Some things to read while getting off the web.
If you hadn't noticed the countdown on your right, then let me be the first to tell you that we're now just 42 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale. John Axford started throwing again yesterday to get ready. Meanwhile, Tyler Maas of The AV Club wants your help convincing The Ax to use a new entrance song. (h/t BBTF)
First, though, the Brewers need to get around to filing their paperwork: TheJay noted that, as of yesterday, Takashi Saito's deal still hadn't been officially announced. It's likely he still needs to pass a physical, and that's not a slam dunk for a pitcher with his age and injury history.
Saito is included in Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker's look at the pitchers on the Brewer 40 man roster.
Once that's finalized, we can start looking ahead to the arbitration filing period, which opens tomorrow. Tom Haudricourt has predictions for each of the five arb-eligible Brewers, headlined by a predicted $15 million salary for Prince Fielder.
If you had asked me three months ago, I would not have predicted this much excitement for Opening Day 2011. Times have changed, though, and the change is reflected in The Brewers Bar's 11 expectations for 2011.
Of course, some things never change. There are still questions about Corey Hart in center field and a Prince Fielder extension in Adam McCalvy's inbox this week. There are also questions about Yuniesky Betancourt and John Axford.
Blue Jays: Signed reliever Chad Cordero to a minor league deal.
Dodgers: Signed pitcher Tim Redding to a minor league deal.
Mariners: Designated reliever Anthony Varvaro for assignment.
Mets: Signed Chris Capuano and reliever Taylor Buchholz and designated reliever Ryota Igarashi for assignment. (FanShot)
Padres: First baseman Brad Hawpe's new deal will pay him $2 million in 2011 with a $6 million mutual option for 2012 and a $1 million buyout.
Pirates: Re-signed pitcher Brian Burres to a minor league deal.
Rangers: Designated catcher Max Ramirez and reliever Clay Rapada for assignment.
Red Sox: Signed infielder Hector Luna to a minor league deal.
Reds: Signed outfielder Jeremy Hermida to a minor league deal.
Rockies: Have reportedly reached a deal with outfielder Carlos Gonzalez on a seven year, $80 million extension.
If Max Ramirez's name caught your eye, you're not alone: Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar thinks Ramirez would be a solid option to be the Brewers' backup catcher. Ramirez is 26 and appeared in 28 games for the Rangers last season, hitting .217/.341/.348. If nothing else, his upside is certainly higher than any of the trio of Wil Nieves, Shawn Riggans and Mike Rivera.
Today in former Brewer news: New York Sports Cookie has an interview with Darryl Hamilton. (h/t MetsBlog)
Today's best graphic comes courtesy of Beyond the Box Score, where J-Doug has a look at the average age of major league ballparks through the years.
With help from the B-Ref Play Index and Brewerfan.net, happy birthday today to:
- Wisconsin Timber Rattler Rigoberto Almonte, who turns 24.
- 2009 Brewer Jason Bourgeois, who turns 29.
- 1995-96 Brewer Kevin Wickander, who turns 46.
- 1957-62 Milwaukee Brave Don McMahon, who would have turned 81.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get to the gym.