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Friday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while maintaining a singular focus.

Another day, another note on the Brewers' excellent offseason: Scott Miller of CBS Sports crowned the Brewers as one of his "kings of the winter carnival."

Perhaps the Brewers can use that in their 2011 promotional materials: Brewer Executive VP for Business Operations Rick Schlesinger told Tom Haudricourt he thinks 2008's franchise attendance record is in reach this season. The Brewers drew 3,068,458 fans en route to the Wild Card that season, or 37,882 per game.

The Brewers announced yesterday that they've invited veteran infielder Erick Almonte to major league camp (FanShot). Almonte is 32 and last appeared in the majors with the 2003 Yankees, but hit .320/.377/.415 in 110 games for Nashville last season. He's pretty limited defensively at this point (he's almost exclusively a 1B/DH), but he's probably still more valuable than Mark Kotsay.

Almonte is, at best, unlikely to make the team out of camp or have a significant impact on the 2011 Brewers, but Toby Harrmann of says he's a good teammate and likely future coach.

I never would have predicted it two years ago, but John Axford has become one of the most interesting Brewers. David Laurilia of Baseball Prospectus has a Q&A with the Brewer closer with topics ranging from his re-emegence in baseball, his taste in film and Twitter.

Elsewhere in interviews:

In the minors:

  • In Keith Law's organizational rankings, he mentioned pitcher Wily Peralta as one of the Brewers' top prospects. He later elaborated on Twitter, saying he feels like "Peralta has the best chance to start and be more than a back-end guy." 
  • If you live in Wisconsin and have Time Warner Cable, you're going to get at least ten chances to watch the Timber Rattlers this season: The team announced yesterday that those games will be covered on Sports 32.
  • They also unveiled the sixth episode of season two of The Offseason, where we learn that Fang is a pretty poor night watchman.

Around baseball:

Cubs: Signed pitcher Braden Looper and infielder Augie Ojeda to minor league deals.
Pirates: Are expected to sign reliever Joe Beimel.
Nationals: Designated outfielder Justin Maxwell for assignment.
Orioles: Signed pitcher Nick Bierbrodt to a minor league deal.
Rockies: Avoided arbitration with third baseman Ian Stewart and signed catcher Chad Moeller to a minor league deal.

Today in former Brewers:

There are also several former Brewers and Milwaukee Braves on Wisconsin Sports Tap's All-Wisconsin Team.

Today in baseball economics: I recently mentioned that the Rays' payroll for this season was projected to be well under $50 million. Since then, they've signed Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon...and their 2011 payroll projection is still only $42.2 million.

Meanwhile, it still sucks to be the Marlins: Their home series against the Mariners in June is being moved to Seattle to make room for a U2 concert.

Actually, it still sucks to be the Pirates too. Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke? has a look at how 105-loss teams typically fare in the following season.

On this day in 1993, the Brewers signed veteran outfielder Tom Brunansky to a two year deal. He was coming off a big season with the Red Sox (.266/.354/.445 in 1992), but would go on to hit just .187/.263/.317 over parts of two seasons in Milwaukee before being traded back to the Red Sox for catcher Dave Valle. The 1994 season was his last in the big leagues, and he now works as a coach for the GCL Twins.

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

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get more quarters.

Drink up.