Milwaukee Brewers Rumors

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

Brewers’ Attanasio Speaking With Boras About K-Rod

Brewers owner Mark Attanasio is speaking with agent Scott Boras about signing free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweets. Attanasio’s involvement could be an indication that the Brewers’ pursuit of Rodriguez has intensified, although Brewers GM Doug Melvin recently told the Journal Sentinel’s Todd Rosiak that “Scott keeps calling Mark.”

The Brewers have frequently been connected to Rodriguez this offseason, although lately most K-Rod rumors have focused on the possibility that he could be headed for the Marlins. The Brewers, meanwhile, have been connected to the Phillies’ Jonathan Papelbon in their quest for a reliever with closing experience. They also recently signed former Indians closer Chris Perez to a minor-league deal. Rodriguez and Rafael Soriano (who is also represented by Boras) are, of course, the main closer types left available in what’s left of the free agent market. One recent report indicated Rodriguez was seeking a contract of $10MM.

Milwaukee would be a familiar setting for Rodriguez, who has pitched all of the last four seasons for the Brewers, with the exception of a half-season in Baltimore in late 2013. The veteran made $3.25MM on a one-year deal with the Brewers in 2014 and posted a solid 3.04 ERA, 9.7 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 68 innings. He did somehow allow 14 home runs, although he seems unlikely to repeat that unfortunate feat.


Latest On Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada is expected to field final offers this weekend, tweets Scott Miller of Bleacher Report. A decision could come early next week. Miller highlights the Yankees and Dodgers as two favorites to put forward a big offer. Here’s more regarding the final market for the young Cuban.

  • The Yankees, Red Sox, and Padres are thought to be the front runners to land Moncada, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Heyman notes that this is based on speculation from two rival executives rather than a source in Moncada’s camp. While the Yankees “love” Moncada, a New York official claimed Boston was “all over” him.
  • The Dodgers are “lurking” per Heyman. His sources wonder if they might not be more interested in other Cubans like Hector Olivera or Yadier Alvarez.
  • The Brewers could be a surprise entrant to the bidding. As you would expect, a small market club might have trouble outbidding the industry titans. Considering an estimated total cost ranging from $70MM to $80MM (including the 100% tax), it would come as a real shock if Milwaukee managed to sign Moncada. Similarly, Heyman wonders if San Diego has the money to muscle past their large market rivals.

Jonathan Papelbon Talks Trade Possibilities

Phillies’ closer Jonathan Papelbon discussed the possibility of being dealt for the first of what could be many times in camp, as Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News reports. Given that he possesses a 17-team no-trade list, Papelbon’s opinion will play a significant role in how he is marketed by the rebuilding club.

Papelbon says that he has not yet reached the point of considering any trade scenarios that may have implicated his no-trade clause. “Once I hear something from my agents, that’s when I get involved,” Papelbon said. “I never heard anything from them.” That clause is an important part of the free agent contract that brought him to Philadelphia, pursuant to which he is owed $13MM for the coming season and another $13MM for 2016 if (and only if) he finishes 48 games this year.

The veteran righty indicated last summer that he would be willing to waive his no-trade protection to join a winning club, and the same appears to hold true now. But as to whether he would demand that a club on his no-trade list pick up the 2016 vesting option — a key consideration in defining his market — Papelbon remained noncommital: “I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. I think it depends on where I’m going, what the situation is with that other ballclub, what my situation is here. The whole equation comes into play.”

While he may not have been asked to consider specific trade scenarios, he certainly seemed versed in the rumors. Papelbon mentioned two teams that he had been tied to in explaining his willingness to compete wherever he ends up (including Philadelphia): “If Toronto wants me, if Milwaukee wants me, whoever wants me, they’re going to get someone who knows how to compete and go play ball and lay it on the line.”



Minor Moves: Donnie Murphy, Casper Wells, Jiwan James

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

  • The Brewers have added infielder Donnie Murphy on a minor league deal, the team announced through the Twitter account of its player development group. Murphy, soon to turn 32, has seen action in nine MLB seasons, compiling a .212/.279/.395 line over 931 plate appearances. He experienced his most sustained success in 2013 with the Cubs, but struggled last year in a prolonged stint with the Rangers. Murphy, who has spent most of his time at third and second, could compete with some younger players for a utility role with Milwaukee.
  • Casper Wells has joined the Tigers on a minor league deal according to multiple reports, the first of which was made by Baseball Prospectus’ Mark Anderson (Twitter link). Chris Iott of MLive.com reports (also via Twitter) that Wells will head right to minor league camp on March 15. The 30-year-old Wells, a former Tiger, is a career .230/.299/.395 hitter that is capable of handling all three spots in the outfield. The right-handed hitter has solid numbers against left-handed pitching in his career: a .248/.329/.450 batting line.
  • The independent Atlantic League’s Bridgeport Bluefish announced that they’ve signed former Phillies top prospect Jiwan James. The 25-year-old James ranked among Philadelphia’s top 30 prospects on multiple occasions, per Baseball America, who also ranked him as the organization’s best athlete, fastest runner and best outfield defender multiple times. However, his bat has yet to line up with those standout defensive tools, as he’s hit .265/.317/.364 in his minor league career. James dealt with a knee injury in 2013 and had offseason surgery due to Crohn’s disease last winter, as Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com wrote, so perhaps with a display of better health in the Atlantic League he can jump back into affiliated ball.

East Notes: Hamels, Bradley, Minor, DeJesus, Aceves

ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark polled league executives for their takes on the offseason, and some of the strongest opinions related to the game’s eastern divisions. Collectively, that group liked the Blue Jays’ signing of Russell Martin, but was skeptical of the contracts given to players like Max Scherzer (Nationals) and Hanley Ramirez (Red Sox). Check out the piece for the results on a number of other questions.

  • Regarding the oft-discussed possibility of the Red Sox dealing for Cole Hamels of the Phillies, Peter Gammons of Gammons Daily suggests that circumstances may need to change to force a deal. Any changes to Boston’s internal pitching dynamics could, of course, push it toward a deal. Or, with the Sox uninterested in taking on all of Hamels’s salary, a new willingness by the Phils to eat cash to increase the prospect return could move the needle.
  • One other factor in driving trade possibilities for the Red Sox is the club’s overflowing cup of outfielders. Before deciding how to proceed, the club will look to see where things stand, says Gammons, especially in terms of health.
  • Of note is that the Braves have made clear to Boston that they have “strong interest” in young outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. This is not necessarily an active matter, however: Gammons notes that any possible action on that front would occur in the late spring, at the earliest, and David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets his understanding that the expression of interest was made earlier in the offseason, before other moves occurred.
  • Lefty Mike Minor will face a hearing with the Braves tomorrow, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman notes on Twitter. $500K remains at stake between the sides ($5.6MM versus $5.1MM).
  • Rays outfielder David DeJesus tells Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that he has prepared for the possibility of being dealt but hopes to remain with Tampa. DeJesus says he is refreshed and ready after a “long, grueling” go of things last year, though as Topkin writes there appears to be a logjam in front of him in the outfield.
  • Alfredo Aceves, a seven-year veteran of the Red Sox and Yankees, will throw for teams this afternoon, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez tweets. Among those expected to be in attendance are the Giants, Padres, Royals, Brewers, and Reds.

NL Notes: Heyward, Cards, Roenicke, Padres, Rockies

Minor league coaches and instructors earn relatively meager salaries, reports Fangraphs’ David Laurila. The minimum salary for one club is $30K while multiple sources pegged the top end (for long-time managers and coordinators) between $150-175K. One source told Laurila the Marlins pay poorly while the Braves are among the most generous (“That’s why Miami has a lot of turnover and Atlanta doesn’t.“). Another reason Laurila cites for the low pay is the number of people who want those minor league positions with one front office executive saying his club receives between 300 and 400 resumes per year.

Here’s the latest news and notes from the National League:

  • The Cardinals have the payroll flexibility and the prospects to either extend a player like Jason Heyward or acquire a high-profile contract like that of Cole Hamels, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Within the same article, Goold notes GM John Mozeliak has fielded calls this winter on out-of-options players like infielder Pete Kozma and left-hander Sam Freeman.
  • Brewers manager Ron Roenicke told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he is not concerned about being on the hot seat as he enters the final year of his contract. “I know I’ve got a contract this year and I’ll try to do the best I can. I can’t control what happens with that. I just plan to get the guys playing well, and hopefully we’ll get off to a good start again and we’ll see what happens.
  • Despite the dramatic overhaul of their roster, the Padres have plenty of questions to address this spring, Jeff Sanders of U-T San Diego writes.
  • Nick Groke of The Denver Post takes a position-by-position look at the Rockies in 2015. This offseason, the Rockies put a heavy emphasis on improving their depth across the board.

Central Links: McCutchen, Zito, Albers, Herndon

The expensive costs of youth travel leagues are an obstacle to attracting young talent to baseball, Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen writes in a piece for The Players Tribune.  The full scholarships provided by college basketball or football make them more appealing sports than the long, usually financially-unrewarding path to the majors that the vast majority of prospects face — McCutchen himself admits that, were it not for an ACL tear when he was 15, he would’ve likely pursued NCAA football and not been a big league star today.  He argues that kids from low-income families need more entry points into the game, with one possible solution being a new system similar to the academy program for international prospects.

Here’s the latest from around the NL and AL Central divisions…


Minor Moves: Herndon, Bell, Germen, Guillon, Rapada

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

  • Righty David Herndon has signed a minor league deal with the Brewers, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com tweets. The 29-year-old, who is trying to reach the bigs for the first time since 2012, has been significantly limited by injuries over the last several seasons. Over 117 total MLB frames from 2010-12, Herndon owns a 3.85 ERA with 5.8 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9.
  • Third baseman Josh Bell has signed a minor league deal with the Padres, agent Josh Kusnick announced on Twitter. Formerly a top prospect with the Dodgers and one of the top 40 prospects in baseball (per Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus), Bell spent much of last season in Korea, hitting .267/.345/.433 with the LG Twins. Those numbers are a near-mirror image of his career line at Triple-A, where he’s batted .267/.355/.451 in 1402 plate appearances.
  • Right-hander Gonzalez Germen has cleared outright waivers and been assigned to Triple-A Iowa by the Cubs, tweets the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzales. Germen, who has been designated for assignment a stunning four times this winter, will finally know which organization he will be a part of come Spring Training. He’ll be invited to Major League camp, per Gonzales.

Earlier Moves

  • Reds left-hander Ismael Guillon has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A, reports MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon (on Twitter). Guillon was designated for assignment when the team signed Burke Badenhop over the weekend. Guillon, who turns 23 years old today, has been a mainstay on Cincinnati’s Top 30 prospects list (per Baseball America), topping out at No. 9, but he’s struggled to a 4.82 ERA over the past two seasons at multiple Class-A levels. Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel recently ranked him 21st among Reds farmhands, noting that one scout called him a “pull your hair out” type of guy due to his wild inconsistencies.
  • The Giants have signed lefty specialist Clay Rapada to a minor league contract, reports Baseball America’s Matt Eddy (via Twitter). Yankees blogger Robert Casey first reported the news recently on Twitter. Rapada, 34 in March, has just two Major League innings over the past two seasons but has an excellent track record of dominating left-handed hitters. He’s held opposing lefties to a .164/.255/.231 batting line in 257 big league plate appearances, but righties have tattooed him at a .345/.464/.611 clip. Rapada held lefties to a .639 OPS in Triple-A last season, but righties got to him for a 1.134 OPS.
  • Third baseman Nick Delmonico, who was released by the Brewers last week, has latched on with the White Sox on a minor league deal, tweets Eddy. If Delmonico’s name looks familiar, it’s because he was the player the Brewers received from the Orioles in exchange for Francisco Rodriguez in 2013. Formerly one of Baltimore’s top prospects, Delmonico was suspended last summer for amphetamine usage. The 22-year-old has yet to climb higher than Class-A Advanced, where he is a .241/.332/.417 hitter in 500 plate appearances.
  • Eddy also tweets that the Red Sox have signed right-hander Jess Todd — not to be confused with MLBTR scribe Jeff Todd — to a minor league contract. Todd, originally drafted by the Cardinals, was traded to the Indians alongside Chris Perez in return for Mark DeRosa back in 2009. Now 28 years of age, Todd has little MLB experience (28 1/3 innings) but does boast a strong track record at Triple-A, where he’s worked to a 3.62 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 380 1/3 innings.

Minor Moves: Perez, Roenicke, Cabrera

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

  • The Mariners announced the signing of lefty Rafael Perez to a minor league deal with a Spring Training invitation. Perez posted a 3.64 ERA, 2.29 K/BB rate and 7.3 K/9 over 329 relief innings with the Indians from 2006-12, but he hasn’t since pitched off a big league mound. The southpaw has pitched in the minors for the Red Sox, Twins, Pirates and Rangers over the last two seasons.
  • The Brewers have signed right-hander Josh Roenicke to a minor league deal, per the club’s transactions page (a Spring Training invite is not mentioned, seemingly indicating that he will head to minor league camp). The 32-year-old Roenicke — the nephew of Brewers manager Ron Roenicke — spent the 2014 season with the Triple-A affiliates for the Nationals and Rockies, pitching to a combined 6.04 ERA with 4.5 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 89 1/3 innings (15 starts, 14 relief appearances). The former Reds prospect brings plenty of big league experience to the table in Milwaukee, as he has 220 1/3 career innings in the Majors. He most recently pitched to a 4.35 ERA in 62 innings with the Twins.
  • Right-hander Fernando Cabrera has agreed to a minor league deal with the Giants, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The 33-year-old Cabrera hasn’t appeared in the Majors since 2010 and hasn’t logged significant MLB innings since 2008, but he has an excellent track record at Triple-A, where he has compiled a 3.00 ERA with 10.0 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 in 467 2/3 innings in parts of 10 seasons. Cabrera was considered to be one of the Indians’ best prospects in the early 2000s, but he wasn’t able to fully tap into his potential.

Phillies Notes: Papelbon, Brewers, Hamels, Red Sox

Here’s the latest out of Philadelphia, which houses one of the league’s most interesting rosters to watch this spring. Steve Adams and I discuss that, among other topics, on today’s forthcoming podcast. In the meantime, some notes:

  • The Phillies asked the Brewers for a “top prospect” in return for closer Jonathan Papelbon if the club was to pick up a big piece of the remainder of his deal, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (in a piece we cited earlier this morning). In response, Milwaukee broached the idea of sending Jonathan Broxton back to Philadelphia to help balance the cash, a concept that did not gain traction (and which Rosenthal argues made little sense for either club).
  • Those talks are now dormant, per Rosenthal. That would appear to take the Brewers out of the picture for Papelbon at this point. As Rosenthal explains, the entire episode also demonstrates the broader difficulty the club is facing in moving Papelbon. While a spring injury could always shake up the market, it increasingly appears (as others have suggested) that waiting until the summer to deal might represent the best option for the Phils.
  • The Red Sox have plenty of leverage in their pursuit of Phillies lefty Cole Hamels, writes Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. That’s because “even the second-best deal [Amaro] can get for Hamels from the Red Sox is likely better than he can get elsewhere,” as Abraham puts it. Even taking on most of the Hamels deal is going to leave plenty of value left to be accounted for in any trade scenario — another topic that Steve and I discuss — but Abraham suggests that the gap might be bridged by a package fronted by lefty Henry Owens and including several other top prospects not named Betts, Swihart, or Rodriguez.