Some things to read while getting more cereal.
We are 20 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale, and the Brewers turned a quiet day into a pretty strange one yesterday. Around noon news broke that the Brewers had signed Matt Garza to a four-year, $52 million contract, which would be the largest free agent deal in franchise history. @Ken_Rosenthal reports that Garza took his physical in the afternoon, but the deal is still not official and the Brewers released a statement saying negotiations are ongoing.
All parties involved are denying that the holdup has anything to do with Garza's physical, which makes the sudden delay all the more unusual. @Haudricourt reports he's never seen anything like it.
While we wait for some kind of update on what's happening, here's a collection of reaction to the (now potential) deal from around the web:
- Adam McCalvy talked to Kyle Lohse, who was surprised by the move.
- David Schoenfield of ESPN says the Brewers are taking a "huge gamble" on Garza.
- Ryan Connor of Reviewing the Brew noted that Garza's frequent use of his slider could increase his injury risk going forward.
- Jack Moore of Sports on Earth notes that Garza is one of just three pitchers who have worked at least 80 innings with an ERA under 4 in every season since 2007.
- Parker Hageman of Twins Daily compares the Garza deal to what the Twins gave Ricky Nolasco, and says Garza has had a "slightly better" career.
- Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs says "as far as this particular move is concerned, it's hard not to like it. I'd say it's also hard to love it, but for the Brewers it's a good upside play."
- Nick Michalski of The Brewers Bar called the move a "legit signing."
- Mike Bauman of MLB.com says the Brewers should be commended for the move.
- Matt Snyder of CBS Sports says not to sleep on the Brewers in 2014.
- Over at Cream City Cables, Nathan Petrashek says "even if the Brewers may not be the most competitive team in 2014, they'll at least be one of the more entertaining ones."
- Garza's "maybe, maybe not" situation made it tough for me to finalize this week's Thursday Thinker, a list of the Brewers' spring training invitees.
While we wait to hear about Garza, we do have other notes on players who have signed. Mark Reynolds, scheduled to come to camp as a non-roster invitee, will appear at Brewers On Deck this weekend. So will Dennis Haskins, the actor who played Mr. Belding on Saved By The Bell.
Maybe the Brewers can assign Haskins an honorary jersey number. As part of their annual "Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers" series, The Brewer Nation has quick profiles of the nine players who will come to spring training with jersey numbers above 67.
If the Brewers do sign Matt Garza, it will likely increase pressure on Ron Roenicke to win again in 2014. GammonsDaily.com has him as one of six candidates in their poll asking which managers on the hot seat will be fired this season.
In the minors:
- Congratulations are due out this morning to Jimmy Nelson, ranked #83 on MLB.com's list of baseball's top 100 prospects. Nelson is the Brewers' lone representative on the list for the second consecutive year.
- Congratulations are also due out to Johnny Hellweg, who yesterday was named the 2013 Nashville Sound of the Year by the Old Timers Baseball Association. (h/t @NashvilleSounds)
- John Sickels of Minor League Ball is working on his list of the top prospects in the Brewers organization for 2014 and has opened up the floor for discussion.
- Juan Francisco went 3-for-4 with a solo home run but it was not enough as Licey lost 6-5 to Escogido in the Dominican championship series (box score). Licey now leads the best-of-nine series 3-1.
- Matt Garrioch of MLB Prospect Guide listed Scooter Gennett among baseball's top 24-year-old second basemen.
- Chris Mehring of Rattler Radio has a look back at Wisconsin's 2013 Star Wars Night jerseys.
If you'd like more Brewers coverage today but you're sick of reading, my Thursday appearances on The Home Stretch with Justin Hull on 95.3 FM WSCO in Appleton and The Watercooler with Jimmie Kaska on Sports Radio 1400 in Eau Claire has been archived. We talked Garza and more in the hours before the team announced the deal wasn't final.
Giants: Signed infielder Joaquin Arias to a two-year, $2.6 million contract, avoiding arbitration.
Indians: Signed pitcher David Aardsma to a minor league deal.
Orioles: Signed pitcher Aaron Laffey to a minor league deal.
Rays: Signed reliever Grant Balfour to a two-year, $12 million contract and designated pitcher Pedro Figueroa for assignment.
Royals: Signed pitcher Jon Rauch to a minor league deal.
- 2013 Wisconsin Timber Rattler Tyler Wagner, who turns 23.
- 1995 Brewer Rob Dibble, who turns 50.
- Seattle Pilot and 1970 Brewer Sandy Valdespino, who turns 75. Valdespino was a pinch hitter in the Brewers' first game in Milwaukee in 1970.
Today is also the second anniversary of Prince Fielder signing with the Tigers, putting a punctuation mark on his Brewers career, and the seventh anniversary of the Brewers signing Martin Maldonado as a minor league free agent in 2007. We covered those events in Today In Brewer History last year and two years ago, respectively.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm drawing the line here.