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Some things to read while drawing a stick man.

After a month of speculation, Brewer fans finally got some good news yesterday: Ryan Braun is your National League Most Valuable Player. He was named first on 20 ballots and second on the remaining 12 en route to the first Brewer MVP award since Robin Yount in 1989 and the franchise's first since moving to the NL. You can see the full voting here. Here's some reaction from around the web:

Meanwhile, Prince Fielder was named first on one ballot and finished third in the voting. This is the first time the Brewers have had two players in the top five of an MVP vote since Robin Yount and Cecil Cooper finished first and fifth in 1982.

John Axford was also mentioned on three ballots, finishing tied for 17th in the voting with seven points. He used Twitter to thank the writers who voted for him.

Today the Brewers are back to business, and they have some important decisions to make: They have until midnight tonight to decide whether or not they're offering arbitration to their various Type A and B free agents. Three of the decisions are relatively simple:

  • Offering Prince Fielder arbitration is a no-brainer. He's looking for a long term deal on the market and will certainly decline the offer.
  • Yuniesky Betancourt seems more interested in coming back than the Brewers are in bringing him back, so the Brewers shouldn't offer him arbitration unless they want him to accept it.
  • Takashi Saito has a clause in his contract preventing the Brewers from offering it to him.

So that just leaves Francisco Rodriguez. He's likely seeking a long term deal on the free agent market and wants to close in 2012, so it seems like he'd be unlikely to accept. There's a lot of money on the table, though (he made $11.5 million in 2011), so it's a big risk to take. The new CBA altered the rules regarding potential compensation for K-Rod a bit: If the Brewers offer him arbitration and he declines they'll still get two picks when he signs elsewhere, but his new team won't forfeit one. MLB Trade Rumors has a look at the other decisions to be made around baseball today.

Another CBA change will impact deals like K-Rod's in the future: Adam McCalvy notes that in the future players will have to have spent the entire previous season with their team to be compensation-eligible. So losing players like Rodriguez or CC Sabathia wouldn't have netted the Brewers any draft picks under the new deal.

Meanwhile, another Brewer free agent is drawing a fair amount of attention. Ken Rosenthal (via MLBTR) says the Giants and Dodgers have joined the Brewers in expressing interest in Jerry Hairston Jr. Giants Nirvana is in favor of San Francisco offering him two years and $5 million. I think it'll take more money than that to get a deal done.

If Hairston isn't a part of the Brewers' long term plans, then that leaves another hole to fill. Keep Turning Up The Heat! thinks the Brewers need to non-tender Kameron Loe and Casey McGehee to create some payroll space to use towards building a winner in 2012.

Replacing players with actual Muppets could also save some payroll space. Larry Granillo of Baseball Prospectus says Zack Greinke is the major leaguer who most resembles Beaker.

In the minors:

Our player-by-player look at the 2011 Brewers continued yesterday with this profile of Takashi Saito. Check back later today to see who we'll discuss next.

If you missed it yesterday, here's a quick reminder: The first assignment for the BCB Book Club was handed out yesterday. We'll meet back here Tuesday night at 7 pm to discuss it.

This morning's "around baseball" includes new homes for a couple of 2011 Brewers:

Braves: Signed infielders Josh Wilson and Drew Sutton, pitchers Adam Russell and Dusty Hughes and outfielder Luis Durango to minor league deals.
Indians: Have reportedly agreed to re-sign outfielder Grady Sizemore.
Mariners: Re-signed infielder Luis Rodriguez and signed pitcher Steve Garrison to minor league deals.
Marlins: Acquired pitcher Wade LeBlanc from the Padresfor catcher John Baker.
Mets: Signed outfielder Adam Loewen to a minor league deal.
Pirates: Signed catcher/first baseman/outfielder Jake Fox, pitcher Shairon Martis and outfielder Brandon Boggs to minor league deals.
Twins: Signed pitcher Daryl Thompson to a minor league deal.

By now you've probably heard moderately endless chatter about the draft and international provisions in the new CBA. Depending on who you ask they're somewhere between moderately inconvenient and full-on apocalyptic. Here's another interesting and somewhat less-reported development, though: MLB is cracking down on smokeless tobacco. Starting next season players can't use it during interviews or public appearances and must conceal it during games. That won't keep them from using it, of course, but it's a step in the right direction.

This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History celebrates Dale Sveum's 48th birthday. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also the 47th anniversary of the Milwaukee Braves selling 43 year old pitcher Warren Spahn to the Mets. Spahn still had one good year left in him: He appeared in 36 games for New York and the Giants in 1965 with a 4.01 ERA before retiring.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to pick up a lobster.

Drink up.