7:46pm: Fields’ contract comes with a $1MM base salary in the Majors, and it contains opt-out provisions on April 30 and June 25, per Robert Murray of The Athletic (Twitter link).
5:13pm: Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns, who is familiar with Fields from their days together in the Astros organization, tells Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that the plan is for Fields to open the season in Triple-A (Twitter link). He’ll be an option early in the season should the Brewers find themselves in need of bullpen reinforcements.
4:40pm: The Brewers announced that they’ve signed right-hander Josh Fields to a minor league contract. He’ll be invited to the remainder of Major League Spring Training and hope to earn a bullpen spot with the club — if not by Opening Day then early in the season. Fields, who was released by the Dodgers last week, is a client of the Boras Corporation.
Los Angeles’ decision to designate Fields for assignment and release him came as a surprise given Fields’ success in recent seasons and given the fact that he’d agreed to a $2.8MM salary in arbitration. Arbitration salaries are non-guaranteed, however, so the Dodgers only were required to pay Fields 30 days’ termination pay — a sum of about $451K.
In Fields, the Brewers are adding a 33-year-old righty who has tallied 117 1/3 innings of relief and pitched to a terrific 2.61 ERA with 8.8 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and 1.22 HR/9 since being acquired by Los Angeles back in 2016. He’s an extreme fly-ball pitcher, which will be more problematic at Miller Park than at Dodger Stadium, but Fields averages nearly 95 mph on his heater with strong swinging-strike and opponents’ chase rates. With Jeremy Jeffress ailing, it’s not surprising to see the Brewers add some talented depth with recent big league experience to a bullpen that already features two of the game’s biggest strikeout arms (Josh Hader and Corey Knebel).