Milwaukee Brewers Rumors

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

Minor Moves: Komatsu, Santos, Snyder, Bernadina, McCutchen, Diaz, Camp, Canzler, Hanson

Here are the latest minor moves from around the league…

  • Outfielder Erik Komatsu has signed with the Brewers, reports Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (via Twitter). Komatsu, 26, started out with Milwaukee but was dealt to the Nationals in 2011 in a summer deal for Jerry Hairston. He was then taken in the Rule 5 draft, and saw brief time with both the Cardinals and Twins, before being returned to D.C. After being released by the Nats earlier this year, Komatsu had a brief stint with the Angels but was apparently released again.
  • The Pirates have traded outfielder Adalberto Santos to the Giants, according to the PCL transactions page. Santos, 26, was off to a rough .186/.234/.256 start in 47 plate appearances at Triple-A after performing well at each prevous level in the minors.
  • First baseman/outfielder Brad Snyder has elected free agency rather than accepting an outright assignment to Triple-A Round Rock from the Rangers, reports Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest (via Twitter). The 32-year-old Snyder was designated for assignment earlier this week when Texas purchased the contract of fellow first baseman Carlos Pena from Round Rock. Snyder, a converted outfielder, was relatively new to first base, but all 10 games in which he appeared with the Rangers this season came as a first baseman. In those 10 contests, Snyder slashed .167/.265/.400 and blasted a pair of homers in 34 trips to the plate. The first-round pick has demolished Triple-A pitching in his minor league career but never received an extended look in the Majors.
  • Outfielder Roger Bernadina has refused an outright assignment from the Reds and elected free agency, reports C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer (via Twitter). The 30-year-old has been unable to regain the form he showed in 2012 with the Nationals (.291/.372/.405 with 15 steals in 261 plate appearances). He split last year between Washington and Philadelphia before inking a minor league deal with Cincinnati. In 71 plate appearances, Bernadina scuffled to a .153/.286/.203 line.
  • The White Sox have inked righty Daniel McCutchen to a minor league deal, Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com reports on Twitter. McCutchen, a 31-year-old righty, saw significant time in the Pirates pen over 2009-11 but has only appeared in two MLB contests since (including one with the Rangers this year). He had a 7.05 ERA and 8.1 K/9 against 2.0 BB/9 over 60 innings (including eight starts) at Triple-A with Texas.
  • The Blue Jays have outrighted infielder Jonathan Diaz, according to the International League transactions page. Diaz, 29, put up a .158/.256/.184 line in 45 plate appearances with Toronto, his only MLB action other than a cup of coffee last year with the Red Sox.
  • Also according to the International League transactions page, the Phillies have released reliever Shawn Camp. The 38-year-old righty appeared in three games earlier in the year before being outrighted, electing free agency, and re-signing with Philadelphia. He currently owns a respectable 3.79 ERA through 19 innings in the minors, with 7.6 K/9 against 2.4 BB/9.
  • The Phillies have signed Russ Canzler to a minor league deal and assigned him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, per the team’s transactions page at MLB.com. Canzler, who debuted for the IronPigs yesterday, spent the early portion of the season with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate. He’s a career .276/.355/.457 hitter in Triple-A and has 102 career MLB plate appearances between the Rays and Indians.
  • The Angels have signed independent league right-hander Ray Hanson, per the club’s transactions page. The 6’7″, 235-pound Hanson has pitched very well in both the Frontier League and the United League, posting a 3.59 ERA with a strong 129-to-40 K/BB ratio in 125 1/3 innings. Hanson, 24, made his affiliated debut yesterday with the Halos’ Class-A Advanced club and fired five shutout innings, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out three.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.


Padres Claim Irving Falu From Brewers

The Padres have claimed utilityman Irving Falu off waivers from the Brewers, reports MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy (via Twitter). With the move, the club has opened a spot on its 40-man roster.

Falu, 31, saw only 12 hitless plate appearances with Milwaukee this season, and has just 107 career MLB plate appearances. He has spent the vast majority of the past six seasons (including this one) at the Triple-A level, where he owns a lifetime .284/.343/.365 line over 2,671 plate appearances. Falu has spent most of his time as a middle infielder, though he also has a significant number of games under his belt at third base and right field.


NL Central Notes: McCutchen, Brewers, Cards, Wada

Earlier today, MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk posted divisional roundups for the NL East and AL Central. Now, let’s take a look at the news and notes from the NL Central:



International Prospect Links: Top 30, Padres, Nats, Bonuses

We’re less than two weeks away from the July 2 international signing deadline, and MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez has published his ranking of the Top 30 International prospects for the 2014-15 class. Most of these amateur players are still just teenagers, including a number of 15- and 16-year-olds. Players that are 15 years of age currently — such as No. 3 ranked prospect Adrian Rondon – will be eligible to officially sign when they turn 16 (July 7, in Rondon’s case). Sanchez’s list is topped by Dominican shortstop Dermis Garcia and includes free video, scouting reports and rankings of each players’ tools on the 20-80 scouting scale. It’s a must-read for all that are interested in the international market and an indispensable tool that will be referenced heavily on MLBTR in the coming months.

Here’s more in the international prospect front…

  • Sanchez tweets that the Padres have signed 21-year-old Dominican right-hander Dinelson Lamet for a $100K bonus. While teams are currently not allowed to sign any more players from the 2013-14 crop of July 2 prospects, Sanchez adds in a followup tweet that the Friars squeezed this one in just under the wire, finalizing the deal last week.
  • Nationals scouting director Johnny DiPuglia tells Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that the Nats will be targeting quantity as opposed to spending their budget on two or three high-priced assets. Washington is hoping to add 12 to 15 players to its ranks, says DiPuglia, adding that the areas of focus for the Nats were left-handers with potential for high velocity, speedy up-the-middle players and bats with raw power.
  • Baseball America’s Ben Badler posted an update of his projected Top 10 signing bonuses this week, with the Yankees projected to issue four of the 10 (including a near-$3MM bonus for the previously mentioned Garcia). However, the Bronx Bombers don’t occupy the top spot on the list; that goes to the Brewers, who are expected to give Dominican shortstop Gilbert Lara (Sanchez’s No. 4 prospect) a bonus north of $3MM. Badler’s piece requires a BA subscription which is highly recommended to international prospect aficionados, as BA will be producing loads of scouting reports and projections on the July 2 class in the coming weeks.

2015 Vesting Options Update

The state of next year’s free agent class will be impacted by whether or not players with vesting options in their contracts achieve the necessary playing time to trigger those conditional options. Here’s a rundown of these players and their progress toward triggering their options…

  • Nick Punto: Punto has a $2.75MM club option that will automatically vest if he spends fewer than 30 days on the disabled list, assistant GM David Forst told reporters at the time of the signing. He did add that there are other ways for Punto’s option to vest, though for the time being, he’s on pace to see his option vest simply due to the fact that he’s avoided the DL entirely. If the option doesn’t vest, the A’s have the choice of picking him up at $2.75MM or buying him out for $250K.
  • Rickie Weeks: Weeks has an $11.5MM option that won’t be vesting, as he would need to total 600 PA in 2014 or 1,200 PA in 2013-14 and finish the season healthy. He’s being platooned heavily with Scooter Gennett and has just 112 PAs on the season, so he’ll fall well shy of that mark. Should he reach 400 PAs (which only seems likely in the event of Gennett injury), Weeks would be entitled to a $1MM buyout of his option.
  • Jimmy Rollins: Rollins’ option vests if he reaches 600 PA in 2014 or if he totals 1,100 options from 2013-14 and finishes the season on the active roster. He’s 141 PA shy of that combined 1,100 number, meaning he’s highly likely to end up with an $11MM guarantee for 2015.
  • Dan Haren: If Haren pitches 180 innings or more in 2014, he triggers a $10MM player option for the 2015 season. He’s averaging just over six innings per start, so he’s on pace to clear that mark given 30-31 starts. However, if he finishes the season anywhere near his current 3.54 ERA, he may prefer to test the open market in search of a multi-year deal.
  • Mike Adams: Adams’ $6MM club option for 2015 vests with 60 innings pitched in 2014, but he’s once again on the disabled list for the Phillies and has thrown just 17 innings. Adams has thrown 42 innings in his season-and-a-half with the Phils, and it seems highly unlikely that they would pick him up at $6MM given his injury troubles.
  • Rafael Soriano: Soriano’s $14MM club option will vest if he finishes 120 games combined in 2013-14. He’s currently at 81 games finished on the season, meaning he’d need to finish a rather unlikely 39 of his team’s final 92 games (42 percent) this season. Should the option vest, half of his salary will be deferred and paid in annual installments from 2018-25.
  • Kyuji Fujikawa: The Cubs hoped that Fujikawa, one of the best relievers in Japanese history, would help to fortify their bullpen when they signed him to a two-year, $9.5MM contract in the 2012-13 offseason. Instead, both player and team received a hefty dose of bad luck when Fujikawa needed Tommy John surgery after just 12 innings last season. He has a vesting option based on games finished, but the 33-year-old hasn’t pitched in 2014 and surely won’t be crossing that threshold.
  • Sean Burnett: Burnett’s $4.5MM club option vests if he appears in a total of 110 games between 2013-14, but like Fujikawa, he’s been plagued by injury and has no chance of that happening. Burnett has appeared in just 16 games total over the past two seasons and underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this month. The Halos will certainly be paying the $500K buyout on his club option.
  • Scott Downs: Downs has a $4MM vesting option, and while the specifics haven’t been reported, Ken Rosenthal noted at the time of the deal that it would vest were Downs to pitch “a normal workload.” He’s headed in that direction, as he’s on pace for his highest innings total since 2011. Downs has pitched to a 5.48 ERA in his 23 innings, so the White Sox may not wish to see that option vest. Then again, he has a 3.95 ERA dating back to May 3, so he’s shown some signs of improvement.

Athletics Acquire Brad Mills

The A’s have acquired left-hander Brad Mills from the Brewers in exchange for cash considerations, the Brewers’ player development department announced (on Twitter). Milwaukee will receive only nominal consideration in return, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).

The 29-year-old Mills recently had an opt-out date come and go in his contract, but reports indicated that he was able to opt out at any time in favor of a Major League opportunity. Instead, he will head to the A’s where he will presumably have a chance to crack the big league roster in some capacity.

Mills has been excellent at Triple-A Nashville this season, pitching to a 1.56 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 75 innings of work (14 appearances, 12 starts). He’s struggled in 53 1/3 innings at the Major League level in his career, however, posting a 7.76 ERA with a 51-to-31 K/BB ratio.


NL Notes: Iglesias, Mills, Martin, Young, Billingsley

Here’s the latest out of the National League …

  • The Reds are interested in Cuban free agent pitcher Raisel Iglesias, reports Ben Badler of Baseball America (via Twitter). A team official told Badler that a deal was not in place at this time, however. Badler recently reported that the righty was granted an extended signing window by MLB, and will be free to sign through July 1 without being subject to international spending limitations.
  • Brewers righty Brad Mills has an opt-out provision in his minor league deal that was triggered on Sunday, but can only be exercised if he has an offer from a team that would put him on its 25-man roster, reports Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Mills, 29, has impressed at Triple-A, with a 1.56 ERA and 9.2 K/9 against 2.2 BB/9 through 75 innings (including 12 starts). As Rosiak notes, however, Milwaukee seems relatively uninterested in using him at the big league level at present.
  • If the Pirates decide to open extension talks with catcher Russell Martin, Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review estimates that it could take a three-year, $39MM offer to make a deal. Martin, who signed a two-year, $17MM pact to come to Pittsburgh, has posted a strong .275/.409/.400 line this year, which is the best pace he’s carried since his excellent 2006-08 seasons with the Dodgers. In the intervening five years, Martin has averaged a .234/.332/.370 triple-slash, though he has consistently earned stellar defensive ratings. After Martin, pickings are fairly slim on next year’s free agent market for backstops, with players like Kurt Suzuki, A.J. Pierzynski, Geovany Soto, and Nick Hundley leading the way.
  • The Mets have no intention of releasing struggling outfielder Chris Young, reports Adam Rubin of ESPN.com. Young has posted a meager .196/.283/.313 line in 185 plate appearances since joining the club on a one-year, $7.25MM pact. While the team would like to be able to deal him, presumably eating some salary to make that happen, a team official tells Rubin that New York does not expect to find much of a market for his services.
  • As expected, Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley will undergo season-ending surgery on his right elbow, reports Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com. It seems all but certain that the club will opt to pay Billingsley a $3MM buyout rather than picking up his $14MM option for 2015. The veteran hurler tells Saxon that the rehab is expected to be “about six months,” and that surgery offered him the “best chance to pitch next year.”

Brewers Notes: Lucroy, Ramirez, Nelson, Estrada

Today is Father’s Day and to celebrate MLB.com has profiled the father-son bond for one player on each of the 30 clubs. Carlos Gomez, who signed his first professional contract on Father’s Day, is featured in the Brewers’ vignette telling Adam McCalvy he wouldn’t be where he is today without his dad, Carlos Sr. “He’s the guy I owe everything,” the younger Gomez said. “He’s an example to [get an] education, be a good father, respect — and give everything I have right now. I remember the words they told me. ‘If you’re going to play ball, you’re going to play right, or not play.’” Carlos Sr. was a well-regarded second baseman and center fielder in the Dominican Republic. So, who is the better player? With the younger Gomez translating, the elder Gomez told McCalvy, “When we were the same age, 16-21, I used to be better. I used to be faster. I knew the game more than him.” Gomez, with a wide smile, retorted, “I have more tools, more ability to play. Every time we joke around, play around like that, ‘Who’s better? Who’s better?’ I say, ‘I’m the one who has almost eight years in the big leagues!’” Fathers and sons.

In other Brewers news and notes:

  • The franchise has reaped substantial dividends from their decision to sign Jonathan Lucroy to a five-year, $11MM contract extension two years ago, writes Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Lucroy, owner of baseball’s second-best batting average and slashing .333/.396/.504 entering play today, is under team control through 2017.
  • The Brewers are resisting the temptation to recall top prospect Jimmy Nelson and insert him into the rotation in place of Marco Estrada, Haudricourt reports. “Some people say bring Jimmy Nelson up and put him in the bullpen,” GM Doug Melvin told Haudricourt. “But out there you don’t know how much he’ll pitch. We want him to stay sharp down there (Triple-A Nashville) in the event we need him.” The need is fast approaching as Estrada was rocked for three home runs against the Reds this afternoon and has given up 23 gopher balls – most in the Majors – ballooning his HR/9 to 2.46 (84 innings). Haudricourt notes on Twitter 35 of the 45 earned runs allowed this year by Estrada, a non-tender candidate entering his second arbitration year this winter, have come on home runs. MLB.com’s McCalvy tweets Estrada will remain in the rotation until manager Ron Roenicke speaks with Melvin.
  • It would be too big of a gamble for the Brewers to exercise their half of Aramis Ramirez‘s 2015 mutual option ($14MM with a $4MM buyout) because he’s at the age where players, even reliable and productive ones like the soon-to-be 36-year-old third baseman, start to break down physically, opines Haudricourt’s colleague, Todd Rosiak, in a recent chat. Ramirez played only 92 games last season with knee issues and has missed more than three weeks this year due to a hamstring pull.
  • The Brewers are satisfied with the first base tandem of Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay and, barring an unexpected trade, what you see is what you’re likely going to get at that position, according to Rosiak.
  • If the first-place Brewers are inclined to make any Trade Deadline deals, they could focus on strengthening their bullpen and bench, Rosiak writes.

 


Brewers Sign Kodi Medeiros

The Brewers have signed No. 12 overall draft pick Kodi Medeiros, MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo tweets. Medeiros receives a signing bonus of $2.5MM, plus $240K to pay for college. The Hawaii high school lefty had a commitment to Pepperdine.

MLB.com ranked Medeiros the No. 29 prospect in the draft, and Baseball America placed him at No. 32. He wins praise for his fastball, which has good life and can reach into the mid-90s, and his slider, although he is somewhat small and pitches from a low arm slot, which has led some within the game to believe he may eventually be a reliever.

The bonus pool value of the No. 12 pick is around $2.81MM, so the Brewers save about $310K of room against their bonus pool. The Brewers went over their bonus pool allotments to sign Comp Round A selection Jacob Gatewood and second-rounder Monte Harrison, but between their savings on Medeiros and on later rounds (where they picked several college seniors), they are still within their bonus pool, as MLB.com’s Jim Callis notes.


NL East Notes: Heaney, K-Rod, Mets, Taylor

The Marlins have scratched top prospect Andrew Heaney from tonight’s start, but Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald writes that fans shouldn’t read too much into the move. Marlins VP of player development Marty Scott tells Spencer that the move is just a precaution against having to shut Heaney down in September and isn’t related to a current call-up. Heaney himself told Darrell Williams of the New Orleans Advocate that he feels he’s ready to pitch in the Majors but doesn’t want to be called up as a fill-in, but rather to help the team win: They’re in first place,” said Heaney. “I don’t want them to bring me up as an experiment.”

Here’s more from the NL East…

  • Francisco Rodriguez told Newsday’s Marc Carig that he and the Mets exchanged numbers shortly before New York signed Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde, and following those two moves, he made his decision to return to the Brewers (Twitter link). K-Rod, signed to be a setup man in Milwaukee, has instead turned back the clock with his best season in years, pitching to a 2.01 ERA with 10.0 K/9 and 20 saves to this point as the team’s closer.
  • The Mets are “caught between the reality of needing patience and the desire to finally start winning again,” writes Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. Kepner spoke with Jon Niese, who said he’s not sure how Mets prospects such as Zack Wheeler, Rafael Montero and Travis d’Arnaud deal with the pressure and expectations placed upon them by fans and media alike. Niese, who didn’t break out until his fifth season with the Mets, added that he’s thankful that the team gave him, Daniel Murphy and Bobby Parnell time to develop, but he’s not sure the newest wave will be afforded the same opportunity.
  • James Wagner of the Washington Post examines Nationals prospect Michael Taylor‘s breakout at Double-A Harrisburg. Taylor, not to be confused by the former Top 100 prospect of the same name, has worked with hitting coach Mark Harris to tweak his approach at the plate and is recognizing breaking pitches better and thriving at the plate. His strikeout rate is still a problem, but it dropped from April to May, and if he can continue that trend he could be on a fast track to Washington’s outfield.