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Thursday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while cuddling up with Miguel Cabrera.

The Brewers finished off a good, but not great homestand with the Mets yesterday, and remain in sole possession of first place heading into a four game series in Chicago starting tonight. Seth McClung, who starts tonight, said he's looking forward to the atmosphere at Wrigley. "Atmosphere" is one of the few positive things visiting players have to say about the park.

Did you do your part this week by booing Gary Sheffield? Brian Costa of the Newark Star-Ledger discusses the reactions Sheffield receives on the road, including in Milwaukee, and quotes a blogger you might know.

Meanwhile, A Girl's View wonders why the Mets didn't just send a rookie starter to the mound this week. And Sports Rubbish has the video highlight you've all been waiting to see: Fernando Martinez' faceplant in center field.

Now that we're into July, Doug Melvin and company are intently watching the trade market for opportunities to improve the team, but working to lower expectations at the same time. Melvin also said he isn't interested in Brandon Backe.

In the minors:

  • Mat Gamel checked in at #13 in Project Prospect's Midseason Top 50, with Alcides Escobar nowhere to be found. Jonathan Mayo of said he'd take Gamel's upside over fellow 3B prospect Brett Wallace.
  • The international signing period begins today and the Brewers are expected to make a big splash by signing Dominican OF Jose Pena. Depending on who you ask, his bonus could be anywhere from $500k to $1.5 million.
  • Alcides Escobar, Brendan Katin and R.J. Swindle have been named to the PCL All Star team. Escobar was also selected to the MLB Futures Game. Swindle is making his first All Star appearance at any level.
  • The Brewers officially announced the signings of seventh round pick Khris Davis, 8th round pick Chad Stang, 25th round pick Demetrius McKelvie and two undrafted free agents yesterday. Some of that is old news: Davis was already in the lineup for Helena a couple of days ago.

This probably isn't news to you: Jason Kendall has caught a lot of games. Among those games, there has been the occasional close win. Kendall has caught 463 saves, sixth most all time.

On Power Rankings:

This isn't actually a Power Ranking, but it fits in with them: ESPN the Magazine just completed their Ultimate Standings for 2009 for all North American major pro sports teams, and the Brewers are ranked #7, up from #13 last year. They rank in the top 20 in six of the eight categories measured and in the top ten in Affordability (third), Stadium Experience (third) and Bang for the Buck (seventh). On the other end of the spectrum, the Bucks rank 110th out of 122 franchises.

Around the League:

Cardinals: Mark DeRosa is day to day after being diagnosed with a strained tendon in his wrist.
Cubs: Have reportedly reached a deal to acquire utility infielder Jeff Baker from the Rockies.
Dodgers: Designated outfielder Mitch Jones for assignment.
Pirates: Released outfielder Craig Monroe, who had been designated for assignment.
Rockies: Designated catcher Paul Phillips for assignment.
Royals: Shortstop Mike Aviles will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss about 12 months.
Twins: Released reliever Luis Ayala, who had been designated for assignment.

Did you have any run ins with obnoxious Met fans this week? In a poll in the Baltimore Sun, 80% of voters rated Met fans the most obnoxious in baseball. I can't imagine that, because off the top of my head I'd list the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs and Phillies ahead of the Mets, without question.

As I mentioned before, the international signing period begins today, and with Jose Pena reportedly off the market, the top available talent might be Cuban lefty Aroldis Chapman, who reportedly has defected. Chapman is 21, throws 90+ and pitched for Cuba in the WBC.

Some days my attention span is painfully short. This morning, for example, I read this story and all I got out of it was the fact that Dr. Mark Schickendantz might be the coolest name I've ever seen.

Oh, and happy birthday to knuckleballer Steve Sparks, who pitched 202 innings for the 1995 Brewers and turns 44 today.

Drink up.