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Jimmy Nelson Rumors
Exactly one week after the trade of Yovani Gallardo was first reported, Milwaukee hosted its annual winter fan festival Brewers On Deck. One year ago, Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio opened the event by announcing the signing of Matt Garza to the richest free agent contract in franchise history. Today, Attanasio told the crowd he will be very surprised if the Brewers do not make one more signing before Spring Training starts, tweets MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. GM Doug Melvin has said his focus is strengthening the bullpen and told the assemblage, as tweeted by Andrew Gruman of FOX Sports Wisconsin, he is having negotiations with a few people and there is a chance of adding a reliever. Melvin downplayed the Jonathan Papelbon rumors while Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweeted he feels a reunion is in store with Francisco Rodriguez, who saved 44 games for the Brewers last year.
In other news and notes coming out of Brewers On Deck:
- Ryan Braun‘s right thumb, which has plagued him for the past two seasons, is feeling fine allowing him to perform his normal offseason regimen with no restrictions, reports Haudricourt. Braun underwent a cryotherapy procedure on the thumb last October and there are no current plans or need for a follow up session, tweets Haudricourt’s Journal Sentinel colleague Todd Rosiak.
- Attanasio addressed the Gallardo trade (transcript provided by Rosiak). “I could go on and on about how terrific Yovani Gallardo was for our team and the city. There’s a huge amount of risk in doing that. But in the nature of the sport, we need to do that. The goal is not to be average in Milwaukee.“
- The Gallardo deal has left the Brewers without any proven MLB rotation depth which concerns manager Ron Roenicke, Rosiak tweets. Roenicke, however, maintains the team has some good prospects who could step up.
- “I don’t think we have room for a notable starting pitcher,” said Melvin, per Gruman (Twitter). “We’d like to add a pitcher that could be a spot starter.“
- Filling Gallardo’s void in the rotation will be Jimmy Nelson who told Haudricourt he knows why he struggled in 2014. “The problem was when I got to the big leagues I got away from my game plan. The things I was doing to be successful, I got away from that when I got up here.“
- Jim Henderson, who missed most of 2014 battling bone spurs in his right shoulder, began throwing off a mound last week and will have his first true bullpen sessions this week, McCalvy tweets.
- Fellow right-hander Tyler Thornburg, who also missed most of 2014, says platelet-rich plasma therapy and lots of rest has helped heal his UCL injury and is throwing two bullpens per week and plans on being ahead of schedule when pitchers and catcher report next month, according to Gruman (Twitter links).
- The Brewers introduced a new addition to their mascot family: Barrelman. No word if he and Bernie Brewer will have joint custody of the slide.
The Orioles made two trades last night, adding infielder Kelly Johnson and outfielder Alejandro De Aza, and any trade involving big-leaguers has an effect on not only a team’s 25-man roster, but its clubhouse. Via Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com, manager Buck Showalter provides an interesting look into how trades affect players who aren’t being dealt. Showalter says, for example, that following the acquisition of De Aza, he spoke to Delmon Young and other players about what the trade meant for them. “It’s unknown that drives players crazy and you want them to understand things,” says Showalter. “I had a real good idea what they were going to say. They’re usually pretty short conversations, but you have them nonetheless.” Here’s more from around the big leagues.
- The Athletics‘ trade for Adam Dunn might not have been needed had they not traded Yoenis Cespedes to the Red Sox in the Jon Lester deal, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports opines. Oakland’s offense has struggled since the trade, and while Cespedes’ departure isn’t entirely to blame (there have been slumps and injuries throughout the Athletics lineup), it hasn’t helped.
- In the wake of the Brewers‘ acquisition of Jonathan Broxton today, Rosenthal notes (via Twitter) that Milwaukee also went after David Price last month. Talks with the Rays did not progress very far, however, because the Brewers were unwilling to give up top young pitcher Jimmy Nelson.
- The Pirates appear unlikely to make any trades today, David Manel of Bucs Dugout writes. “It’s been a lower percentage of successful claims than ever before,” says GM Neal Huntington. “You expect the American League guys not to make it through the American League. But there have been some guys in the National League that have been claimed before they’ve gotten to us, which has been a bit of a surprise.”
We just took a quick look at the NL East; here’s the latest from the rest of the National League:
- The Brewers will once again recall top prospect Jimmy Nelson, this time to take the rotation spot of the struggling Marco Estrada, as Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported yesterday (via Twitter). Nelson, who entered the year with 27 days of service, received a one-game callup earlier in the year. Now, it seems he could be in the bigs to stay. At this point, he will not be able to accrue sufficient service time to qualify for Super Two status.
- With the Pirates bullpen showing some signs of wear, the club will be on the lookout for relief help in addition to starters, reports Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. One possibility, says Biertempfel, is Huston Street of the Padres. Though he figures to require a substantial return, Street would potentially slot in as the club’s closer with Mark Melancon returning to an 8th-inning role. Pittsburgh has also recently scouted the Red Sox, who have several arms that could appeal.
- The Dodgers have now sat center fielder Andre Ethier twice in a row against righties, leading Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com to wonder whether the club will look for an alternative. Scott Van Slyke, who has been in the lineup, does not look like a long-term solution in that role, so Saxon suggests that top prospect Joc Pederson could potentially receive a nod. If that happens, says Saxon, the club may well “fell compelled” to deal one of the team’s four highly-paid outfielders over the summer.
- Here’s the latest on the Padres‘ GM search, which the club hopes to wrap up by mid-August, according to a tweet from Scott Miller of Bleacher Report. The team will ultimately sit down with about a dozen options, then call back a few for a second interview. Today, the club announced, MLB senior VP for baseball operations Kim Ng had an interview. Meanwhile, internal possibility A.J. Hinch has told the Pads that he does not wish to be considered, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
As expected, recently signed Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew has cleared waivers and appeared in his first minor league game for the organization, reports Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe (via Twitter). The procedural move of placing Drew on revocable outright waivers — a mechanism through which claims are rarely made — was needed since he inked a big league deal. Here’s the latest from around the game:
- The Brewers will call up top pitching prospect Jimmy Nelson to start Sunday to take the rotation turn of Yovani Gallardo, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. At this point, at least, it seems that Nelson may only get one start, as Gallardo is not expected to miss significant time. As I explained back in April, Nelson already has 27 days of service to his credit. Accordingly, if he did stay in the bigs from this point forward, he would accrue enough service time to set himself up to become eligible for an additional year of arbitration as a Super Two player, though he will not be able to pass the one-year service mark by the end of the year.
- Milwaukee’s decision to deal for reliever Will Smith (in exchange for outfielder Norichika Aoki) has been a key element in the team’s success this year, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The team’s pro scouting staff gave Smith high marks, leading GM Doug Melvin to pull the trigger on the trade. He has allowed just one earned run in 21 2/3 innings of work, posting 12.9 K/9 against 4.2 BB/9.
- Pitcher Jason Marquis was scheduled to throw for scouts today, Rosenthal reports in the same piece. The 35-year-old had Tommy John surgery last summer after tossing 117 2/3 innings of 4.05 ball for the Padres.
- Another former big leaguer looking to make a return is infielder Bill Hall, who tweets that he is on the comeback trail. The 34-year-old has spent time at third, short, second, and all over the outfield in his 11 seasons of MLB action, and owns a career .248/.308/.436 line. He spent last year with the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate, putting up a .225/.321/.407 mark with 17 home runs in 452 plate appearances.
- Ben Badler of Baseball America has the latest updates on the July 2 market. Yesterday, Badler ticked through the top ten expected bonuses among players eligible to sign for the 2014-15 period, along with the clubs expected to land them. Leading the way is infielder Gilbert Lara, who has been linked to the Brewers and could earn $3MM. Four of the players are expected to go to the Yankees, with the Rays, Red Sox, and Blue Jays also said to be set up for some large outlays among AL East clubs. (The American League could also be in line to pick up the other two players on that list, with the Mariners potentially in position to sign outfielder Brayan Hernandez and the White Sox predicted to land righty Huascar Ynoa.) And today, he profiles a set of field position prospects who figure to be among the best available players, headlined by Venezuelan shortstop Kenny Hernandez, who Badler says could get a nine-figure bonus.
- Meanwhile, the Yankees are reportedly prepared to ink Korean shortstop Hyo-Jun Park for a $1.1MM bonus, according to a report from Korean outlet Naver (Korean language link; translated article; hat tip to River Ave. Blues ). Jason Cohen of Pinstripe Alley recently compiled the available information on Park, who is said to be a solid all-around player.