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Monday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while drawing a foot.

We're 54 days away from spring training and the Brewers enjoyed a quiet holiday weekend (and I hope you did the same), so we'll lead off this morning with more notes on new broadcaster Joe Block:

  • Adam McCalvy has audio of one of Block's more recent calls.
  • Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts, who had the chance to listen to Block during his previous job in Los Angeles, called the hiring "a nice pickup."
  • Don Walker of the JS has a note on the significance of the move, although I think he's overstating it a bit by suggesting people will turn off broadcasts involving Uecker if Block doesn't interact well with him.
  • Benjamin Hill noted that Block worked for the Pioneer (Rookie) league Billings Mustangs in 2010.

It's nice, for a change, to talk about Ryan Braun and have baseball be the primary subject. High Heat Stats says Braun was the third best contract value among position players in 2011, providing 7.7 wins above replacement (rWAR) while earning just $4.29 million. Off The Bench listed Braun as the second best outfielder in all of baseball (behind Matt Kemp).

Here are today's Prince Fielder notes:

Across the ocean, Norichika Aoki is working out and getting ready for his meeting with the Brewers: Apparently he's been working out with Ichiro in Tokyo, and is expected to come to Maryvale in early January.

Meanwhile, Adam McCalvy talked to John Axford about the holidays, some of his favorite Christmas memories and his plans for the occasion.

The holiday weekend certainly provided plenty of opportunities for photoshops. Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar produced my favorites.

In the minors:

  • @Mass_Haas noted that Francisco Rodriguez has made two appearances in winter ball in Venezuela, pitching two perfect innings and striking out four.
  • Caribbean leagues took the day off for the holiday yesterday, so Winter League Notes will return tomorrow.
  • The winter league regular seasons all wrap up in the next ten days or so: The Dominican Republic's season ended on Wednesday, Mexico and Venezuela conclude their schedule on Friday and Puerto Rico plays their final game on January 4.
  • Nicholas Zettel of Bernie's Crew has a list of pitchers who put up impressive numbers at one point in the Brewer organization but never reached the majors.

Our milestone draws ever closer: This morning's Mug is the 995th in BCB History. Hopefully you'll join us on January 3 at Rounding Third to celebrate The Night Of (Approximately) 1000 Mugs.

Around baseball:

Angels: Signed outfielder Ryan Langerhans, catcher Robinson Diaz and pitcher Eric Hurley to minor league deals.
Athletics: Designated catcher Landon Powell and outfielder Jai Miller for assignment.
Reds: Claimed pitcher Josh Judy off waivers from the Indians.

The weekend's biggest baseball news might actually be this: Rumor has it the Athletics will be granted permission to move to San Jose, and an official announcement could come before February.

In former Brewers:

If you need your heart warmed this morning, here you go: has a nice story on Cubs traveling secretary Jimmy Bank, who has been encouraging the team to save unused soap and shampoo from their hotels on the road and donating them to a food pantry in Waukesha.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to cross myself off the guest list.

Drink up.