Outfielder Ryan Braun has been the subject of trade rumors going back to last summer, in which he was connected to the Dodgers in a deal that might have included Yasiel Puig. Nonetheless, it’s now late January, and he remains with the Brewers. That doesn’t surprise owner Mark Attanasio, according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. “No, I’m not surprised,” Attanasio says. “I think there was a lot of momentum [toward a trade] last summer, given the challenges the Dodgers had in hitting left-handed pitching and how strong a season he was having. … But after it didn’t happen, I actually thought if it wasn’t going to happen then, it wasn’t going to happen. We’re delighted he’s back.” Though Braun remains under contract through 2020 with a mutual option for 2021, it wouldn’t be surprising, in my view, if he reemerged as a trade candidate in the future as the Brewers continue their rebuild. McCalvy notes that the Brewers plan to be generous with time for young players this season. “It is essential that we do this rebuild correctly, and I think if we get too hung up on wins and losses, we’re maybe not doing it [right],” Attanasio says. Here’s more from the NL.
- Brewers second baseman Scooter Gennett will try his hand at multiple positions, including the outfield, in Spring Training, according to manager Craig Counsell (Twitter link via McCalvy). Excluding pinch-hit appearances and one inning in the outfield, Gennett has come close to playing his entire career at second (396 games there, one as a designated hitter). However, Jonathan Villar is moving from the left side of the infield to the keystone, thereby relegating Gennett to a bench/utility role. He’ll also have a hard time garnering playing time in the outfield, though, as Braun, Domingo Santana and Keon Broxton are firmly entrenched as starters.
- The Reds haven’t been able to trade Brandon Phillips or Zack Cozart and thus still have a logjam at middle infield, where they also have youngsters Jose Peraza and Dilson Herrera. The Reds say that they aren’t worried about Peraza’s playing time, however, according to MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon. Peraza’s ability to play second, shortstop and outfield will help the team keep him on the field. “Going into the season with Brandon, Cozart, [Adam] Duvall, [Billy] Hamilton — those are our guys going into the season who will take the lion’s share of the playing time at those positions,” says manager Bryan Price. “That being said, Peraza is going to play. How I get him in there has yet to be seen, but he’ll get in there. It may just have to be rotation through different spots until an everyday spot comes to light.” Herrera, who only plays second base, is trickier, and Price says the plan will be for him to play at Triple-A if he can’t play second regularly in the big leagues. GM Dick Williams says, meanwhile, that the team’s ongoing situation with Phillips (who has repeatedly used his no-trade clause to reject potential trades, including one in November to the Braves) is “hard to predict” going forward.
- Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall expressed regret Sunday over the team’s previous front office alignment, telling MLB Network Radio: “We probably had too many cooks in the kitchen. If we had to do it over again, we probably wouldn’t have done it that way.” Tony La Russa, Dave Stewart and De Jon Watson were the most prominent members of the Diamondbacks’ baseball department from 2014-16. Only La Russa remains now, and Stewart’s replacement – new general manager Mike Hazen – had a hand in keeping him. “It was another skill set Mike Hazen thought he needed around him,” Hall said of La Russa, whom he called a “team player” (Twitter links).