Some things to read while circling.
The Winter Meetings continue in Nashville today, but for the most part the Brewers haven't had much news to share from the event. The most interesting Brewer storyline at these meetings might be the team's tragic romance with Ryan Dempster. Consider this series of events:
- Jon Heyman reports the Brewers seem like a logical fit for Dempster, who has a home in Chicago and wants to train in Arizona.
- But alas! Financial limitations may keep them apart. Danny Knobler says the Brewers would "love to sign Dempster, but may not be able to meet the price."
- Jon Morosi says Dempster is seeking around $13 million per over three seasons.
- The Brewers are now starting to talk up their internal options.
In the end, it seems like a lot of posturing is going on but the Brewers will get a deal done, either with Dempster or someone else. Scott Miller of CBS says they're "continuing to look," but won't spend the money on either Anibal Sanchez or Kyle Lohse.
The Brewer execs in Nashville also met with the Mets yesterday to talk about R.A. Dickey, but Doug Melvin says he doesn't think the two sides will be a match. Melvin also told a story about Dickey nearly pitching in a game for the Brewers in 2007.
If a trade or signing doesn't happen, Ron Roenicke's meeting with reporters yesterday gave us an implication of how things may look next spring. Adam McCalvy says he has Yovani Gallardo as a lock for the rotation and Marco Estrada close behind him, but Chris Narveson, Wily Peralta, Mark Rogers and Mike Fiers would have to compete for the final three spots.
And, of course, the bullpen is also an area of interest. Jon Morosi listed the Brewers as one of five clubs interested in former Rangers reliever Mark Lowe, and rumored Brewer target Jason Grilli is in Nashville today.
I'd rather have the Brewers take a flyer on a guy like this than give ten million to a set-up man: 43-year-old lefty Arthur Rhodes sat out 2012 but is looking to pitch again in 2013.
Elsewhere in free agency:
- Tomahawk Take wonders if the Braves could find room in their payroll for Zack Greinke.
- Nick Nelson of TwinsCentric wants the Twins to go after Shaun Marcum.
- The Mets have apparently expressed interest in Manny Parra.
If the offseason ended today the Brewers' projected 2013 payroll would be around $68 million. You can see where that money's going and the holes on the roster left to fill in Charlie Marlow's annual salary estimate post.
Even if the Brewers don't bring in any more free agents, there's reason to believe the bullpen will be better than it was in 2012. Glenn DuPaul of The Hardball Times listed John Axford among a group of relievers whose 2012 strikeout rate suggests they should get better results in 2013.
Mat Gamel will have a lot to prove when he comes to Maryvale in the spring (where he'll see time in the outfield), but it looks like he'll have to wait until then to get back on the field. Doug Melvin told reporters Gamel hasn't had any setbacks in his recovery from knee surgery, but won't play winter ball.
Gamel could have a hard time cracking a Brewer lineup that has clear regulars at most positions and led the NL in runs scored in 2012. Nicholas Zettel of Disciples of Uecker looks at the possibility that they could score 800 runs.
Taylor Green is also likely to have a tough time finding consistent playing time with the Brewers next season. We talked about his 2012 season in yesterday's edition of Lesser Brewers.
In the minors: Bernie Pleskoff of MLB.com is the latest writer to put together a piece on Josh Prince's breakout campaign in the Arizona Fall League.
Braves: Signed catcher Matt Pagnozzi to a minor league deal.
Diamondbacks: Signed 1B/3B Eric Hinske to a one year deal.
Giants: Signed infielder Marco Scutaro to a three year, $20 million deal and exercised 2014 contract options for manager Bruce Bochy and GM Brian Sabean.
Nationals: Signed pitcher Dan Haren to a one year, $13 million deal.
Rays: Hired Jaime Nelson as their new assistant hitting/catching coach, avoided arbitration with infielder Sean Rodriguez (one year, $1 million) and acquired shortstop Yunel Escobar from the Marlins for a minor leaguer.
Red Sox: Signed outfielder Shane Victorino to a three year, $39 million deal.
Rockies: Acquired reliever Wilton Lopez and a PTBNL from the Astros for pitcher Alex White and a minor leaguer.
Tigers: Moved coaches Gene Lamont to bench coach, Tom Brookens to third base and Rafael Belliard to first base.
Of course, transactions aren't all that's happening in Nashville this week. Here are some other things happening at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel:
- Dale Sveum is telling stories about getting shot by Robin Yount while bird hunting together.
- The Winter Meetings Trade Show is an exhibition of potential featured entertainers, giveaways and more for your minor league ballpark.
- The entire event is full of job seekers: Benjamin Hill of MiLB.com has journals from four of them.
- New BBWAA members are assigning 20-80 rankings to band members. (by the way, congrats to noted leisured gentleman Carson Cistulli and Eno Sarris)
- People are hitting their heads on MLB Network graphics.
- Other job seekers have cool business cards.
- Casey McGehee is wandering around looking for work.
Elsewhere in former Brewers:
- Vinny Rottino has signed with Japan's Orix Buffaloes.
- The Cubs are reportedly considering signing Yuniesky Betancourt.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to measure again.