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Wednesday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while setting priorities. (h/t Big League Stew)

Yesterday was almost certainly the busiest news day since the Greinke deal, and the top story is Prince Fielder signing a one year, $15.5 million deal that will pay him the largest single-season salary in Brewer history (FanShot). In fact, Tom Haudricourt noted that the 2011 Brewers (including Zack Greinke's $13.5 million) will have the first and second highest single-season salaries in team history. Jeff Suppan ($12.5 million in 2009 and 2010) has third and fourth place.

Fielder's contract also includes incentives for finishing in the top three of the MVP balloting, making the All-Star team, winning postseason awards and receiving a Gold Glove. Maxing out all of those incentives would earn him an extra $250,000.

It's worth noting that Fielder is saying all the right things about his deal. Here's what he told Adam McCalvy:

"I'm very happy we were able to get the deal done and now all of that's taken care of," Fielder said. "I really wasn't thinking of all the scenarios too much. I'm just happy it's done now and I can go play baseball."

The Brewers are counting on Fielder for a big season, and Jesse Wolfersberger of FanGraphs is listing Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder's performances as a potential deciding factor for the 2011 season.

It's overshadowed by a lot of today's other news, but the team also avoided arbitration by working out a one year, $1.2 million deal with Manny Parra. That's a $760,000 raise from 2010.

Meanwhile, the Brewers also exchanged contract proposals with Rickie Weeks, Shaun Marcum and Kameron Loe (FanShot). Here's a quick summary:

Player Team offer Player demand Difference
Rickie Weeks $4.85 million $7.2 million $2.35 million
Shaun Marcum $3 million $5 million $2 million
Kameron Loe $1.055 million $1.65 million $595,000

Yesterday I said that it seemed like the Brewers and Weeks were close on a multi-year deal, but it turns out I was wrong. The two sides have set aside those plans and are now working on a one year deal. That's probably not good news.

The team also isn't very optimistic about their chances of working out a deal with Loe. Gord Ash told Adam McCalvy that the two sides have "a very good chance of proceeding to a hearing." Before last year (Corey Hart), the Brewers hadn't taken a player to arbitration since 1998.

With arbitration numbers in and a couple of deals done it's time for another look at the projected payroll, and Charlie Marlow has it in the FanPosts. Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar notes that the estimates could jump over $90 million if the Brewers were to lose all three arbitration cases.

It sounds like Takashi Saito's contract negotiations must have been quite the experience. Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers had to agree to release Saito instead of offering him arbitration after the season and, as part of his annual gathering of strange contract clauses, Jayson Stark noted that Saito is getting an SUV to drive this spring and an incentive that triggers if he starts the All Star Game. Saito has never started a game in his major league career.

Once again this year, Ryan Braun doesn't have to worry about his contract: He'll earn $4 million in the fourth season of the eight year, $45 million deal he signed in 2008. Since he doesn't have any negotiating to do this week he had plenty of time to film an Affliction commercial with MMA star Georges St. Pierre. (h/t Miller Park Drunk).

For the most part, the Brewers are being listed as the winners of the Zack Greinke trade. That sentiment is not unanimous, though: Myron Logan of The Hardball Times listed the Royals' side of that trade as the fourth best move of the offseason.

In the minors:

  • Yesterday the Brewers announced their first ever "Rising Stars Game," an exhibition contest between two teams of Brewer minor leaguers at Miller Park on April 2. Tickets go on sale on Friday, and the game will be televised locally on Time Warner Cable channel 32.
  • The voting for the #13 spot in our Community Prospect Rankings might have been the closest ever, as Eric Farris took the spot with D'Vontrey Richardson, Hunter Morris and Cutter Dykstra all within four votes. Richardson, Morris and Dykstra return today as voting for the #14 spot is now open.

Yesterday I mentioned some of the best news we've received in a while (maybe since the Greinke deal), the fact that Anthony Witrado is no longer with the Journal Sentinel. As you might expect, Miller Park Drunk went all-out with a farewell post.

Today's "Around baseball" has got to set some kind of record:

Angels: Avoided arbitration with infielders Howie Kendrick ($3.3 million) and Erick Aybar ($3 million), first baseman Kendry Morales ($2.975 million) and outfielder Reggie Willits ($775,000).
Avoided arbitration with outfielder Michael Bourn ($4.4 million), shortstop Clint Barmes ($3.925 million) and infielder Jeff Keppinger ($2.3 million).
Athletics: Avoided arbitration with outfielder Josh Willingham ($6 million), third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff ($4.75 million), pitcher Dallas Braden ($3.35 million) and outfielder Conor Jackson ($3.2 million) and designated pitcher Clayton Mortensen for assignment.
Blue Jays: Avoided arbitration with outfielder Rajai Davis (two years, $5.25 million), shortstop Yunel Escobar ($2.9 million) and pitchers Brandon Morrow ($2.3 million), Shawn Camp ($2.25 million) and Jesse Litsch ($830,000).
Braves: Avoided arbitration with pitchers Jair Jurrjens ($3.25 million), Peter Moylan ($2 million) and Eric O'Flaherty ($895,000) and infielder Martin Prado ($3.1 million).
Cubs: Avoided arbitration with pitchers Sean Marshall (two years, $4.7 million), Matt Garza ($5.9 million) and Tom Gorzellany ($2.1 million) and catcher Geovany Soto ($3 million). Gorzellany is expected to be traded to the Nationals.
Diamondbacks: Signed pitcher Aaron Heilman to a one year, $2 million deal, avoided arbitration with shortstop Stephen Drew (two years, $13.75 million) and designated pitchers Brian Sweeney and Daniel Stange for assignment.
Dodgers: Avoided arbitration with pitcher Chad Billingsley ($6.275 million) and signed Gabe Kapler to a one year deal.
Giants: Avoided arbitration with outfielder Cody Ross ($6.3 million) and pitchers Jonathan Sanchez ($4.8 million) and Ramon Ramirez ($1.65 million).
Indians: Avoided arbitration with outfielder Shin Soo Choo ($3.975 million) and relievers Chris Perez ($2.25 million) and Rafael Perez ($1.33 million).
Mariners: Avoided arbitration with pitchers David Aardsma ($4.5 million), Brandon League and Jason Vargas.
Marlins: Avoided arbitration with pitchers Anibal Sanchez ($3.7 million) and Clay Hensley ($1.4 million).
Mets: Avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Pelfrey ($4 million) and signed outfielder Scott Hairston to a minor league deal.
Nationals: Are expected to sign Todd Coffey and avoided arbitration with outfielder Mike Morse ($1.05 million) and pitcher Doug Slaten ($695,000).
Orioles: Avoided arbitration with J.J. Hardy ($5.85 million) and outfielder Felix Pie ($985,000).
Padres: Avoided arbitration with pitchers Heath Bell ($7.5 million), Mike Adams ($2.535 million) and Tim Stauffer ($1.075 million), outfielder Ryan Ludwick ($6.775 million) and third baseman Chase Headley ($2.325 million) and signed Gregg Zaun to a minor league deal.
Pirates: Avoided arbitration with reliever Joel Hanrahan ($1.4 million).
Phillies: Avoided arbitration with pitcher Kyle Kendrick ($2.45 million).
Rangers: Avoided arbitration with pitcher C.J. Wilson ($7 million) and outfielder Nelson Cruz ($3.85 million).
Rays: Avoided arbitration with pitcher Andy Sonnanstine ($912,500).
Red Sox: Avoided arbitration with pitcher Jonathan Papelbon ($12 million) and outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury ($2.4 million).
Reds: Avoided arbitration with pitcher Bill Bray ($645,000).
Rockies: Avoided arbitration with pitcher Felipe Paulino ($790,000).
Royals: Avoided arbitration with pitcher Kyle Davies ($3.2 million) and announced that pitcher Gil Meche is retiring.
Tigers: Designated pitcher Armando Galaragga for assignment.
Twins: Avoided arbitration with pitchers Matt Capps ($7.15 million) and Glen Perkins ($700,000).
White Sox: Avoided arbitration with pitcher John Danks ($6 million), outfielder Carlos Quentin ($5.05 million) and reliever Tony Pena ($1.6 million) and claimed pitcher Philip Humber off waivers from the A's.
Yankees: Avoided arbitration with pitchers Phil Hughes ($2.7 million), Joba Chamberlain ($1.4 million) and Boone Logan ($1.2 million).

There's a lot of good stuff buried in the list above, but here's arguably the most interesting thing: By choosing to retire now, Gil Meche is forfeiting $12 million in guaranteed money for 2011. I'm sure we can all think of a Brewer or two who could have done the team a similar favor.

Today in "The small market sky is falling:" Anthony Castrovince notes that there were only two teams in baseball with a payroll under $50 million last season, the Padres and Pirates. This year there will be at least two more: Yesterday I mentioned that the Rays are well below that mark and now the Indians are projected to be there too. For the second straight year the Marlins are going to avoid that list: Their payroll is estimated at $58 million. On the other end of the spectrum, the Phillies now have $164.825 million in guaranteed money for 2011.

Today in former Brewers:

  • Jeff Cirillo was in Appleton this week receiving an award at the annual Red Smith Banquet, and discussed his post-playing career with the Appleton Post-Crescent. Cirillo is a part owner of the Walla Walla Sweets (a collegiate summer league team) and is scouting for the Diamondbacks.
  • At Pocket Doppler, this week's edition of A Simple Kind of Fan says Dean Taylor deserves more respect.
  • The B-Ref Blog is listing Royce Clayton as tied for fourth all time with 16 major league seasons with an OPS+ under 100. Omar Vizquel could record his 20th such season in 2011.
  • They also listed Jim Slaton as one of 35 pitchers with at least 15 career losses in games where they pitched at least nine innings and allowed three or fewer earned runs. Warren Spahn is third on the list with 28 such games.

On this day in 1978, Eddie Mathews was elected to the Hall of Fame, appearing on 301 of 379 ballots. Mathews played for the Braves for their entire run in Milwaukee, hitting .277/.385/.528 with 452 home runs.

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

  • 2002 Brewer Brian Mallette, who turns 36.
  • 1998 Brewer Jeff Juden, who turns 40.
  • Madison native Ken Frailing, who turns 63. Frailing played five major league seasons between 1972 and 76 with the Cubs and White Sox.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm late. (h/t Dave Brown)

Drink up.