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What we learned this week: January 25, 2014

This week's lessons includes the paradox of Matt Garza's contract, currently in an unknown state where he's both signed and not signed at the same time, and the only way to know which is true is to reveal the contract.


Matt Garza's contract is a paradox.

Late this week, we got introduced to the paradox of Schrodinger's Cat Matt Garza's contract. The contract is currently in a state where it both exists and does not exist at the same time. The paradox first came out on Thursday afternoon, when reports surfaced that the Brewers had signed Garza to a 4 year/$52 million deal. The deal was a surprise to everyone, who didn't see the Brewers making a deal that big this offseason or getting Garza at that contract. It provided a lot of optimism that the Brewers could compete for a wild card spot in 2014.

However, the contract had another twist come up on Thursday night. Instead of getting an announcement of the official deal, the Brewers instead announced that they were just in negotiations with Garza. It was an odd twist in the signing, and led to a lot of speculation about what the delay could be. Reports said that the physical was fine and wasn't related to health issues. Other reports came out saying it was just a matter of figuring out the details. The Brewers have been silent on the contract, so for now, we're waiting in this paradox where the Brewers have made a major signing, and where nothing has changed.

The first base situation continues to get more interesting.

Last week, the Brewers first base competition really got going when the Brewers announced the signing of Mark Reynolds to a minor league contract. It wasn't the big name to get everyone too excited, but it was enough of an upgrade to get a positive feeling going. Over on Beyond the Box Score, Evan Kendall examined the Brewers situation at first base with Reynolds, and noted that while Reynolds isn't a great player, he will be an improvement over what the Brewers have. That was also the general consensus by many other people, and considering what the Brewers had last season, it makes a lot of sense.

Before Reynolds signed, one of the possibilities that was discussed is moving one of the other starters to first base to cover the gap there. Some of the depth at other positions prompted the discussions, thinking that it would be easier to replace another position over finding a replacement at first base. Eric Nehm broke down this possibility on Saturday of last week, using WAR to show how different players would be affected with a move to first base.

The first base situation got even more interesting this week when another surprise signing happened. On Monday, the Brewers added to the first base competition with the addition of Lyle Overbay on a minor-league deal. Overbay is returning to the Brewers after leaving in a trade, though this time he is coming in to compete for the job. In the course of a week, the first base competition went from nothing there to a significant competition. It's much more exciting to think about now.

Of course, despite the competition that will occur at first now, it's still not a very good situation compared to what the Brewers had when Prince Fielder was at first base. It brings up a question worth thinking about: How are the Brewers doing compared to former Brewers at other positions? Kyle analyzed this exact possibility on Friday, looking at the infield positions and comparing the incumbent starter for the Brewers to the best former Brewer starter still active. The end result was that the Brewers are doing better at second base, third base, and catcher, while not doing as well at first base and shortstop.

Other lessons from the week

- While many people think that Khris Davis can't maintain his production levels, Fred thinks it's time to take Davis seriously and believe he can maintain his production.
- B.J. Surhoff spent nine years with the Brewers, but had his best years after leaving Milwaukee. Camden Chat ranks Surhoff as the 31st greatest Oriole of all time.
- listed one Brewer in its top 100 prospects, and it's Jimmy Nelson ranked 83rd.
- More invites to spring training are going out, and four Brewers minor league players earned invitations.

Reviewing the Brew Crew Blasts Series

Brew Crew Blasts: The Bad Ones

The Collection of Mugs

1/20/2014: A clean arbitration slate
1/21/2014: "O"pen competition
1/22/2014: Who's on first?
1/23/2014: Filling out the camp roster
1/24/2014: The Garza Gambit

Test Your Knowledge

The Thursday Thinker: Calling all campers
Sporcle Quiz of the Afternoon: 250+ HRs in a Decade (from Lone Star Ball)