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Some things to read while wondering about a groundhog's ability to predict the weather.

Expect an announcement soon on Bob Uecker's new partner in the booth: It had been previously reported that the Brewers had narrowed their list of candidates to two. Now, this morning we have a report that Jeff Munn, a pre and post-game show host for the Diamondbacks, has withdrawn himself from consideration. As such, the pick appears to be WGN Radio's Cory Provus.

The Brewers haven't been to an arbitration hearing since Doug Melvin took over as general manager, but that could be about to change. Gord Ash says the Brewers have made "zero" progress in negotiations with Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks. Both sides still have a little less than three weeks to work something out.

If his last name wasn't Gwynn, would it be a story? Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (via MLB Trade Rumors) lists Tony Gwynn Jr. among players who are out of options and could be on the move this spring. If someone wanted Gwynn and was willing to give the Brewers anything of value for him, I'm guessing he'd already be gone.

A few notes from around the minors:

  • Stop me if I've already mentioned this, but Alcides Escobar is MiLB.com's #8 prospect. The link includes a scouting report and a brief video package on the young shortstop.
  • As noted in a FanShot over the weekend, Taylor Green underwent surgery last week on his wrist to repair a compression fracture suffered late in the 2008 season. He will likely miss April of 2009.
  • Mark Rogers, a former #1 pick who hasn't pitched in a game since 2006, reportedly feels great and hopes to break camp with a team in 2009. Rogers is still just 23 but has never pitched above A ball.

The Brewers have at least one more sandwich pick coming in June's draft, as Brian Shouse has agreed to a deal with the Rays. The Brewers could get as many as three two more picks in the top 60 of the draft when Ben Sheets and Eric Gagne eventually sign(s).

In yesterday's Advent Calendar, I mentioned that Mike Cameron has 168 more strikeouts than hits in his career. Taking it to the next level, TheJay (over at Recondite Baseball) has compiled a list of 34 players with at least 100 more strikeouts than hits in their careers, and no less than five current or former Brewers appear on it, including three (Rob Deer, Russell Branyan and Gorman Thomas) in the top four. Also, Enrique Cruz is one of just a handful of position players in MLB history with at least 20 more strikeouts than total bases.

Still trying to figure out what to expect from Trevor Hoffman in 2009? FakeTeams projects him as the NL's sixth best closer. And while he appears to already have his entrance music picked out, Ducksnorts has 71 terrible suggestions for if he decides to freshen things up.

On the hot stove:

Astros: Were reportedly ready to spend as much as $120 million this offseason, but have now settled closer to $104. (h/t Crawfish Boxes)
Cubs: Could be near a deal to send Rich Hill to the Orioles, but the Mariners are also interested. The Cubs also signed Paul Bako to a one year deal worth $725,000.
Mariners: Could be interested in cutting payroll, including Jarrod Washburn, Adrian Beltre and Miguel Batista. They also re-signed Randy Messenger.
Phillies: Have reportedly contacted Will Ohman as a possible fill-in while J.C. Romero serves his suspension. They'd also like to trade Geoff Jenkins.
Pirates: Designated reliever T.J. Beam for assignment to make room for Eric Hinske on their roster.
Rockies: Signed Josh Fogg to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.

It's becoming more and more likely that there will still be a significant number of free agents on the market when spring training opens in 11 days. Murray Chass remembers 1995, when the Players Association held a camp for unsigned players, called the "Homestead Homies." Looks like that concept may need to be dusted off and used again.

How do you rate your prospects? It's probably safe to assume most teams don't rank them by Facebook friends, but that's what the folks over at Halos Heaven have done.

Speaking of prospects, The Biz of Baseball has the details on a new documentary series chronicling life in the minors. I think I'll stick to watching actual games, but it seems interesting.

George Carlin did it more famously, but he didn't stop in the middle for a rant about bravery and courage: Joe Posnanski takes a look at the language we use to describe baseball.

Oh, and while I love trying out the food at minor league ballparks, I don't think a monstrosity of five beef patties weighing five-thirds of a pound, dressed with sliced Spam, sausage gravy, fried eggs and a gigantic pickle is in my future.

Drink up.