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Tuesday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while choosing a new seat.

The Brewers will take on the Royals later today, and Chris Narveson will get the start against Gil Meche. Today is also Randy Wolf's day to pitch, but he'll pitch in a camp game with minor leaguers instead, avoiding the road trip and giving the team another chance to evaluate Narveson.

Kevin Kaduk of Yahoo was in Brewer camp yesterday, and has a profile of Prince Fielder. The premise ("What's it like to be in camp coming off a good season?") is interesting, but this quote buried near the bottom is what caught my attention:

One thing Fielder can count on is a lot of money in his future, whether it's through working out a deal to remain a Brewer or on the open market in 2012. But he told me that the early camp stories about a contract extension with Milwaukee won't continue into the season.

"If it is, they're going to talk to Scott [Boras]," Fielder said. "I'm done talking about it. Like I said, I'm here for two years. If I'm not here, it's not my fault."

Meanwhile, it remains a quiet spring for Trevor Hoffman, who is slowly working his way towards pitching in games. The All Time Saves Leader pitched live BP yesterday (Adam McCalvy has a picture) and is expected to pitch in his first Cactus League game on Friday.

Can we just go ahead and name Yovani Gallardo the Opening Day starter already? Gallardo is lined up to pitch that day and is the clear frontrunner for the job, but Ken Macha won't confirm it.

The Brewers also trimmed four players from camp yesterday, optioning Mark Rogers and Amaury Rivas to Huntsville and returning pitcher A.J. Murray and catcher Martin Maldonado to minor league camp (FanShot).

Other minutiae from camp:

  • Todd Coffey says his arm feels great after his heavy workload last season, and credits some shoulder exercises he learned from Trevor Hoffman.
  • The Jackson Sun has a hometown profile of Casey McGehee, and a look at his offseason work.
  • If you weren't listening to Sunday's game, you missed Bob Uecker and Bob Costas in all their glory. Cory Provus has a review. If you were attempting to listen to Sunday's game during the Uecker/Costas segment, you likely missed the game.
  • Wisconsin Sports Tap has today's updates on the position battles in camp, and predicts that one of the two of Dave Bush and Jeff Suppan won't be on the Opening Day roster.

If you've been around the internet this week, you've probably heard nearly every detail of a "rumored to have been discussed" trade involving Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard. That got Joe Pawlikowski of FanGraphs thinking about same position one-for-one swaps that could actually happen and might make sense. He proposes a deal that would send Prince Fielder to the Angels for Kendry Morales.

It remains to be seen if Randy Wolf and Doug Davis will be able to stabilize the Brewer starting rotation, but at the very least they should be able to stabilize the running game: David Pinto of Baseball Musings took a look at pitchers as part of his Probabilistic Model of Steals, and noted that Wolf and Davis are among the top ten pitchers since 1996 at preventing opposing baserunners from trying to steal.

Could a change in Manny Parra's luck (or the defense behind him) be all it takes to turn him around? This ESPN article is insider-only but the first few paragraphs are free, and they note that batters have a lifetime .349 BABIP against Parra, the highest against any pitcher since 1900.

Wezen-ball took on an interesting project this week: paging through three pre-season guides to see which players are featured as the stars of each team. Not surprisingly, the Brewer results came back Braun and Fielder with a side of Gallardo.

It's not confirmed yet, but there's a decent chance this is the real LaTroy Hawkins on Twitter. If it is Hawkins, follow the link for some questionable spelling and a homophobic slur.

In projections, rankings and other miscellany:

  • The B-Ref Blog has the 2010 Marcel projected standings for the NL Central, and much more. They project the Brewers for 82 wins, and also have individual projections for nearly every likely contributor.
  • Red Reporter has a Brewer preview and predicted they'll win 78 games.
  • Baseball Digest Daily has a 2010 Brewer preview.
  • Big League Stew also has five questions about the Brewers, covering Fielder, Wolf, Gallardo, Corey Hart and Casey McGehee.
  • All Down The Line is a new baseball travel blog run by Caryn of MetsGrrl, and she started off with a ranking of the 14 parks she's visited to date. Miller Park ranks 11th of the 14, and fifth of six in the NL Central.

Around baseball:

Athletics: Returned Rule 5 selection Bobby Cassevah to the Angels.
Diamondbacks: Signed Mark Reynolds to a three year, $14.5 million deal, buying out two years of arbitration with an option for his third arb year. They also signed Kris Benson to a minor league deal.
Dodgers: Returned Rule 5 pick Armando Zerpa to Boston, and assigned Eric Gagne to minor league camp.
Nationals: Released pitcher Ron Villone.

By now, you've probably heard about Ben Sheets' performance yesterday, where he allowed all ten batters he faced to reach in the first inning against the Reds. It's only a spring training game, but Kevin Kaduk of Big League Stew says a meltdown on that scale from a pitcher who missed all of last season is too big to be written off.

This might be a news story every day until they finally win: The Nationals are 0-11 this spring, and as Jayson Stark notes, three teams (including the Brewers) didn't lose 11 times all spring in 2009.

Today's spring training slices of life have an "overcoming poverty" theme:

FanGraphs has started their 2010 organization rankings, and it's not a proud moment for fans of the NL Central: The Astros checked in dead last, behind the Royals.

Happy birthday today to 2008 Nashville Sound Abraham Nunez, who turns 34.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm out of detergent.

Drink up.