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Some things to read while maintaining optimism.

It's possible Doug Melvin saved the offseason's biggest head-scratcher for last: Ken Rosenthal is reporting that they're expected to sign Mark Kotsay to a major league deal (FanShot). If Kotsay could still play center field then this would be a somewhat interesting transaction. But Kotsay's defensive skills have degraded in a big way, and he played 84 of his 92 games with the White Sox last season at either first base or DH.

The news isn't much better offensively, either. Kotsay has appeared in 340 games since the start of the 2007 season and hit just .254/.313/.373, which isn't nearly enough to merit consistent playing time at a position like first base or in an outfield corner.

All told, B-Ref estimates Kotsay has been worth -3.0 WAR over the last seven seasons, and now the Brewers will have to bump someone off the 40-man roster to make room for him.

Here's some reaction from around the web:

It's possible the big loser here is Brandon Boggs. Adding Kotsay to the mix makes it somewhat less likely that Boggs will make the major league roster out of camp, and he's out of options. Boggs hasn't spent much time in the majors recently but he's hit .282/.392/.437 over the last three seasons in AAA, so there's some notable upside there.

Kotsay aside, the Brewers have had a pretty good offseason. Anthony Castrovince of listed them as one of five teams that are going all in for 2011.

If they're planning on preventing him from becoming a free agent, the Brewers have less than two weeks to work out a long term deal with Rickie Weeks. It's possible that Dan Uggla's new deal with the Braves (5 years/$62 million) has driven up Weeks' price and Keep Turning Up the Heat! says it should, because Weeks is worth more.

It's possible Jose Reyes' days as a Met are numbered, and he'd be an interesting possibility to upgrade the Brewers' shortstop position. MetsBlog lists Milwaukee (along with San Francisco and Minnesota) as one of three possible destinations for the three-time All Star.

Elsewhere in players entering their final season in their current home: Bernie's Crew compared Prince Fielder and Cecil Cooper.

Obviously we're all hoping for a bit more than this from him, but at the very least it looks like Zack Greinke's time in Milwaukee is going to lead to a pretty interesting variety of quotes. There's a new Twitter feed to help you keep up, and in this week's Sports Nut Howie Magner takes a deeper look at his decision to pick the Steelers in the Super Bowl.

In the minors:

  • The Brewer farm system (or what's left of it, anyway) is the topic of this week's "A Simple Kind of Fan" over at Pocket Doppler.
  • As part of yesterday's All Questions Answered thread, John Sickels of Minor League Ball selected Zelous Wheeler as the Brewer prospect best equipped to defend your home from a snowstorm.
  • The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers unveiled their 2011 promotional calendar yesterday, for those of you with a burning need to attend Star Wars Night.
  • Speaking of the Timber Rattlers, broadcaster Chris Mehring is giving a lecture at UW-Fox Valley on Monday about the history of professional baseball in Appleton. I'm planning on checking it out.
  • Brewer minor leaguers have yet to report to Maryvale, but at least one of them appears to know his 2011 destination: Pitcher Tyler Cravy told the Napa Valley Register that he's been assigned to Wisconsin. Cravy was a 17th round pick in 2009 and posted a 5.87 ERA with 70 strikeouts and 28 walks in 76.2 innings for Helena last season.

Around baseball:

Padres: Claimed pitcher Sam Deduno off waivers from the Rockies and designated infielder/outfielder Oscar Salazar for assignment.
Rays: Are expected to sign infielder Felipe Lopez to a minor league deal.

Today in former Brewers:

Here's today's baseball economics note: I haven't seen an announcement on 2011 Brewer broadcasts yet, but I'd guess somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 games will be televised, as has been the case in past years. That's why it caught my attention when I read that all 162 Phillies games will be on TV.

Batting order is one of the conversations we usually spend a fair amount of time on during baseball's slow months. If you were thinking about starting that debate again this winter, Eno Sarris of FanGraphs says you shouldn't.

If you're in Milwaukee this morning, odds are you're snowed in. Here are some snow-related links:

With help from the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to:

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must stop Albert Belle.

Drink up.