Milwaukee Brewers Rumors

Milwaukee Brewers trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

NL Central Notes: Chapman, Reds, Brewers

A glance at the NL Central..

  • Reds GM Walt Jocketty told reporters that there was a lot of interest in Aroldis Chapman and Jay Bruce, but the Reds were more focused on the free-agents-to-be, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweets.
  • Adam McCalvy of MLB.com (on Twitter) hears that the Brewers and Cardinals were never close on Adam Lind.  It would have taken a big haul for Milwaukee to trade Lind within the division since he also has a 2016 option.
  • Jocketty referred to what the Reds are doing as a “reboot,” but not a full rebuild, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com tweets.
  • Jocketty told reporters, including Fay (on Twitter), that the Reds will try infielder Adam Duvall in leftfield at Triple-A Louisville.

Minor MLB Transactions: 7/31/15

Today’s minor MLB moves..

  • The Rays announced (on Twitter) that catcher Bobby Wilson was claimed off waivers by the Rangers.
  • The Pirates designated Deolis Guerra for assignment to clear roster a spot for Joakim Soria, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweets.  Guerra gave up two three-run homers to Brandon Phillips yesterday, which probably didn’t help his job security with the Bucs.
  • The A’s announced that they have acquired lefty Felix Doubront from the Blue Jays for cash.  Doubront was designated for assignment just days ago to make room for the acquisition of Troy Tulowitzki.
  • Caleb Thielbar will be designated for assignment to make room for Kevin Jepsen on the Twins‘ 40-man roster, according to MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger (on Twitter).
  • To make room for Jonathan Broxton, the Cardinals have designated Marcus Hatley for assignment, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com tweets.
  • The Brewers announced that they have claimed Preston Guilmet off waivers from the Dodgers.  The well-traveled Guilmet didn’t spend much time with the Dodgers, who selected him off waivers from the Rays on July 10. Guilmet tossed three innings for the club’s Triple-A affiliate prior being designated for assignment.  He’s been very good at Triple-A this season, tallying a 1.95 ERA with 8.9 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 32 1/3 innings between Buffalo, Durham and Oklahoma City.
  • The Nationals announced (on Twitter) that they have assigned catcher Dan Butler outright to Triple-A.
  • The Indians announced (on Twitter) that they have acquired left-hander Jayson Aquino from the Pirates for cash considerations.
  • The Pirates have outrighted Gorkys Hernandez to Triple-A, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweets.
  • The Cubs have designated Ben Rowen for assignment, Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com tweets.

Cardinals Acquire Jonathan Broxton

2:10pm: St. Louis will receive $3MM in the trade, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. But $2MM of that is contingent upon the Cardinals declining Broxton’s 2016 option, meaning that Milwaukee will effectively be picking up $1MM of Boxton’s remaining 2015 tab.

11:13am: The Cardinals have officially acquired reliever Jonathan Broxton from the Brewers, as Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com first reported on Twitter. Outfielder Malik Collymore is going to Milwaukee in the deal, and there will be an unknown amount of cash headed with Broxton to St. Louis (via Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, on Twitter).

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Broxton represents yet another turnaround reliever candidate acquired by St. Louis in recent years, including Steve Cishek just days ago. The Cardinals had been rumored at times to be seeking starting pitching depth, but ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick notes on Twitter that the team may have elected instead to deepen its pen. That should not only provide additional options as the club waits for the return of Jordan Walden, but will also reduce the burden on its rotation.

The 31-year-old owns an unappealing 5.89 ERA on the year, but his fastball is still averaging better than 94 mph and his peripherals are more encouraging. Broxton has compiled 9.1 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9 and a 49.5% groundball rate. SIERA grades his contribution at a promising 2.89 ERA estimation.

Broxton is playing in his eleventh big league season, and he’s racked up 576 innings of 3.25 ERA pitching along the way. He no longer posts quite the gaudy strikeout tallies of his youth, and has had some rough seasons along the way, but all said it’s an impressive overall body of work.

Of course, another significant issue with the veteran is his contract. Broxton is owed $9MM this year as well as a $1MM buyout on his $9MM option for 2016. It remains unknown how the financials will shake out, but St. Louis will likely receive some money along with the right-hander.

For the Brewers, moving salary was undoubtedly the primary motivation in striking the deal. The club has now shipped out a variety of veteran players, adding prospects and saving money along the way. It still has several possible trade pieces in its holster, including first baseman/DH Adam Lind and closer Francisco Rodriguez.

In Collymore, Milwaukee adds a 20-year-old outfielder who has played exclusively in the low minors over three years in the St. Louis organization. He’s only compiled 347 total plate appearances in that span, putting up a .286/.360/.429 slash, though he has not hit well in limited time in the Appalachian League this season. His stronger output in Rookie ball last season did earn him the 27th ranking on Baseball America’s pre-season Cardinals prospect list. BA says that he has some upside and raw power, but he has yet to show much in-game pop (at least in terms of home run tallies) and is still somewhat without a home on the defensive side of the equation.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.



Orioles Acquire Gerardo Parra

The Orioles have officially acquired Brewers outfielder Gerardo Parra, as first reported by Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter). Prospect Zach Davies will go to Milwaukee in return.

Jul 17, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA;  Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Gerardo Parra (28) reacts after driving in a run with a double in the fifth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Milwaukee drew fairly wide interest in Parra, though other teams with reported interest (such as the Angels) had already opted to move for other pieces. The club had been hoping to add two prospects in exchange for Parra, but ultimately decide to take one more highly regarded prospect from Baltimore, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel tweets.

It’s been a career-year thus far for the 28-year-old, who owns a .328/.369/.517 slash over 351 plate appearances. He’s added nine home runs and nine steals as well. While Parra has graded surprisingly poorly in the outfield, he has a sterling reputation in that regard and has generally received above-average ratings from metrics.

If teams believed that level of production was sustainable, of course, Parra would have drawn much more interest. But his track record suggests he’s more of a league-average bat, and he has benefited quite a bit from a .372 BABIP.

Regardless, Parra looks like a quality rental piece for a contender — he’ll be a free agent after the season — and Baltimore will be the one to take the plunge. Though the O’s already have left-handed-hitting platoon outfielders in Travis Snider and David Lough, but both have been underwhelming.

Baltimore had to part with its eighth-rated prospect, per Baseball America’s mid-season ranking (subscription link), to get the deal done. He’s not an overpowering pitcher, but gets by on finesse and is near to the big leagues, per BA’s Josh Leventhal. Davies has posted excellent results this year at Triple-A, racking up 101 1/3 innings of 2.84 ERA pitching with 7.2 K/9 against 2.9 BB/9.

Nathan Bishop of Lookout Landing suggested just this scenario could be in the works on Twitter yesterday. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted that the deal was close. Roch Kubatko reported this morning that it was in the works. 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Orioles “Closing In” On Gerardo Parra Deal

The Orioles are “closing in” on a deal for Brewers outfielder Gerardo Parra, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Prospect Zach Davies is expected to be the return to Milwaukee. Nathan Bishop of Lookout Landing suggested just this scenario could be in the works on Twitter yesterday.


Orioles Weighing Gerardo Parra, Ben Revere; Discussing Tommy Hunter With Cubs

The Orioles are looking at a pair of left-handed hitting outfielders in Gerardo Parra of the Brewers and Ben Revere of the Phillies, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports. The club was talking about a deal involving minor league hurler Zach Davies (in addition to other pieces). Baltimore already has Travis Snider and David Lough as left-handed options in the corner outfield, but has long been said to be looking at new options.

Confirming and building on that report, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says Baltimore is indeed pursuing talks on both Parra and Revere (Twitter links). Baltimore is also working on a deal with the Cubs involving reliever Tommy Hunter, per the report. The team would look to save some cash (around $1.5MM) while adding a minor leaguer from Chicago. The 29-year-old has been a steady contributor in the pen, though he failed in an early stint as the team’s closer last year.

The O’s would presumably put some of the savings achieved on Hunter, should that deal come to fruition, towards a new outfielder. Parra ($6.24MM annual salary) and Revere ($4.1MM) would both cost Baltimore a fairly tidy sum to field the rest of the way, in addition to whatever the acquisition cost would be from their respective clubs. Both are different players who represent different kinds of assets: Parra is a better defender with decent pop (particularly this year), and is a pure rental, while Revere is a singles hitter with outstanding speed who can be controlled for two more seasons.


Orioles, Brewers Discussing Gerardo Parra

The Orioles and Brewers are in trade discussions regarding outfielder Gerardo Parra, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt tweeted recently that Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin said his trade of Carlos Gomez wouldn’t preclude a trade of Parra, adding that the Orioles have interest. MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli tweets that the Orioles “like Parra a lot.” Lookout Landing’s Nathan Bishop, who earlier pegged the Brewers’ return for Gomez and Mike Fiers, tweets that right-hander Zach Davies could be in play.

The Orioles aren’t alone in their pursuit of Parra as the Angels and Mets have also been linked to him recently.  Parra, 28, has hit .326/.367/.517 with nine homers in 347 plate appearances this season.  His .884 OPS so far this year beats his previous watermark – a .784 OPS with the D’Backs in 2011 – by a healthy margin.  For his career, Parra owns a .279/.330/.407 batting line across seven big league seasons.

While he’s doing well at the plate, his usually solid defense has taken a step back this season.  Parra owns a -20.5 UZR/150, which casts him as a pretty bad outfielder defensively.  In 2014 Parra graded out as roughly average and in other seasons he has been strong in the field, per the advanced metrics.


Astros Acquire Carlos Gomez, Mike Fiers For Four Prospects

The Astros and Brewers are announced a blockbuster trade on Thursday that will send center fielder Carlos Gomez, right-hander Mike Fiers and an international bonus slot (valued at $287,500) to Houston in exchange for outfield prospects Brett Phillips and Domingo Santana, right-hander Adrian Houser and lefty Josh Hader. The Astros did not have to make a 40-man move to add either player, as they had an open spot, and Santana was already on the 40-man.

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Gomez, of course, was believed to be headed back to the Mets last night in a swap that would’ve sent Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores to the Brewers, but the trade fell through after names were agreed upon due to a combination of medical concerns pertaining to his hip and perhaps financial elements as well.

Adding Gomez to the outfield mix should result in a significant improvement for the Astros over the remainder of the season. Despite hamstring issues that cost him three weeks earlier in the year, Gomez’s defense remains above average, and if he’s 100 percent healthy, he has a track record as one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball.

Plus defense has long been part of Gomez’s game due to his excellent range, but Gomez over the past three-plus seasons has turned himself into a genuine offensive weapon at the plate as well. Dating back to Opening Day 2012, Gomez is a .275/.335/.474 hitter that has averaged 24 homers and 38 stolen bases per 162 games played. Wins above replacement pegs Gomez at an average of five to five-and-a-half wins per year in that time, depending on your preferred version of the metric. Houston center fielders have been sound from a defensive standpoint this season, but they’ve combined to bat just .226/.285/.370, making Gomez an upgrade on both sides of the ball.

In addition to his strong all-around game, though, Gomez made for an appealing trade candidate due to his contractual situation. He’s the rare Scott Boras client that took an extension as opposed to waiting for free agency, and while he should still secure a $100MM+ contract with ease following the 2016 season, he’s currently in the midst of a three-year, $24MM pact that has worked out beautifully for the Brewers. Gomez is earning $8MM in 2015 — of which about $3.02MM remains — and he’ll earn $9MM in 2016. Provided he remains healthy, the Astros will pay about $12MM for as many as 221 games of Gomez’s career.

And of course, Gomez isn’t the only piece the Astros are receiving in this deal. By persuading the Brewers to include Fiers in the contract, they’ve landed a rotation piece that can potentially be controlled through the 2019 season. In fact, he won’t even be eligible for arbitration until after the 2016 season, meaning that Houston can control him for roughly the league minimum.

Fiers, 30, is a soft-tossing righty and a pronounced fly-ball pitcher, but he’s performed well overall despite an average of just 88.8 mph on his fastball. He’s somewhat of a late bloomer but has a 3.89 ERA in 118 innings this season and a lifetime 3.66 mark in 341 2/3 innings as a Major Leaguer. Fiers has averaged 9.2 K/9 despite his pedestrian heater, and he’s paired that ability to rack up K’s with solid control (2.8 BB/9). He should step directly into the Houston rotation behind ace Dallas Keuchel, rental acquisition Scott Kazmir and right-handers Collin McHugh and Scott Feldman. Fiers drew quite a bit of interest from the Blue Jays earlier this month, though Toronto has obviously gone a different route and made a splash of their own with the acquisition of David Price.

From the Brewers’ perspective, Phillips is the clear prize of the deal. A sixth-round pick by the Astros out of high school in 2012, the 21-year-old has risen to the Double-A level and shown no signs of being overmatched by the pitching he’s faced. Phillips is hitting .320/.377/.548 with 16 homers and 16 stolen bases this season while appearing primarily in center field. He entered the season as one of the Astros’ top prospects, but his excellent first half propelled him to rank 21st on Baseball America’s midseason Top 50, 35th on the midseason Top 50 of ESPN’s Keith Law and 39th on the midseason edition of MLB.com’s Top 100 prospects. Law calls him a “true five-tool” player with the potential to remain in center field, and MLB.com gives him above-average tools across the board, with his speed and arm rating as the top tools in his profile. He should immediately become the club’s No. 2 prospect behind shortstop Orlando Arcia.

The 22-year-old Santana, originally acquired by the Astros in the 2011 Hunter Pence trade with the Phillies, went hitless in a 17-at-bat big league debut in 2014 but has fared better in another limited sample in 2015, hitting .256/.310/.462 with a couple of homers in 42 plate appearances. A corner outfielder by trade, he could potentially step right onto the Brewers’ big league roster. He’s slashed .305/.400/.515 in 195 Triple-A games — part of the reason for his No. 7 ranking on MLB.com’s midseason Top 30 for the Astros and No. 87 on their overall Top 100. Santana has everyday upside but there are plenty that worry about his penchant for strikeouts; he’s whiffed at a 29.9 percent rate throughout his minor league career.

Hader came to Houston alongside L.J. Hoes from the Orioles in the 2013 trade that sent Bud Norris to Baltimore. He ranked eighth among Astros farmhands at the time of the swap, per BA, and 14th on MLB.com’s list. BA notes that Hader’s delivery at times draws comparisons to Chris Sale, and MLB.com writes that his velocity gets up to 96 mph but is paired with inconsistent secondary pitches. Hader has a 3.17 ERA with 69 strikeouts and 24 walks in 65 1/3 innings at Double-A as a 21-year-old this season.

Houser has a 5.10 ERA split across two levels (Class-A Advanced and Double-A) this season, and he’s worked as both a starter and a reliever. He’s averaged 8.5 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 this year, and MLB.com rated him 21st among Houston prospects prior to the trade. Their scouting report praises his mid-90s fastball and ability to generate grounders but notes that the 22-year-old’s control has plenty of room for improvement.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports first reported (via Twitter) that Gomez and Fiers were going to Houston. The Houston Chronicle’s Evan Drellich reported that there would be four to five prospects in the return (Twitter link). Lookout Landing’s Nathan Bishop nailed the return (on Twitter), and Heyman added that all of the medicals had been approved.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Aftermath Of The Mets’ Near Acquisition Of Carlos Gomez

As most are aware by now, the Mets and Brewers had agreed to a trade that would’ve sent Carlos Gomez to New York in exchange for Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores, but medical concerns derailed the agreement. Reports last night surfaced to say that Gomez’s hip was the issue, though agent Scott Boras issued an adamant denial to FOX Sports saying that Gomez is healthy and has never seen a hip specialist.

Some additional context to the situation as well as the latest on the trade rumors pertaining to both teams in the wake of the failed deal…

  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Gomez had an MRI three to four weeks ago for an abductor issue — not a hip issue — and the reports from that test said he had no issues with his abductor or his hip (Twitter link).
  • Sherman also spoke to Brewers GM Doug Melvin (All Twitter links), who informed him that while the Mets have concerns over Gomez’s medical records, the Brewers do not. Said Melvin: “I don’t believe Carlos Gomez has a physical issue. Our training staff won best in baseball the last 2 years. We take a lot of pride in that. We don’t think anything is wrong with him besides any nick that happens to any ballplayer.”
  • Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel hears that the ultimate issue in the trade may have been financial. A source tells Haudricourt that the initial scenario being discussed would have sent Juan Lagares to Milwaukee, but the Brewers were hesitant because of a publicly known elbow issue through which he is playing and because of Lagares’ $23MM extension, which kicks in next season. The next iteration of the trade became Wheeler and Flores for Gomez, but the Mets then asked that the Brewers include their 2016 Competitive Balance draft pick, which Milwaukee declined to do. Following that, the Mets asked for cash considerations to be included, but the Brewers were also unwilling to pick up any of the tab. It was at that point that the Mets backed out, citing Gomez’s hip, sources tell Haudricourt. (Sherman heard much of the same — Twitter links — though Haudricourt’s report provides much more context on the matter.)
  • The Mets will remain active on the trade market, it seems, and Marc Carig of Newsday hears that the team’s “clear preference” is to get someone who can play center field (Twitter link). Given Lagares’ injury, it makes sense to see the Mets targeting help in that area. I recently broke down the trade market for center fielders, for those wondering what options could be available to New York.
  • The Mets aren’t in on the Padres’ Justin Upton, partially due to his status as a half-season rental, reports Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (Twitter links). The Mets would prefer to avoid rental players, he adds, though he does also note that the team has at least checked in with the Tigers on Yoenis Cespedes following the collapse of the Gomez deal.
  • It’s unclear where this scenario leaves the Mets in terms of trade direction, tweets MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo. The team likes Gerardo Parra but was also unable to agree on a price point in discussions with the Brewers. New York also likes Jay Bruce, but he doesn’t fit their desire for someone who can handle center field. Bruce has just 285 big league inning in center — all coming in 2008.

Medical Concerns Derailed Carlos Gomez-Mets Deal; Brewers Still Plan To Trade Him

11:45pm: Agent Scott Boras adamantly denied that anything is wrong with Gomez from a health standpoint. Via Rosenthal (Twitter links): “Carlos Gomez has never seen a hip doctor and has never had a hip issue in his playing career. Anyone who suggests that is inaccurate and baldly misrepresenting the truth of the player’s condition.”

11:17pm: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that it was actually the Mets who backed out of the deal due to concerns over Gomez’s hip. Andy Martino of the New York Daily News also hears that Wheeler’s elbow was not the issue (Twitter links).

11:13pm: Tonight’s near-trade of Carlos Gomez to the Mets in exchange for Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores has fallen through, and Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (via Twitter) that Milwaukee’s concerns regarding Wheeler’s medicals caused the deal to collapse. The Brewers, though, are still planning to trade Gomez by Friday’s trade deadline, Nightengale adds.

Wheeler, of course, had Tommy John surgery this spring, so it stands to reason that the Brewers weren’t comfortable with his progress (or perhaps the lack thereof) since the operation in March. By multiple media accounts, the names in the trades were agreed upon, though there was no official announcement of the deal from either club.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson said following tonight’s game that a trade “will not transpire,” so it seems that if Gomez is to be traded, it will be to a team other than the Mets — the organization that originally signed him back in 2002.

Gomez should still hold widespread appeal around the league, as he’s earning $8MM in 2015 and has a more-than-reasonable $9MM salary for the 2016 season. Among contending clubs, the Orioles, Astros, Pirates and Giants have all been linked to outfield upgrades over the past few weeks. The Angels, too, have been in the market for an outfield upgrade, though they’ve added three new players this week (Shane Victorino, David Murphy and David DeJesus), so they’re likely out of the mix for outfielders at this time.

And, while the trade ultimately won’t be pushed across the finish line, it does speak to the Mets’ willingness to deal from their current big league roster in order to upgrade the offense. Flores has been a regular contributor to the team in 2015, though they do have internal replacements including Ruben Tejada, Dilson Herrera and Matt Reynolds. A report from Yahoo’s Jeff Passan earlier in the night also mentioned that Juan Lagares‘ name had come up as a potential piece for the Brewers t acquire, further demonstrating a willingness on Alderson’s behalf  get creative in order to augment his offense. The Mets have also been prominently connected to names such as Justin Upton, Jay Bruce and Gomez’s Milwaukee teammate, Gerardo Parra.