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Tuesday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while forming an opinion.

The Arizona Fall League season opens today, and for once the news of the day comes from there: The Brewers announced yesterday that Brett Lawrie and Logan Schafer will not participate in the league. Schafer is still struggling with a foot injury that cost him most of the season. Lawrie appears to have opted out on his own.

Keith Law says it's "potentially" a red flag that Lawrie elected not to play, and has heard of some friction between the Brewers' #1 prospect and coaches. Lawrie and Schafer have been replaced by Wisconsin first baseman Hunter Morris and Huntsville outfielder Caleb Gindl on the team. Jeff Moore of The Hardball Times listed Gindl and Jeremy Jeffress among his players to watch on the Surprise Rafters.

If you're looking for more AFL coverage, Jonathan Mayo has a league preview. Surprise takes on the Peoria Javelinas at 12:35 Mountain time today.

The Brewers have decisions to make on eight players that will be eligible for arbitration this offseason, and MLB Trade Rumors has a full breakdown of what they're expected to do. There is one bit of good news in there: I think most of us have been estimating Prince Fielder's 2011 salary at $15-18 million, but MLBTR makes a case for it being $14 million or less.

Here's something less encouraging: John Sickels of Minor League Ball reviewed his list of the top 50 position prospects over the weekend, and said this about Alcides Escobar:

"Bat obviously weak, though may improve some."

Escobar hit .235/.288/.326 this season. If his defense is as good as advertised he could probably be a valuable player at .260/.325/.390 or so, but that's a fair amount more than "some" improvement.

Sickels, by the way, is now accepting pre-orders for his 2011 Baseball Prospect Book. I've already ordered mine, and you should get yours too.

Don't expect the Brewers to make a major splash in free agency this offseason. Doug Melvin went out of his way once again yesterday to lower expectations for the organization's effort to reel in a starting pitcher on the open market.

Here are today's managerial notes:

Jeff Zimmerman of FanGraphs has a pretty interesting look at players placed on the DL this season, with a spreadsheet and graphs showing the disparity in DL trips and time lost between teams. Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker has a look at it from the Brewer perspective. Those graphs are interesting but I think they fail to capture the whole story: A fair amount of the Brewer DL time was accumulated by guys like Josh Butler, Doug Davis, Jody Gerut, Marco Estrada and LaTroy Hawkins, and missing them didn't exactly cripple the team.

I mentioned yesterday that I don't spend too much time thinking about letter grades arbitrarily assigned to Brewer players after the season, but yesterday's Mug comments would suggest a fair number of you do. If you're not done with that debate yet, here's a little more ammunition: The Brewers Bar has 14 players receiving B's or C's.

I also didn't spend a lot of time on Mark Attanasio's letter to the fans addressing this season's disappointments. Miller Park Drunk did, though, and his take is worth seeing for yourself.

I link to Plunk Everyone a lot. Hopefully you follow those links. Even if you never have, though, you should click this one for his full breakdown of Rickie Weeks and Fernando Vina's 25 HBP seasons.

In the minors: If you missed them the first time (sometime during the September Marlins series), has highlights from Brewer minor league players of the year Erik Komatsu and Jake Odorizzi in the booth with BA and Rock. (h/t Timber Rattlers)

Just when you thought we were done with power rankings: Beyond the Box Score has the Brewers finishing at #16, up three spots.

No transactions today.

It's a good thing the AFL starts today, because without that it'd be a pretty slow week for baseball action. As 'Duk notes, after the Rays and Rangers wrap up their series tonight all four advancing teams will get Wednesday, Thursday and Friday off.

Many of you probably don't know that I have a degree in Radio and TV production (which I've never used). One thing you learn as an R/TV major is that there are times where you can get away with not wearing pants. Someone needs to tell Darren Daulton this is not one of those times. (h/t Hardball Talk)

My wife would absolutely never have gone for it, but there's part of me that would have loved to be married by a mascot during the fourth inning of an NLDS game.

Got some free time on your hands next spring? Maybe you should apply for this internship in the Brewers' Entertainment Department.

On this day in 1982, Paul Molitor had five hits as the Brewers shut out the Cardinals 10-0 in the first game of the World Series. Molitor's five hits set a Series record.

It's also a pretty big day for Brewer birthdays:

  • Helena Brewer Rafael Neda turns 22.
  • Helena Brewer Tony Pechek turns 24.
  • Casey McGehee turns 28.
  • 1992-99 Brewer Jose Valentin turns 41.
  • Garth Iorg, who coached third base for the Brewers following Ned Yost's dismissal in September 2008, turns 56.
  • Milwaukee native Tony Kubek turns 75. Kubek was an AL Rookie of the Year and three time All Star over nine seasons as a Yankee from 1957-65.

Now, if you'll excuse me, my coffee is cold.

Drink up.