Milwaukee Brewers Rumors


Minor Moves: Duncan, Manzella, Russell, Rauch

Here are today's minor transactions, with the newest moves at the top of the page...

  • The Diamondbacks have released first baseman Shelley Duncan, shortstop Tommy Manzella and right-hander Adam Russell, Matt Eddy reports (via Twitter).  All three players signed minor league deals with the Snakes during the offseason.  Duncan had a .606 OPS in 64 PA with the Rays in 2013, while Russell and Manzella last appeared in the majors in 2011 and 2010, respectively.
  • The Royals released veteran reliever Jon Rauch, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star tweets.  Rauch, 35, signed a minor league deal with K.C. in January.  The right-hander posted a 7.56 ERA in 16 2/3 IP with the Marlins and a 2.89 ERA in 9 1/3 IP for the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate last season.
  • The Nationals released infielder Mike Fontenot.  The veteran last played in the Majors in 2012, spending last season with the Rays' Triple-A affiliate and then signing a minor league deal with Washington in January.  Formerly a staple of the Cubs infield, Fontenot has a .265/.332/.401 line over 1586 career PA with the Cubs, Giants and Phillies.
  • The Cardinals outrighted Joey Butler to Triple-A Memphis.  Butler, 28, made his Major League debut last season by appearing in eight games for the Rangers, following six years in the Texas farm system that saw him post a .291/.375/.442 slash line with 72 homers over 3036 PA.  The outfielder was claimed off waivers by St. Louis in October.
  • The Brewers released outfielder Greg Golson, who had been signed to a minor league contract in January.  Golson appeared in 40 Major League games with the Phillies, Rangers and Yankees from 2008-11 and has playing in the minors ever since.



Rangers Seek Depth At Second And Catcher

11:43pm: The Rangers are scouting the Cubs, MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reports, and perhaps not just because of Kottaras. The Cubs also have infielders Darwin Barney and Donnie Murphy. The Rangers like Barney better, Sullivan writes.

4:50pm: In the wake of Soto's injury, the Rangers are considering acquiring George Kottaras of the Cubs, Bruce Levine of 670TheScore.com tweets. Kottaras currently projects to back up Welington Castillo in Chicago, but the Cubs are reportedly considering rostering John Baker instead. Kottaras, 30, hit .180/.349/.370 in 126 plate appearances for the Royals last year. In response to Soto's injury, the Rangers have already signed Chris Snyder to a minor-league deal.

The Rangers also looked at Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks today, Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel tweets. As Haudricourt notes, Weeks' $11MM salary could be an impediment to a trade. Weeks hit .209/.306/.357 in 399 plate appearances with the Brewers last year.

12:08pm: Texas has checked in with several clubs with catching depth, including the Yankees, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com. Though Francisco Cervelli may be available, Olney says that there does not appear to be a fit between those two clubs.

10:50am: The Rangers have had trade talks in a bid to add depth at catcher and/or second base, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. The expected starters at those two spots -- catcher Geovany Soto and second baseman Jurickson Profar -- are each expected to miss ten to twelve weeks to open the year.

While it would be pure speculation to guess at possible trade partners in this kind of scenario, we can look at the available free agent pool for other alternatives. With the list growing as final roster decisions are made, Texas could look to players like Tony Abreu, Ronny Cedeno, or Cesar Izturis for the middle infield. Meanwhile, available catching options include recently-released players like Ramon Hernandez, Chris Snyder, and Yorvit Torrealba.

Of course, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wrote yesterday, it could be that the greater concern is with the state of the rotation. That is all the more true now, with this morning's report (via Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News) that ace Yu Darvish will miss his Opening Day start and undergo an MRI to determine the cause of his stiff neck.

Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.



Article XX(B) Free Agents Update: Tuesday

Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement contains a provision that allows certain free agents who are signed to minor league contracts to receive a $100K retention bonus if they are not on the team's 25-man roster or the Major League disabled list five days prior to the season.

Free agents who qualify for this distinction are those who have at least six years of Major League service time and had a Major League contract expire at the end of the previous season, but signed a minor league deal ten or more days prior to Opening Day.

MLBTR has confirmed with MLB that the deadline for teams to decide on these players is today at 11am central time. By the deadline, teams with these players in camp need to decide whether to:

  • Add the player to their 25-man roster or Major League disabled list (or agree to do so in writing).
  • Grant the player his outright release from the minor league contract so that he may pursue opportunities with other teams.
  • Pay the player a $100K retention bonus to keep him in the organization beyond the deadline and send him to the minors.

Here's the latest news from around the league on Article XX(B) signees and their roster statuses with their respective teams (newest updates on top).  

  • Delmon Young receives a $100K bonus from the Orioles, tweets Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com.
  • The Rockies have decided to pay righty Nick Masset a $100K retention bonus to keep him in the organization, rather than releasing him or guaranteeing him an active roster spot, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com.
  • As posted already, Endy Chavez and Humberto Quintero of the Mariners have been released rather than receiving the roster bonus to be held in the minors.
  • The Indians have announced that DH Jason Giambi will be placed on the DL retroactive to March 21, meaning that the team will need to add him to its 40-man roster. 
  • John McDonald has been added to the Angels' 40-man roster and will be the club's utility infielder on Opening Day, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter). The club has already released its three other Article XX(B) free agents.
  • The Mets have elected to pay pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka a $100K retention bonus rather than guaranteeing him an Opening Day roster spot or releasing him, the club announced on Twitter. Matsuzaka, who signed as an Article XX(B) free agent, will apparently compete with Jenrry Mejia for the fifth and final rotation slot right up until the start of the season.
  • Zach Duke has been informed that he has made the Brewers, tweets MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. Duke will be the third lefty (and, potentially, long man) in the pen.
  • Earlier today we learned that Jason Kubel would make the Twins Opening Day roster.



Brewers, Segura Suspend Extension Discussions

MARCH 25th: Talks between Segura and the Brewers have been suspended, reports Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. With the sides facing a substantial gap between their respective valuations at this point, says Cotillo, there are no current plans to re-open discussions.

MARCH 20th: Haudricourt tweets that Segura's agent and the Brewers are "stealthily" having talks about Segura's extension. Segura himself claims he is not aware of any talks taking place. Segura is represented by Joseph Klein of Bouza Klein & Kaminsky. In a piece for the Journal Sentinel, Haudricourt quotes Segura: "I just want to play my game. I let my agent do his job. He hasn't told me anything."

MARCH 17th: Haudricourt follows up after the weekend, noting that while talks have yet to begin, it sounds like the Brewers will attempt to sign Segura to a long-term deal (Twitter link).

MARCH 14th: Brewers GM Doug Melvin and principal owner Mark Attanasio will meet this weekend to discuss the possibility of engaging young shortstop Jean Segura in extension negotiations, reports Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. So far, no discussions with Segura and agent Joe Kleine have taken place.

The 24-year-old Segura has looked like a potential extension candidate ever since posting a big season in his first full year with Milwaukee. As MLBTR's Charlie Wilmoth opined back in September, Segura might figure to land a five-year deal (with an option) for a guarantee in the low-$20MM range.

Of course, since that time, fellow 1+ service-year shortstop Andrelton Simmons inked a seven-year, $58MM deal. Though Segura lacks Simmons' unbelievable defensive prowess (and resulting high floor), that deal will surely stand in the forefront in negotiations. A poor second half dampened what had been an incredible breakout year for Segura, but he still ended up with an impressive .294/.329/.423 line in 623 plate appearances, posting 12 home runs and 44 stolen bases to go with solid defensive ratings.

It was reported back in February that the Brewers had made Segura an offer during an earlier run at extension talks, which obviously was turned down. No doubt the club will need to open the wallet further than it had originally hoped even to get a conversation started.



Brewers To Add Rule 5 Pick Wang To Opening Day Roster

The Brewers have informed Rule 5 choice Wei-Chung Wang that he will make the club's Opening Day roster, reports Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (via Twitter). The southpaw has impressed since being taken from the Pirates after his former club declined to protect him by adding him to its 40-man roster.

Of course, it remains to be seen whether Wang can stick on the active roster for the duration of the season. The 21-year-old Taiwanese hurler has never thrown above the Rookie ball level, though he was fairly dominant there while working almost entirely as a starter. Wang posted a 3.23 ERA in 41 1/3 innings, with 8.0 K/9 against 0.8 BB/9 and a 0.866 WHIP. Thus far in the spring, Wang has a 2.45 ERA in 11 innings, with six strikeouts and no free passes -- quite an impressive showing for a pitcher of his experience level.



Brewers Request Release Waivers On Juan Francisco

The Brewers have requested waivers on corner infielder Juan Francisco for the purpose of his unconditional release, tweets team senior director of media relations Mike Vassallo.  Any team claiming Francisco would owe him his $1.35MM salary, though the Brewers are only on the hook for 45 days' pay, around $332K.  Francisco's impending departure from the Brewers became known yesterday when they cleared out his locker.

Francisco, 26, hit .227/.296/.422 with 18 home runs in 385 plate appearances for the Braves and Brewers last year, playing first base and third base.  A left-handed hitter, Francisco faced righties in 91% of his plate appearances.  He joined the Brewers via trade last year in June.

Rather than use Francisco at first base this year, the Brewers will put non-roster invitees Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay on the Opening Day roster.



Added To The 40-Man Roster: Sunday

Between now and Opening Day, several minor league signees will win jobs with their clubs and earn 40-man roster spots. Here are today's additions:



Juan Francisco, Brewers Likely To Part Ways

There hasn't yet been an official announcement, but the Brewers appear to be in the process of parting ways with first baseman Juan Francisco. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Todd Rosiak reports (via Twitter) that Francisco's locker has been cleared out, a possible sign that the Brewers have designated Francisco for assignment. The move likely means the Brewers will have veterans Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay play first base.

Francisco was set to make $1.35MM in his first year of arbitration eligibility as a Super Two. He hit .227/.296/.422 in 385 plate appearances with the Brewers last season, not an especially impressive line, given that he is not a strong defensive player.



Brewers Exercise Ron Roenicke's Option

The Brewers announce that they have exercised their 2015 option on manager Ron Roenicke. They also added a 2016 option to his contract, MLB.com's Adam McCalvy tweets. Roenicke is heading into his fourth season as the Brewers' manager, compiling a 253-233 record in his first three seasons. He led the Brewers to a 96-66 record and a playoff berth in 2011, but the Brewers fell to 74-88 and fourth place in 2013.

Roenicke, 57, had an eight-year MLB playing career with the Dodgers, Mariners, Padres, Giants, Phillies and Reds. He has also served as a coach or manager in the Dodgers, Giants and Angels organizations.



Minor Moves: Cust, LaPorta, Wood, Arnett

Here are today's minor moves from around the league.

  • The Orioles have released DH Jack Cust and 1B Matt LaPorta, MASNsports.com's Steve Melewski reports. Cust was out of baseball in 2013 but hit .243/.400/.442 in 493 plate appearances for two Triple-A teams in 2012. He has played in parts of two big-league seasons, collecting by far the most playing time as a DH/OF for the Athletics from 2007 through 2010. LaPorta, 29, hit .238/.310/.476 in 184 plate appearances for the Indians' Triple-A Columbus affiliate in 2013. He was the key piece in the 2008 trade that sent C.C. Sabathia from Cleveland to Milwaukee.
  • The Padres have released pitcher Zach Braddock and infielder Brandon Wood, tweets MLB.com's Corey Brock. Braddock, 26, pitched 51 innings combined in 2010 and 2011 with the Brewers. Wood, of course, was once a top prospect with the Angels. He spent 2013 playing Triple-A ball with the Orioles and Royals, hitting .226/.262/.329 in 252 plate appearances. He last appeared in the big leagues in 2011 with the Pirates.
  • The Brewers have released pitcher Eric Arnett, MLB.com's Adam McCalvy tweets. Arnett, a 2009 first-round pick, pitched sparingly in 2013, missing most of the season after having knee surgery.









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