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Friday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while making an irrefutable argument.

What appeared to be a relatively quiet Brewer off day yesterday was suddenly interrupted by big news as the Mets scored seven unanswered runs (including six in the ninth) to beat the Cardinals 8-6 and drop the Brewers' magic number to two to clinch the NL Central (FanShot). The Mets' win creates a scenario where the Brewers could clinch their first division title since 1982 if they beat the Marlins tonight and the Cubs beat the Cardinals. All this and more, of course, is covered in this morning's edition of Around the NL Central.

Even if (IF!) the stars align and the Brewers clinch the NL Central tonight, Nick Prill of The Brewers Bar has a reminder that they still have more to play for: They enter play tonight just a game ahead of the Diamondbacks for the NL's second best record.

While the Brewers were off yesterday Ryan Braun retook first place in the race for the NL batting title: Jose Reyes went 1-for-4 in the Mets win to drop to .329, and Braun remains at .330. Dave Sheinin of The Washington Post is voting for Braun to win the NL MVP, while the staff at FanGraphs picked Matt Kemp 11 votes to 9.

Sheinin, by the way, has Ron Roenicke second behind Kirk Gibson on his Manager of the Year ballot. Christina Kahrl of has a look at his debut season in Milwaukee (FanShot).

It's going to be an interesting offseason for several Brewers, not the least of which is Francisco Rodriguez. Dan Mennella of MLB Trade Rumors predicts K-Rod likely won't get an arbitration offer from the Brewers and may have to settle for a one year deal on the open market.

Of course, we've already spent plenty of time discussing Prince Fielder's offseason plans. Adam McCalvy says Fielder's pending departure gives the Brewers incentive to win now.

Taylor Green hasn't started a game in a week, but at least he has this: He was yesterday's prospect of the day at Minor League Ball, and John Sickels says he "should be able to provide at least decent offense with some defensive versatility."

Yesterday's second biggest news story came in the minors, where the Brewers announced some changes to the 2011 coaching staffs in Nashville and Huntsville. Don Money, who has managed the Sounds for each of the last two seasons, has been reassigned within the organization and will be replaced by Huntsville manager Mike Guerrero (FanShot). Meanwhile, the new Stars manager is 14 year major league veteran Darnell Coles.

Elsewhere in the minors:

  • Wisconsin manager Matt Erickson sent a scouting report to Chris Mehring of Rattler Radio following yesterday's instructional league game: Follow the link for notes on Taylor Jungmann's two perfect innings and more.
  • Baseball America revealed their list of the top 20 prospects in the Pioneer League in 2011: Helena pitcher David Goforth was listed 15th, and shortstop Yadiel Rivera was 16th. Goforth is a 2011 seventh round pick and Rivera is a 2010 ninth rounder.
  • Minor League Baseball Prospects had pitchers Will West, Jorge Lopez and Joel Pierce in their AZL top 40 and Tyler Cravy and Jacob Barnes in their Pioneer League list.
  • Bob Brainerd of Time Warner Cable Sports 32 has a profile of Wisconsin infielder/outfielder T.J. Mittlestaedt.

How'd you spend your off day yesterday? John Axford used his to help open the Milwaukee Film Festival last night.

Around baseball:

Cardinals: Signed first baseman/outfielder Lance Berkman to a one year, $12 million contract extension.
Marlins: Closer Leo Nunez has left the team and returned to the Dominican Republic amid reports he's been playing under an assumed name.

By the end of the night the NL playoff picture could be a lot clearer: There's a chance the NL West and Central could both be clinched tonight. This morning's edition of Around the Pennant Chase has a preview of the action.

The 2012 MLB Draft is also settling into focus: The Astros clinched the #1 overall pick when the Twins won yesterday.

The Brewers project to get a little younger this winter as Craig Counsell, Takashi Saito and LaTroy Hawkins will all be free agents. If they want to get a little older, though, that's an option too: Omar Vizquel, who is 44 years old, announced yesterday that he plans to play in 2012. He's hit .251/.287/.305 this season while splitting 58 games between second, short and third.

Today in former Brewers:

Today in baseball economics: Reds GM Walt Jocketty says Cincinnati will likely raise their payroll next season, but most of the increase will be spent in contract escalations and arbitration raises. They're not expected to be major players on the free agent market.

This could be interesting: MLB and the MLBPA have agreed to send a team of major league stars to Taiwan for a series in November. The roster won't be announced until sometime in November, but I'll be curious to see if any Brewers make the trip.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to my music.

Drink up.