Milwaukee Brewers Rumors

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

Minor Moves: Mitch Lively, Hector Gimenez, Ryan Verdugo

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • Righty Mitch Lively has opted out of his contract with the Giants and inked a minor league deal with the Nationals, reports Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (Twitter links). He can opt out of his new contract on September 1, Cotillo adds. The 28-year-old had spent virtually all of his career in San Francisco, though he has yet to make a big league appearance. He began working as a starter last year after six years throwing exclusively from the pen. At Triple-A this season, Lively owns a 5.08 ERA through 90 1/3 frames (including 15 starts and seven relief appearances), with 8.0 K/9 against 4.2 BB/9.
  • The Brewers have signed catcher Hector Gimenez after his recent release by the Blue Jays, tweets Cotillo. The 31-year-old switch-hitter has seen only limited MLB action, but has been fairly productive in the upper minors in recent years. That has not held in 2014, however: in 127 plate appearances with Jays and White Sox affiliates, he owns a .177/.260/.292 triple-slash.
  • The Red Sox have acquired lefty Ryan Verdugo from the Royals in exchange for cash considerations, Kansas City announced on Twitter. The 27-year-old has only one MLB start under his belt — it did not go well — and has spent most of the last four seasons in the upper minors. Through 46 2/3 frames over 9 starts this year, he owns a 4.24 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9.

Quick Hits: Segura, Aiken, Cruz

Brewers shortstop Jean Segura has left the team after learning of the death of his nine-month-old son Janniel, Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. There are few details about what happened, although Brewers manager Ron Roenicke notes that Segura’s son had been sick. “It’s tough,” says Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez. “After I leave last night, I can’t wait to come home and hug my kid and sleep with my kid. It’s hard to imagine. It’s painful. It’s not my kid, but I feel like it.” We at MLBTR send our deepest condolences to Segura and his family after this tragedy.

  • Brady Aiken and the Astros still don’t see eye-to-eye over the pitcher’s injury status, Kirk Kenney of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes in a long feature. The Astros have dropped Aiken’s bonus offer from $6.5MM to $5MM over an issue with his elbow, but Kenney quotes Aiken’s high school coach and trainer, who both say he’s healthy. The issue, as Kenney points out, might be that interpreting an MRI is more art than science — a player can appear healthy and yet have abnormalities in his MRI, and yet it isn’t easy to tell which abnormalities are significant and which ones aren’t.
  • Despite the aftereffects of a PED suspension and a fall into the cracks of the qualifying offer system, the OriolesNelson Cruz didn’t spend the offseason worrying about where he would end up, Childs Walker of the Baltimore Sun writes. Instead, he took comfort in spending the offseason in his home country of the Dominican Republic. “It feels natural,” Cruz says. “Everything is more calm [in the U.S.] You have more peace. But I miss my people.”

NL Notes: Nelson, Pirates, Street, Dodgers, Padres GM

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.


A’s Acquire Rodolfo Fernandez From Brewers For International Bonus Slot

The Athletics announced that they have acquired minor league right-hander Rodolfo Fernandez from the Brewers for the No. 57 international bonus slot, which carries a value of $339K.

The Brewers have been rumored to be on the hunt for some additional bonus money, as they’ve agreed to terms with Dominican shortstop Gilbert Lara on a $3.2MM bonus but have an international bonus pool of just over $2.6MM. This new move boosts their overall bonus pool $2,950,800, which is still $249,200 short of Lara’s reported bonus. That means that their agreement with Lara would still result in an overage of 8.4 percent, which would be enough to prevent them from signing a player in next year’s signing period for any more than $500K.

While MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez has since listed Lara’s signing bonus, even that $149,200 overage would still result in a 5.05 percent overage. The Brew Crew needs to keep the overage under five percent in order to avoid restrictions on their spending next season, so it seems likely that the team will pursue further bonus slots in order to come in under that number. Further trades will have to be completed before Lara’s signing is officially announced, as teams cannot acquire additional bonus money once they have already exceeded their signing pool.

Fernandez, a 24-year-old Cuban right-hander, has a 2.87 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 in 31 1/3 innings at Low Class A this season. He didn’t rank among Milwaukee’s Top 30 prospects, per Baseball America or the team’s Top 20 prospects, per MLB.com. The trade serves as another example of teams moving international bonus money for relatively marginal returns.


Minor Moves: Clark, Ayala, Robinson, Sanchez, Janish

Here are today’s minor league transactions, with the newest moves at the top of the post…

  • The Brewers have signed first baseman Matt Clark to a minor league deal, the club’s player development department announced on Twitter. Clark had been hitting .297/.380/.498 at Double-A for the Mets before he was released recently. He will take the roster spot of Hunter Morris, the club’s tenth overall prospect coming into the year (per Baseball America), who was DL’ed after breaking his arm.
  • Veteran righty Luis Ayala has been released by the Blue Jays, according to the International League transactions page. The reliever had been working at Triple-A. As MLBTR’s Zach Links reported at the time of the signing, Ayala did not have the right to opt out of his deal. Though he worked to a 2.90 ERA with 5.8 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9 over 31 innings last year for the Braves, Ayala has not had an opportunity to throw in the bigs yet this season. Through 17 innings at the Double-A and Triple-A levels, he owns a 5.29 ERA (7.4 K/9, 3.2 BB/9)
  • The Braves officially acquired minor league right-hander Andrew Robinson from the Astros in exchange for cash considerations or a player to be named later, as per a Houston media release.  Sportsnet.ca’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reported yesterday that the trade was imminent.
  • The Cubs released left-hander Jonathan Sanchez, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports (Twitter link).  The Cubs signed Sanchez to a minor league deal in December but the southpaw has been injured for most of the season and only pitched 2/3 of an inning for Triple-A Iowa.  After being traded from the Giants following the 2011 season, Sanchez’s numbers ballooned to the tune of an 8.73 ERA over 78 1/3 IP with the Royals, Rockies and Pirates in 2012-13.
  • The Royals have signed infielder Paul Janish to a minor league deal, MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo reports (Twitter link).  Janish opted out of his previous minors deal with the Rockies on Tuesday.  Janish provided some good defense but only a .572 OPS in 1206 PA with the Reds and Braves from 2008-13, and he spent all of his season with Triple-A Colorado Springs.
  • The Blue Jays have released outfielder Brett Carroll, as announced via Twitter by the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons.  Carroll posted only a .438 OPS in 63 Triple-A plate appearances after signing a minor league contract with the Jays in February.  Carroll appeared in 173 games with the Marlins from 2007-10 and had cups of coffee with the Brewers and Nationals in 2011-12 before spending 2013 with the Pirates’ Triple-A franchise.

Minor Moves: Snyder, Clark, Robinson, Dobbs

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

  • Brad Snyder, who recently elected free agency after being outrighted by the Rangers, has signed with the LG Twins of the Korea Baseball Organization, Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net reports (via Twitter). Snyder has crushed Triple-A pitching to the tune of a .288/.351/.507 batting line in his career but has never received an extended look in the bigs.
  • First baseman Matt Clark, who recently opted out of his minor league deal with the Mets, tweets that he has signed a new minor league deal with the Brewers (hat tip: Adam Rubin of ESPN New York on Twitter). Clark hit .297/.380/.498 with 10 homers for Double-A Binghamton this season, one year after he posted a .785 OPS and hit 25 bombs for the Chunici Dragons of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball.
  • Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports that the Braves are set to acquire right-hander Andrew Robinson from the Astros. The 26-year-old Robinson, a former 12th-round pick by the Astros, has excelled in 41 1/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A this season, posting a combined 2.40 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9. Further details of the deal aren’t known at this time.
  • The Nationals announced that Greg Dobbs has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Syracuse.  The 35-year-old was designated for assignment last week.  He has largely struggled in a limited bench role for the Marlins and Nats this year and owns a .171/.186/.195 line through 43 plate appearances on the season.  Over parts of 11 seasons in the bigs, Dobbs has slashed .261/.306/.386 over 2,272 plate appearances.

NL Central Links: Brewers, McCarthy, Alcantara, Cubs

The Brewers won’t announce their signing of Dominican shortstop Gilbert Lara yet due to the fact that they’re expecting a change to their international bonus pool, reports Dionisio Soldevila of ESPN Deportes (Twitter link). Teams can acquire additional bonus money as long as they’ve yet to exceed their bonus pool, so it appears they’ll try to land some additional slots before making the Lara deal official. The two sides reportedly agreed to terms on a $3.2MM signing bonus yesterday, but the team has made no statement. Milwaukee has a bonus pool just north of $2.6MM, per Baseball America.

Here’s more out of the NL Central…

  • Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes that the Pirates have some interest in Brandon McCarthy and wonders if the team could sell high on Vance Worley by flipping him to the Diamondbacks as part of a McCarthy deal. He notes that sabermetric ERA estimators such as xFIP love McCarthy despite an unsightly ERA, while Worley’s strong ERA isn’t sustainable. Sawchik opines that even if the two can’t be traded directly for one another, acquiring McCarthy and slotting him into Worley’s spot would improve the team’s roster.
  • Cubs GM Jed Hoyer offered high praise for top prospect Arismendy Alcantara to Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald. Hoyer wouldn’t comment on whether or not Alcantara would see the Majors this season but noted that he’s underappreciated due to the big reputations of Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Albert Almora. Alcantara is hitting .310/.350/.546 with 10 homers, 11 triples, 22 doubles and 20 steals, and that strong play has “opened [the Cubs'] eyes,” in Hoyer’s words.
  • Rooftop owners in Chicago have agreed not to sue the Cubs if the team adds just one video board and one advertising sign in the outfield, according to a report from Ameet Sachdev, Jared Hopkins and Blair Kamin of the Chicago Tribune. The team’s most recent vision for the upgrades had a video board and five signs as well as other renovations to Wrigley Field.

Brewers To Sign Gilbert Lara

The Brewers have agreed to sign international prospect Gilbert Lara, reports Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com (via Twitter). Lara will receive a $3.2MM bonus, according to colleague Dionisio Soldevila (via Twitter).

Milwaukee has long been expected to land Lara, a Dominican shortstop who is expected to move to third base but could ultimately shift across the diamond or into the corner outfield. He is big and strong, and has shown good power in game action. MLB.com liked him as the fourth-best available prospect, with Baseball America slotting him at number five.

That bonus alone would exceed the Brewer’s available international money of $2,611,800 by 22.5%. If that holds, Milwaukee would not only pay a 100% tax on the overage, but would sacrifice the right to sign any player for more than $300K in the next two signing periods. On the other hand, the club could always acquire additional slots (up to 50% of its original total pool) to offset the difference.


NL Central Notes: Brewers, Cubs, Arrieta, Pirates

For those weighing a foray into baseball operations, the Brewers have posted two opportunities that may be worth a look: baseball systems developer and baseball systems architect. Here’s the latest out of the NL Central:

  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin says that the club is not looking to make any significant acquisitions, reports Adam McCalvy of MLB.com“Right now, if we stay healthy, I don’t see a major need,” said Melvin, who said that there has been “very minimal activity” around the league to this point. McCalvy says that the bullpen seems the most likely area for an upgrade, though even that is far from a certainty. Otherwise, Melvin downplayed the likelihood of action, even for a veteran bench piece: “I don’t know what you would do. You’re not going to change Rickie [Weeks] and Scooter [Gennett]. You’re not going to change [Lyle] Overbay [and Mark] Reynolds. One piece, maybe, but it’s got to be somebody who can play center field. I don’t know where [a player in the mold of 2011 acquisition Jerry Hairston] would play if we had him now.”
  • The Cubs may be closer to contention than was once thought, thanks to a surprisingly promising set of current MLB starters, writes Rob Neyer of FOX Sports. With an emergent Jake Arrieta — who once again made a serious go at a no-hitter last night — and a host of hitting prospects knocking on the door, Neyer wonders whether Chicago might be better off holding onto Jeff Samardzija and aiming to enter 2015 as a dark-horse contender.
  • Whatever the Cubs do with Samardzija and Jason Hammel — the latter of whom seems particularly likely to be dealt — there is little chance that they will part with Arrieta, who has blossomed in his new environs. As Jason Mastrodonato of MassLive.com writes, Chicago looks to have done well to add Arrieta (along with Pedro Strop and cash) in exchange for Scott Feldman one year ago tomorrow. For his part, the righty says (in colorful terms) that he is just happy to be throwing well after a difficult stretch with the Orioles, as Paul Folkemer of PressBox notes on Twitter.
  • Two of the game’s most promising second-half turnaround possibilities play for the Pirates, according to Dave Szymborski of ESPN.com (Insider link). Szymborski names Francisco Liriano and the recently-acquired Ernesto Frieri in listing the players most likely to turn it on after the All-Star break.

NL Central Notes: Weeks, Cardinals, Davis

After covering some Cubs Notes earlier today, let’s take a look around the rest of the NL Central…

  • The Blue Jays haven’t shown any interest in Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks since they’re looking to land a better defender at the keystone, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports.  (Similar defensive concerns were also the reason for Toronto’s lack of interest in Daniel Murphy, as Heyman reported over the weekend.)  Weeks is hitting .263/.344/.463 in 90 PA against left-handed pitching this season, and would make sense on paper for a Jays team that is need of both second base help and a right-handed bat.
  • The Cardinals are open to acquiring a second or third baseman and have also considered adding a “complement upgrade” for their lineup, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.  Padres outfielder Seth Smith is cited by Goold as an example of the type of complementary player the Cards are discussing, though Smith himself isn’t necessarily being targeted by the team.  If the Cardinals do add a 2B or 3B, Matt Carpenter would play the other position.
  • The Piratestrade for Ike Davis is over two months old, and Tim Rohan of the New York Times checks in to see how both the Bucs and Mets have progressed since the deal.  The Mets have been very pleased by how Lucas Duda is hitting as the new regular first baseman, and while Davis hasn’t been hitting quite as well (.250/.359/.364 in 217 PA as a Pirate), he mentioned in a recent WFAN interview that he enjoys playing for a team that expects to contend.