Milwaukee Brewers Rumors

Milwaukee Brewers trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.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.

Brewers Notes: First Base, Weeks, Bullpen

The Brewers enter play today with the most wins in baseball and a 6.5 game lead over the Cardinals in the NL Central. With Milwaukee’s success to date and the Trade Deadline looming, will GM Doug Melvin pull off a major acquisition like he did the last two times the Brewers made the playoffs (CC Sabathia in 2008 and Francisco Rodriguez in 2011)? Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he’s “always open for anything,” but there isn’t a lot of holes needing to be filled. “You have to ask, where are you going to play a guy?” said Melvin. “We have a pretty good lineup. I’m not going to trade for a catcher or a second baseman or shortstop or left fielder or center fielder or right fielder.

In other Brewers’ news and notes from Haudricourt:

  • One position Melvin did not mention was first base with the platoon of Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay producing a .683 OPS, which ranks 26th in the majors. Melvin says the duo has “done a nice job for us,” and “there’s not a big offensive first baseman available anyway.
  • The Brewers could be in the market for relievers with Jim Henderson and Tyler Thornburg still on the disabled list. “We’ve talked about bullpen help,” Melvin said. “Over the course of the year, your bullpen gets worn down pretty good. A lot of teams are going to be looking for bullpen help.
  • Melvin, however, will not sacrifice the future for short-term gain in any trade. “We’re not going to deal the young impact player to help our big club now. It’s going to be tough to do that. I think we do have a lot of players in our system that will play in the big leagues.
  • Melvin acknowledged other teams have called about second baseman Rickie Weeks, but no specific proposals have been made. Weeks is earning $11MM this season with a $11.5MM vesting option for 2015. MLBTR’s Steve Adams recently noted the option isn’t likely to be triggered.

Minor Moves: Rosales, Ahmed, Bianchi

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here.

  • The Rangers have announced that they will purchase the contract of infielder Adam Rosales and optioned fellow infielder Luis Sardinas to the minors, where he’ll presumably have more regular playing time. The Rangers will need to make a 40-man roster move to make space for Rosales, who was hitting .276/.349/.434 in 307 plate appearances for Triple-A Round Rock.
  • The Diamondbacks announce that they have selected the contract of infielder Nick Ahmed. Fellow infielder Chris Owings will head to the 15-day DL with a shoulder strain, and the Diamondbacks will clear 40-man roster space for Ahmed by moving Eric Chavez to the 60-day DL. Ahmed, 24, was hitting .324/.390/.431 for Triple-A Reno, where he played shortstop and second base. He was originally drafted by the Braves, who traded him to Arizona in the Justin Upton / Chris Johnson / Martin Prado deal.
  • The Brewers have announced that they’ve selected the contract of infielder Jeff Bianchi from Triple-A Nashville, adding him to their 40-man and 25-man rosters. To clear space for him on the 25-man, they’ve optioned pitcher Alfredo Figaro to Nashville. Shortstop Jean Segura left yesterday’s game with leg cramps, which might be why the Brewers are adding another infielder. The Brewers outrighted Bianchi last month. He has a career .214/.249/.281 line in parts of three seasons, all with Milwaukee.

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.