Some things to read while shaking the devil off (h/t Daily Drink).
I don't think it'd be overstating it to call yesterday one of the biggest days of the offseason, as the Brewers agreed to terms with Doug Davis, acquiring the second starter Doug Melvin acknowledged needing at the start of the offseason (FanShot). Davis is guaranteed $4.25 million for 2010, with a team option with a $1 million buyout for 2011. I know not everyone's excited about Davis' walk totals and left-handedness, but getting a pitcher who can be penciled in for 180 or so innings at league average-or-better ERA at this price is a pretty good deal.
Now that the front office has come through with a second starting pitcher at a reasonable price, I'm actually pretty happy with the way the offseason has turned out. I'm still disappointed the Brewers couldn't get more for J.J. Hardy, and I still think they're overspending on an unnecessary part in LaTroy Hawkins, but those moves are overshadowed a bit by accomplishing the offseason's biggest goal: improving the starting pitching.
Here are some other reactions from around the web:
- Tom Haudricourt has quotes from Davis, who says he's "happy to be back" and reminds us that he was a Doug Melvin draft pick in Texas.
- Fire Doug Melvin is willing to shut down the site, apologize, grow a mustache and register ExtendDougMelvin.com if the Brewers follow up this move by releasing Jeff Suppan.
- The Grand National Championships projected Davis for a 13-9, 3.80 ERA season and gives the move a B+.
- Wisconsin Sports Tap likes the deal.
- Jerry Crasnick of ESPN noted that Davis has made the sixth most starts in baseball since the start of the 2004 season.
- As luck would have it, yesterday was Doug Davis' day in Baseball Musings' Players A to Z series. David Pinto says he "could see him putting together a great won-loss record on a good team."
- Evan Brunell of The Hardball Times notes that Davis' cut fastball was his only pitch with a positive run value in 2009.
- Brewed Sports doesn't like what this move says about the way the front office is operating.
- Keep Turning Up the Heat! says this move isn't going to cut it.
Moving forward, the Davis signing creates an interesting camp situation for the Brewers, who now have six starting pitchers for five spots. I took a swing at predicting the outcome yesterday, and I don't think the news is very good for Dave Bush.
Meanwhile, Matthew Pouliot of Circling the Bases has a look at the Brewer depth chart, as it presently stands. He agrees with me regarding Dave Bush being the odd man out in the rotation, and still thinks the Brewers will grab another outfielder on the cheap before spring training,
Overshadowed by this announcement was the unveiling of the plans for the Brewers' season-long celebration of their 40th anniversary. Four retro nights with special bobbleheads are in the works, with one celebrating each decade of the Brewers' existence in Milwaukee. Not to be outdone, of course, The Former Hackers have a look at some alternate bobbleheads and Rubie Q has a look at some other jersey options.
Before the Davis signing was announced, Viva El Birdos took a look at the Brewers are part of their NL Central Offseason Revue series. They projected the Brewers for roughly 85 wins and a third place finish.
I guess it's true the Brewers are in the top half, but I'm not sure I'd consider it "elite company." Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated calculated the dollars spent per win for each MLB team in the 2000's, and the Brewers finished ninth behind the Marlins, Rays, Twins, A's, Pirates, Nationals, Royals and Padres.
In the minors:
- Mike Newman of Scouting the Sally has his top 30 MLB prospects up at Jonathan Mayo's blog, and he has Alcides Escobar 15th.
- Escobar will also receive an award for being 2009's best Nashville Sound at Friday's Old Timers Baseball Association banquet.
Angels: Signed Joel Pineiro to a two year, $16 million deal.
Astros: Jason Bourgeois, designated for assignment last week, has cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to the minors with an invitation to spring training. They also signed outfielder Cory Sullivan to a minor league deal.
Blue Jays: Acquired reliever Merkin Valdez from the Giants for cash considerations.
Mariners: Avoided arbitration with Brandon League, who will earn $1.0875 million in 2010.
Pirates: Signed Octavio Dotel to a one year deal believed to be worth around $3 million.
Rockies: Signed outfielder Jay Payton to a minor league deal.
As we continue the discussion of who should stay and go in the Brewer rotation, this economic concept becomes increasingly relevant: Red Reporter uses the contract of Willy Taveras to define a "sunk cost." One could just as easily use Jeff Suppan.
Actually, since "send Suppan to the bullpen" seems to be a popular response to the logjam, this might be relevant too: Over at The Hardball Times, Jeff Sackmann has a system to predict which starting pitchers might be more effective in the bullpen.
Do you have some experience with databases and the desire to work in baseball? FanGraphs might have a lead for you.
In a few short weeks, pitchers and catchers will report to modern, state of the art facilities in Florida and Arizona to prepare for the season. Those parks weren't always so fancy, though: Hal McCoy remembers how spring training used to be, and shares some memories from Grapefruit Leagues past.
On this day in 2002, the Brewers pulled off an ill-fated three team trade, sending Jeromy Burnitz, Lou Collier, Jeff D'Amico and Mark Sweeney to the Mets in exchange for pinch hitter Lenny Harris, pitcher Glendon Rusch and outfielder Alex Ochoa. Rusch went 11-28 with a 5.34 ERA over two seasons as a Brewer.
Happy birthday today to:
- 2009 Timber Rattler Shawn Zarraga, who turns 21.
- 1901 Milwaukee Brewer Irv Waldron, who would have turned 138.
Oh, and if you just can't get enough of me, I'll also be on hotstove.com at 1 pm Central today to discuss the Doug Davis deal and the Brewer offseason.