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Monday's Frosty Mug: Exciting, but still slow

We're discussing the pace of playoff baseball and more in today's roundup of all things Brewers.

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Jared Wickerham

Some things to read while putting it into words.

Despite the fact that the Mug has been off since Thursday, the biggest news we have to cover this morning is a relatively minor transaction that we'd already come to expect: The Brewers have promoted former Huntsville manager Darnell Coles to Nashville, where he'll take over the Sounds in 2014. Coles spent September as an extra coach with the Brewers.

Coles is probably joining Nashville a year too late to manage Scooter Gennett, whose performance down the stretch in 2013 may have him in the big leagues to stay. Benjamin Orr of Reviewing the Brew has a look at one of the flaws in his game, though: He struggles to hit lefthanded pitching.

Marco Estrada is probably due for a pretty nice pay raise this winter: He earned $1.955 million in his first arbitration season in 2013 and posted a 3.87 ERA in 21 starts with 8.3 strikeouts and two walks per nine innings. Over the weekend the Glendale News-Press noted him as a Glendale Community College alum making a splash in the majors.

Kyle Lohse will also get a raise, as he made $4 million in 2013 (plus $7 million in deferred salary) and will get $11 million next season. BCB voters selected him as 2013's fourth most valuable Brewer, and on Friday Nicole profiled him here. The voting for the #5 spot is open for a few more hours, although Norichika Aoki holds a commanding lead over the field.

Elsewhere in voting, on Friday BCB voters gave Brewer catchers a B+ for the 2013 season, and JP asked for your help grading the team's infielders. Meanwhile, Reviewing the Brew continues to grade the 2013 Brewers player-by-player, and here are their recent submissions:

Player Grade Author
Kyle Lohse Justin Schultz A-
Jimmy Nelson Lou Olsen B
Martin Maldonado Lou Olsen F
Yuniesky Betancourt Benjamin Orr F

Assuming Lohse and Jimmy Nelson are with the Brewers again in 2014, they'll continue to have Rick Kranitz as their pitching coach. Kranitz drew a lot of fire for the pitching staff's relatively inconsistent performance in 2013, and here's another number that could be used to build a case against him: Pinstriped Bible compared teams' pitching to their expected outcomes and ranked Kranitz 17 of 19 tenured pitching coaches.

Today in free agency:

  • It's possible the Brewers could have some interest in former Indians pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez this winter, as he won't turn 30 until January and posted a 3.30 ERA over 32 starts for Cleveland this season. It's Pronouced "Lajaway" wonders if the Indians should make him a qualifying offer.
  • The minimum salary for one of this winter's qualifying offers, by the way, will be $14.1 million.

Back in Milwaukee, it's possible Miller Park is getting underrated again. Brian McTaggart of left it off the list of his favorite 16 parks in baseball.

In the minors:

  • The Arizona Fall League is off on Sundays but Surprise is 2-2 after the season's first partial week, and Mitch Haniger has appeared in all four games while hitting .563/.588/.938 with seven RBI. Nick Melotte of Minor League Ball has a belated preview of the Surprise team, including all seven Brewer representatives.
  • Further south, the season is underway in both the Mexican and Venezuelan Winter Leagues, while the Dominican League will open play on Friday. 2013 Huntsville Star Arcenio Leon pitched 1.2 scoreless innings last night in Zulia's 6-4 loss to Magallanes.
  • Other notable Brewer farmhands playing in Venezuela this winter include reliever Jesus Sanchez on Magallanes, catcher Anderson De La Rosa on Lara and 2013 Nashville Sound pitcher Johnny Lowe with Caracas. Lowe's pitching coach this winter is Huntsville coach Chris Hook.
  • Meanwhile, the Instructional League season has wrapped up. 2013 5th round pick Josh Uhen tweeted about heading home after his first professional season.

If you weren't around the site this weekend you might have missed JP's look at what we learned last week. It was a light news week, but everything you might have missed is there.

Around baseball:

Marlins: Hired Brett Butler and Frank Menechino as their new third base and hitting coaches, respectively.
Orioles: Third baseman Manny Machado underwent reconstructive knee surgery and is questionable for Opening Day.
Rangers: Re-signed pitcher Jason Frasor to a one year, $1.75 million deal.
Royals: Infielder Jamey Carroll rejected an outright assignment to the minors and is now a free agent.
Twins: Re-signed infielder Doug Bernier to a minor league deal.

Meanwhile across an ocean, it could be an interesting offseason for Japanese players interested in coming to the US. The posting agreement between MLB and Nippon Pro Baseball has expired, meaning players are technically allowed to come to the US without compensation to their former teams until a new agreement is reached. It remains to be seen if MLB would actually allow that to happen, or will force teams to wait until a new system is established to finalize their contracts.

Elsewhere in players considering making the jump, Korean pitcher and former KBO MVP Suk-Min Yoon is a free agent this winter and intends to work out for MLB teams.

Today in former Brewers:

It's been an interesting start to the Championship Series round of the playoffs, as all four of the games played to this point have been competitive. With that said, slow play has once again become an issue: Saturday night's 1-0 Tigers win over the Red Sox required three hours and 56 minutes to play. That's just ridiculous, and I tweeted about it here:

Slow baseball does leave time for a lot of crowd shots, though: Flip Flop Fly Ball has an infographic showing the variety of camera work done during the ninth inning of that game.

And in baseball economics:

  • It could be a big winter for some of baseball's smallest market teams. Last week we mentioned that the Astros are expected to increase payroll significantly, and now it sounds like the Indians and Pirates could do so as well.
  • South Side Sox has a look at the White Sox attendance, which dropped to 1.77 million in 2013 but hasn't fallen as far as one might expect given the circumstances.

This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History marks what would have been 1953-57 Milwaukee Brave Dave Jolly's 89th birthday. Here are today's other bits of history:

  • Today is also former Seattle Pilot and 1970-71 Brewer Tommy Harper's 73rd birthday, and Plunk Everyone ntoes that his 35 career HBP are the fourth most ever for a player born on October 14.
  • Morineko has a review of Bushville Wins!, a 2012 book about the 1957 Milwaukee Braves.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm still watching the Horizon.

Drink up.