The latest on the Brew Crew….
- Yasmani Grandal is now a member of the White Sox, though the Brewers made “multiple offers” to the free agent catcher, as per reporter Robert Murray (via Twitter). Milwaukee had natural interest in a reunion given how well Grandal played in 2019, though Chicago’s four-year, $73MM contract was enough to outbid the Brewers. With Grandal officially no longer an option, catcher becomes perhaps the Brewers’ biggest area of need this winter, as the club will be looking for a solid regular to join in-house options Manny Pina, David Freitas, and Jacob Nottingham. Grandal, by the way, issued a thank-you to both the Brewers and their fans on his Instagram account today.
- With Grandal gone, Mike Moustakas is the biggest remaining Brewers free agent. While Milwaukee would also like to retain Moustakas, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets that the infielder “has considerable interest” from other teams. The Phillies, Braves, and Rangers are three of the clubs who have been linked to Moustakas in past reports, and it’s fair to imagine that lots of other teams would see a fit for a power hitter who can play second or third base.
- The Brewers added three players to their 40-man roster yesterday in advance of the deadline for teams to set their rosters in advance of the Rule 5 Draft. As you might expect, “these are not 100 percent easy, clear decisions to make on some players,” Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns told MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy and other reporters. While Milwaukee has only 36 players on its 40-man, teams often leave spaces open for future additions or other roster maneuvering prior to December 12, when the Rule 5 Draft takes place. This means that other teams could select some notable Brewers youngsters who weren’t protected, such as right-hander Zack Brown, currently ranked by MLB.com as the third-best prospect in Milwaukee’s farm system. Brown was quickly ascending up the minor league ladder and was the Brewers’ minor league pitcher of the year in 2018, though his 2019 numbers (5.79 ERA over his first 116 2/3 innings at the Triple-A level) were a step backwards. Stearns admitted that these struggles “certainly influenced our decision,” though “we still have high hopes for Zack Brown.” If Brown is chosen, his new team would have to keep him on its Major League roster for the entire 2020 season to gain his permanent rights, or else the team would have to offer Brown back to Milwaukee.
- Former Marlins infielder Ed Lucas has been hired as the Brewers’ new minor league hitting coordinator, as per Robert Murray (Twitter link). Lucas’ post-playing career has thus far included three seasons in administrative and development roles with the Phillies and Marlins. Lucas played for seven different organizations from 2004-16, a career that includes 163 MLB games with Miami in 2013-14.