In the News (12/6)

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In the News (12/6)

Brewers News

- Eric Seidman of FanGraphs analyzes the Jorge Julio signing and says, “Julio looks like a pretty good signing relative to his projected contribution, base salary, and the incentive likely to kick in.”

- CC Sabathia won the Warren Spahn Award for being the best lefthanded pitcher in baseball. He also won it last year.

- It looks like Jack Z is turning to a more Sabermetrics-based approach in Seattle. I wonder how deeply he used those fundamentals in Milwaukee and how much the Brewers will use them now that he is gone. I think it’s a very smart practice to use any possible advantage you can find and Sabermetrics is certainly changing the way many teams scout.

- They’re discussing the Top 10 Brewer Games Ever over at Sports Bubbler. A handful of 2008 games are in the mix.

- Brew Crew Ball notes the high numbers of former Texas Rangers Doug Melvin, the former Rangers GM, has brought to Milwaukee. I don’t think it’s that surprising. GMs like “their” people. Some of them have been nice pickups.

- Adam Lindemer at Bleacher Report remembers Greg Vaughn, who appears on the Hall of Fame ballot. Vaughn was one of my favorite players growing up and was key in one of my favorite Brewers games of all time—June 16, 1991. I was 9. I was with fellow-RFBer Bryan, his uncle and a friend of his uncle’s. We had sweet seats behind home plate to watch Chris Bosio work his magic.

Milwaukee got off to a quick 4-0 lead over the Oakland Athletics and were later up 7-1, but gave up the lead behind two Mark McGwire home runs and one Jose Canseco home run. Going into the bottom of the ninth, it was tied 7-7. Gantner singled, Surhoff reached on a fielder’s choice, Gantner safe at second, Yount reaches on error.

Bases loaded. No outs. Greg Vaughn up. GRAND SLAM. Game over. County Stadium erupts. Brewers win. I still smile when I think about how incredible that moment was. Sure, it was trumped by Braun’s home run against the Cubs on the final day of the season this year, but it will always be one of my favorite Brewer moments. And Vaughn was a nice player, but he doesn’t have a prayer of getting into the Hall.

Rumors and Speculation

- The Brewers are reportedly upping their offer to CC to six years, $110 million. That’s still obviously short of the Yankee’s offer ($30 million to be exact), but it will probably help gauge CC’s interest in coming back to Milwaukee.

- Jon Heyman says a friend of CCs has indicated there are two other offers for CC than the two known offers (Brewers and Yankees). I’d guess it’s two of the Dodgers, Giants and Angels, since they’ve all show interest in CC. Boston could also be in the mix.

- Melvin is working on setting up a meeting with CC at the Winter Meetings.

The interesting piece of info in that link, though, is this:

One of Sabathia’s other Brewers teammates, who did not want to jump publicly into the fray, said that infielder Bill Hall spoke with Sabathia earlier this month and came away feeling that Milwaukee’s offer—reported widely but not confirmed by the club at five years and $100 million—could be good enough. That was the day before the Yankees jumped in with a six-year, $140 million offer, and the player said Hall had not heard from Sabathia since.

Sabathia had to know New York’s offer was going to be similar to what Johan Santana signed last year (that was the speculation well before free agency started) and that other teams would get into the running and likely outbid the Brewers. If CC was really considering the Brewers initial offer as “good enough” or if he was even close to that mindset, the Brewers might have a better shot at resigning him than I thought.

- Yankees GM Brian Cashman will meet with CC in Vegas during the winter meetings.

- The Red Sox will also meet with CC.

- Steve Phillips said on Baseball Tonight that he expects Ben Sheets to accept arbitration. I still don’t think he will and Phillips is the only person I’ve heard say that he is leaning that way recently. It wouldn’t necessarily be a bad decision for Sheets, but he can probably get at least a two-year deal worth as much annually as what he’d get in arbitration. Teams need pitching and Sheets is a very good pitcher when healthy.

- The Brewers are reportedly talking to the White Sox about closer Bobby Jenks. Speculation on BrewerFan.net is that Mike Cameron could be involved in the trade if it goes down. It will take more than him, but since the White Sox have traded Swisher, Griffey is leaving in free agency and they’re shopping Dye, they do need an OF. I’d like to have Jenks, but I’m curious why the White Sox want to move him and I wouldn’t trade a top prospect or someone like Hardy for him.

- The Brewers are reported to be interested in Randy Johnson. Johnson would be a nice pick up. He should be relatively cheap for what he can deliver (because his age drives down the price) and his contract will be short (two years at the most). Haudricourt says he’s heard the Brewers just “checked in” with his agent and that other teams have more interest in him.

- Tracy Ringolsby of the Rocky Mountain News indicated in this column that the bidding for third baseman Casey Blake was down to the Brewers and the Dodgers. I found it odd that the Twins weren’t mentioned as they had been considered among the frontrunners since free agency started and even odder that the Brewers were mentioned. There had been no mention of the Brewers pursuing Blake anywhere else previous to that. (Maybe if he hit lefty…)

So, I e-mailed Ringolsby to make sure he didn’t mean the Dodgers and Twins were the last teams remaining after Blake. He e-mailed me back quickly and said that was the case. It should have said Twins and Dodgers.

And it’s been changed now in the story. So, we can kill that rumor. The Brewers are not after Casey Blake. It appears the Twins have dropped out of the running for him too so he may be a Dodger very soon.

Minor Leagues

- Alcides Escobar came in at #8 on the MiLB.com’s Top 50 Prospects list. Gamel was 23 and Jeffress was 44. Former Brewer prospect Matt LaPorta came in at No. 14.

- The Nashville Scene thinks the Sounds’ PA announcer will have some fun with Don Money’s name in the coming season.

NL Central

- Chris Carpenter had a nerve conduction test yesterday and it was positive. I find it hard to believe the Cardinals will count on much from him in 2009 though. He’s had a history full of injuries and they’ve been really piling up the last few seasons. 

Other News

- The Cleveland Indians signed former Brewer pitcher Tomo Ohka to a minor-league deal. I remember being upset when Melvin didn’t offer Ohka arbitration. But then Ohka received no interest as a free agent (meaning he would have likely accepted arbitration and forced the Brewers to keep him around) and his career has completely tanked.

- The Rays are investing time and money in Brazil in hopes of finding talent there. It’s an interesting idea as it’s clear that some spectacular athletes come from Brazil (mostly soccer players at this time). It will probably take a number of years to grow the sport of baseball there, but it could prove to be a very successful venture.

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