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Thursday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while being better off.

I guess I wouldn't have guessed this, but Will Carroll of Sports Illustrated says the Brewers are baseball's second best team when it comes to keeping players on the field and off the DL (FanShot). The White Sox are #1.

I don't think there's a single returning Brewer getting more attention this offseason than John Axford. Here's an article from the Toronto Sun about The Ax's preparation for his first full season in the closer role.

Speaking of Axford, he's participating in his first TwitChange auction to raise money for Operation Once in a Lifetime, an organization that helps out soldiers and their families. Follow the link to learn more about the organization and what you can win in Axford's auctions.

All told it's possible today's best news comes from the Journal Sentinel, who announced that Marquette beat reporter Todd Rosiak will be joining Tom Haudricourt on the Brewer beat this season. I'll admit I'm not all that familiar with Rosiak but Anonymous Eagle likes him, and that's good enough for me.

Vaughn's Valley continues to list the top ten Brewers critical to 2011 success, with Ryan Braun at #3. I think I might have listed Braun higher.

In the minors:

  • The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers have an interview up with Matt Erickson, their new manager.
  • BrewerProspects.com has scouting reports for Hunter Morris and Logan Schafer.
  • Minor League Baseball Prospects has gone through the minors and made a list of sure-fire major leaguers, and the Brewer list is pretty underwhelming: Only five players are mentioned, and three of them (Zack Braddock, Mat Gamel and Mike McClendon) have already debuted. Eric Farris and Scooter Gennett are the others.

Around baseball:

Dodgers: Avoided arbitration with pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo ($2.725 million).
Nationals: Signed pitcher Cla Meredith to a minor league deal.
Red Sox: Signed pitcher Matt Fox to a minor league deal.
Yankees: Acquired outfielder Jason Maxwell from the Nationals for a minor leaguer and designated outfielder Jordan Parraz for assignment.

Today in former Brewers:

  • Russell Branyan, Scott Podsednik, Jim Edmonds and Gabe Gross all made Jayson Stark's All-Unemployed Team. Aside from being former Brewers, the four have something else in common: They all would have been better pickups than Mark Kotsay.
  • Plunk Everyone has a list of players who have been hit by the most pitches while playing for a mathematically eliminated team. As you might imagine the Brewers are well-represented: Jason Kendall, Jeromy Burnitz, Geoff Jenkins and Matt Stairs are among the career leaders.
  • Carson Cistulli of NotGraphs has a post on George Brett and Mike Schmidt, Hall of Famers drafted back-to-back in 1971. A handful of you might recall that Robin Yount and Dave Winfield were also drafted back-to-back, #3 and 4 in 1973.
  • Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain are going to wear #2 and 6 for the Royals, respectively.
  • Minor League Ball has a look at Lyle Overbay's career.

Today in baseball economics: I've mentioned several times that the Rays' 2011 payroll is expected to be under $50 million. It's going to be far from baseball's lowest, though: Now that Gil Meche has retired, the 2011 Royals are projected to spend just $33 million.

Of course, it could always be worse: The Mets have fallen into relatively severe financial difficulty and now have an estimated value of -$255 million.

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

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to make the transition.

Drink up.