Some things to read while passing through.
We are 65 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale, and today could be the day we find out if Corey Hart will have a locker in the Brewers clubhouse. Hart is believed to have received the Brewers' best offer and will decide today if he's going to return to Milwaukee, perhaps before noon. With that said, Hart was also expected to decide last night. We'll know when we know, I guess. The Brewers have suggested they'll be ready to move on from Hart if a deal isn't reached by the end of the Winter Meetings.
If Hart does decide to go elsewhere, the Brewers have kept their options open at first base. Adam McCalvy reports (via Twitter), though, that they're not interested in signing former Rays 1B James Loney to a three-year deal. Reports have also surfaced that the Mets asked for Tyler Thornburg in exchange for Ike Davis, and the Brewers said no.
Meanwhile, the Brewers appear to view most of their internal candidates as being a year away. Doug Melvin told reporters yesterday that Jason Rogers' third base/outfield experiments have created a consensus opinion that he's going to be a first baseman, and he wishes he'd given Hunter Morris some MLB time last September. (h/t @AdamMcCalvy in two parts)
Aramis Ramirez has one year remaining on his contract with the Brewers, and it appears he'll be spending that season in Milwaukee. Doug Melvin told reporters he "probably would not" move Ramirez in a trade this winter. Ramirez, by the way, hit the Brewers' sixth longest home run in 2013.
Carlos Gomez also isn't going anywhere. He is, however, responsible for four of the Brewers' five spots on MLB Network's list of the top 75 defensive plays of the 2013 season.
This morning I realized that we haven't heard Kyle Lohse's name (or Yovani Gallardo's) come up in rumors a single time this week. Despite the fact that he's only been in the organization about nine months, Martin Maldonado (via Twitter) named Lohse as the leader of this Brewers team.
Elsewhere in the rotation, Curt Hogg of Disciples of Uecker has a look at the improvement one can reasonably expect from Wily Peralta following his up-and-down rookie season. He says, "To reach that 'next step,' Peralta's going to have to be more effective when ahead in the count"
Behind Lohse, Gallardo, Peralta and Marco Estrada, Tyler Thornburg currently holds the inside track for the final rotation spot. Jim Owczarski of OnMilwaukee.com talked to Thornburg about his first extended opportunity in the majors in 2013 and looking ahead to 2014.
There's reason for optimism regarding that rotation, but is it enough? Vineet Barot of Disciples of Uecker looked at the WAR projections and has the Brewers as a 78-win team for 2014.
It also doesn't take long for projections like that to change. Moments ago, for example, Tom Haudricourt reported (via Twitter) that the Brewers are one of several teams checking in on former Mets pitcher Johan Santana.
In the minors:
- Until or unless Corey Hart makes a decision, today's big news comes from Nashville. Last night the city's metro council voted to approve plans to build a new stadium for the Sounds that would open in April of 2015. (h/t @AdamMcCalvy)
- There's also ballpark news in the Southern League, where a deal is believed to be in place to purchase the Huntsville Stars and move them to Biloxi, Mississippi starting in 2015.
- The Brewers are also believed to have hired longtime minor league manager Carlos Subero to manage the Stars in 2014. Subero has 13 years of managerial experience across three organizations, and served as skipper of the High-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in the Dodgers organization in 2013.
- Meanwhile in the Dominican Republic, Elian Herrera went 2-for-4 with a walk in Oriente's 3-2 win over Licey last night (box score). Alfredo Figaro picked up the loss after allowing a single run over 1.1 innings of work, and Juan Francisco went 1-for-4 with a run scored in his first appearance since November 26.
Back in Orlando, Doug Melvin and Ron Roenicke were both interviewed by MLB Network at the Winter Meetings yesterday, and The Brewer Nation has video from both.
Blue Jays: Are expected to hire former minor league manager Tim Leiper as their new third base coach.
Cardinals: Hired David Bell as their new assistant hitting coach.
Diamondbacks: Acquired first baseman Mark Trumbo, a minor leaguer and a PTBNL in a three-team trade that sent outfielder Adam Eaton to the White Sox and pitchers Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs to the Angels.
Mets: Re-signed pitcher Jeremy Hefner to a minor league deal.
Rockies: Acquired pitcher Brett Anderson from the Athletics for pitcher Drew Pomeranz and a minor leaguer.
Tigers: Signed outfielder Rajai Davis to a two-year deal believed to be worth $9-10 million.
Today in former Brewers:
- Jeff Zimmerman of Royals Review has a look at what Royals fans should expect from Norichika Aoki.
- The Marlins are reportedly interested in Mat Gamel as a potential third baseman.
Getting everyone in one place for three and a half days of Winter Meetings produces a fair amount of rumor and chatter, but I'd assume keeping everyone in a confined space for that long also creates some pretty remarkable drama. I'm guessing the scenario laid out in our Tweet of the Day happened more than once this week:
I think a baseball employer-employee relationship ended in a room on our floor an hour or so ago. And it ended loudly.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 11, 2013
With help from the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to:
- 2009 Brewer Josh Butler, who turns 29.
- 1990 Brewer Bob Sebra, who turns 52.
- 1959-65 Milwaukee Brave Lee Maye, who would have turned 79. We covered his birthday in Today In Brewer History two years ago.
Plunk Everyone notes that Maye's 19 career HBP are the fourth most ever for a player born on December 11.
Today is also the 28th anniversary of the Brewers acquiring pitcher Mark Clear from the Red Sox for infielder Ed Romero. We covered that event in Today In Brewer History last year.
Now, if you'll excuse me, someone let Jeff Karstens in here again.