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Either Prince Fielder has lost a few pounds, or that headband is slimming.
Either Prince Fielder has lost a few pounds, or that headband is slimming.

Some things to read while recruiting new landscapers.

It looks like Prince Fielder might be getting sick of all the conversation about his weight being a risk factor in a potential long-term deal: Craig Calcaterra saw a picture of the slugger on his recent tour of Japan and noticed that Fielder appears to have lost a few pounds. I've posted the picture on your right: What do you think?

Another day with minimal other news means another day discussing Carl Pavano. Tom Haudricourt noted that the Brewers would have to give their 2011 second round pick to the Twins if they sign Pavano, since he's a Type A free agent and was offered arbitration. Haudricourt expects all of this to play out before Christmas.

Meanwhile, John Bonnes has a look at the situation from the Twins side, and discusses the merits of either working out a deal or passing on Pavano soon.

It's worth noting, once again, that there are reasons to prefer Joe Blanton over Pavano: Dave Cameron of FanGraphs compared the two pitchers and said, "A GM willing to look past the hypnotic powers of ERA could save his team a lot of money."

Here's a name we haven't discussed yet: Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports says the Indians are listening to offers for righthander Fausto Carmona. Carmona posted a 3.77 ERA in 210.1 innings last season, a nice bounceback after posting ERA's over 5 in each of the two previous seasons. His peripheral numbers are poor (career 5.5 K/9, 3.7 BB/9), but he's signed to a relatively team-friendly deal: He's due $6.1 million in 2011, then could earn $7, $9 and $12 million from 2012-14 on a series of team options. Jordan Bastian of says he's not surprised teams are interested, but would be surprised if the Indians make a move.

At least we can be confident the Brewers are leaving no stone unturned in their search for pitching: Baseball Reflections found this Help Wanted ad.

It's been a while since we've heard anything about the Brewers' efforts to sign Rickie Weeks to an extension. Vaughn's Valley makes the case for a long term deal.

In the minors:

  • Rattler Radio has Episode two of the second season of The Offseason, and it's well worth seeing.
  • Ryan Braun's brother Steve is no longer a Brewer minor leaguer, and Jack Moore of NotGraphs used his release as a segue into a conversation about Werewolf movies.

Flip Flop Fly Ball has today's most interesting graphic: They note that six teams (the Brewers, Cubs, White Sox, Tigers, Indians and Blue Jays) play their home games in a city bordering the Great Lakes, and they haven't all won on the same day since September 21, 2007.

Around baseball:

Astros: Signed infielder Brian Dopriak and pitcher Sammy Gervacio to minor league deals.
Athletics: Signed pitcher Rich Harden to a one year, $1.5 million deal.
Diamondbacks: Are expected to sign catcher Henry Blanco (one year, $1 million) and outfielder Xavier Nady (one year, $1.75 million).
Dodgers: Signed reliever Matt Guerrier to a three year, $12 million deal.
Marlins: Signed reliever Randy Choate to a two year, $2.5 million deal.
Pirates: Signed pitcher Donnie Veal to a minor league deal.
Red Sox: Signed pitcher Lenny DiNardo to a minor league deal.
Royals: Designated pitcher Philip Humber for assignment.
White Sox: Signed reliever Jesse Crain to a three year deal.

The Nationals held a press conference yesterday to introduce Jayson Werth. It was already widely believed that Werth's deal might be the worst signed this offseason, and that was before we knew it includes a full no-trade clause. Ouch.

Some of it went over my head because it was a little too early for advanced reading, but J-Doug of Beyond the Box Score has an interesting post showing that pitchers who throw more off-speed pitches tend to get fewer called strikes, especially down in the zone.

Elsewhere in sabermetric observations: Jeremy Greenhouse of The Baseball Analysts has another look at using Pitch F/x data to identify pace of game issues. There's some pretty interesting stuff in there.

I've toned down the winter league coverage around here a little bit this offseason, but I'm still fascinated by it. Ed Price of MLB FanHouse recently took a trip to Venezuela to watch Magallanes and Caracas play and shot this video of the dancing, shouting, beer-throwing environment.

Today in former Brewers:

  • Adam McCalvy says Trevor Hoffman is still looking for an opportunity to close again next season, and wonders if the Dodgers might be a possibility.
  • Cybermetrics unveiled a stat designed to pick the most "All-Around" players since 1957, and Marquis Grissom checked in at #21.

On this day in 1999 the Brewers signed infielder Jose Hernandez to a three year, $10 million deal. Hernandez hit .261/.324/.434 and was a 2002 All Star as a Brewer. His 2000 season was a disaster (-0.1 WAR, according to B-Ref), but he went on to be worth 5.9 WAR over his final two seasons. He also led the NL in strikeouts in 2001 and 2002.

With help from the B-Ref Play Index and, happy birthday today to:

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to my farm.

Drink up.