February 2011

Mercedes out, Kotsay in

The Brewers just formally announced their one-year deal with Mark Kotsay, including the corresponding roster move necessary to get him onto a full 40-man roster. The victim is right-hander Roque Mercedes, who was designated for assignment to clear a spot. 

Mercedes’ second stint with the Brewers lasted less than two months. He originally signed with the Brewers out of the Dominican Republic in 2005 but was traded along with outfielder Cole Gillespie to the D-backs for Felipe Lopez in 2009. The Brewers re-acquired Mercedes, now 24, via the waiver wire in December. 
As reported yesterday by SI.com and the Associated Press, Kotsay will earn a $800,000 base salary in 2011, plus up to $450,000 in incentives. 
In other moves, the Brewers agreed to 2011 terms with pitchers Mike McClendon and Rule 5 Draft pick Pat Egan. Twenty-six players on the 40-man roster are officially signed for this season.
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Kotsay signing still in the works

Veteran Mark Kotsay’s one-year deal with the Brewers will reportedly pay an $800,000 base salary and up to $450,000 more in incentives. All that’s missing is the formal announcement.
SI.com’s Jon Heyman reported the terms of Kotsay’s pending contract on Thursday afternoon, but the Brewers did not announce it as of the close of business and did not have anything planned for Thursday night. 
The wait could be related to the team’s full 40-man roster. Not including Kotsay, that roster included 23 pitchers, four catchers, eight infielders and five outfielders. 
Somebody will have to go to make way for Kotsay, a 35-year-old who spent the last season and a half with the White Sox. He gives the Brewers a left-handed bench bat with a bit of pop (Kotsay hit eight home runs last season in 327 at-bats) and is most likely to play the outfield, since regular first baseman Prince Fielder rarely misses an inning. 
According to Heyman, Kotsay can earn a $100,000 roster bonus in addition to his base salary, plus another $350,000 in other incentives. 
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Group sales begin Saturday

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The Bewers will begin to sell group ticket packages for all dates except the home opener beginning this Saturday at 9 a.m. CT. Group orders of 25 or more tickets have prices starting as low as $8 per person.
Groups at Miller Park get to lock in their seating locations before individual tickets go on sale to the general public in late February — the exact date is still TBA) — while saving on service charges that often apply to individual ticket purchases.  Other benefits include recognition on the Miller Park scoreboard, block seating in a preferred location, the option to utilize the party areas for pre-game tailgate parties and two tickets to a future game for the group leader.  
New for 2011, the Brewers have expanded the savings opportunities for groups of 50 or more guests with the addition of two new pricing categories: Value Games and Super Bonus Games.  The 2011 schedule highlights 47 home dates which groups can book outings at significant savings.  For select games, these savings range up to 83 percent off the regular ticket prices.  In addition, ticket prices start as low as $5 per person for groups of 50 or more.  Plus, groups can catch some of the hottest games of the season against the rival Cubs, Cardinals and Twins at non-Marquee prices, exclusively for groups, with savings up to 40 percent off individual ticket prices for select games.
Returning for 2011 are the popular Miller Park all-inclusive areas including the AirTran Airways Landing Zone, located just beyond the right field fence; Gehl Club which offers an upscale entertainment experience; the Dew Deck in the Right Field corner; the Harley-Davidson Deck in left field, and the Toyota Territory. Prices for all-inclusive areas range from $42 – $105 per person.
Also available are the unique 1957 Braves, 1982 Brewers and 2008 Brewers Party Suites, which offer open-air seating, a private lounge that features a wet bar and in-house television monitors, as well as complete food and beverage service from DNC Sportservice.
Key large group days for 2011 are Weather Day (April 7 vs. Atlanta), Little League Night (June 20 vs. Tampa Bay), Stitch N’ Pitch Night (June 21 vs. Tampa Bay) Girl Scout Night (June 24 vs. Minnesota), Boy Scout Night (August 1 vs. St Louis), and American Legion Day (August 14 vs. Pittsburgh).
Reservations for all group areas at Miller Park will be accepted by calling the Brewers Group Sales Department at 414-902-GRPS (4777) or by visiting brewers.com beginning at 9 a.m. CT on Saturday. 
More info:
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Kotsay deal close

The Brewers were working Tuesday to finalize a contract for veteran outfielder Mark Kotsay, who would bring another left-handed bat to a righty-heavy Milwaukee roster. 
The pending deal was reported by FoxSports.com, which said Kotsay would get a one-year, Major League contract. Assistant general manager Gord Ash confirmed the sides were talking but said the team was still doing its due diligence when Miller Park was shut down at 3 p.m. CT because of a coming snowstorm. 
Ash said a conclusion could be reached within 24 hours, even if the offices remain closed on Wednesday. The Brewers would have to clear a spot on their full 40-man roster for Kotsay.
The 35-year-old has played parts of 14 Major League seasons for six teams and spent the second half of 2009 and all of 2010 with the White Sox. He made 359 plate appearances for Chicago last season and batted .239 with eight home runs and 31 RBIs. 
Kotsay appeared mostly as a first baseman and designated hitter for the White Sox in 2010, but has a lifetime .312 average as a pinch-hitter. He was just 3-for-12 in the pinch last season. 
Kotsay could back-up Prince Fielder at first base, though Fielder has played at least 157 games in five straight seasons. Kotsay would more likely fit into a somewhat crowded outfield that features All-Stars Ryan Braun and Corey Hart as fixtures at the corners. 
Carlos Gomez is expected to start the season as the regular center fielder, and Kotsay would presumably compete with Chris Dickerson for left-handed at-bats. The Brewers also have switch-hitter Brandon Boggs on the 40-man roster, but Boggs has a Minor League option remaining. (Nope, Boggs is out of options. Thanks to Jim from Brewerfan.net for pointing out my mistake.)
Among the non-roster invitees to camp is former Mariners and Mets outfielder Jeremy Reed, another left-handed hitter who can play center field. 
Kotsay is represented by Greg Genske, the same agent who has been in discussions with the Brewers about arbitration-eligible second baseman Rickie Weeks. 
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