Some things to read while making sure you're in the right place.
We are 23 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale, and hopefully one of them will be available to wheel Corey Hart into the clubhouse. The Brewers announced on Friday that Hart will have arthroscopic knee surgery tomorrow and is scheduled to be out for 3-4 months, putting him out for Opening Day and perhaps well beyond. Tom Haudricourt is reporting that Hart's knee started swelling during offseason workouts, and following surgery he won't be able to bear weight on it for six weeks.
Here's some reaction from around the web:
- Christina Kahrl of ESPN says that the Brewers will be ok without Hart because Mat Gamel is healthy.
- Justin Schultz of Reviewing the Brew says Gamel is getting yet another chance to prove himself.
- Jack Moore of FanGraphs is calling this Gamel's "last last chance."
- Talking about Gamel got Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk thinking about designing the Quad-A Cafe.
- Joe Block points out that Hart was able to recover more quickly than expected from last spring's knee surgery.
- Andrew Vrchota of Wisconsin Sports Blog says this isn't as bad as it seems.
- Howie Magner notes that George Kottaras is newly available, having been recently DFA'd by the A's.
Meanwhile, the Brewers cleared their slate of potential arbitration cases on Friday by agreeing to one-year deals with John Axford ($5 million), Marco Estrada ($1.95 million) and Burke Badenhop ($1.55 million). Tom Haudricourt said this is the first time he can recall the Brewers settling all of their prospective cases before the deadline to exchange proposals. John Axford says he'll be using his largest payday as a professional to pay off his and his wife's student loans.
With the arbitration deck cleared, we now have a pretty clear vision of the Brewers' 2013 payroll. Charlie Marlow's estimate has it at $74.17 million, or down over 25% from a year ago.
Part of the reason the Brewers are able to get away with such a low payroll is the fact that Ryan Braun will make just $7 million in 2013. Dayn Perry of CBS Sports' "Core Values" assessment of the Brewers lists Braun as the team's cornerstone, face of the franchise and face of the future.
That rather sudden decrease in payroll is largely the reason why the Brewers are going into 2013 with a very inexperienced starting rotation. Andrew Vrchota of Wisconsin Sports Blog attempted to project what that group will look like on Opening Day.
Wily Peralta is one of the moving pieces in that conversation, as the Brewers could opt to keep him in the majors following a strong finish to 2012 or send him back to Nashville in an effort to hold on to organizational depth. Simon Daillie of Seedlings to Stars says Peralta is "on the verge of a breakout season."
Rick Kranitz will have his hands full in 2013 trying to keep that rotation together. In Friday's edition of Daily Notes noted leisured gentleman Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs noted that Kranitz is one of just seven major league pitching coaches who didn't pitch in the majors.
At least all of his equipment should be there on time. The Brewers' first truck for Maryvale left on Friday and John Steinmiller has pictures from the event.
Some of that equipment, though, will sit unused for a week or two in March. Dave Radcliffe of Yahoo Sports has a look at how the Brewers will be impacted by losing 14 players to the World Baseball Classic.
In the minors:
- The Brewers have signed catcher Robinzon Diaz to a minor league deal with an invitation to early minor league camp. Diaz is 29 and has appeared in 44 major league games, most recently with the 2009 Pirates. He split 2012 between the Angels and Rangers' AAA affiliates and hit .290/.314/.432 in 53 games.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America reports the Brewers have also signed outfielder Chuck Caufield to a minor league deal. Caufield was a Brewer minor leaguer for six seasons before spending 2012 hitting .335/.395/.461 for Fort Worth in the independent North American League.
- Anderson De La Rosa and Kelvim Escobar were both in action last night as Lara beat Caracas 7-4 in the Venezuelan playoffs. You can read about that and more in this morning's Winter Leagues Recap.
- @Maas_Haas notes that Martin Maldonado's Mayaguez team now trails 2-1 in the Puerto Rican Championship Series, who Fautino De Los Santos' Escogido team is up 3-0 in the Dominican Republic.
- @Mass_Haas also has a link to video of Scooter Gennett at MLB's Rookie Career Development Program.
- Sam Dykstra of MiLB.com has an interview with reigning Southern League MVP Hunter Morris.
- The Brewer Nation has a profile of Johnny Hellweg as the latest installment in their "Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers" series. They also profiled Ariel Pena over the weekend.
- Gennett, Morris and Hellweg are all among the five candidates on the ballot for the #5 spot in our Community Prospect Rankings, and at the moment Hellweg leads by just one vote. Cast a vote before 1 if you haven't yet, then check back
after 2tomorrow to vote for #6.
Brace yourself for the biggest "around baseball" section in recent memory:
(All arbitration deals are for one year unless otherwise noted.)
Angels: Avoided arbitration with pitchers Jason Vargas ($8.5 million) and Tommy Hanson ($3.725 million).
Astros: Avoided arbitration with pitcher Bud Norris ($3 million), shortstop Jed Lowrie ($2.4 million) and reliever Wesley Wright ($1.025 million).
Blue Jays: Avoided arbitration with pitcher J.A. Happ ($3.7 million), utilityman Emilio Bonifacio ($2.6 million) and catcher Josh Thole (two years, $2.5 million with a club option for 2015).
Braves: Avoided arbitration with pitchers Eric O'Flaherty ($4.32 million), Kris Medlen ($2.6 million), Jonny Venters ($1.625 million) and Cristhian Martinez (terms unknown) and outfielder Jason Heyward ($3.65 million).
Cubs: Avoided arbitration with pitchers Jeff Samardzija ($2.64 million) and James Russell ($1.075 million).
Diamondbacks: Avoided arbitration with pitchers Ian Kennedy ($4.265 million) and Brad Ziegler ($3.15 million) and infielder Chris Johnson ($2.3 million).
Dodgers: Avoided arbitration with catcher A.J. Ellis ($2 million) and reliever Ronald Belissario ($1.45 million).
Giants: Avoided arbitration with outfielder Hunter Pence ($13.8 million) and catcher Buster Posey ($8 million).
Indians: Avoided arbitration with pitcher Chris Perez ($7.3 million) and signed outfielder Ryan Raburn to a minor league deal.
Mariners: Avoided arbitration with first baseman Kendrys Morales ($5.25 million) and shortstop Brendan Ryan ($3.25 million).
Marlins: Avoided arbitration with reliever Ryan Webb ($975,000) and signed utilityman Matt Downs to a minor league deal.
Mets: Avoided arbitration with first baseman Ike Davis ($3.125 million) and signed catcher Landon Powell to a minor league deal.
Nationals: Avoided arbitration with SS Ian Desmond ($3.8 million), outfielder Roger Bernadina ($1.215 million) and pitchers Ross Detwiler ($2.3375 million), Tyler Clippard (terms unknown) and Craig Stammen (two years, $2.25 million).
Orioles: Avoided arbitration with catcher Matt Wieters ($5.5 million), 1B/OF Chris Davis ($3.3 million) and pitchers Brian Matusz ($1.6 million) and Troy Patton ($815,000).
Padres: Avoided arbitration with pitcher Edinson Volquez ($5.725 million).
Phillies: Avoided arbitration with pitcher Antonio Bastardo ($1.4 million).
Pirates: Avoided arbitration with first baseman/outfielder Garrett Jones ($4.5 million) and first baseman Gaby Sanchez ($1.75 million).
Rays: Avoided arbitration with infielder Ryan Roberts ($2.95 million) and outfielders Matt Joyce ($2.45 million) and Sam Fuld ($750,000).
Red Sox: Avoided arbitration with outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury ($9 million) and pitchers Joel Hanrahan ($7.04 million), Alfredo Aceves ($2.64 million) and Craig Breslow (two years, $6.25 million with a club option for 2015).
Rockies: Avoided arbitration with outfielder Tyler Colvin ($2.275 million) and signed pitchers Chris Volstad and Miguel Batista to minor league deals.
Royals: Avoided arbitration with pitcher Luke Hochevar ($4.65 million).
Tigers: Avoided arbitration with pitchers Rick Porcello ($5.1 million), Doug Fister ($4 million) and Phil Coke ($1.85 million), outfielders Austin Jackson ($3.5 million) and Brennan Boesch ($2.3 million) and catcher Alex Avila ($2.95 million).
White Sox: Avoided arbitration with infielder Gordon Beckham ($2.925 million) and outfielder Alejandro De Aza ($2.075 million) and signed pitcher Tony Pena Jr. to a minor league deal.
Yankees: Avoided arbitration with reliever Boone Logan ($3.15 million).
Jon Heyman notes that Hunter Pence's arbitration settlement is the third highest ever for a player who is not yet eligible for free agency, behind only the $15.5 million Prince Fielder got from the Brewers in 2011 and the $15mm Cole Hamels received from the Phillies in 2012.
Today in former Brewers:
- At this weekend's Cubs Convention a fan complained to owner Tom Ricketts that Dale Sveum "looks like he slept on a park bench."
- Value Over Replacement Grit has Sal Bando and Ted Simmons on their All Star team of players who appeared on exactly one Hall of Fame ballot.
- David Schoenfield of ESPN has a list of one-hit wonders from the NL Central, including Bill Hall.
- Rowland's Office is listing 1981-83 Brewer Jamie Easterly as the 14th worst Atlanta Braves pitcher of all time.
Today's baseball economics note comes via Twins Daily, who notes that several teams are finding new ways to squeeze a few extra dollars out of fans who travel to spring training games.
The Brewers led the NL with 158 stolen bases in 2012, but should they have run more? Matt Hunter of Beyond the Box Score asks if teams should be attempting more steals across baseball as the steroid era slugging numbers return to normal.
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History marks the eleventh anniversary of a three-team trade in 2002 that sent Jeromy Burnitz to the Mets. Today also would have been 1954-57 Milwaukee Brave Danny O'Connell's 85th birthday, and Plunk Everyone notes that his 22 career HBP are tied for the third most ever for a player born on January 21.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to change more perceptions.