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Tuesday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while checking the warranty.

Good morning and welcome to day two of the offseason, where stories continue to trickle in regarding the scene in the clubhouse following Sunday night's season-ending loss. Trenni Kusnierek noted a tearful moment for Prince Fielder's son Jadyn, and Wayne Drehs of ESPN captured a sad goodbye between Fielder and Casey McGehee. Colin Fly has a story on Fielder's uncertain future.

It should come as no surprise that Fielder is #2 on The Outside Corner's list of the top ten free agent first basemen this winter. What is surprising, though, is how fast the talent level on the list drops off once you get past Fielder and Albert Pujols.

Two days out, how are you coping with the end of the Brewer season? J.D. of View From Bernie's Chalet has moved from anger to disappointment. Miller Park Drunk is still surprisingly angry with Ron Roenicke.  Josh Wussow is willing to look past Roenicke's rough NLCS and give him a vote of confidence. Tyler Lockman of FS Wisconsin says the Brewers still consider the season a success.

I think I'd find this stuff fascinating if I wasn't still sad: has a look at Brewer NL Championship merchandise that will never be released. (h/t @bigleaguestew)

Meanwhile, here's another stat to add to Ryan Braun's MVP resume: Jesse Wolfersberger of FanGraphs estimates that Braun singlehandedly raised the Brewers' playoff chances by 59% this season. That's the second highest total in the NL, behind Justin Upton.

Elsewhere in awards, Baseball Prospectus has opened the voting for their 2011 Internet Baseball Awards. Last night I cast my MVP vote for Braun.

It doesn't show up on most stat sheets, but if you watched the Brewer playoff games then you got an awful of opportunities to see how good Jonathan Lucroy is at blocking balls in the dirt behind the plate. Bojan Koprivica of The Hardball Times has an in-depth look at catcher defense and combined his findings with fWAR to rate Lucroy as baseball's tenth best catcher this season. That's a huge step forward from previous Brewer backstops.

Of course, not every Brewer is good at getting in front of the ball. Carson Cistulli of NotGraphs has a gif of what will hopefully be Yuniesky Betancourt's final defensive gaffe as a Brewer.

Replacing Betancourt at shortstop should (and likely will) be one of the top Brewer priorities this winter. Todd Rosiak has a look at some of the questions the team will have to answer, and MLB Depth Charts has a Brewer offseason preview.

Nick Punto is one name that could come up: He hasn't played any shortstop this year but has 265 career games there and is due to become a free agent this winter. He also picked up a Golden Sombrero in Sunday's NLCS Game 6.

Maybe it'll help Nick Punto to know that there weren't many people watching him strike out. The fact that the deciding game was a blowout probably didn't help but NLCS TV ratings were down dramatically this season, from 5.1 for last season's Yankees/Rangers TBS series to 2.9. Rob Iracane of Big League Stew notes that Sunday's episode of "Walking Dead" outdrew the series' final game.

Zack Greinke's wife Emily didn't see much of the series' middle games: She's still not happy about the Cardinals' decision to move player families away from their usual seat locations around home plate, and posted a picture of the view from her seats in the outfield. (h/t BBTF) Until reading that story, I had no idea she's on Twitter.

With that said, it's notable that the bickering over family seat locations was really the biggest issue between the Brewers and Cardinals. Tyler Lockman of FS Wisconsin notes that the two teams were able to put aside the regular season issues and play a clean series.

I think it's pretty surprising how quickly we've gotten spoiled as Brewer fans: Not every team's fan base can say this, but I feel relatively confident that if there's something that can be done to improve this team Mark Attanasio and company will find a way to make the money work. Jon Heyman has a good story today on Attanasio and the winning team he's brought to Milwaukee.

In the minors:

  • John Sickels of Minor League Ball has revealed his list of the top 20 Brewer prospects for 2012. Wily Peralta tops the list, but eight other Brewers are right on his heels with B or B- grades.
  • In a move that should come as a surprise to no one, Nashville outfielder Brandon Boggs has decided to become a free agent. I really wish the Brewers would have given Boggs a chance to show what he can do in the majors as a switch-hitting center fielder with decent plate discipline and power, but apparently the organization sees him differently.
  • Daniel Meadows was one of three Brewers in action in the AFL yesterday, and he pitched a scoreless inning in Peoria's 8-7 loss to Surprise. You can read about that and more in today's Winter League Notes.
  • Meadows has a new teammate with the Javelinas: 2011 first round pick Jed Bradley, who had been scratched from the league with a groin strain, has been returned to the roster and will make his pro debut in the AFL sometime in the coming weeks. He's taking Tyler Thornburg's place.
  • Meanwhile, this week's edition of Mehring Monday has a look at former Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (including several former Brewer prospects) playing independent ball this season.

The transaction wire is quiet again today, so today's musical interlude comes via The Doobie Brothers:

I guess this is kind of like a transaction, and it's certainly good news for us: JS reporter Todd Rosiak announced yesterday that he's leaving the Marquette beat to cover the Brewers full time. This isn't as good of news for Anonymous Eagle, but they thanked Rosiak for all his hard work covering the Golden Eagles.

There's not a lot of talk about it recently, but the new collective bargaining agreement is looming on the horizon. The current deal expires after the World Series, and Ken Rosenthal has a look at some issues standing between the two sides and a new deal.

I'm not going to spend much time this week on World Series coverage: I figure there's enough of it elsewhere and frankly, I'm not all that interested. With that said, I was fascinated by this Jeff Passan story on Cardinals reliever Jason Motte, who has been pitching very effectively this postseason despite the fact that he can hardly see the plate.

He's not exactly a former Brewer, but Robin Yount's brother Larry remains one of the more fascinating brief careers in major league history. John Odell of Cooperstown Chatter retells the story.

Now, if you'll excuse me, someone's at the door.

Drink up.