Brewers probably won’t make big moves at Winter Meetings

November 30, 2011

> Sorry for such a late post. I’ve been busy today, but I’m just going to try and quickly go through the Brewers’ news released today.

> Doug Melvin announced earlier today that the Brewers won’t be major players at the Winter Meetings this year. I guess this was expected, although the Brewers do have a few holes to fill, such as a shortstop and relievers. Not nearly as many as they did in 2010, however.

By the way, if you don’t already know, the Winter Meetings are in Dallas this year from December 5-8.

> The Brewers just can’t get a break as far as Minor League pitching goes. Pitching prospect Santo Manzanillo separated his right shoulder in a car crash earlier today in the Dominican Republic. This came a few days after Manzanillo was put on the 40-man roster for protection from being plucked away in the Rule 5 Draft.

Anyway, who knows what this injury is going to do to his arm. It could affect him a lot because he’s a power pitcher, shown by his numbers- 1.75 ERA and 17 saves between Class A Brevard County and Double-A Huntsville.

Notice how this occurred in the Dominican Republic. At this point, I’m starting to get shaky about Major League players leaving the country to return to their native countries for offseason exercising or winter ball, because it seems like bad things continue to happen. Wilson Ramos, Greg Halman, and now this. I hope this is the end of it.

> And that’s about all the Brewers news. There were some major signings around the rest of the MLB, however.

> The Red Sox may have finally found a new manager in Bobby Valentine. Reports are saying that both sides are close to a deal. Plus, it was reported that Gene Lamont is no longer a contender for their managerial position, leaving Valentine as the only choice.

> The Royals signed former Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton to a one-year deal today. Broxton, typically a closer, is probably going to set up for All-Star closer Joakim Soria.

I’m always tempted to make jokes about Broxton’s weight (he weighs 300 pounds) even though I know I shouldn’t; then I remember his insanely high strikeouts per innings pitched. He has struck out 503 batters in just 382 innings, which is 11.55 strikeouts per nine innings.

> The Cubs are apparently interested in both Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. Hopefully they’re smart enough to know they can only sign one.

> And that’s all I’ve got right now. Again, sorry for such a late post; I’ll probably update this with more links tomorrow. But thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.


Brewers hire another Narron to be hitting coach

November 29, 2011

> This isn’t exactly the situation I expected as far as the Brewers’ search for a hitting coach goes.

> The Brewers have hired another Narron to be part of the coaching staff- Johnny Narron. He will take over Dale Sveum‘s place as hitting coach, and will be “reunited,” so to speak, with his brother (and Brewers bench coach) Jerry Narron.

Johnny is most famous for turning Rangers All-Star Josh Hamilton into the player he is today, from the days Hamilton was with the Reds. I’m hoping he can do the same for a couple struggling Brewers, such as Casey McGehee and Yuniesky Betancourt (if he comes back, which I’ve heard he might).

And I don’t know what it is about the Brewers and the Narrons. The Brewers also have a Minor League pitcher- Sam Narron, who I think is the nephew of Jerry (or something along those lines).

> The Astros are apparently trying to revamp their front office. That started today, as the released president Tal Smith and GM Ed Wade. But, it’s just one of those situations where something has to be done after an awful season.

And it wasn’t only Smith and Wade. Last week, Drayton McLane handed the Astros over to Jim Crane. So, by the beginning of next year, the Astros’ front office is going to look completely different- just in time for their move to the AL West.

> The Cardinals are discovering that more and more teams aren’t going to be contenders for free agent Albert Pujols. It’s been reported that they aren’t going to bump up their offer to him, which is supposedly for nine years and around $210 million. And they shouldn’t. Bidding against yourself for the best free agent on the market doesn’t sound very logical to me.

The only other “serious” contenders for Pujols are the Marlins. But honestly, can you see Pujols in a Marlins’ uniform?

> And that’s about it for today. Not much news (and not much to say about the news that there is), but, assuming there isn’t any tomorrow, I should have an article-style post up tomorrow. Anyway, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.


And the slow offseason continues.

November 28, 2011

> As far as baseball goes, this has been one of the most boring weeks I’ve had in awhile.

> The Brewers made absolutely no roster moves, not even minor ones, which has left me with absolutely nothing to post about. And, on top of that, none of the major free agents- or even minor ones- signed with teams this week, also leaving me with nothing to post about. A few days ago, I attempted to come with my own topic, which was talking about whether or not five-tool catchers exist. Personally, I thought it was a good idea. But, judging by the amount of feedback (there wasn’t any), it must not have gone over well.

> I tend not to post about minor moves of other teams on here, but, since I can’t come up with any of my own material at the moment, I’m kind of forced to. So, here’s a list of those moves made over the past couple of days.

> Freddy Garcia is returning to the Yankees. The Yankees signed the right-hander to a Minor League deal last offseason as a last resort because they missed out on Cliff Lee, and Garcia responded by going 12-8 with a 3.62 ERA. In my opinion, the Yankees may have gotten lucky with him last year, but we’ll see how it goes over this time around.

> The Red Sox managerial search is reportedly down to two candidates- Bobby Valentine and Gene Lamont, both of whom are veterans with prior managing experience in the Majors. The Sox were interested in getting former Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum, but he opted to become the manager of the Cubs.

> Neftali Feliz is moving into the Rangers’ rotation. And no, it apparently didn’t have anything to do with the fact that he blew a save after being one strike away from sealing the Rangers’ first World Series title. Anyway, the Rangers signed former Twins closer Joe Nathan to a two-year deal a few days ago, which forces Feliz out of the spot.

> Oh, and one non-baseball related topic- the NBA lockout supposedly ended yesterday morning. Not that I care, but I’d like to point out that this 149-day lockout made me realize how many people don’t care about basketball. I didn’t hear one person complain for the entire lockout. Which made me feel good, knowing that I’m not the only who could care less about a bunch of show-boating “stars.” I know people say that baseball is losing popularity (which it really isn’t), but there are probably still more baseball fans than basketball fans.

By the way, the NBA season starts on Christmas day. Classic.

> And that’s about all the major minor moves (if that makes any sense) of the past few days. Feel free to leave your thoughts, if you have any. In the meantime, I’m going to try and come up with my own material for the next few days, because, if the first few weeks have been an indicator, it’s going to be a pretty boring offseason.


Five-tool catchers- do they actually exist?

November 25, 2011

> Earlier today, I was reading an article on MLB Trade Rumors. It talked about what general managers look for in drafts, such as five-tool players, front-of-the-line ace pitchers, and so on. But, there was one specific type of player in that article that caught my eye- a type of player I didn’t even know existed, and it may very well not even exist.

A five-tool catcher. The baseball terms “five-tool” and “catcher” typically contradict each other, hence the reason a five-tool catcher is so rare and unheard of. If you don’t already know, the five tools in baseball are hitting for average, hitting for power, speed, a good arm, and good defense. The most common type of player to wield the five tools is an outfielder. And, not coincidentally, the two top finishers for the NL MVP were outfielders- Ryan Braun and Matt Kemp- and you could make the argument that both are five-tool players, despite their young ages.

The best that catchers can usually be are four-tool players, as the top catchers in baseball are typically good hitters and good defenders (blocking pitches and throwing out runners). But, that one tool they almost always lack is speed. That’s kind of a given, though, considering they have to sit crouched in one position behind the plate for over 1,000 innings per year.

There are plenty of good catchers out there. Brian McCann (Braves) has made the All-Star Team every year since 2006, and has also hit 20 or more home runs every since as well (except 2007). But, his defense is below average for a catcher, and then there’s the speed as well. Yadier Molina (Cardinals) has always been arguably the best defensive catcher in baseball, throwing out nearly 50% of runners that have tried stealing against him in his career. Molina also broke out at the plate this year, hitting .293. But, he’s painfully slow, even for a catcher. Buster Posey (Giants), after winning the 2010 Rookie of the Year Award in the NL, promptly got injured in 2011, so we have yet to see what he’s truly capable of. Anyway, there’s more catchers to list, but I’m not going to rattle on forever about every catcher in the Majors.

While all of the guys I just listed are good, All-Star caliber catchers, they can’t be considered true five-tool players, simply because of that lack of speed. Hence, I don’t think a five-tool catcher can exist.

> When that topic on MLBTR caught my eye, I also started thinking about the Brewers’ young catcher, Jonathan Lucroy. He certainly isn’t a five-tool catcher either, because, like all catchers, he doesn’t have speed. And his offense could use a little work.

But, offensively, I think he’s headed in the right direction. After coming up from Double-A in May of 2010 to replace the injured Gregg Zaun, Lucroy was immediately thrown into the fire of being a starting catcher at the Major League level. He finished 2010 hitting .253 with four home runs and 26 RBIs. Then, in 2011, his first full season in the Majors (although he missed a few weeks in April with a broken finger), he hit .265 with 12 homers and 59 RBIs, and demonstrated some power. This makes me think that, in time, Lucroy can be a power threat. I also think he’ll be able to be a near-.300 hitter at some point, but he needs to become less streaky. But doesn’t the entire Brewers’ offense need to become less streaky (save Braun)?

Lucroy also finally developed into a great defensive catcher in the second half of 2011. He still has his occasional embarrassing moment where he doesn’t know where the ball bounced, but he’s become accustomed to blocking balls in the dirt, probably thanks to Zack Greinke‘s slider. And it felt like Lucroy was throwing out more runners than ever in the second half as well.

Anyway, my point here is that I hope the Brewers hang onto Lucroy for awhile. He isn’t arbitration-eligible for the first time until 2014, and not a free agent until 2017, so I guess they’ll kind of be forced to, but hopefully the keep him beyond that. And, I’d like to see Martin Maldonado get a chance next year as a backup catcher. George Kottaras doesn’t even appear to be a catcher, he’s so bad defensively…

> And that’s all I’ve got for now. I might post Hot Stove news later. That is, if anything happens… Anyhow, thanks for reading.


Brewers offered K-Rod arbitration without “gentleman’s deal”

November 25, 2011

> If this doesn’t turn out the way the Brewers want it to, they could be on the hook for a lot of money.

> Doug Melvin said this morning that the Brewers and free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez did not strike a “gentleman’s deal,” as they’re called, before the Brewers offered him arbitration. This could be more dangerous than they think.

> Rodriguez has expressed his interest in closing, but has also expressed interest in money. Rodriguez could probably make more money by accepting the Brewers’ arbitration offer than signing with a team on the open market, meaning taking setting up over closing. Rafael Soriano made a similar move last offseason, as he signed with the Yankees as a setup man (obviously, that didn’t go over well) instead of signing with another team to close.

> Anyway, my point is the Brewers are already close to being in financial trouble. I doubt they’ll get there, but it’s possible. Though it’s unlikely they’ll sign him, the Brewers are obviously in the bidding for Prince Fielder. If they do wind up signing him somehow, that lowers the likelihood of extending starters Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum, another offseason priority for the Brewers. If Rodriguez ends up accepting arbitration, that puts the Brewers in a bad situation.

> But I highly doubt all of these pieces will fall into place. I’m 80% sure that Fielder and Rodriguez will be in different uniforms next year, and the Brewers will manage to extend both Greinke and Marcum. But, they’ll also need to look for some relievers, as they’re also losing Takashi Saito and LaTroy Hawkins.

> Anyway, that was all the news for today. Sorry it came later than usual, but I was out celebrating Thanksgiving with my family and friends, and hopefully you were too, instead of sitting on the Internet all day.

> And on that note, I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving, and I thank you for reading.


Recap of all major awards

November 23, 2011

> Yesterday, the NL MVP was handed out. This marked the last major award of the offseason. And I’m proud to say that, for the first time ever, I got all of my predictions right. Not that I agreed with all of them, but they were probably the most logical choice fore each award.

> Anyway, here are the top finishers for each award (courtesy of Baseball Reference):

AL MVP

1. Justin Verlander, Tigers

2. Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox

3. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays

4. Curtis Granderson, Yankees

5. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

6. Robinson Cano, Yankees

7. Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox

8. Michael Young, Rangers

9. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox

10. Evan Longoria, Rays
NL MVP

1. Ryan Braun, Brewers

2. Matt Kemp, Dodgers

3. Prince Fielder, Brewers

4. Justin Upton, Diamondbacks

5. Albert Pujols, Cardinals

6. Joey Votto, Reds

7. Lance Berkman, Cardinals

8. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies

9. Roy Halladay, Phillies

10. Ryan Howard Phillies

AL Cy Young Award

1. Justin Verlander, Tigers

2. Jered Weaver, Angels

3. James Shields, Rays

4. CC Sabathia, Yankees

5. Jose Valverde, Tigers

6. C.J. Wilson, Rangers

7. Dan Haren, Angels

8. Mariano Rivera, Yankees

9. Josh Beckett, Red Sox

10. Ricky Romero, Blue Jays

NL Cy Young Award

1. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers

2. Roy Halladay, Phillies

3. Cliff Lee, Phillies

4. Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks

5. Cole Hamels, Phillies

6. Tim Lincecum, Giants

7. Yovani Gallardo, Brewers

8. Matt Cain, Giants

9. John Axford, Brewers

9. Craig Kimbrel, Braves

AL Rookie of the Year

1. Jeremy Hellickson, Rays

2. Mark Trumbo, Angels

3. Eric Hosmer, Royals

4. Ivan Nova, Yankees

5. Michael Pineda, Mariners

6. Dustin Ackley, Mariners

7. Desmond Jennings, Rays

7. Jordan Walden, Angels

NL Rookie of the Year

1. Craig Kimbrel, Braves

2. Freddie Freeman, Braves

3. Vance Worley, Phillies

4. Wilson Ramos, Nationals

5. Josh Collmenter, Diamondbacks

6. Danny Espinosa, Nationals

7. Darwin Barney, Cubs

7. Kenley Jansen, Dodgers

AL Manager of the Year

1. Joe Maddon, Rays

2. Jim Leyland, Tigers

3. Ron Washington, Rangers

4. Manny Acta, Indians

5. Joe Girardi, Yankees

6. Mike Scioscia, Angels

NL Manager of the Year

1. Kirk Gibson, Diamondbacks

2. Ron Roenicke, Brewers

3. Tony La Russa, Cardinals

4. Charlie Manuel, Phillies

5. Fredi Gonzalez, Braves

6. Bruce Bochy, Giants

6. Clint Hurdle, Pirates

8. Terry Collins, Mets

8. Don Mattingly, Dodgers

> Most of them seemed deserving enough. Although I was surprised to see Longoria even on the AL MVP ballot.

> Anyway, onto some Brewers news. They’ve offered arbitration to free agents Prince Fielder and Francisco Rodriguez. Assuming both decline it (which they probably both will), the Brewers will get four premium picks in next year’s First-Year Player Draft.

> Which brings me to my next point. I didn’t pay much attention to the small print of the labor agreement reached between MLB and the players’ union because I was celebrating Braun’s MVP award, but apparently this new agreement is creating a salary cap on how much teams can pay players to sign with them after being drafted. This will probably effect how some teams draft for the next five years, especially teams that rely on the draft in order to contend, such as the Rays.

But hey, it’s what we’ve grown to expect from Bud Selig.

> The biggest news of today was the Indians bringing back the injury-prone Grady Sizemore on a one-year deal worth around $5 million. I guess they aren’t giving up on the center fielder yet, despite the fact he’s had five different surgeries over the past three years, and has averaged below 100 games played per season during that span.

> Bruce Chen has decided to go back to the Royals for the third straight year, but this time signed a two-year deal. Chen really came out of nowhere as a solid pitcher for the Royals in 2010, and had an even better 2011. But I’m surprised Chen’s “chencision” was to return to the Royals instead of play for a contending team. (In case you haven’t noticed, I occasionally use @TrippingOlney jokes on here.)

> Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts. I’ll update again if any other big news comes out tonight.


Braun beats out Kemp for NL MVP

November 23, 2011

> And Ryan Braun wins the NL MVP. Let the debating begin.

> Braun beat the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp for the award, which has already caused a lot of debate. Most of it is that people think the only reason Braun won is because he played for a contending team. Which was part of it, and I’m not saying I disagree with it, as I said in my post last night. “Best player” and “most valuable player” don’t always mean the same thing.

> Anyway, I’m not going to talk much about the whole debate thing right now, but more about Braun’s numbers and why he was so deserving of this award.

> Braun is the first Brewer to win the MVP since Robin Yount won it in 1989. Yount is arguably the greatest player in Brewers history, so Braun has come along away and is joining some elite company.

Braun received 20 of 32 first-place votes, which totals 388 points. Kemp came in second with 10 first-place votes (332), Prince Fielder in third with one first-place vote (229) and Justin Upton in fourth also with one first-place vote (214). Albert Pujols came in fifth with 166 points, but the highest vote he received was one third-place vote.

In 2011, Braun hit .332 with 33 home runs and 111 RBIs- definitely a MVP-caliber season. Kemp hit .324 with 39 homers and 126 RBIs. By looking at those numbers, you’d probably wonder why Kemp didn’t win instead.

But what I think separated Braun from Kemp was simply how often Braun came through in the clutch- yes, this is something that effects the voting. Braun coming through in the clutch is what drove the Brewers to the postseason. Kemp didn’t exactly come through in the clutch very often (but he played for the Dodgers, which explains why).

But what I’m saying is that the voting goes beyond the numbers.

> MLB and the players’ union came to an agreement on a five-year labor deal (imagine how jealous the NBA must be right now). Of course, this garnered about as much buzz- if not more- as Braun winning the MVP.

Anyway, it’s good to know that we won’t be seeing another baseball strike anytime soon.

> Jim Crane and his group officially took over the Astros today. They’ve agreed to move the Astros to the AL as early as 2013, as we heard a few weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Drayton McLane wonders how he sold the worst team in the MLB for $610 million.

> Anyway, I’m kind of short on time right now, so that’s all I’ve got. Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts, if you have any.


Why Verlander deserved his MVP award

November 22, 2011

> The AL MVP was handed out today, and, as I predicted, Justin Verlander won.

> But, there are a lot of people out there who think Verlander shouldn’t have won- because he’s a pitcher. Sure, the Cy Young Award is there for the best overall pitcher in each league. And they don’t need to play for a contending team. Felix Hernandez (Mariners) and Zack Greinke (while he was on the Royals) are the two most recent pitchers to take home the Cy Young Award while sulking on last place teams.

>  A lot of people are going to disagree with this, but I think the MVP should play for a contending team. If the player couldn’t get his team into the playoffs, then was he truly that valuable?

> Anyway, regardless of my policy on the MVP, Verlander deserved the award. Let’s start with the numbers- he went 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA and 250 strikeouts, becoming the 11th AL pitcher in history to win the pitching Triple Crown. I know some are saying, “What’s so special about a 2.40 ERA?”  I guess there isn’t much. There were two pitchers with ERAs lower than 2.40, both in the NL- Clayton Kershaw (2.28), who won the NL Cy Young, and Roy Halladay (2.35). Verlander’s 2.40 ERA did lead the AL, however. And, he threw 250 innings and had a .920 WHIP, both of which also led the AL.

> And was there anyone more valuable to their team than Verlander? Try imagining the Tigers without Verlander and his 24 wins. Their rotation would look somewhat like this: Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, Brad Penny, Phil Coke, and who knows who the fifth would have been. (I didn’t put Doug Fister in there because, with that rotation, the Tigers wouldn’t have been contending at the Trade Deadline, hence not being buyers and probably not acquiring Fister.) As I said, the Tigers wouldn’t have been contenders- maybe not even a .500 team.

> Anyhow, this is just my theory that I’ve believed in for awhile now. I can see why some disagree with it, but again- it’s my opinion; you don’t have to agree with it if you don’t want to.

> There was no Brewers news again today. Hopefully, there will be news tomorrow about Ryan Braun winning the NL MVP…

> Greg Halman has been on my mind all day, and if you know what happened to him, he’s probably been on yours as well.

Halman, who had been an outfielder for the Mariners, was stabbed to death early this morning in his native country, the Netherlands.

Sometimes, I don’t understand why our world is like this.

Halman, who was just 24 years old, had played seven Minor League seasons with the Mariners, being drafted when he was 16. This past season, he played in 33 Major League games with the Mariners, and probably had a shot at being a full-time outfielder with them next year. In fact, he was in the Netherlands preparing for that possibility.

But no. Everything- everything he worked for, everything he dreamed of- was taken away from him in an instant, because of the blade of a knife.

> This has been a scary offseason so far. First, Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was kidnapped in his native Venezuela, but was rescued. Now, this. I hope nothing else like this happens for the rest of the offseason; I’ve had enough already.

But, this is my message to Major League players- don’t return to your native country. According to the events early this offseason, it can only bring bad things.

> The Rangers signed Joe Nathan to a two-year deal today. They’ve announced that they’re moving Neftali Feliz to the rotation, so this probably means that either Nathan or Mike Adams will be their new closer. But I don’t know about this- it appears Nathan is past his prime.

> The Pirates officially announced today that they signed shortstop Clint Barmes to a two-year deal. This makes the Brewers out of the running for the above-average defensive shortstop.

> Anyway, that’s all I’ve got. Feel free to leave comments, if you’ve got them.


A couple of candidates who could replace Sveum

November 21, 2011

> Before I start, I’d just like to thank the Brewers for giving me close to nothing to post about over the past week. This is a blogger’s worst nightmare… Anyway, today was no different- the Brewers made no moves for me to post about.

> So, I’ve decided to talk about a few possible replacements for recently-departed hitting coach Dale Sveum. Now that he’s the manager of the division rival Cubs, the Brewers will need to look for a new hitting coach- hopefully someone that can actually break the slumps of some players, such as Casey McGehee.

> The first candidate is John Shelby, who is currently the Brewers’ outfield instructor. During 11 MLB seasons, Shelby was on two clubs that won the World Series, but hit just a career .239. This is what worries me about this possibility.

But, Shelby has been a coach for the Dodgers, Pirates, and Orioles before joining the Brewers prior to the 2011 season. So he does have a little experience. Although I still have a feeling that it’s very unlikely he’ll get the job.

> Next up is one of the greatest players in Brewers’ history- Paul Molitor. He had a career .306 average over 21 seasons, most of which came with the Brewers. Molitor was also part of the historical 1982 team, in which the Brewers made it to the World Series.

Molitor doesn’t have much coaching experience, although he was the hitting coach for the Mariners a few years ago.

> This one is extremely unlikely, yet possible- Jim Gantner. Like Molitor, he was part of the ’82 team. Gantner was a career .274 hitter, which isn’t spectacular, but at the same time isn’t horrible either. But, Gantner has never been part of a coaching staff before, which is why this is so unlikely.

Anyway, I once knew Gantner in real life- I took hitting lessons from him and knew him for a few years after. So, personally, it would be cool to see him become the hitting coach of the Brewers, as unlikely as it is.

> Robin Yount is arguably the most likely out of the names I’ve mentioned so far. Arguably the greatest player in Brewers’ history (at least in my opinion), he had a career .285 average, and all of his seasons came with the Brewers.

Yount is probably the most likely because he does have previous coaching experience, as he was the Diamondbacks’ bench coach from 2002-2004, and served as the Brewers’ bench coach in 2005 and 2008.

> Of all of these names, the most likely is Sandy Guerrero, who is currently the coach of the Brewers’ Triple-A affiliate, the Nashville Sounds. He’s probably the most likely since he’s the only one of these names that Doug Melvin has actually acknowledged.

> By the way, if you’re wondering, I got these ideal replacements from Bleacher Report. It isn’t a source I use very often, but I figured I would use it today since this is really my first “filler post,” as I call them (meaning posts that aren’t about Brewers’ news, but more of my opinion on certain things).

> Anyway, the only news from around MLB today was that the Phillies acquired the versatile Ty Wigginton from the Rockies. Apparently, the Phillies are attempting to get as many first base replacements for Ryan Howard as they can.

> And that’s about it. Before I go, remember that the AL MVP is going to be announced tomorrow. So far, I’ve gotten all of my award predictions right, and my choice for AL MVP is Justin Verlander- yes, a pitcher. And, whether or not he wins, you’re probably going to see me post an article about why I think Verlander should have won.

> So, feel free to leave your thoughts, if you have any.


News from MLB over the past few days…

November 20, 2011

> There really hasn’t been much news in baseball over the past few days, which is why you didn’t see a post last night. So, here’s a bit of a recap of what’s happened, but it isn’t much…

> The biggest piece of news was Matt Kemp signing an eight-year deal with the Dodgers. There were rumors that the Dodgers were close to signing Kemp earlier this week, but it was just finalized yesterday.

Kemp had an unbelievable season in 2011, hitting .324 with 39 home runs and 126 RBIs. He also had 41 stolen bases, making him a 30/30 player, and nearly a 40/40 player. He and Ryan Braun are the two top contenders for the NL MVP this year, which is going to be announced on Monday.

> Carlos Zambrano was hit in the face by a line drive today during a winter ball start in Venezuela today. Apparently, he was having his best start since he started pitching this fall, but needed to exit the game after being hit.

So you can add yet another chapter to the odd career of the usually-psychotic Cubs pitcher. It seems like every possible negative thing in baseball that can happen to a player happens to Zambrano. Most of the time, it’s his fault, but this time it isn’t.

Zambrano is in winter ball because he missed the last month and a half of the 2011 season after being placed on the restricted list by the Cubs. This all started because he threw inside multiple times to Chipper Jones in a start against the Braves, in which he was getting crushed and was letting his frustration out. He was ejected, and while the benches cleared and his team was fighting for him, Zambrano simply walked off the field laughing. He then walked into the clubhouse, cleaned out his locker, and told the reporters that he was going to retire.

That may have been the break the Cubs were looking for, but, of course, Zambrano didn’t follow through with it.

In reaction to this performance, the Cubs placed Zambrano on the restricted list, as I mentioned earlier, which makes a player ineligible to be around the team or be paid for 3o days. Even after Zambrano’s time on the restricted list was finished (wow, sounded like he was in jail when I put it like that), he didn’t return to the team.

Anyway, that’s the story. Zambrano was having a crappy season as it was, definitely the worst of his career. It was the first time he had an ERA over 4.00, but still posted a winning record. Theo Epstein has announced that Zambrano is going to have to “work his way back” to get a spot on the Cubs’ roster next year, but I think we all know that he’s probably going to be there anyway.

> The Blue Jays have announced that they’re going to have a new logo for next year, and they’re basing it off their traditional logo. Which is awesome, because that Blue Jays logo is my second favorite logo in MLB history (only to the Brewers retro glove logo). Hopefully, it gives them some luck to win the AL East (or at least the Wild Card).

> The Twins signed catcher Ryan Doumit to a two-year deal, which pretty much means they’re expecting Joe Mauer to get injured at this point. Can you blame them?

Anyway, the Brewers had seen Doumit, the former Pirates’ catcher, a lot over the past few years. He tended to be a Brewers-killer, so it’s good that he’ll be out of the league.

> Dale Sveum has been officially named the Cubs’ new manager. You can read my post the other day about my take on that, because it would be a waste of time for me to do it again right here.

> Onto some minor Brewers moves from yesterday and today.

> The Brewers have added four prospects to their 40-man roster yesterday. They are outfielder Caleb Gindl, first baseman Brock Kjeldgaard, right-handed pitcher Santo Manzanillo, and third baseman Zelous Wheeler. With these additions, the Brewers’ 40-man roster stands at 35. And, because these players were added to the roster, they can’t be taken by other teams in the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.

> I noticed the other day that Yovani Gallardo came in seventh place in the NL Cy Young Award voting. That has to be the best any Brewers’ pitcher has done in the voting in years. Gallardo wasn’t quite good enough to win, but his win total and strikeouts probably put him in the race (17-10, 3.52 ERA, 207 strikeouts in 207 innings were his overall numbers).

> And that’s about all I’ve got right now. But, before I go, I just want to explain something new that I might be doing on this blog soon.

With the lack of news around MLB some days, I’m finding myself with nothing to post about. That’s happened to me twice over the past week, and definitely isn’t helping this blog get any more popular. So, I’m thinking about writing about things in Brewers’ history on days that there isn’t much news. By “things,” I mean historical seasons, players, events, top 10 players at a certain position, and so on. I think that would be something good to mix it up once in awhile, because up to now I’ve really just been blogging about news. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I love doing it, but I just want to try something different.

> Anyhow, feel free to leave you thoughts, if you have any.


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