Thursday's Frosty Mug: The Cactus League Crescendo
We're talking about the final spring training game and more in today's roundup of all things Brewers.
Some things to read while getting beaten up at work.
The Brewers played their final Cactus League road game on Wednesday, and unfortunately, it was one to forget: Yovani Gallardo lasted just two innings and allowed four runs on six hits and four walks in a 10-3 loss to the Indians. Jordan Bastian of MLB.com talked to Gallardo about the outing.
Nonetheless, Gallardo is still slated to start on Opening Day for the fifth consecutive season. He leads a Brewers rotation that was revamped over the winter with the addition of Matt Garza, but Dave Cameron of FanGraphs says it's still only the 25th best group in baseball.
Yesterday's biggest story, however, may have been the continued absence of Jean Segura. He was unable to play the field for the eighth consecutive day with shoulder soreness, but did get some at bats in minor league camp. An MRI on his shoulder came back negative on Tuesday, but we're starting to reach the point where he may not be ready for Opening Day. @Mass_Haas notes that having the DH in Boston would allow the Brewers to get him into the lineup for a few days next week without him having to play the field.
If the Brewers are going to compete this season, they likely need continued growth from Segura, who was an All Star in his first full MLB season in 2013 but is still only 24 years old. We have a few notes on him today:
The Brewers will wrap up Cactus League play today when they host the Reds in Maryvale at 2:05 Central time, with Kyle Lohse getting the ball to face 26-year-old righty J.J. Hoover. The Reds are sending a split squad to face the Crew.
Meanwhile, one could be forgiven for looking ahead to Monday and the open of the 2014 regular season. The pitching matchups for the Braves series have been announced and are as follows:
Hopefully Gallardo, Lohse and Garza pitch deep into games next week and hand leads over to the Brewer bullpen. Jim Henderson and Will Smith each pitched scoreless outings yesterday, while Francisco Rodriguez and Brandon Kintzler each allowed runs in their innings. Rodriguez and Kintzler were pitching on back-to-back days for the first time this spring. Curt Hogg of Disciples of Uecker has a preview of the Brewers setup men.
Next week we'll see the first test of the Brewers' new platoons at first and second base as Ron Roenicke gets his first chance to play matchups with Mark Reynolds, Lyle Overbay, Scooter Gennett and Rickie Weeks. As of yesterday, he wouldn't confirm who will play when they face Julio Teheran, a right-hander, on Monday. (h/t @AdamMcCalvy)
With the Opening Day roster set, we now have a pretty firm grip on the Brewers' season-opening payroll. It's a franchise-record $103 million, but @JustinHullRadio notes that it's only baseball's 16th-highest mark.
Khris Davis will make about $500,000 this season, so he represents about 0.5% of the full payroll. He'll draw plenty of attention playing left field in his first full MLB season, though, and Timmy Kennedy of Call to the Pen listed him as one of this season's "players to watch."
In the minors:
Back in Milwaukee, preparations continue for Friday's exhibition opener at Miller Park. The banners outside the ballpark are ready, and @GArmasAP has a picture of Matt Garza's. John Steinmiller and Caitlin Moyer have a look at what else is new around the ballpark this season.
- Outfielder Mitch Haniger is headed back to the minors to open the season, but @AdamMcCalvy says you "can't overstate the impression" he made on the Brewers this spring. Haniger homered as one of his two hits yesterday and will likely finish the spring with a .500/.579/.938 slash line (AVG/OBP/SLG) despite never having played professionally above High-A.
- Nashville broadcaster Jeff Hem has an interview with new AAA manager Rick Sweet.
- Brad Krause of Miller Park Prospects has a story on 2013 Brevard County Manatee and 2014 spring training invitee Cameron Garfield.
- GUHoyas.com has a look at three Georgetown alums playing professional baseball, including 2013 Wisconsin infielder Mike Garza.
The Brewers play a couple of exhibition games at home this weekend before turning on the bright lights on Monday. Adam McCalvy talked to Bob Uecker about Opening Day for his 59th season in baseball. This year's opener will feature three Wisconsin-born 2014 Olympians throwing out the first pitch, including two members of the silver medal-winning women's hockey team.
Today in predictions, projections, previews and the like:
- Red Reporter has a preview of the 2014 Brewers and says, " My guess is the Brewers hover around .500 this season, but this is a team that if everything breaks right could compete for a Wild Card spot."
- Mike Oz of Big League Stew is less optimistic and has them finishing fourth in his predicted standings.
- As you might expect, the Unified Cardinals Bloggers also don't think highly of the Brewers and have them finishing fourth.
- Dan Simpson of Talking Chop, a Braves site, left the Brewers off his list of threats to win an NL Wild Card.
Angels: Released pitcher Joe Blanton.
Cubs: Released catcher George Kottaras.
Giants: Second baseman Marco Scutaro will open the season on the DL with a back injury.
Orioles: Outfielder Nolan Reimold will open the season the DL as he continues to recover from neck surgery.
Pirates: Signed outfielder Starling Marte to a six-year, $31 million deal with club options for 2020 and 2021.
Rangers: Claimed infielder Donnie Murphy off waivers from the Cubs, claimed pitcher Seth Rosin off waivers from the Dodgers, signed pitcher Scott Baker and released pitcher Tommy Hanson.
Rays: Released pitcher Mark Lowe.
White Sox: Claimed reliever Javy Guerra off waivers from the Dodgers.
Sometimes it's easy to forget that all of these transactions are life-altering moves for the players involved, although some are more awkward than others. New Cardinals pitcher David Aardsma, for example, is now a teammate of infielder Jhonny Peralta just a few months after publicly criticizing him for PED use.
Today in former Brewers:
Today in baseball economics:
Finally, with help from the Baseball Reference Play Index, we'd like to wish a happy birthday today to:
- Forbes has released estimated values for every MLB team, and they have the Brewers at $565 million entering the 2014 season. That's 25th in all of baseball, but more than twice what Mark Attanasio's group paid for the team in 2005.
- The Astros have raised their payroll to $44 million for this season, but that's still the lowest mark in baseball. Pitcher Scott Feldman is responsible for more than 25 percent of that total.
- Overall, player salaries are expected to exceed $3.5 billion this season. That's roughly $117 million per team.
Plunk Everyone notes
Now, if you'll excuse me, someone pushed the beds together again.
that Covington's 24 career HBP are the fourth-most ever for a position player born on March 27.
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