12:58pm: Via Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, general manager David Stearns said that although Nolin has been developed as a starter to this point in his career, the Brewers will look at using him out of the bullpen, perhaps in a multi-inning role (links to Twitter).
12:44pm: The Brewers announced today that they have claimed left-hander Sean Nolin off waivers from the Athletics. Nolin had been designated for assignment by Oakland last week when the club acquired Khris Davis from the Brewers, so, while he isn’t a part of the trade, he’s technically an additional piece of compensation picked up by the Brewers as a result of the trade. (Nolin, after all, would not have been available in this manner were it not for the Davis trade.)
The 26-year-old Nolin was one of four players traded by the Blue Jays to the Athletics in the 2014 Josh Donaldson blockbuster. Long considered one of Toronto’s better prospects, Nolin ranked No. 8 on Baseball America’s list of top prospects just last offseason. BA has profiled him as a potential fourth starter in the past, praising his above-average command and mix of four average or better offerings. Nolin had sports hernia surgery last offseason though, and that may have contributed to an early groin injury that led to more than a month on the disabled list in 2015. When he was healthy enough to take the mound, Nolin made 14 appearances (12 starts) at the Triple-A level, logging an excellent 2.66 ERA with 7.2 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 and a 37.7 percent ground-ball rate. (BA did note that his high arm slot made him likely to end up as an extreme fly-ball pitcher).
In the Majors, Nolin struggled quite a bit more, making six starts and totaling a 5.28 ERA in 29 innings of work. Nolin managed just 14 strikeouts against 12 walks in that time, and his fastball sat at just 86.9 mph — a considerable drop from the low 90s heat he showed when healthy and rising through the Blue Jays’ farm system.
Milwaukee will hope for better health out of Nolin than the A’s received in 2015. If he is indeed back to form, he’ll give the Brewers another option in what would otherwise project to be an all-right-handed rotation. Nolin is out of minor league options, so he’ll need to crack the roster out of Spring Training or again be exposed to waivers and clear before the Brewers would be able to option him to Triple-A Colorado Springs.