Some things to read while being taunted.
We're 36 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale, and it appears the Brewer front office is back to work: After an extended delay for the holidays, they finally officially announced lefty reliever Mike Gonzalez's one year, $2.25 million contract yesterday. To make room on the roster for Gonzalez the Brewers have designated pitcher Arcenio Leon for assignment. Leon was claimed off waivers from the Astros earlier this winter, but the Brewers are likely hoping he'll pass through unclaimed now so they can keep him in the organization.
In our Tweet of the Day, Joe Block shows exactly why the Brewers felt the need to load up on lefty relievers this winter:
#Brewers lefties allowed .399 SLG to LHBs in 2012. Michael Gonzalez .269 SLG vs LHBs in 2012.— Joe Block (@joe_block) January 8, 2013
Gonzalez will wear #51 as a Brewer. Jim Henderson had been wearing it, but will switch to #29 and has already updated his Twitter handle.
Gonzalez is likely to be the final major addition to a Brewer bullpen that has been overhauled in a big way this winter. Mike Axisa of FanGraphs has an overview of the changes, and also notes that Burke Badenhop, Tom Gorzelanny and Gonzalez are likely to cost around $7 million less than what the Brewers paid Francisco Rodriguez, Jose Veras, Manny Parra and Kameron Loe in 2012.
Elsewhere in winter transactions, Benjamin Orr of Reviewing the Brew doesn't understand the Brewers' decision to sign outfielder Cole Garner to a minor league deal over the weekend. Orr notes the presence of outfielders Josh Prince, Khris Davis, Logan Schafer and Caleb Gindl in the upper levels of the organization.
And of course, at the highest level of the organization the Brewers still have Ryan Braun. He's one of seven candidates to be on the cover of this year's "MLB The Show" video game, and Adam McCalvy has the details on how you can vote for him to receive that honor.
In the minors:
- Matt Garrioch of MLB Prospect Guide ranked the Brewers as having baseball's 17th best farm system.
- Yadiel Rivera had three hits but it was not enough as Santurce lost 7-6 to Carolina in Puerto Rico last night. You can read about that and more in today's Winter League Recap.
- Rivera's Santurce team is now 1-4 and in last place in Puerto Rico's round-robin playoffs. Martin Maldonado's Mayaguez team is 4-1 and in first.
It was a relatively quiet day around baseball:
Rangers: Designated pitcher Tommy Hottovy for assignment.
In former Brewers: Jody Gerut is spending his post-playing days as an agent working to help athletes manage their money and avoid eventual bankruptcy.
Over the last couple of years the Brewers have employed a couple of relatively soft-throwing starting pitchers credited with good command in Shaun Marcum and Mike Fiers. As such I was interested to read this Beyond the Box Score post noting that softer-throwing pitchers are more likely to get called strikes than their hard-throwing contemporaries. There are some possible explanations to consider, but it's still something to think about.
One of this winter's strangest free agent stories is probably Kyle Lohse, whose rumored high contract demands have left him sitting on the sidelines without an offer this winter. Lohse's price seems likely to fall in the coming weeks, and Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs has a (at least partly tongue-in-cheek) look at the argument for a team to sign him.
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History marks 2008-09 Brewer Mike Cameron's 40th birthday. Plunk Everyone notes that Cameron's 87 career HBP are the second-most ever for a player born on January 8.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to find out what happened to my card.