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Tuesday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while nothing happens.

Doug Melvin addressed the media yesterday to discuss the decision not to retain Ken Macha for 2011, and a couple of quotes from that session caught my attention. Here's the first one:

"When we brought him (Macha) in here, we brought him in because he has a winning record. He still has the sixth-best winning percentage of any of the current managers in the game today," Melvin said. "So he's had a lot of success in his career."

I'm hoping this is an oversimplified view of the process of hiring a manager. I'm confident Doug Melvin knows that wins and losses alone would be a pretty poor way to measure a manager's ability. But the fact that Macha's winning record appears to have been more than a footnote in the conversation implies that the team overvalued it.

Now, the second one:

"I've been a GM for 15 years and I've only let two managers go," Melvin said. "I talked to [Reds GM] Walt Jocketty, and I don't think he's ever fired a manager in his 15 years. [New D-backs GM] Kevin Towers has only done it once. There's [something to having] stability. People want to know why the Minnesota Twins have had success, they have a lot of stability. They've had two managers in 30 years. ...

This is an excellent example of a case where correlation does not imply causation. Were those GMs' teams successful because they retained their managers, or did those teams retain their managers because they were successful? It's possible that either or neither are true, but the quote implies which one Melvin believes.

Melvin didn't hint at any possibilities for the job, and since he hadn't talked to the coaching staff yet he refused to comment on internal candidates that may or may not be considered.

This could be a really interesting search. I have a notepad open on my desk, and every time I see a new managerial candidate mentioned I scribble it down. As of this moment, I'm at 28 names. Drew Olson has a lot of the same ones. With that said, Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker says we're wasting our time speculating about it. Lange of Wisconsin Sports Tap says the Brewers shouldn't overthink it.

Don't expect the Brewers to announce decisions on the 2011 coaching staff until the managerial search is over. Adam McCalvy notes that Rick Peterson will be back (he's still under contract for next season), but the new manager will likely want input on the rest of the decisions.

Looking forward, Adam McCalvy has a great season-in-review posted, with a position-by-position look at where the Brewers stand and where they might look to improve this offseason. As it should be, pitching will be the top priority. Trading also appears to be the method of choice: Doug Melvin told McCalvy he does not plan to be active in free agency.

You might have thought we were done with Prince Fielder's "final ______ as a Brewer" moments, but here's one more: His (potentially) final thank you picture for the fans.

Meanwhile, Howie Magner noted that Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told the press that he's in the market for a middle-of-the-order bat, and would prefer it to be left-handed. Let the speculation begin.

Is it safe to talk about Rickie Weeks' career year, now that it's over? Plunk Everyone noted that he led baseball this season in HBP in parks named for beer companies.

Another day, another post mortem: Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar has a look at six positives from the 2010 season.

If we fix one misconception this offseason, maybe it can be this one: Miller Park is not a hitters' park. Baseball Reference has updated their park factors for the 2010 season, and rated Milwaukee at 100 for hitters (exactly neutral) and 101 for pitchers (favoring hitters slightly). For comparison purposes, that puts it roughly on par with PNC Park in Pittsburgh (100, 102), and not nearly as hitter-friendly as Wrigley Field (106, 106) or Coors Field (118, 117).

In the minors:

  • Chris Mehring of Rattler Radio still isn't happy with the decision to leave Kyle Heckathorn off Baseball America's top prospect list for the Midwest League, and took them to task for it.
  • The Belleville News Democrat (his hometown paper) has a story on Jake Odorizzi being named the Brewers' Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

These are probably 2010's last power rankings: WhatifSports has the Brewers at 17, up one spot.

If you haven't yet please take a moment this morning to vote in this week's BCB Tracking Poll, which discusses Brewer management. Voting will remain open until sometime today and results will be posted tomorrow.

Around baseball:

Athletics: Released infielder Akinori Iwamura.
Padres: Will not exercise pitcher Chris Young's club option for 2011.
Reds: Dusty Baker has officially agreed to a two year contract extension.

We've already mentioned that the 2003 Brewers' single season strikeout record has been broken, but another Brewer strikeout record was tied this season: The 2010 Yankees finished with seven hitters with at least 98 strikeouts. That feat had previously only been accomplished by the 2008 Brewers.

Even if the Brewers aren't in the market for free agent pitchers this offseason, this could be an interesting storyline: Japan's Rakuten Golden Eagles are going to post pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, meaning major league teams will be allowed to bid for the right to sign him. Iwakuma will turn 30 in April and posted a 2.82 ERA in 201 IP in Japan last season.

Barring something unforeseen, we're probably starting to run out of chances to make fun of the Cubs this year. That makes it all the more important that I pass along this story about Carlos Zambrano damaging his car while trying to speed out of Wrigley Field after cleaning out his locker.

Making fun of the Pirates continues to be like shooting fish in a barrel, but some of the stuff written about them is simply too good to pass up. Today, for example, Pat Lackey of Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke? has a story about his dad overcoming broken ribs and a busted spleen and getting up off the deck to turn off a Charlie Morton start.

As long as we're picking on all of our favorite targets today, I might as well include this NBC Sports story on baseball's unwritten rules and the ways "disrespect" is sometimes invented.

Yesterday's biggest playoff story might have been a ground rule change. I'm not sure if this story is that interesting, or it was just a slow day: Balls hit into the catwalks at Tropicana Field that would not have been home runs are now dead balls, and the pitch will not count. Previously, balls hit off the catwalks that bounced back into play had been ruled fair.

Besides that, there's always a fair amount of conversation about the possibility of changing the playoff structure. Pocket Doppler makes the case for a fifth wild card team.

If you're missing Brewer baseball enough that you're craving the sound of Brian Anderson's voice, then you might be interested in knowing that he and Joe Simpson will be calling the Phillies-Reds series for TBS this week.

Conversation about breasts (and images of them) is usually a can of worms I do my best not to open on this site, but I will break that rule once this year to encourage you to support the Boobie-thon, a creative and fun annual fundraiser for breast cancer research. Follow the link for more info.

Happy birthday today to:

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm getting carried away.

Drink up.