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Thursday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while needing to say something.

The race for the final spot on the bench added one more contestant on Wednesday, as the Brewers claimed "Voodoo" Joe Inglett off waivers from the Rangers (FanShot), and designated Chris Smith for assignment to make room on the roster. Inglett is 31 years old and a career .293/.349/.396 hitter, having appeared in 211 games over the last four seasons. He also hit .360/.422/.516 in 40 games in AAA last season.

Between Toronto and Las Vegas last season, Inglett played all three outfield spots, second base and shortstop. With that said, his career numbers would suggest he's more of an "emergency backup" at short and in center field, and less of a "viable option." Inglett will join Hernan Iribarren, Adam Heether and possibly Luis Cruz in the battle for the last infield spot. His skill set seems pretty similar to Iribarren's, and to Frank Calanotto's, for that matter. Adam McCalvy has some notes regarding Inglett's history at Miller Park and the origin of his nickname.

Speaking of Catalanotto, Doug Melvin says he's still working on one more minor league deal, and don't be surprised if Catalanotto gets the call and an opportunity to win the fifth spot in the outfield. Just a hunch.

The decision to DFA Chris Smith, meanwhile, is a curious one. There's a pretty good chance Smith will pass through waivers and accept an assignment to the minors, but there are certainly others on the 40 man roster (Luis Cruz or Tim Dillard) that would have been more likely to go unnoticed. Nearly all of my recent roster projections had Smith making the team if David Riske opened the season on the DL: Dumping Smith might open a roster spot for Jeff Suppan to waste some space in the bullpen to open the season. Or, on the positive side, it might give a guy like Chuck Lofgren or Chris Narveson a better shot at making the team.

Elsewhere in transaction minutiae:

  • Adam McCalvy has the details on the incentives in Dave Bush's new deal: Bush can earn $25,000, $25,000, $30,000 and $30,000 for pitching 170, 180, 195 and 205 innings, respectively. Before last season, Bush had pitched at least 185 innings for three straight seasons, including a career high 210 in 2006.
  • McCalvy also has Mat Gamel's 2010 contract. He'll earn $406,500 if he manages to spend the full season in the majors.

We're 23 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training and Rick Peterson getting his first chance to wave his magic wand over the Brewer pitching staff. Right Field Bleachers has a recap of Peterson's recent appearance on WSSP, and he doesn't seem to be shying away from high expectations.

Here's a quick sample of what he's up against: The Brewers allowed five or more runs in seven straight games at one point last June, tying them for the fifth longest streak in baseball. Somehow, they won three of those seven games anyway. By the way, that streak is nowhere near the franchise record: The 2002 Brewers did it in twelve straight.

Also at the B-Ref blog, they have a look at the last six active position players born in the 1960's. Four of them (Brad Ausmus, Ken Griffey, Matt Stairs and Omar Vizquel) are under contract for 2010. Sixteen pitchers born in the 1960's pitched in the majors last season, including Trevor Hoffman and David Weathers.

Brian Anderson is starting to get excited for spring. If you'd like to share in his excitement, he'll be chatting with fans tomorrow morning.

In the minors:

  • Jonathan Mayo unveiled his top 50 prospects last night on MLB Network, with Alcides Escobar 12th and Brett Lawrie 26th. If you missed it live, you can see video highlights of the top 50 at 
  • Also at his blog, Mayo unveiled Seth Speaks' top 20 prospects. The list doesn't include any Brewers.

Around baseball:

Cubs: Avoided arbitration with pitcher Sean Marshall, who will earn $950,000 in 2010.
Orioles: Designated reliever Dennis Sarfate for assignment.
Reds: Signed infielder Miguel Cairo to a minor league deal.
Rockies: Signed pitcher Tim Redding to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.
Yankees: Signed Randy Winn to a one year, $2 million deal.

I have three Ben Sheets notes today:

Here's a great contract incentive note: As noted in the comments of yesterday's Mug, Ronnie Belliard's new deal with the Dodgers is only guaranteed if he weighs in at or under 209 lbs sometime during spring training. Belliard reportedly weighed 209 at the end of the season.

In response to the ongoing complaints about Jason Kendall's consistent playing time over the last two seasons, we've heard a lot about catchers who "call a good game," and viewed much of it as nonsense. With that said, Lookout Landing has an interesting post that draws an important distinction: Differences in game calling ability aren't necessarily nonexistent, they're just very difficult to quantify.

He's been retired for decades, but not forgotten. Gorman Thomas was one of the early additions to Rowland's Office's BMF team.

On this day in 1993 the Brewers signed veteran outfielder Tom Brunansky. He would appear in 96 games as a Brewer over parts of the next two seasons, hitting .187/.263/.317 before being traded to the Red Sox for catcher Dave Valle. The fact that Brunansky isn't commonly mentioned as one of Sal Bando's worst moves should tell you something about how bad his other moves were.

Happy birthday today to:

Oh, and as if we needed them, here are five more ways to eat cheese curds.

Drink up.