Jody Gerut Rumors
After a tremendous run last year that resulted in the club's first playoff berth in a quarter-century, the Brewers sat 13.5 GB of a playoff spot coming into today's action, and sport the National League's worst starting rotation thanks to their 5.22 ERA. As Adam McCalvy of MLB.com writes, the club has a ton of roster decisions to make this offseason, although GM Doug Melvin says "We've got a lot of decisions, and none of them will be discussed until the end of the season."
Some of the issues facing the Brew Crew this offseason are...
- Impending Free Agents: Trevor Hoffman, Claudio Vargas, Mike Cameron, Felipe Lopez, Jason Kendall, Craig Counsell, Frank Catalanotto, and Corey Patterson will all be free agents after the season. The clubs holds a $3.7MM option for David Weathers next year ($400K buyout), and there's a $6.5MM mutual option for Braden Looper ($1MM buyout) that McCalvy says the club "will almost certainly pick up."
- Arbitration Eligibles: Dave Bush, Corey Hart, Rickie Weeks, Seth McClung, J.J. Hardy, Jody Gerut, and Todd Coffey are all eligible for salary arbitration. Coffey, who's been the club's primary setup man, figures to get a nice raise over his current $800K salary.
- Starting Pitching: As I mentioned earlier, Milwaukee sports the NL's worst starting staff. McCalvy reports that "Melvin promised this week that he would be much more aggressive this winter in his search for answers," and that the club might take a "little more chances and risks" than they're accustomed to taking.
The Brewers also have questions about the key up-the-middle positions. They have to sort out the Hardy-Alcides Escobar situation at short, and decide whether to try and retain Lopez or give Weeks another shot at second base duty. Cameron and Kendall have both made it clear they'd like to return, but those decisions will have to wait until the winter.
Milwaukee also must figure out third base, and whether Mat Gamel or Casey McGehee deserves the job. Prince Fielder has the other corner infield spot locked down, and is under contract for $10.5MM next year before being arbitration eligible in 2011, his final year before free agency. McCalvy also mentions that manager Ken Macha faces a lame-duck year next season, and that Melvin is fielding questions about whether another managerial change may be in order.
Let's kick it off today with some odds and ends.
- RotoAuthority discusses responding to lame trade offers in your fantasy league.
- Reliever Mike MacDougal will join the Nationals tomorrow, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson. Who knows, he could be closing for them by next week.
- Talking to Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune, Cubs GM Jim Hendry defended the Mark DeRosa trade. Here is my problem with it: it was a financially-motivated deal made by a big-market team, and did not bring back players who could help in 2009.
- According to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the White Sox acquired journeyman minor league infielder Anderson Machado from the Pirates for a player to be named later.
- Padres exec Paul DePodesta explains the Jody Gerut for Tony Gwynn Jr. swap. DePodesta's third bullet point, money, had to be the overriding factor given Gwynn's negligible value around the league.
- Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle sees Bobby Crosby as perhaps a more pressing trade situation for the A's than Matt Holliday.
- Dr. James Andrews found no structural damage in Brian Bruney's elbow, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. Given the uncertainty, though, a bullpen acquisition would still make sense.
- It looks like the writing is on the wall for Astros manager Cecil Cooper. Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle lists his offenses.
- Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is skeptical the Cardinals will make a big move.
- Kiley McDaniel of Baseball Prospectus agrees that the Pirates are the favorite for Dominican talent Miguel Angel Sano, and says the Rays, Cubs, A's, Blue Jays, Yankees, Rangers, and Twins are also after him. It's speculated by McDaniel and elsewhere that the Pirates could budget less toward their fourth overall pick in June to compensate for Sano. John Perrotto of Inside Pittsburgh Sports says they like Kyle Gibson, Aaron Crow, Bobby Borchering, and Wil Myers. Tanner Scheppers did not give the Bucs permission to redraft him.
The Brewers designated Chris Duffy for assignment to make room for their latest acquisition, Jody Gerut, according to the Sports Network (via the Miami Herald). Duffy, 29, was hitting .125/.222/.156 for the Brewers in 37 plate appearances. He showed promise as a 25-year-old when he hit .341 for the Pirates in 39 games of semi-regular playing time, but has since fallen off.
Gerut, 31, had a fine comeback year in '08 but is off to a .221/.248/.381 start in 121 plate appearances this year. He's played center and right field for the Padres. His defense rates as a plus. Since he has decent service time he's up to a $1.775MM salary.
Gwynn cleared waivers in April, so the Padres could've had him for nothing at that time. He didn't hit much in Triple A last year.
1:24pm: Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel passes along a tweet from Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash:
The Brewers will have a press release on a player transaction in the next hour.
That message was posted at about 1pm CST. Haudricourt says it is not Jake Peavy.
The Padres signed arb-eligible center fielder Jody Gerut for '09 at a salary of $1.1775MM, according to MLB.com's Corey Brock. The 31 year-old had a surprising comeback season, hitting .296/.351/.494 in 356 plate appearances while playing above-average defense.
I am currently evaluating Phil Hughes' playlist. Some of it is solid. Let's get on to the odds and ends...
- Bill Conlin thinks it's a mistake for the Phillies to pay Ryan Howard at a rate commensurate with his service time. It's a slippery slope - shouldn't Cole Hamels be earning $15MM instead of $500K, then? The system may be broken but it doesn't make sense for the Phillies to start ignoring service time.
- John Mozeliak is not done yet. Meanwhile, Albert Pujols continued to direct his ire at KTVI-TV of St. Louis.
- The Orioles agreed to a minor league deal with 27 year-old righty Lance Cormier worth around $450K. Cormier doesn't have much to show for his 244 big league innings, whether starting or relieving. He has a decent groundball rate, at least.
- The Padres signed Jody Gerut to a minor league pact that could be worth as much as $910K. He's 30 now; his best season was an .830 OPS for Cleveland at age 25. Since then he's had all sorts of knee problems and even had a grievance with the Pirates.