Some things to read while staying home.
We are 35 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale, and yesterday the Brewers added eight minor leaguers to the camp invite list:
- Pitcher Jed Bradley, a first round pick from the 2011 draft.
- Pitcher Taylor Jungmann, another first round pick from the 2011 draft.
- First baseman Hunter Morris, the reigning Southern League MVP.
- Outfielder Kentrail Davis, their supplemental round pick from the 2009 draft.
- Pitcher Donovan Hand, who appeared in 44 games for Nashville in 2012.
- Veteran catcher Anderson De La Rosa, who played for Huntsville in 2012.
- Catcher Adam Weisenburger, who also caught for Huntsville in 2012.
- Catcher Rafael Neda, who spent 2012 with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.
Adam McCalvy has both their spring training numbers and a full list of the uniform numbers expected to be worn in camp. None of these guys are likely to make the major league roster out of camp, but Hand has a chance to be an interesting bullpen option and Bradley, Jungmann and Morris could make their way back up with a solid season in the minors.
When these guys see the Brewers' newest free agent addition this spring, hopefully they won't call him Mike: Adam McCalvy reports that Michael Gonzalez prefers to be called Michael.
We also have details for the first time today on the incentives in Gonzalez's contract, which will almost certainly only come into play if he ends up closing games for the Brewers. He'll earn an extra $50,000 if he finishes 25 games, $75,000 each for 30 and 35 games and $100,000 each for 40 and 50 for a grand total of $400,000 possible. The only Brewers who have finished more than 25 games in a season since 2008 are Trevor Hoffman and John Axford.
While Gonzalez and the new invitees are in Brewer camp in February, Ryan Braun will be taking some time away: Yesterday he announced he'll represent the US in the World Baseball Classic. Braun also appeared in six WBC games in 2009.
Today in free agency: Mass Haas of Brewerfan.net presented a far-fetched but possible idea for the Brewers to avoid losing their first round pick for signing a protected free agent (most likely Kyle Lohse) involving the Indians and the Brewers' tradeable "competitive balance" pick.
With the 2013 Brewers bringing back nearly all of 2012's position players, it's likely this trend will continue for another season: Nicholas Zettel of Disciples of Uecker compared the slugging Brewers of 2008 to a more contact-hitting (and also slugging) group in 2012.
In the minors: Jairo Asencio pitched a scoreless ninth for his second postseason save as Este beat Oriente 8-5 last night in Dominican Winter League play. You can read about that and more in today's Winter League Recap.
It's another relatively quiet day around baseball:
Nationals: Re-signed first baseman Adam LaRoche to a two-year, $22 million contract with a mutual option for 2015.
Yesterday's biggest transaction news may actually be a deal that's not done: Pitcher Francisco Liriano's new contract with the Pirates is on hold after he suffered an injury to his non-throwing arm.
It's possible yesterday's biggest news around baseball was the announcement of a sponsorship deal between MLB and T-Mobile, who will supply wireless bullpen phones in dugouts around baseball in 2013. If their wireless phones actually work reliably in the ballpark, then they must be on a different network from what the rest of us use.
In former Brewers:
- Kevin Kimmes of Cream City Cables has a look at the cards printed for the 1970 Seattle Pilots, which were off to print before the team moved to Milwaukee and became the Brewers.
- Phil Gurnee of True Blue LA remembers Don Sutton's return to the Dodgers in 1988.
- Mississippi Matt Smith of NotGraphs notes that Geremi Gonzalez, Matt Maysey and Randy Ready were among several former major leaguers with alliterative names all born on January 8.
And now, sabermetrics. Eno Sarris of FanGraphs has a very thorough look at the game pitchers and batters play with the first pitch, the importance of throwing a strike and batters' increasing unwillingness to swing at it.
Today in baseball economics:
- Nathan Aderhold of MLB Daily Dish has a great look at how changing MLB rules has affected agent Scott Boras' past efforts to game the system and where he stands now.
- Major League Baseball reportedly paid $1.2 million to a Canadian company for the rights to the domain name Rockies.com.
It's a slow day in Brewer history, so this morning's edition of Brewers A-Z has a look at the brief Brewer career of catcher Robinson Cancel. Today is also 2011 Brewer Brandon Boggs' 30th birthday, and Plunk Everyone notes that his three career HBP lead all active players born on January 9.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to what I'm good at.