The first-ever "Free Friday" Frosty Mug
 
Good morning and welcome, especially to those of you that haven't visited this space before. This is the second edition of the new, Patreon-based Frosty Mug and the first edition of "Free Friday," a chance for those of you that haven't subscribed yet to see what you're missing. I hope you'll enjoy it and consider becoming a Patron to receive the Mug in your inbox each weekday morning, if you haven't already.

We are now just hours away from the first Cactus League games of 2018 as Brent Suter (and Christian Yelich) will take on the Cubs this afternoon and Aaron Wilkerson and company face the Giants tonight. Adam McCalvy has the preview

Todd Rosiak notes that neither pitcher is expected to work deep into their starting assignment today, likely little more than an inning at most. 

The one Brewer we know we won't see today is Ryan Braun, who is not scheduled to be in either lineup. Braun told @Haudricourt, however, that he's hoping to get in a game at first base as soon as he's comfortable there.

Looking beyond today's split squad doubleheader, all eyes around MLB will be on the Brewers' visit to Tempe to see the Angels on Saturday. That game is expected to include Shohei Ohtani's Cactus League debut

The battle for playing time at second base carries on into game action today, and Dylan Svoboda of BP Milwaukee has a discussion on both Eric Sogard and Jonathan Villar, two primary candidates to win the job. 

Sogard and Villar are not the only candidates, of course. Andrew Wagner of the AP has a reminder that Hernan Perez is also a part of this conversation.

Across the infield, there is no battle for playing time at shortstop. Orlando Arcia and his defensive prowess are the centerpiece of Tom Haudricourt's latest positional preview for the Journal Sentinel. 

If Arcia's power continues to develop it could shift these numbers a bit: Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs has combined projection data showing the Brewers near the middle of the pack in home runs in 2018.

Getting back to roster battles, it could be a long spring for some of the guys waiting to see if they'll make the Opening Day roster. Dave Heller of FS Wisconsin highlighted challenging upcoming decisions on Junior Guerra and Jett Bandy. 

Speaking of guys battling for jobs, Adam McCalvy has some dark horse candidates to watch as spring training games begin. 

Of course, many of these long shots for roster spots will face an even greater uphill climb if the Brewers sign a free agent starting pitcher. Jon Heyman gives the Brewers 4-1 odds to sign Jake Arrieta, making them his second most likely new home. 

Meg Rowley of FanGraphs also linked Arrieta and the Brewers multiple times in her latest chat. 

Getting back to pitchers that are actually in camp, ASU student Kaelen Jones highlighted some recent comments on Freddy Peralta as a pitching prospect that could join the Brewers this season. 

Not everyone is eager to see the Brewers' top pitching prospects, however: Luke Schaetzel of Sconnie Sports Talk cautions against getting prematurely excited for pitchers who have yet to reach their full potential.

Today in spring training "slice of life" stories, Fox 6 has video from the Brewers' photo day in camp.  

Today in the minors:

Back  in Milwaukee, it's going to be a big year for honoring prominent members of Wisconsin's baseball history at Miller Park. Geoff Jenkins is being added to Miller Park's Walk of Fame in 2018, Prince Fielder, Doug Melvin and Harry Dalton will join the Wall of Honor and pitcher Bob Buhl will join the wall honoring prominent members of the Milwaukee Braves.

Some people never miss an opportunity to share their favorite Geoff Jenkins memories, and Jimmy Carlton of OnMilwaukee appears to be one of them.

Looking around the division, the Pirates bucked the trend of their rebuilding/cost cutting winter by acquiring outfielder and 2017 All Star Corey Dickerson from the Rays for two players and cash. 

On this day in 2012 we learned that Ryan Braun had won his appeal and would not be suspended to open the upcoming season. Unfortunately, that was not the end of the story.

Happy birthday today to:

  • 2017 Helena Brewers and Wisconsin Timber Rattlers pitcher Rodrigo Benoit, who turns 24.
  • Seattle Pilot, U.P. native and longtime Appleton Foxes manager Gordy Lund. He turns 77.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need a new trench coat

Drink up.

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