The Brewers announced Friday that they’ve signed right-hander Burch Smith to a minor league contract and invited him to Major League Spring Training.
Smith, 28, was a Rule 5 pick by the Royals in 2017 and spent the entire 2018 campaign on Kansas City’s Major League roster, though he struggled tremendously for much of the season. In 78 innings spread over 32 relief appearances and six starts, Smith limped to a 6.92 ERA with 8.9 K/9, 4.6 BB/9, 1.73 HR/9 and a 40.3 percent ground-ball rate. He’d previously turned in an intriguing showing in the Rays’ system in 2017 — his first action after missing the 2015-16 seasons due to Tommy John surgery.
Smith does have a long history of missing bats and has exhibited better control in the minors than he showed with Kansas City last season. He’s a long shot to crack the Opening Day roster on a contending Brewers club, but he could emerge as bullpen or rotation depth at some point in 2019.