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Thursday's Frosty Mug

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(I wanted to use this as the open, but can't seem to come up with a joke for it.)

Today we have another new Brewer, as the club claimed righty Marco Estrada from the Nationals (FanShot). Estrada is 26 and posted a 6.14 ERA in four major league appearances last season, but posted a 3.63 ERA in 27 appearances (25 starts) for AAA Syracuse. John Sickels ranked him as the Nats' 19th best prospect for 2010. Perhaps most importantly, he has two options remaining, so the Brewers can stash him in AAA if he doesn't make the team in spring training. And by the way, Quevedo at the Buffet noted that he won't be wearing Johnny Estrada's old #33.

To make room for Estrada, the team designated Tim Dillard for assignment. As I'm sure many of you know, I'm surprised Dillard has held on to a spot on the 40 man roster this long. His stock has fallen pretty dramatically over the last year and he's unlikely to be claimed off waivers. It's been a pretty tumultuous 48 months for Dillard:

  • In May of 2008, he was called up to the big leagues and started his career with five straight scoreless outings. He was recalled in September and posted a 3.00 ERA in mop up duty.
  • Before the 2009 season, we ranked him in the teens in our Community Prospect Rankings.
  • Last spring, he was one of the first players cut in spring training, was sent to AAA and converted into the rotation. He got off to a hot start, but posted a 5.05 ERA over his last ten starts.
  • He also struggled mightily in two major league appearances, allowing six runs on seven hits and five walks in just 4.1 innings, posting a 2.769 WHIP.

Hopefully the team can find a way to get him back to the effectiveness he displayed in 2008.

Meanwhile, Chris Smith, designated for assignment last week, accepted his assignment to Nashville and will remain within the organization. Now that he's off the 40 man roster, Smith is probably behind the sixth starting pitcher, Chuck Lofgren, Chris Narveson and perhaps some others in the race to make the team, but we'll still probably see him in a Brewer uniform at some point in 2010.

Speaking of pitchers we might see eventually, Adam McCalvy has a story on David Riske, who hopes to be ready by Opening Day. At that point, Riske will be ten months removed from Tommy John surgery - normal recovery time is closer to 12 months.

At the Caribbean World Series:

  • Efrain Nieves pitched a scoreless inning, allowing no hits, two walks and striking out one but Puerto Rico lost anyway, 5-2 to Venezuela. With the loss, Puerto Rico is now 0-2 in the six game, round robin tournament.
  • If yesterday's other game, the Dominican Republic beat Mexico 7-1 behind a complete game three-hitter from former Brewer Nelson Figueroa. Luis Cruz went 0-for-3 for Mexico.

In the minors:

  • Prospect Anonymous released their top 100 prospect list yesterday, with Alcides Escobar (#16), Brett Lawrie (#60) and Mat Gamel (#74) making an appearance.
  • Over at The Hardball Times, Jeff Sackmann has an attempt to dissect minor league power numbers to find players who hit well to all fields. I'm not sure he found what he was looking for, but Brendan Katin, Brett Lawrie and Alcides Escobar show up along the way.
  • The Western Wheel has quotes from reliever Jim Henderson's recent appearance at a benefit for the Okotoks Dawgs. Henderson split 2009 between Wisconsin and Brevard County, and was recently named Canadian Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

One other miscellaneous note: A poll at Gaslamp Ball has assigned Trevor Hoffman a 9 on the "Zero to Tony Gwynn" scale.

Around baseball:

Mariners: Avoided arbitration with Casey Kotchman, who will earn $3.5175 million in 2010.
Rays: Claimed reliever Mike Ekstrom off waivers from the Padres.
Tigers: Signed Justin Verlander to a five year, $80 million deal, avoiding arbitration.

If Roar of the Tigers had their way, the Verlander contract wouldn't have been yesterday's only transaction.

This could turn into an expensive mistake: The Giants will likely go to arbitration with Tim Lincecum, as it sounds like they haven't made a serious offer to attempt to settle with the two time Cy Young Award winner. Baseball Musings has a conspiracy theory on why they might be trying to keep Lincecum under $10 million. You can probably pencil Lincecum in for his request, $13 million.

As noted in this FanShot, two former Brewers appeared in part two of Geoff Young's THT post about lucky starting pitchers. Moose Haas and Braden Looper were among the nine luckiest. Last year at this time I was advocating for the Brewers to sign Looper. A year later, it feels pretty good to attach the "former" to his name.

For the second straight day, I'm including a mention of my Seth McClung poem - sorry. But this time it's worth it, because Miller Park Drunk knocked it out of the park dissecting my effort and producing one of his own.

Happy birthday to:

Oh, and I don't think I've ever linked to Doctors of Za here before, so their 50th post seems like a good time to start.

That's all I have for you today, unless you're looking for a "staggeringly tuneless" music video.

Drink up.