Some things to read while not wearing socks.
We've known for a while that at least some voters won't accept Ryan Braun as NL MVP, but yesterday the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) named him as one of five nominees for the award and he was the only player from last year's top ten on the list. Braun joins Giants catcher Buster Posey, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen and Padres third baseman Chase Headley among the finalists.
Harold Reynolds of MLB Network predicted that Posey will beat Braun in a landslide, a suspicion that Adam McCalvy shares. Meanwhile, Keith Law was surprised Braun even made the top five after last offseason's events.
Nominees for the other BBWAA awards were also announced last night, but no other Brewers were honored. Larry Granillo of Baseball Prospectus was sad to see Norichika Aoki snubbed for NL Rookie of the Year, although I think you can make a strong case that at least two of the nominees (Diamondbacks pitcher Wade Miley and Reds IF/OF Todd Frazier) are more deserving.
Today in free agency:
- Bob Nightengale of USA Today says the Mariners and Orioles are the new frontrunners to sign Josh Hamilton, so hopefully we can stop talking about it.
- Jerry Crasnick of ESPN says not to expect the Braves to be players for Zack Greinke.
- Alex Gonzalez has hired a new agency, Praver Shapiro. They also represent Martin Maldonado.
- Gonzalez, by the way, ranks 82nd on Matthew Pouliot of Hardball Talk's list of baseball's 111 remaining free agents. Francisco Rodriguez is 77th and Jose Veras is 79th.
- Bleed Cubbie Blue is comparing Shaun Marcum and Brandon McCarthy as two potential targets for the Cubs.
Meanwhile, reliever Michael Olmsted is one of several minor league free agents who have already settled in with the Brewers. The Book of Gorman has a profile of the former Red Sox farmhand.
Of course, the Brewers almost certainly aren't done adding talent. Christina Kahrl of ESPN.com has a preview of the NL Central offseason and says "adding pitching has to be the order of the day if the Brewers want to contend soon."
The Brewers may not be done removing talent either. This week's BCB Tracking Poll showed that a majority of fans agreed with the recent decisions to outright Travis Ishikawa, Kameron Loe, Nyjer Morgan and Jose Veras from the roster and would also approve of a decision to do the same with Manny Parra.
Jonathan Lucroy will be back for 2013, but can he repeat his breakout performance from 2012? Colin Bennett of Reviewing the Brew has a look at that question.
In the minors:
- While the Brewers spend the winter working on getting better for 2013, Jean Segura is doing the same in the Dominican and had another big day yesterday. He went 2-for-4 with a home run and scored three times in Cibao's 15-13 win over Escogido. We also discussed Segura as yesterday's MVBrewers Honorable Mention.
- John Steinmiller has a profile of pitching prospect Johnny Hellweg as he works out of the bullpen in Arizona.
Miller Park was recently voted the best ballpark in baseball by the fans in an ESPN poll, but its cost to taxpayers is another conversation. Harvard stadium researcher Judith Grant Long listed the Brewers as one of three professional sports teams who received more in subsidies than it actually cost to build their facility.
But hey, bobbleheads! The Brewers are giving away Harvey Kuenn bobbleheads when they host the Nationals on August 4.
If you'd like more Brewer coverage today but you're sick of reading (and me), this week's View From Bernie's Chalet podcast is up with a recap of the end of the 2012 season and a look ahead to the winter.
Mets: Bought out the final year of outfielder Jason Bay's contract and signed pitcher Greg Burke to a minor league deal.
Padres: Catcher Yasmani Grandal has been suspended 50 games for testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone.
Pirates: Signed outfielder Darren Ford to a minor league deal.
Red Sox: Signed outfielder Mitch Maier to a minor league deal and hired Juan Nieves as pitching coach.
Rockies: Hired Walt Weiss as their new manager.
White Sox: Acquired outfielder Blake Tekotte from the Padres for a minor league pitcher.
We're probably going to spend a fair amount of the next few days talking about *elevated levels* of testosterone again. Rubie Q has a PSA that will help you remember an important biological fact.
- John Steinmiller bumped into Jeff Cirillo, who now scouts for the Angels, at an Arizona Fall League game.
- Kevin Mench's birthday made The Platoon Advantage's list of important offseason dates.
I'm in my fifth year producing the Mug daily and some things have changed, but this remains constant: If you post a picture of dachshunds racing a minor league mascot, you make the Mug.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to sing again.