the race for the fourth spot in the rotation on our BCB All Decade Team. As of this writing, Doug Davis leads Chris Capuano by ten votes. You have until 4 pm to cast a vote, if you haven't yet. Meanwhile, Todd Coffey is building a commanding lead in the race for the latest bullpen spot.

Around baseball:

Diamondbacks: Signed Kelly Johnson to a one year deal worth $2 million.
Mets: Signed Jason Bay to a four year, $66 million albatross contract with a vesting option for a fifth year, and signed Bengie Molina to a two year deal.

I'll be the first to admit, I'm guilty of this: I take a camera to places (including Brewer games) but rarely take good pictures. In fact, sometimes I never take the camera out of the case. If you'd like some pointers on being a better baseball photographer, freelance photographer Brad Mangin has some pointers for you. (h/t 6-4-2)

Screw winning in October: If you want America to see you succeed on the grandest stage, win the Home Run Derby. Fielder's victory was the most-watched MLB program on cable for the 2009 season.

Speaking of MLB programming, I'll second what Adam Foster of Project Prospect said: I'd watch a show introducing somewhat advanced statistical and scouting metrics like Pitch F/x and BABIP to the masses.

The offseason has big news days and slow ones, but talking Brewers always beats spending the day developing bad husband power rankings.

Happy birthday today to Grant Balfour. The Australian native appeared in three games for the 2007 Brewers before being traded for Seth McClung. He turns 32 today.

That's all I have today, unless of course you want to help name Hyatt's baby (FanShot).

Drink up.