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Some things to read while valet parking a bicycle.

Yesterday's off day didn't remain quiet for long: The Brewers took advantage of the day off to announce a five year, $30.1 million extension for Yovani Gallardo, keeping him in a Brewer uniform through at least the 2014 season (FanShot). Adam McCalvy has the details on the deal, which includes an option year that can be voided if Gallardo gets enough Cy Young votes and a partial no trade clause

Here's a bunch of reaction from around the web:

  • Gord Ash told reporters it's "rather unique in how the deal is structured."
  • Adam McCalvy noted the deal is nearly identical to Jon Lester's deal with the Red Sox.
  • Ryan Braun said Gallardo "deserves it," and had a lot more to say about what the deal means for the team and Prince Fielder.
  • Disciples of Uecker says this deal is a great sign that the team can remain competitive in the years to come.
  • MLB Trade Rumors has a list of the richest contracts given out by year of service time. With Gallardo and Braun, the Brewers now have two contracts on this list.
  • MLB Free Agency noted a Gallardo quote about his family's financial security. Until reading it, I didn't realize Gallardo has a son named Yovani Jr.
  • View From Bernie's Chalet podcasted about it.

Don't be surprised if Gallardo's new deal is the last significant financial outlay for a little while. Mark Attanasio told reporters yesterday that the team might operate at a loss this season. On top of an increased payroll, the team has also invested in a new scoreboard for next season, new offices for the baseball operations staff and video equipment for players. Those one-time expenses might create a loss on the balance sheet for this season, but shouldn't be considered a long term financial health risk: The team's value is still going up.

The Brewers also did all right financially this spring: The Biz of Baseball has the final spring training attendance numbers, and the Brewers averaged 6817 fans per game this spring in Maryvale, 16th in all of baseball and up from 5041 per game last spring.

If the Brewers are struggling financially, though, they can always blame Jeff Suppan. In the latest development in his ongoing neck injury saga, Suppan was apparently too cheap to buy a decent pillow to sleep on in his Arizona condo this spring and slept on a rolled up towel. Baseball Musings has an inspired idea for a new ballpark giveaway, and a friend of Big League Stew's has an alternative pillow suggestion.

Meanwhile, no conversation about Brewer finances is complete without a mention of Prince Fielder: The B-Ref blog has a look at the top statistical comps for Fielder, including some current or future Hall of Famers (Eddie Murray, Jim Rice, Frank Thomas) and some disappointments (Juan Gonzalez, Jose Canseco). It's worth noting, though (as Battlekow did), that these numbers aren't adjusted for era.

Following yesterday's off day-turned-big news day, the Brewers open a three game series tonight against the Cardinals. In-Between Hops crunched the numbers to stress the significance of this weekend's series, and urges you not to write it off just because it's only April. Noah has our series preview.

If you're looking for familiar faces around the Cardinals this weekend, there are a few: Baseball Brew has a look at the former Brewers working for the Cardinals, including Mike Matheny and Cal Eldred.

It's also never too early to second-guess lineup decisions: Keep Turning Up the Heat! wants Carlos Gomez out of the #2 spot, and used The Book to construct a lineup with two of everyone's favorite hot-button topics, Ryan Braun batting second and the pitcher batting eighth.

Say what you will about the pitcher batting eighth, but at the very least it brings poorly-thought-out rants out of the woodwork. Case in point: Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times, who ranted about it after the Pirates batted the pitcher eighth in their season opening series, and took two of three from the Dodgers.

Elsewhere in Gomez notes, The USA Today repeats what we've more or less known all along: Gomez could steal a bunch of bases if he can just get on base.

Hey, here's some good news regarding Jeff Suppan for once. Assuming all goes well for Suppan tonight in Appleton, he's scheduled to start against the Cubs next week. Carlos Silva is starting for the Cubs tonight, so the two should be lined up to face each other in a potential 20-18 slugfest. Also, Fire Doug Melvin has a guide to surviving a Suppan start.

A bad spring training can be a cause for concern, but here's another reminder that a great spring doesn't always translate into a hot start: Hardball Cooperative has a list of players that had great springs but slow starts, including Gregg Zaun, who hit .477 in the Cactus League but is 0-for-8 in the regular season.

Meanwhile, Bob Uecker does seem to have flipped the switch and is back in regular season form: Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs jotted down some Uecker quotes from earlier this week.

I knew he played every day, but I didn't realize this: Prince Fielder's 188 consecutive starts is baseball's leading active streak. No one else has more than Andre Ethier's 119.

Speaking of ranting, Miller Park Drunk cruised Twitter for some thoughts on Doug Davis' Wednesday start.

In the minors:

  • The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers have shuffled their schedule a bit to make up yesterday's snow out. They'll play a doubleheader today, with Jeff Suppan starting game one. It's supposed to get into the 50's today, but as of this writing there's still snow in my yard in Appleton. Hopefully it melts in time to get the games in.
  • In the meantime, the Rattlers had some fun in the snow yesterday. If you're wondering, Battlekow says that's Scooter Gennett destroying the snowman.
  • His snowman-murdering skills likely weren't factored in, but John Sickels of Minor League Ball listed Gennett (and Josh Prince) as potential breakout candidate shortstops for 2010. Sickels does note, though, that Gennett will probably have to be moved to second base at some point.
  • Elsewhere in Timber Rattler notes - 2009 draft pick Cameron Garfield was the 7th youngest player on a Midwest League roster on Opening Day.

In power rankings and whatnot:

What're you doing Monday night? Rick Peterson is hosting a free webinar on preventing pitching injuries. As such, you'll have to excuse him if he's in a hurry to get out of the ballpark: The Brewers play an afternoon game with the Cubs on Monday.

While you're looking at your calendar, what are you doing a week from tonight? Just wanted to remind you about the Brew Crew Ball meetup at AJ Bombers. Hope to see you there!

Did you get your Brewer license plates yet? The Journal Sentinel reports that 557 have been issued, with fans seeming to prefer the accursed retro logo.

Looking to have your heart warmed a little bit this morning? Read the story of the Bathalto, Illinois Boys & Girls Club, which recently received a $50,000 renovation with money won when Prince Fielder won the Home Run Derby.

Around baseball:

Athletics: Claimed outfielder Jai Miller off waivers from the Marlins.
Braves: Claimed pitcher Cristhian Martinez off waivers from the Marlins.
Mariners: Designated outfielder Ryan Langerhans for assignment and recalled Jesus Colome.
Pirates: Released infielder Ramon Vazquez.
Rangers: Placed catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia on the DL with stiffness in his upper back, and recalled Matt Treanor.

In former Brewer notes:

We're less than a week into the season, but the schedule complaints are already coming out. The Braves finished off their home opening series with a night game last night, and have to be in San Francisco to open a series tonight.

Speaking of the city by the Bay - It's San Francisco, not San Francicso.

On the SBN front, we had some pretty exciting news yesterday: SBNation is proud to announce a new partnership with FanGraphs. You likely won't notice a major difference here on the front page at BCB, but Beyond the Box Score and FanGraphs have posts on what to expect from the new team.

On this day in 1978, the Brewers beat the Orioles 13-5 to complete a three game sweep in the season's opening series. Cecil Cooper hit a grand slam in the game, becoming the third Brewer to do so in as many days.

Happy birthday today to:

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to go color on the wall. (h/t Aaron Gleeman)

Drink up.