Milwaukee Brewers Rumors

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

Brewers Designate Brandon Kintzler For Assignment

The Brewers announced that they have designated right-handed reliever Brandon Kintzler for assignment in order to clear a roster spot for shortstop Jean Segura, who has been activated from the disabled list. Segura had been on the shelf with a broken pinkie finger.

The 30-year-old Kintzler has allowed five runs in seven innings since being recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs earlier this month, and his 6.35 ERA in 5 2/3 innings at Triple-A this year wasn’t much more inspiring. Still, as Adam McCalvy notes, Kintzler could have simply been optioned to Triple-A but was instead designated for assignment. He becomes the third relatively long-tenured reliever to be designated by the Brewers over the past few weeks, as the team outrighted Rob Wooten to Triple-A last night and did the same with Jim Henderson earlier this month.

Kintzler has been an effective middle relief option for the Brewers over the past two seasons, however. From 2013-14, he notched a 2.93 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 135 1/3 innings of work, thanks in part to a 57.2 percent ground-ball rate. Milwaukee’s 40-man roster drops to 37 with Kintzler no longer on board.


Brewers Outright Rob Wooten

Brewers right-handed reliever Rob Wooten has been outrighted to Triple-A Colorado Springs, according to the club’s transactions page.

Wooten, 29, appeared in four games for the Brewers this season, yielding eight runs on five hits and six walks. Never a flamethrower in previous seasons, Wooten’s fastball velocity dipped to 87.9 mph in his small sample of work in 2015. This season’s unsightly results aside, Wooten has some encouraging career peripherals, including a 48.1 percent ground-ball rate, a 3.21 FIP and a 3.61 SIERA.

Wooten becomes the second reliever removed from Milwaukee’s 40-man roster in recent weeks, as the team also outrighted former closer Jim Henderson‘s contract to Colorado Springs. Wooten’s outright brings the Brewers’ 40-man roster to 38.


Brewers Notes: Draft, Braun, Gomez, Lucroy, Melvin

The Brewers will have the 15th overall selection in next month’s amateur draft and, while there is no consenus top pick, Milwaukee is confident it can land an impact player, writes Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I think a little bit more is being made out of (the volatility),” said Vice President of Amateur Scouting Ray Montgomery. “I think the draft has good depth, if it lacks what people might consider a more obvious first pick, or first couple, compared to drafts in the past. But the depth of the draft and the pool of talent, I think, is good.” Montgomery will be overseeing the draft for the Brewers for the first time and does not feel any extra pressure with GM Doug Melvin contemplating a rebuild. “I don’t think Doug’s worried about it, so it’s certainly nothing for me to worry about,” Montgomery told Haudricout. “In terms of adding talent, it’s our job to acquire the best available players, and they’ll work their way through the system the way they should, based on each individual time line.

Here’s more on the Brewers from Haudricourt’s colleague Todd Rosiak, who hosted a recent online chat:

  • Rosiak thinks the Brewers would like to trade Ryan Braun, but it is highly unlikely they will agree to absorb any of the money he’s owed. As a result, their trading partners would certainly be limited to big-market teams, and there would likely be questions regarding Braun’s thumb and his past PED issues.
  • The Brewers have many trade candidates (as explored by MLBTR’s Charlie Wilmoth), but Rosiak feels Jean Segura may not be one of them. The shortstop provides the team with both cost certainty and growth potential. With the pending retirement of third baseman Aramis Ramirez and the dearth of free agent options, Milwaukee could slide Segura over to the hot corner next year.
  • Rosiak does not see Carlos Gomez re-signing with the Brewers when his contract expires after the 2016 season, so trading him now will maximize their return and the longer they wait the less his value becomes.
  • The Brewers could also receive a massive haul for catcher Jonathon Lucroy, but will most likely rebuff any offers because the franchise does not have a ready replacement.
  • It is telling neither owner Mark Attanasio nor Doug Melvin have been commenting publicly on the GM’s future in the organization. Rosiak envisions a scenario where Melvin is promoted to president and a new general manager is hired.
  • The Brewers lost their edge under Ron Roenicke despite his reputation as a player’s manager. Rosiak notes, in most situations, a looser leash winds up choking the skipper resulting in his dismissal.

 



Rosenthal’s Latest: Papelbon, Marlins, Padres, Angels, Twins

The Marlins showed interest in Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon right around when they fired Mike Redmond, reports Ken Rosenthal in his latest video for FOX Sports. However, it’s unclear if the club will buy after a slow start to the season. Prior to the season they promised Giancarlo Stanton that they will aim to compete, but there may come a point where it makes more sense to trade some of the higher priced mercenaries. Players like Mike Morse, Dan Haren, and Mike Dunn could find themselves on the trade block. Here’s more from Rosenthal.

  • The Padres are scouting the Brewers for a shortstop. They may lack the prospects to acquire Jean Segura, but San Diego GM A.J. Preller is familiar with Luis Sardinas from his days in the Rangers system. The Brewers are also taking calls on right-hander Mike Fiers, but they’re not interested in trading him.
  • The Angels have plenty of starting pitching depth to acquire offensive firepower. They could call upon Andrew Heaney if they trade a major leaguer pitcher. Alternatively, Heaney or Nick Tropeano could be offered in a swap. The Halos also have Tyler Skaggs and Sean Newcomb as long term options. Skaggs is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. Newcomb is working his way through the system (currently in High-A) after being selected 15th overall last June.
  • The Twins aren’t yet buyers, but they’ll receive reinforcements when Ervin Santana and Casey Fien return to action. Santana is eligible to return from his PED suspension on July 4. Fien is currently on the disabled list. The club has received poor production from center field and designated hitter. They could stick with Aaron Hicks in center with Kennys Vargas as the primary designated hitter, but the addition of a “big bopper” would improve the overall outlook. My own speculation: I wonder if a combination of Ben Revere and Ryan Howard would make sense – assuming the Phillies ate enough cash.

Heyman’s Latest: Hamels/Jays, Lucroy, Baez, Correa, Alvarez

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports has published the latest installment of his weekly Inside Baseball column, and he kicks it off by reporting that the Blue Jays have inquired on Cole Hamels. However, Heyman hears that Hamels was unwilling to waive his no-trade clause to allow a trade to Toronto, which is a blow for both clubs. The Jays desperately need help in both the rotation and the bullpen, and the Phillies, Heyman notes, would love to get their hands on young pitchers with the upside of Aaron Sanchez and Daniel Norris. The Blue Jays have a bit of financial leeway after going with inexpensive options at second base, center field and left field, and Heyman writes that the Blue Jays are expected to look at other potential front-line starters this summer as they become available. (He speculatively mentions Johnny Cueto and Scott Kazmir, though neither’s available just yet.) Additionally, Heyman notes that Blue Jays manager John Gibbons’ job is safe, as GM Alex Anthopoulos has a strong relationship with the skipper and recognizes that the team’s problems are roster-related and shouldn’t be pinned on Gibbons.

Some more highlights from the column, though it’s worth a read in its entirety…

  • The Braves are said to be disappointed in the play of Christian Bethancourt, even from a defensive standpoint, and recently inquired with the Brewers on Jonathan Lucroy. However, Atlanta executives were told by the Brewers that Lucroy isn’t available at this time. That the Brewers wouldn’t trade Lucroy isn’t a shock; he’s owed a very affordable $4MM in 2016 with a $5.25MM option for the 2017 season, so even if the team can’t quickly right the ship, he’d still have enormous trade value at the 2016 trade deadline. More interesting, to me, is that the Braves would so quickly look for an upgrade over Bethancourt and that they’re acting somewhat as buyers. Lucroy, of course, could be called a long-term piece that would be around to help the team when its rebuild is closer to completion. However, acquiring him would surely require the sting of parting with some of the key components of that rebuild.
  • Some rival execs feel that the Cubs are willing to part with Javier Baez and Dan Vogelbach in trades, in part because each was drafted under the previous administration and is not held in as high a regard by the new front office. Each player comes with issues, however, as Baez is trying to cut down on his swing and improve his contact skills, while a scout described first baseman Vogelbach as a “30 fielder” to Heyman (in reference to the 20-80 scouting scale).
  • There are members of the Astros‘ field staff that want to see Carlos Correa with the team right now, but Houston will likely keep him in the minors for another month or so in order to lessen the risk of Correa achieving Super Two status. I’ll add that the Astros will have a more legitimate claim that Correa still needs minor league time than other teams in similar situations have had in the past. Correa is still just 20 years old and has only nine games of experience at the Triple-A level, though he’s continued his brilliant work at the plate there, hitting .326/.362/.558 with a pair of homers. Also of interest to Astros fans — or to fans of teams needing outfield help — the Astros are on the lookout for starting pitching upgrades, and outfield prospect Preston Tucker “seems to be available.” Tucker recently made his MLB debut and has a .963 OPS through 34 plate appearances to go along with a strong minor league track record.
  • Marlins right-hander Henderson Alvarez has been pitching for years with a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, according to Heyman. Some have described it as a “90 percent tear,” but he’s been able to pitch effectively in spite of the issue. Alvarez wouldn’t be the first to pitch through a UCL tear; Ervin Santana and Adam Wainwright are both recent examples of pitchers who pitched for many seasons with partially torn UCLs. Wainwright ultimately underwent Tommy John, though Santana’s is said to have healed and is no longer an issue. In another Marlins-related note, Heyman hears that pitching coach Chuck Hernandez is “under the microscope” with both Jarred Cosart and Steve Cishek struggling greatly in 2015.
  • Brewers starters Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza have little trade value due to their 2015 struggles, but Lohse’s lesser financial commitment and superior clubhouse reputation give him more value. The team is reluctant to trade not only Lucroy, but shortstop Jean Segura as well. The Brewers are a bit more open to dealing Carlos Gomez than that pair, as Gomez is closer to free agency (he’s controlled through 2016).
  • The Mets remain reluctant to trade any of their top arms, as they’ve seen on multiple occasions how quickly Tommy John surgery or other injuries can thin out a club’s depth. (Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz have all had TJ in their careers.) The Mets are also not rushing to find a shortstop, but they have indeed been “all over the map” in terms of trade possibilities with the Cubs.
  • Coco Crisp‘s neck injury is apparently quite serious, and there’s a fear that the oft-injured Athletics outfielder will ultimately require surgery that could bring his season to an end.
  • The Blue Jays would still like to extend both Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, but there have yet to be serious discussions with either slugger’s camp. Both players are controlled through the end of the 2016 season.

Brewers Outright Jim Henderson

The Brewers announced today that they have outrighted reliever Jim Henderson to Triple-A Colorado Springs. The right-hander, who formerly served as the club’s closer in the 2013 season, has struggled with shoulder injuries since that time, however.

Henderson, 32, is a former 26th-round pick of the Expos (2003) that didn’t surface in the Majors until his age-29 campaign. He’s totaled 102 innings at the Major League level and posted a solid 3.44 ERA with 12.1 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 and a 32.5 percent ground-ball rate in that time, also accumulating 31 saves. He’s spent the 2015 season getting up to speed after labrum and rotator cuff debridement surgery in 2014. Henderson has reached the Triple-A level again, but he’s allowed four runs on seven hits and five walks with five strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings there.

That he’s been outrighted means that he’s already cleared waivers, so every club in the Majors passed on an opportunity to claim the 6’5″ righty. With this move, Milwaukee opens a spot on their 40-man roster, which now has 39 players.


West Notes: Washington, Murphy, Castillo

The Athletics have hired former Rangers manager Ron Washington as a special instructor, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle and MLB.com’s Jane Lee (via Twitter) report. Washington, the club’s former infield coach, will not unseat current infield coach Mike Gallego. But he will work with the club’s big league players — particularly shortstop Marcus Semien, who paces the league with 15 errors thus far. Washington, of course, resigned from Texas late last year in rather dramatic fashion. He recently worked on the staff of the University of New Orleans.

Here’s more from out west:

  • In other coaching news, the Padres have reportedly declined to allow Triple-A manager Pat Murphy to depart the organization to take a major league coaching job with the Brewers, and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports analyzes the decision. Though San Diego sources tell Rosenthal that the club simply wants to retain a valued employee while avoiding early-season turmoil at their top affiliate, others around the game tell him that the move is highly unusual because heading to Milwaukee would have constituted a promotion. That has led to some speculation that the Padres see Murphy as a potential coach at the MLB level — if not even a replacement option for current big league skipper Bud Black. “(Murphy) must have been made promises — big ones,” a rival executive tells Rosenthal.
  • Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik and manager Lloyd McClendon each addressed the team’s acquisition of catcher Welington Castillo yesterday, as MLB.com’s Greg Johns reports. “It’s very challenging in this day and age to have catching depth,” said Zduriencik. “To add a catcher that has a reasonable amount of Major League experience is important to the entire organization.” McClendon, meanwhile, echoed the notion of adding depth and also emphasized that the team had no plans to insert him as the starter: “His playing time will be predicated by Zunino’s performance on the field,” McClendon said. “We’re not fooling anybody here. Mike Zunino is our everyday catcher.”

Rosenthal’s Latest: Managers, A’s, Reddick, Tulo, Astros

Earlier this week, in the wake of the Marlins’ managerial change, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports noted that the two skippers who were most obviously on the hot seat had now been dismissed. With Mike Redmond and Brewers skipper Ron Roenicke having been replaced, Rosenthal looks at four more managers who could eventually find themselves in danger of losing their jobs, listing John Gibbons (Blue Jays), Bud Black (Padres), Fredi Gonzalez (Braves) and Terry Collins (Mets) as the likeliest options. Gibbons can’t be blamed for the lack of quality relief arms he has at his disposal, Rosenthal notes, but bench coach Demarlo Hale has long been thought of as a managerial prospect and makes sense as a replacement option. Black’s Padres are struggling with pitching, and Mark Kotsay‘s name is floated by Rosenthal as someone who could be the next recently retired player to turn manager. Braves president of baseball ops John Hart isn’t as high on Gonzalez as president John Schuerholz or Bobby Cox, and there’s been some recent “internal finger-pointing,” Rosenthal hears. Collins nearly lost his job at the end of the 2014 season, he notes, and while the team is still in first place, the Mets’ managerial situation has long been volatile in nature.

Here’s more from Rosenthal…

  • In a new Notes column, Rosenthal looks at the Athletics‘ roster in the wake of a brutal start to the season. As many have pointed out, Scott Kazmir, Tyler Clippard and Ben Zobrist — each a pending free agent — would all be logical trade candidates if the team is still underperforming in July. However, Rosenthal writes that there’s no way GM Billy Beane will act quickly and sell, as he’ll first want to see how the team performs with Zobrist and closer Sean Doolittle healthy and activated from the DL. One change that won’t be coming, Rosenthal adds, is at manager. Beane and skipper Bob Melvin have a strong relationship, and it’s “exceptionally unlikely” that Melvin would be dismissed, in Rosenthal’s eyes.
  • Another possible trade chip for the A’s could be Josh Reddick, who is earning $4.1MM after his second trip through arbitration this year. The Athletics, however, resisted trade offers for Reddick all offseason, Rosenthal hears.
  • Rosenthal recently called Rockies owner Dick Monfort to discuss the recent Troy Tulowitzki trade chatter. However, when Rosenthal began asking about Tulowitzki, Monfort “quickly hung up.” The bizarre situation lends credence to wide-spread belief that Tulo, his agent and even GM Jeff Bridich have little say in whether or not the Rockies trade the face of their franchise. Rather, it’ll come down to the team owner’s wishes.
  • The Astros are considering a long list of pitchers that either are or could become available, and they’ve recently been scouting Jeff Samardzija. It remains to be seen if the Astros would be willing to part with enough to get their hands on Samardzija, though. As Rosenthal notes, some rival execs feel that the tandem pitching system the Astros use in the minors devalues their pitching prospects, though one exec told him that it actually increases the value, as it suppresses the young pitchers’ inning counts.
  • Rosenthal believes the Rays should consider trading left-hander Jake McGee to either help their rotation or another area of the team. McGee, he notes, is earning $3.55MM this season and will see that price tag sail beyond $5MM in arbitration this winter.
  • Of course, as I noted yesterday when looking at this topic, using McGee in the ninth inning would help to keep down the future earnings of Brad Boxberger, who would benefit greatly from two full seasons of saves when he heads into arbitration following the 2016 season. And, as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd mentioned to me earlier today when we were chatting, left-handed relief is an area of weakness for the Rays at this time. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t be surprised if the scenario Rosenthal lays out came to fruition, and it’s hard to imagine that the Rays wouldn’t at least be open-minded to moving McGee.

Minor Moves: Chris Leroux, Mike Baxter

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…

  • The Brewers announced yesterday (via Twitter) that they’ve traded right-hander Chris Leroux to the Phillies in exchange for cash considerations. Leroux, 31, is a veteran of parts of six big league seasons and owns a career 6.03 ERA in the Majors. While he’s allowed his fair share of runs in 71 2/3 Major League innings and averaged 4.4 walks per nine, Leroux has also averaged 8.3 K/9 with a 48.9 percent ground-ball rate.
  • The Cubs announced today that veteran first baseman/outfielder Mike Baxter‘s contract has been selected from Triple-A Iowa. The team also recalled Junior Lake from Iowa and activated Tsuyoshi Wada from the disabled list in a series of moves that saw Welington Castillo traded to Seattle, Phil Coke designated for assignment and righty Brian Schlitter optioned to Triple-A. The 30-year-old Baxter is a career .225/.331/.342 hitter in 423 big league plate appearances — most of which came with the Mets. As far as Triple-A production, Baxter has slashed a strong .286/.367/.452 in more than 1800 PAs.

NL Central Notes: Gennett, Holliday, Kang

A season’s worth of struggles at the plate have led to a Triple-A demotion for Scooter Gennett, who has made the bulk of the starts at second base for the Brewers over the past two seasons, reports Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (via Twitter). Gennett has never been able to handle left-handed pitching, but he’s a career .313/.345/.470 hitter against righties (even including this year’s struggles). The 2015 season has not been kind to Gennett, however, who is 0-for-11 in 12 plate appearances against left-handed pitching and has produced just a .192/.236/.250 slash line against right-handed pitching. Gennett’s struggles aren’t mere early-season BABIP woes either (though some of that has been at play); the 25-year-old has 19 strikeouts in 65 plate appearances, and that 27.5 percent clip is an alarming increase for a hitter who carried a career 15.5 percent strikeout rate into the season. As Haudricourt notes, promising relief prospect Corey Knebel, acquired in the offseason trade that sent Yovani Gallardo to Texas, has been recalled from Triple-A.

More from the NL Central…

  • Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday spoke with Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about how he’s been able to survive the constant grind of 162-game seasons and perform as durably as he has throughout his career. As Goold writes, that durability is why chairman Bill Dewitt Jr. sees Holliday as a pillar of the club. Per Goold, both team and player expect Holliday’s 2017 option to be exercised, if not rolled into a lengthier extension. Said Holliday of the matter: “I’d like to play as long as I can at a high level. I’d love to play here until I’m just not ready to play. I want this to be my last spot.”
  • Jung Ho Kang made his fourth consecutive start on Sunday — his third at the shortstop position, writes Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Jordy Mercer‘s struggles have led the Pirates to give more playing time to Kang, who signed a four-year deal as the first position player to successfully jump from the Korea Baseball Organization to Major League Baseball this offseason. Kang is hitting a robust .300/.367/.457, and while some have expressed concern about his defense, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle seemed confident in his abilities. Hurdles likened Kang to Jhonny Peralta, noting that while he doesn’t have the lateral range of Mercer, he is sure-handed and accurate with his throws. Brink notes that the Pirates have been translating their infield positioning notes into Korean for Kang. “Jordy’s got more experience within this league for positioning,” said Hurdle. “The only way Jung Ho’s going to get it is to continue to get out there and get those reps.”