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Wednesday's Frosty Mug: Option Watch

We're talking about the details of Matt Garza's new deal and more in today's roundup of all things Brewers.

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Tasos Katopodis

Some things to read while coming to the rescue.

We are 15 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale, and now we know that Matt Garza has $12.5 million reasons to be there. Yesterday we learned the details on Garza's new contract with the Brewers, which will pay him $12.5 million over each of the next four seasons with $2 million deferred without interest. The deal also includes playing time incentives and a relatively unusual vesting option, which will pay him $13 million if he reaches certain triggers but could become a club option at just $1 million if he misses significant time due to injury. Nathan Petrashek of Cream City Cables called the deal "surreal."

I could spend all day trying to explain the nuances of Garza's option, but the result still wouldn't be as good as the flowchart Jaymes Langrehr made in our Tweet of the Day:

Derek Harvey of The Book of Gorman has updated his 2014 payroll projections to reflect the details in Garza's deal, and has a look at the Brewers' deferred payment obligations. Between Aramis Ramirez, Kyle Lohse and Garza, the Brewers will owe $8 million in deferred salary to three players unlikely to still be on the roster in 2018.

Ryan Topp of Disciples of Uecker is happy with this move, saying the Garza contract "keeps getting better." Also at DoU, Nicholas Zettel asks if the Brewers are the team that would most benefit from giving Garza this contract. Meanwhile, Dave Cameron of FanGraphs has a look at the differences between this deal and the one the Twins gave Ricky Nolasco.

I haven't seen it yet, but @Haudricourt reports the Brewers have taken out a full page ad in the Journal Sentinel to welcome Garza to Milwaukee.

The Garza acquisition could have a ripple effect in the Brewers bullpen, with Will Smith and possibly Tyler Thornburg now available as relief options. Brandon Berg of asks what the Brewers have in mind beyond Jim Henderson.

Meanwhile, questions remain at first base, where Mark Reynolds is one of several options to earn significant playing time in 2014. David Golebiewski of Baseball Analytics has a look at how Reynolds' performance against inside pitches has diminished in recent years. In a related note, Nick Michalski of The Brewers Bar is attempting to find Reynolds a rhyming nickname.

We'll get to see the battle for playing time play out firsthand this spring, as FS Wisconsin announced plans on Tuesday to televise every spring training home game at Maryvale Baseball Park. That's 14 spring training telecasts, up from three a year ago. Between TV, radio and the internet, every 2014 spring training game will be covered in some fashion.

In the minors:

  • Congratulations are due out this morning to 2013 Wisconsin outfielder Tyrone Taylor, who Baseball Prospectus named as the #1 prospect in the Brewers organization.
  • Juan Francisco went 0-for-4 but it didn't matter last night as Licey beat Escogido 3-2 to win the Dominican Republic's championship series and advance to the Caribbean World Series (box score). Francisco's Licey team joins Martin Maldonado's Mayaguez team in the series.
  • Jason Arndt of Brewers Farm Report has a story on 2013 Huntsville reliever Eric Marzec's winter pitching in Australia and more.
  • Lookout Landing has more on offseason pickup Vinnie Catricala's decision to retire instead of reporting to spring training.

Yesterday featured a lot of conversation about the Brewers minor leaguers, as Baseball Prospectus left the Brewers off their list of baseball's top 101 prospects and Keith Law of ESPN (insider-only) ranked their farm system 30th out of 30 MLB teams. This news drew the attention of Bucs Dugout, who asked what the Pirates can learn from the Brewers' window of success.

Around baseball:

Angels: Signed first baseman Carlos Pena and outfielder Brennan Boesch to minor league deals.
Orioles: Signed 1B/3B Chad Tracy to a minor league deal.
Reds: Avoided arbitration with reliever Aroldis Chapman (one year, $5 million).

The big news around baseball yesterday may have been the introduction of optional padded caps for pitchers to help prevent head injuries on line drives. Nullacct has a photo in this FanShot. Unfortunately, early reaction to the hats has been largely negative. Pitcher Brandon McCarthy, who suffered severe head injuries when he was hit by a line drive in 2012, says he won't wear the hat.

Today in former Brewers:

Finally, with help from the B-Ref Play Index, we'd like to wish a happy birthday today to:

Plunk Everyone notes that Bolin's 60 career hit batsmen are the most ever for a pitcher born on January 25.

Today is also the 44th anniversary of a tragic event in Puerto Rico, as pitcher Miguel Fuentes was shot and killed in a barfight in Loiza Aldea. Fuentes was the last pitcher to appear in a game for the Seattle Pilots. We covered that event in Today In Brewer History last year.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm over my weight limit.

Drink up.