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Thursday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while starting to decline.

We're 44 days away from spring training and, in what might qualify as this week's biggest news, we have a minor transaction to report. Baseball America is reporting the Brewers have signed former Nationals reliever and 2011 Marlins farmhand Victor Garate to a minor league deal. Garate is 27 and his only major league appearances came with the Nationals in 2009, but he posted a 2.73 ERA and struck out 9.4 batters per nine innings for AAA New Orleans in 2011.

The team hasn't officially announced the Garate signing, so we don't know yet if he'll be invited to spring training. John Steinmiller has a list of uniform numbers for the Brewers' official camp invitees:

Player #
Cesar Izturis 3
Mike Rivera 25
Edwin Maysonet 29
Travis Ishikawa 45
Juan Perez 46
Anderson De La Rosa 75
Jed Bradley 77
Taylor Jungmann 78

It's possible I'm reading too much into this, but Izturis and Maysonet's low numbers would seem to imply that both have a shot of making the Opening Day roster.

Meanwhile, the Brewers are expected to work out Japanese outfielder Norichika Aoki in Maryvale this weekend. With the Braun situation still a long way away from its conclusion, I don't think the organization will commit much money to a problem they're not certain will exist in the regular season.

Elsewhere in money the team probably isn't going to spend: Tom Haudricourt says the current budget probably doesn't have room for Carlos Pena at first base.

There might, however, be money available in the long term budget for this: Anthony Castrovince of has new year's resolutions for all 30 MLB teams and thinks the Brewers should resolve to work out long term extensions with both Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum.

Today in Prince Fielder notes:

Nicknames, anyone? Zack Greinke is one of the candidates (and currently second in the voting) to be assigned the "Science or Bravery?" moniker at NotGraphs.

In the minors:

Finally, I wanted to take a moment this morning to thank Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar for filling in yesterday while I slept off The Night Of 1000 Mugs. I'd also like to thank everyone that came out to be a part of the event: It meant a lot to me to be able to celebrate the milestone with so many of you. If you missed it, mark your calendars now for The Night Of 2000 Mugs sometime in late 2015, or start pestering Nicole to put something together between now and then.

Around baseball:

Angels: First baseman/DH Mark Trumbo won't be ready for Opening Day following a setback in rehab for his foot injury.
Diamondbacks: Signed first baseman Mike Jacobs to a minor league deal.
Indians: Signed pitcher Robinson Tejeda to a minor league deal.
Mariners: Signed Japanese shortstop Munenori Kawasaki to a minor league deal.
Marlins: Acquired pitcher Carlos Zambrano and a lot of cash from the Cubs for pitcher Chris Volstad, and signed third baseman Greg Dobbs to a two year, $3 million deal.
Mets: Signed infielder Omar Quintanilla to a minor league deal.
Nationals: Signed reliever Dan Cortes to a minor league deal.
Orioles: Acquired outfielder Jai Miller from the Athletics for cash.
Pirates: Signed pitchers Jo-Jo Reyes and Logan Kensing to minor league deals.
Rangers: Acquired infielder Brandon Snyder from the Orioles for cash.
Red Sox: Signed pitcher Jesse Carlson to a minor league deal.
Tigers: Signed second baseman/outfielder Eric Patterson to a minor league deal.

With the possible exception of the Zambrano trade, the Astros might have had yesterday's most interesting transaction: They've hired former Cardinals assistant Sig Mejdal to serve as their "Director of Decision Sciences."

Houston also hired Stephanie Wilka, an Ivy League-educated lawyer with baseball PR experience, to serve as their new coordinator of amateur scouting. Stan McNeal of The Sporting News, though, was more interested in the fact that she's a former cheerleader.

In former Brewers:

As fans of a mid-market team, we spend a lot of time discussing the Brewers' "window" to compete: the opportunity they have to win with their current players before they become too expensive to retain or leave as free agents. At Grantland, Jonah Keri throws a bucket of cold water on the theory that teams need to endure periods of losing while building for their next opportunity. (h/t BBTF) Here's the telltale quote:

But far more often it's a bullshit excuse. It's a vague, faraway goal that always seems several years out of reach. It's a cover for cheap, greedy ownership, lousy scouting, drafting, and player development, and myopic trades. It's a weak attempt to placate a fan base screwed over by years of management incompetence and indifference.

The Brewers are pretty lucky to have an owner that's willing to put long term success ahead of the team's bottom line, but this takedown of teams that aren't so fortunate feels a little heavy-handed to me.

Today's Thursday Thinker will be up in a bit, but here's something else to keep you occupied while you're waiting: Sporcle would like you to name all 210 ERA leaders between 1970-2011. I was able to name 91 over five minutes before deciding I really should be working on this post instead. (h/t Lone Star Ball)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to catch up on Big Bird reading.

Drink up.