I've had a bunch of topics that I wanted to write about, but none of these were that great in and of themselves, so I thought I'd just post a bunch of little things:
1. First, I was incorrect about J.J. Hardy's 2009 salary and the minimum he would be guaranteed in 2010 if offered arbitration. According to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, Hardy will earn $4.65 million this year, so he'd get at least 80% of that in '10, or $3.72 million.
2. McCalvy included the above info in an excellent recap of the Brewers' off-season options, as does Anthony Witrado at JSOnline.com. McCalvy reinterates that the Brewers will almost certainly exercise their option on pitcher Braden Looper to the tune of $6.5 million, which Looper would be a fool to reject in this economy, especially given his age (35 in 2010) and with how he's performed this year (11-6, but a 4.77 ERA so far). Personally, I hope the Brewers don't exercise the option and use the money and the roster spot for a free agent...but until one is in the fold, Looper will still be a Brewer.
3. From the current active/expanded roster, the Crew will have 8 free agents, 2 players with options, 9 players eligible for arbitration, and 11 "Zero-to-three" players. Four players already have contracts in place: Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, David Riske, and Jeff Suppan. Riske's and Suppan's end after 2010, as does Fielder's...but the Brewers still have one more year of arbitration left with Prince.
4. For Packers' fans: learn a lesson from us Brewers' fans--expectations for the Brewers for this year for many fans were that the Crew would return to the postseason, only to get let down at the end. Now we're doing the same with the Packers, based on their preseason games. I'm trying to be cautiously optimistic with the Packers...with the emphasis on "cautiously."
5. Back to the roster decisions...the Brewers' recently added reliever John Axford to the 40-man roster to give him a look ahead of protecting him for the December Rule 5 draft. The Brewers will likely keep one spot open to add a player, but will need to adjust the roster to protect other players...I'm still trying to compile a list of players, but it looks like many are already on the 40-man and protected, including Mat Gamel and Angel Salome.
6. The Brewers face Doug Davis tonight, one candidate to re-join the Brewers in the off-season as a free agent.
7. The Stars won their first playoff game, 4-2, Thursday night. Josh Butler allowed 2 ER's over 7 IP to the Smokies, the Cubs' AA affiliate. The bullpen only allowed a lone hit over the final 2 IP. The Manatees were eliminated in the first round by the Tampa Yankees on Wednesday night.