Milwaukee Brewers Rumors
Here's the latest on a few managers on the hot seat after their clubs have gotten off to disappointing starts in 2013...
- Don Mattingly isn't in "imminent danger" of being fired as Dodgers manager, ESPN's Buster Olney and Jayson Stark report. GM Ned Colletti met with Mattingly and the coaching staff after Tuesday's game and a source believes “the air was cleared and a new direction was given.” Colletti wasn't behind Mattingly's criticisms of the team, though sources say the GM did encourage Mattingly's choice to be more assertive.
- Dodgers president Stan Kasten was also not offended by Mattingly's comments, telling FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal that the skipper was trying to motivate the club. “I know what Don is trying to do, what his intention is. It’s to light a fire, kick-start the team. He’s trying everything he can think of. We’re all behind him," Kasten said.
- If this is Mattingly's last season in Los Angeles, some predict he could find a new job managing the Nationals next year, CBS Sports' Danny Knobler reports. The Nats previously considered Mattingly for a managerial opening (though he wasn't interviewed) and the team is believed to "strongly favor hiring a high-profile manager" to replace the retiring Davey Johnson rather than promote an internal option.
- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke is "not the issue" with the team's problems, owner Mark Attanasio tells CBS Sports' Jon Heyman. An anonymous scout recently criticized the Brewers for lacking in effort but Attanasio disagrees: "The guys may be a little down. But I saw them before (Wednesday's game), and there was a lot of energy and enthusiasm. That was a very spirited dugout. One thing I like about Ron Roenicke, the players play hard for him." Attanasio chalked his team's woes up to "streakiness," a lack of situational hitting and struggling starting pitching.
Brewers GM Doug Melvin indirectly shed some light on the philosophical differences which led to trading Brett Lawrie to the Blue Jays. Lawrie's name came up when Melvin told Michael Hunt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the plan is to keep second base prospect Scooter Gennett in Triple-A for the full season instead of being promoted because of the struggles of Rickie Weeks. "The plan worked for (Prince) Fielder and Corey Hart and all those guys," Melvin said. "Spend your time at each level. That's the part I couldn't get through with Brett Lawrie. He wanted to go past everybody. That model works if you're a freak like Ryan Braun, but he did play at every level. I always say to go out and prove you're too good for the league. If you do that, we'll consider moving you up." Instead Melvin, moved Lawrie out to Toronto. In other news from the the NL Central:
- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke told reporters, including MLB.com's Adam McCalvy, there is no plan to send Corey Hart, recovering from right knee surgery, on a minor league rehab assignment before June 1. This means Hart, who is eligible to be activated from the 60-day disabled list on May 30, will not join the Brewers until mid-June, at the earliest.
- The number of years and not money will be the issue for the Reds in trying to re-sign Shin-Soo Choo, tweets John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Choo ranks second on MLBTR's 2014 Free Agent Power Rankings.
- If Choo does re-sign with Cincinnati, a payroll casualty could be Bronson Arroyo. In a second tweet, Fay says the Reds' payroll is a big puzzle and there are lots of factors involved in trying to retain both Choo and Arroyo.
- Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch opines merit is not behind the Cardinals' decision to replace the injured Jaime Garcia with fellow left-hander Tyler Lyons, but a desire to delay the service clock of their top pitching prospect, Michael Wacha. This is the second time Wacha, owner of an 1.89 ERA in eight Triple-A starts, has been bypassed to fill a rotation opening. Miklasz further believes the Cardinals, owners of the best record in the National League, don't have the best 25 players in their system on the active roster citing top prospect Oscar Taveras toiling away in Triple-A while Shane Robinson and Ty Wigginton are struggling offensively.
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak disagrees with Miklasz's assessment. "I’m not worried about the clock," Mozeliak was quoted as saying by the Post-Dispatch's Derrick Goold (via Sulia). "The media is making a lot of the clock. Other people who read the media are making more of it. To me it’s like that’s not what is making our decisions. It’s managing our decisions for what’s best for the club and what’s best for the individuals in their own silo of development."
- Chris Carpenter is continuing to make progress in his recovery from nerve trouble in his neck and back soreness and could make a rehab start in early June, Goold reports. "I’m not going to push myself back," Carpenter said (as quoted by Goold on Sulia). "I’m going to make sure that I’m healthy and that I know everything is going to work and that I can go out there and take that grind of the amount of pitches and innings it takes to go the rest of the year." Carpenter threw three simulated innings Saturday, will throw a side session Monday, and throw another four simulated innings Thursday, according to MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch and Chad Thornburg.
Ken Rosenthal's new video for FOX Sports offers a variety of trade tidbits on the Cubs, Brewers and Marlins.
- Matt Garza of the Cubs makes an intriguing trade candidate, but Rosenthal says that one can't rule out the possibility that the Cubs will keep Garza and extend him a qualifying offer at the end of the season, hoping to collect draft-pick compensation. Scott Feldman might also be traded, but Rosenthal notes that his peripherals indicate he has been lucky so far.
- Alfonso Soriano has only one year left on his eight-year, $136MM contract, which could make him a more attractive trade target than in years past, Rosenthal notes, but Soriano also has a no-trade clause, allowing him to control his destination.
- The Brewers, meanwhile, have fewer trade options, Rosenthal argues. Corey Hart is hurt, Rickie Weeks is in the midst of a poor season, and Aramis Ramirez is owed $16MM in 2014 and has a $4MM buyout on his mutual option the following season. The Brewers will be "reluctant" to trade Yovani Gallardo, whose contract carries him through next season and gives the Brewers an option on his services in 2015.
- The Marlins have received calls on relievers Steve Cishek, Ryan Webb and Mike Dunn, Rosenthal reports.
It could be argued that Anthony Rizzo cost himself some arbitration riches by signing a seven-year, $41MM contract extension with the Cubs, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports sees Rizzo's logic. As Rosenthal explains in his latest Hot Corner video, Rizzo's personal history --- including a past brush with Hodgkin's lymphoma and a demotion to the minors when with the Padres --- could've played a role in his accepting the security of a multiyear deal. Rizzo entered the season with less than a full year of service time, plus Rosenthal notes that Rizzo will still get a crack at free agency. If the Cubs pick up both option years on the deal, Rizzo could hit the market at age 32, young enough to score another nice contract.
Let's check in with some more news from around the NL Central...
- Also from Rosenthal's video, he praises the Cardinals' depth at both the major and minor league levels, giving the team great flexibility in case of injuries or if they want to pursue a trade.
- Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. is an unsung figure in the club's organizational success, Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch observes. Miklasz chronicles how DeWitt championed the analytical process of then-vice president Jeff Luhnow (now the Astros' GM) that helped the Cards develop their highly-regarded minor league system.
- Francisco Rodriguez received a few Major League offers from other clubs this winter, the reliever tells MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo, but Rodriguez chose to instead sign a minor league deal with the Brewers due to his familiarity with the organization. "There were a few teams out there, but I was waiting for the right opportunity," Rodriguez said. "I had a few options I could have taken to be at the big league level right away, but I wasn't ready physically to make that commitment."
- The Brewers' limited trade options, and a possible Jean Segura contract extension are amongst the topics covered by Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in his reader mailbag.
Yesterday, we learned that the Brewers offered a contract extension to Jean Segura about a month ago, but no deal is close between the two sides at this time. The 23-year-old has just 81 big league games under his belt and there's not a great deal of precedent in place to work out a new deal as only two position players with less than one year of service (Evan Longoria and Salvador Perez) have inked extensions. Still, Milwaukee would love to lock up their young standout to a team-friendly deal as the Cubs did earlier this week. Here's more out of the NL Central..
- Today was Francisco Rodriguez's opt-out date with the Brewers and the club decided to call him up to the big league roster, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Now that he has been promoted to the varsity squad, K-Rod's deal calls for him to earn roughly $2MM for the 2013 season. Milwaukee had 30 days to evaluate Rodriguez before making their determination today.
- Despite his struggles, Carlos Marmol firmly denied a rumor that he wants out of Chicago in order to get a fresh start, writes Carrie Muskat of MLB.com. “I’m not going nowhere,” Marmol said. “I’m very happy here. I can’t wait until they do something so I can stay here. I always talk about how I love Chicago, I love being here, I love my teammates, I love everybody here.” The pitcher met with agent Paul Kinzer earlier today but Marmol says they weren't talking about moving on from the Cubs.
- In his latest mailbag, a reader asks Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune if the club could get Marmol back on track by moving him to the starting rotation. Sullivan notes that the reliever began as a starter in 2006 and didn't succeed and opines that a trade is the only solution.
Klein told Rosenthal, "They contacted me. Right now, I guess it’s in my court. But with a guy this young, it’s hard to figure out what the right numbers would be. It would be good, be nice if it was possible to do. But I don’t know. It’s way, way on the drawing board."
Segura, 23, has only 80 big league games and 314 plate appearances under his belt, almost all of it with the Brewers since coming over from the Angels as the centerpiece of last summer's Zack Greinke trade. He has around 110 days of big league service. As MLBTR's extension tracker shows, two position players have signed extensions with less than one year of service: Evan Longoria in 2008 ($17.5MM over six years) and Salvador Perez in 2012 ($7MM over five years). Those two deals were/are considered extremely club friendly, and each contained a trio of club options. So you can understand Klein's hesitancy.
Perez's contract gave him some extra money up front, so perhaps Segura could be paid $3MM for 2013-15, his three pre-arbitration seasons. His three arbitration years might be valued at $12MM or so, and buyouts on option years could bring the total close to Longoria's $17.5MM over six years. As a power hitter, Longoria's arbitration years would be valued more highly, but his contract is five years old, so it's fair to suggest Segura could be in that range for 2013-18. Perhaps Klein could at least bring the Brewers down to two club options rather than three. Segura is under the Brewers' control through 2018 regardless, so those free agent years may be the key to a potential deal.
The Brewers have locked up many key players over the years, but never one with less than a year of service. They signed Ryan Braun in '08 (1.008 in big league service), Yovani Gallardo in '10 (2.112), Corey Hart in '10 (4.157), Rickie Weeks in '11 (5.131), Braun again in '11, Jonathan Lucroy in '12 (1.136) and Carlos Gomez in March (5.141).
Here's a special Mother's Day edition of Quick Hits..
- Reliever Francisco Rodriguez has been promoted to the Brewers' Triple-A affiliate in Nashville, according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com (on Twitter). McCalvy reports in a second tweet Rodriguez will pitch Monday and Tuesday with GM Doug Melvin on hand to scout the outings and, according to Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash, Thursday is the deadline whether to promote K-Rod to the majors and pay him roughly $2MM or let him seek employment elsewhere.
- Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com (on Twitter) notes that three out of the Mets' four highest paid players this year have not contributed to the club for one reason or another this season. Johan Santana is sidelined for the year, Jason Bay is with the Mariners after being cut loose, and Frank Francisco is still working his way back from injury.
- First-year manager Bo Porter admits that the Astros' 10-27 start has been frustrating for him, but he remains hopeful that the club's rebuilding plan will pan out, writes Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle.
Matt Harvey posted a game score of 97 while taking a perfect game into the seventh, striking out 12, and walking none over nine innings against the White Sox Tuesday night, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports notes (on Twitter). Only 40 outings of nine innings or fewer since 1916 have earned a higher game score. Here's a collection of notes from around the majors.
- The nine Asian-born pitchers who have pitched in the big leagues this year have combined to post numbers similar to a typical Justin Verlander season, Dave Cameron of FanGraphs says. Those nine pitchers have 241 1/3 innings pitched so far in 2013, with a 2.91 ERA, 9.6 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9. Yu Darvish has been a big part of that, of course, but Hyun-Jin Ryu, Hisashi Iwakuma, Hiroki Kuroda, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara have also pitched well. The past struggles of pitchers like Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Irabu have allowed today's Asian-born pitchers to fly under the radar somewhat, Cameron argues, and he wonders whether pitchers from overseas leagues might be undervalued in the market. Specifically, he says, emphasis on fastball velocity and breaking balls may cause teams to undervalue pitchers with great splitters or changeups.
- Free agency has become "a used car lot cluttered with lemons," with only a few bargains to be found, Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated argues, citing the examples of Josh Hamilton (Angels), B.J. Upton (Braves) and Zack Greinke (Dodgers). Thus far, Hamilton and Upton have failed to produce with their new teams, and Greinke is hurt. In the past four seasons, Verducci notes, there have been 24 free-agent contracts worth $35MM or more. Most of those have turned out badly, and some (such as Jason Bay's deal with the Mets) have looked bad almost immediately. That means that "win[ning] the winter" by signing the biggest-name free agents isn't all it's cracked up to be, as the 2012 Marlins can attest. This year's Angels and Dodgers have struggled out of the gate, and so have the Blue Jays (who had a big offseason mostly driven by trades).
- The Astros' decisions to designate Rick Ankiel and Fernando Martinez for assignment made their outfield more athletic, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart says. Robbie Grossman, Brandon Barnes and Jimmy Paredes started in the outfield for the Astros Tuesday night. "We went out to get more athletic, get more guys who have the ability to mishit the ball and still have a possibility of getting on base because of their athletic ability," says manager Bo Porter.
- Will Middlebrooks and David Ross left the Red Sox's game against the Twins Tuesday night after they collided. There is no indication yes that Middlebrooks will miss significant time. But after Middlebrooks, the Red Sox have little depth at third base, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports. Utility infielder Pedro Ciriaco "isn't the answer," MacPherson says, and the choices at Triple-A Pawtucket aren't thrilling. Minor-league veteran Justin Henry, who was acquired in the offseason for Rule 5 pick Jeff Kobernus, may be the best option there. Brock Holt, who arrived from the Pirates with Joel Hanrahan in the offseason, is another possibility. Of course, Middlebrooks himself has struggled this year, hitting just .195/.232/.281.
- Jake Peavy does not have a no-trade clause in his new contract with the White Sox, and he doesn't need one, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. "I told (GM) Rick Hahn that if he didn’t trade me before spring training was over, that was good enough for me," says Peavy, pointing out that it's unlikely he will be traded if the White Sox are contending.
- Rosenthal also notes that Madison Bumgarner's contract with the Giants could be one of the most team-friendly in baseball. Bumgarner, 23, would have been eligible for free agency after the 2016 season, but his new deal contains cheap team options that can allow the Giants to carry him through 2019.
- The Brewers have assigned Francisco Rodriguez to Class A+ Brevard County, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes. Rodriguez will make three relief appearances there, then head to Triple-A Nashville. The Brewers must promote Rodriguez to the majors by May 17, or he can become a free agent. Rodriguez posted a 4.38 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 in 78 appearances with the Brewers in 2012.
- Diamond Mines' new database provides a fascinating look at old scouting reports, including many in the scouts' own handwriting.
Carlos Gomez has emerged as the top player from the Johan Santana trade between the Mets and the Twins, the New York Post's Joel Sherman writes. Santana himself had season-ending shoulder surgery in early April, and the other players the Twins received along with Gomez (Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra) haven't panned out. Meanwhile, Gomez, who the Twins shipped to the Brewers for J.J. Hardy, is off to a .368/.417/.642 start while playing great defense in center field. Sherman doesn't really blame the Mets for dealing Gomez, however. "Would this franchise and this city really have had the patience to wait six years for a blossoming — if it ever would have happened here?" he says. Here are more notes from the NL.
- In a blog entry, Sherman compares Gomez to former Yankees star Bernie Williams, in that both players needed more time than usual to turn their considerable tools into skills. Williams entered the Majors in his age-22 season in 1991, but didn't post an OBP higher than .354 until age 25 and didn't hit 20 homers in a season until age 27. Doug Melvin, now the Brewers' GM, was the Yankees' scouting director when New York signed Williams.
- Paul Maholm and the Braves have not had discussions regarding the possibility of a contract extension, Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports (Insider-only). The Braves exercised their 2013 option on Maholm, guaranteeing him $6.5MM. But he is a free agent in the coming offseason, and with a good 2012 season and a strong start in 2013 (3.09 ERA, 7.8 K/9, 3.1 BB/9), Maholm could be rewarded with a much bigger payday.
- The timing of Brian McCann's free agency is inconvenient for him, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes. McCann returned from shoulder surgery to make his season debut Monday, going 0-for-4 with a walk. He'll be a free agent after the season just as he's entering his 30s, and his injuries and declining play will likely limit the market for him (depending on how he does this season, of course). Also, the emergence of Evan Gattis -- who has a meager .305 OBP this season, but a .563 slugging percentage -- gives the Braves a reasonable alternative to McCann at catcher. Still, Martino suggests that there will likely still be strong interest in McCann, perhaps from teams like the Yankees in need of catching help. McCann has a strong reputation within the game, and finding a catcher who can hit isn't easy.
The Brewers have signed right-hander Tim Dillard, according to Chris Cotillo of CLNSRadio.com. Adam McCalvy of MLB.com (on Twitter) confirmed that the Brewers have inked the Icon Sports Management client.
Dillard, 30 in July, posted a 4.38 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 34 relief appearances last season for the Brewers. For his career, the hurler has a 4.70 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 across four big league seasons for Milwaukee.