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What we learned this week: February 8, 2014

This week's lessons include the final preparations for spring training, a new arm for the bullpen, and more on the first base situation.

Christian Petersen

At this time next week, spring training will be in progress.

We're only a week away from the start of spring training now. Around 20 players have already reported, though the pitchers & catchers report date is next Saturday. The trucks of Brewers equipment are on their way to Arizona, which includes the wrapped up racing sausages. The winter leagues are finishing up, with the last players in the playoffs right now. A few players are in the Caribbean series, which will play their championship game tonight. Once that series is over, a few more players will be reporting to camp. Meanwhile, football season came to an end with the Super Bowl, clearing out one of the other big sports from the schedule. Fans are making travel plans for trips to Arizona, though some ballparks will be more desirable to visit than others. Kyle went through the Yelp ratings of each ballpark on Monday to help prepare for the season. Many people will visit these ballparks in the upcoming weeks, and there may be some stops that people will choose to avoid. All of these random events are setting a path to Arizona, and next week, they will all come together.

A few last pieces are coming together through free agency.

With the Matt Garza signing final, the Brewers have moved on to pull together the last few pieces for the team. Rumors had been building for weeks that the Brewers were looking for another bullpen arm, and those rumors hit their climax this week. The first reliever that the Brewers targeted was Carlos Marmol, but that deal didn't happen after he signed with the Marlins. Some fans were relieved by that, while others weren't as happy. Of course, opinions may have changed about that signing after Friday, when the Brewers surprised a lot of people by signing Francisco Rodriguez. It will be his third stint with the team, though opinions on this signing were just as mixed as the opinions on Marmol. It provides some experience to the bullpen, which did have some good players returning anyway. One of those players is Brandon Kintzler, who will be looking to build on his great performance from 2013. It's always tough to predict the bullpen's performance, but we can always predict how it will play out.

Meanwhile, first base is still a topic of discussion as spring training begins. It seems like Mark Reynolds will be an integral part of the first base situation, though it's uncertain exactly how it will play out. There are a few players who could platoon with him, and Fred Hofstetter went through those options. While none of the options look great, it's probable that it will be better than last season. The change at first base is one of the bigger moves in MLB this offseason, though it's mainly because of how bad the situation was last season. It's also possible that the Brewers could bring another candidate in to compete in spring training. Brett Wallace was designated for assignment by the Astros and could be claimed by the Brewers to add another option for first base. Regardless of how it plays out, it should be better for the Brewers in 2014.

Other lessons

- The current vs. former Brewers series was wrapped up on Tuesday with a final look at which side wins when the two are matched up. Some positions have big advantages, while others are at a disadvantage, and a few are too close to call.
- The Cubs will lose their 10,000th game in 2014. The Brewers could be the team to hand them that loss, and Kyle mentioned when it could happen. There's one series that is lined up well for this to happen.

The Collection of Mugs

2/3/2014: Gallardo Overload
2/4/2014: Rotation Reevaluation
2/5/2014: Happy Truck Day
2/6/2014: Getting Under It
2/7/2014: A Week Away

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