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Wednesday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while filling a closet with plastic bags.

We're 66 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale, and we're starting to get a better idea of what the 2012 season is going to cost. Ken Rosenthal reported yesterday that Alex Gonzalez's new deal will pay him $4.25 million next season and his $4 million option for 2013 will vest if he makes 525 plate appearances (FanShot). He's averaged 616 PAs over the last two seasons. That's much more than I expected Gonzalez to cost, but he does fill a clear position of need.

Meanwhile, we also have details on Aramis Ramirez's new deal: He'll earn just $6 million in 2012, but make up for it with $10 million in 2013 and $16 million ($6 million deferred) in 2014. The deal also includes a mutual option for 2015 with a $4 million buyout. I'd be curious to see how often mutual options at the end of a long term deal are exercised. I'd bet it's less than 5-10%.

Today we've got a bunch more on Ramirez:

Of course, change isn't good for everyone. One has to figure Brewers in 11's most recent chapter of Around the Infield will be the last featuring the original cast.

One of the cast members leaving is Casey McGehee, who talked to Todd Rosiak about his somewhat sudden move to Pittsburgh. You can question McGehee's production (and we have), but it's pretty clear he cared deeply about this team and very much appreciated the opportunity to be a part of it. Rosiak said it's tough to see him go.

And, of course, the Ryan Braun story will never end. Here are today's stories:

  • Yesterday I mentioned that longtime Brewer minor leaguer Brendan Katin had a similar suspension overturned in 2007 via appeal. Carrie Muskat of talked to Katin about the experience and got the details.
  • TMZ has video of Dodgers outfielder and 2011 MVP runner up Matt Kemp encouraging someone bothering him on the street not to call Braun a cheater until we know the facts.
  • Aaron Rodgers discussed Braun on his radio show yesterday, and also said he's taking Braun at his word until given reason to do otherwise.
  • The MLBPA issued a brief statement also encouraging people to wait to pass judgment until the process has played out.

While the left side of the Brewer infield has turned over this winter, Mat Gamel remains the favorite to start on Opening Day at first base. Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker has a reminder of an unfavorable comparison to Astros stalled prospect Brett Wallace he ran last spring.

Apparently award season comes a little later in Canada: The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame announced yesterday that John Axford and Joey Votto will split 2011's Tip O'Neill Award, given annually to baseball's best Canadian player. Axford also finished second (to figure skater Patrick Chan) in the voting for the nation's annual Lou Marsh Trophy.

Here are today's Prince Fielder notes:

In the minors: There wasn't much Brewer action in winter ball yesterday, but Sergio Miranda went 2-for-4 with a double in Mayaguez's 2-1 loss to Carolina in Puerto Rico. You can read about that and more in today's Winter League Notes.

If you'd like more Brewer content this morning but you're sick of reading, click here to listen to my appearance yesterday on The Watercooler in Eau Claire with Jimmie Kaska.

The Brew Crew Ball Book Club met again last night, and there's still time to jump into the discussion if you'd like to talk about chapters 7-9 of The Extra 2%. We'll meet again next Tuesday to discuss the book's conclusion.

This morning's Frosty Mug is the 987th in BCB History. The math doesn't quite line up anymore, but we're still planning on holding The Night Of (Approximately) 1000 Mugs at Rounding Third on January 3, and I'm hoping to see you there.

Around baseball:

Blue Jays: Avoided arbitration with catcher Jeff Mathis (1 year, $1.5 million).
Diamondbacks: Takashi Saito's new contract will pay him $1.75 million in 2012.
Mariners: Signed pitcher Josh Kinney to a minor league deal.
Orioles: Signed Japanese pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada to a two year, $4.15 million deal.
Phillies: Signed pitcher Dontrelle Willis to a one year, $1 million deal.
Red Sox: Signed catcher Kelly Shoppach to a one year, $1.35 million deal.
Royals: Signed pitchers Juan Gutierrez and Francisley Bueno, catcher Max Ramirez and outfielder Greg Golson to minor league deals.

In baseball economics: Yesterday I mentioned that the Mets have taken out another $40 million in loans to cover expenses. That's clearly bad, but Jon Heyman notes that the fact that they were able to find a bank willing to give the money to them is probably a good sign.

Today in former Brewers:

  • High Heat Stats says LaTroy Hawkins is the best middle reliever in baseball.
  • They also note that 1999 Opening Day starter Rafael Roque made just 18 career starts, the least ever for a player who got the call at least once on the season's first day.
  • The B-Ref Blog has a look at Jeromy Burnitz as a Hall of Fame candidate.

This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History celebrates 1992-99 Brewer Dave Nilsson's 42nd birthday. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also the 100th anniversary of the first use of ERA.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm headed back to the Oatmeal.

Drink up.