March 30: The Brewers have already selected Urena to the 40-man roster. McCalvy tweets that the initial structuring of the contract as a minor league pact was largely a mechanism to get Urena into camp and perform a closer evaluation of the right-hander. President of baseball operations David Stearns tells reporters that the club views Urena as more of a long reliever than a starter at present (video link via Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Jounal-Sentinel). He stopped short of declaring Urena a lock to make the Opening Day roster, but the right-hander is out of minor league options, so that seems likely, barring an unexpected health setback.
March 29: The Brewers announced this evening they’ve signed right-hander José Ureña to a minor league contract. Manager Craig Counsell told reporters he’ll receive an invite to big league Spring Training (via Adam McCalvy of MLB.com).
Ureña has seen a fair bit of rotation work in each of the past seven seasons. The native of the Dominican Republic spent the first six campaigns of his big league career with the Marlins. He never posted overwhelming strikeout totals, but he was consistently solid at keeping the ball on the ground and posted back-to-back sub-4.00 ERA seasons in 2017-18.
The lack of swing-and-miss has caught up to Ureña in recent years, however. He’s posted an ERA north of 5.00 in each of the last three seasons, two in Miami and last year with the Tigers. Ureña soaked up 100 2/3 innings for Detroit, but he managed just a 5.81 ERA with a 14.7% strikeout rate that’s about eight percentage points below the league average.
To his credit, Ureña did manage a career-best 52% grounder rate with the Tigers. He averaged just under 94 MPH on his sinker, and he’s held right-handed opponents to a modest .248/.320/.385 line over the course of his career. That could make Ureña a capable multi-inning relief option if Milwaukee considers deploying him in that role.
The Brewers have arguably baseball’s best starting staff, so the bullpen figures to provide Ureña a cleaner path to the big league roster. Milwaukee is set to open the season with a top five of Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, Freddy Peralta, Adrian Houser and Eric Lauer, and top prospect Aaron Ashby seems to be next in line for rotation innings.
Well, that’s one way to make sure he doesn’t plunk Acuna I guess.
The Baseball Fan (Doesn’t like the Cubs)
The Braves and Brewers still face each other…
True… it’s just doubtful the Brewers will use him. They are one of if not the only team with enough pitching.
Made the 40 man… guess I was wrong. Poor Acuna.
He’s a former starter who throws his sinker in the mid 90s. I’m guessing they’ve got an idea what they’re going to do for him.
I was skeptical about him last year after The Tigers signed him, and he DID obviously get torched, but DID have a streak of a few starts early in the year where he’d go 5-6 innings with only 1-2 runs against..
That’s about what his career has been. When he was young, he had promise, but as he got older and never progressed, he just became a journeyman pitcher that can do this here and there.
Well….we’ve thrived with those types of pitchers in the past 5-6 years with that little “pitching school,” and the analytics convincing guys to throw different pitches.
There HAS to be something else there. Stearns isn’t spending 1.25M on a guy who…on paper probably doesn’t make our BP.
So…at this point, our GM earns the benefit of the doubt.
I can give your GM benefit of the doubt, but not everyone has succeeded under him. No one is perfect.
The way I see it, the Brewers can present all of the information to Urena, but if he doesn’t accept it, he’ll continue to be erratic. He’s not exactly a receptive guy. The only difference that may make him listen now is if he has the desperation to keep having a career in MLB.
I get it they are gonna use him to plunk Acuna in the divisional series.
Nice dad bod
Thanks it takes dedication
I always that Miami should have tried Urena as a Closer. I don’t imagine they see him starting for them, but then they probably didn’t think Zack Godley would either…
No, he’s definitely not projected to start..he’d be…at best behind the 5 returning starters, Ashby….who I thought looked closer to a TOR arm than a 4/5 with just elite stuff and then Small who’s the opposite, he looks more like an Alex Wood type pitcher. Nearly identical delivery and deception, big breaking ball.
Dominated the SEC putting up silly stats, but was coming off TJ. So far he’s moved quickly, two years in and he had a 2.08 ERA between Double and Triple A.
IF he’s actually improved his velocity to 94-95, he’d likely be a top 40 prospect given his 4 pitches, his command and his pedigree. But…I suspect those reports are from juiced guns and he’s closer to the 90-92 he’s been at.
But could easily happen that Ashby throws 3IP the day before we need a spot starter and Small just threw in AAA and…like Godley, he’s the guy who’s available.
Pablo Lopez got ejected in a game last year because of Urena’s past antics against Acuna when he was with the Marlins. Now anytime a Marlins pitcher goes in on Acuna, Acuna and Snitker whine because that’s where Acuna can be pitched to in order to get him out.
Hopefully next time, the Marlins won’t intentionally plunk a guy because he’s hit a homer in 3 straight games against them. I agree that most of the Fish pitchers that hit him now aren’t doing it with malicious intent. However, they literally brought this on themselves by (Urena) going after him with the first pitch of a game. Snowball effect
But Urena hasn’t been with the Marlins since 2020, so the Marlins didn’t bring it on themselves. The other pitchers have not intentionally hit him. The last pitcher that hit Acuna was Lopez, and any idiot knows he didn’t do it on purpose. When Snitker and Acuna did their ranting is because they didn’t want to face Lopez for 6 or 7 innings, and they didn’t want the Marlins to make it tough on Acuna by pitching to his weakness.
At this point, it’s gamesmanship, but it’s starting to wear off to becoming annoying because Urena is long gone. So now, if the Marlins hit him once a year or maybe go through a streak of not him him for longer than that (because everyone can get hit because pitchers are not perfect especially against someone that crowds the plate like Acuna), it’s whine anytime any pitch comes inside to him. It’s going to get old real fast now that this year will make it two years since Urena has been with the team. And next year makes three…and so on.
Hopefully the umps get tired of it, and the next time Acuna leans out over the plate, he gets a strike called on him the next time he pulls a Conforto move.
Mattingly still around though…
Not sure what Mattingly has to do with it.
Ohhh, that’s called a reach.
Would you say it’s about the same reach required for the Marlins to touch the Braves from 4th place?
Just like the Marlins wont be reaching the top of the standings anytime soon!
I agree that Pablo wasn’t trying to hit him and he shouldn’t have been thrown out. The league has gone too far with that rule, but it’s there to protect the health and safety of players. Better to err on the side of caution, especially when there is history.
But get out of here with absolving the marlins of all responsibility bc it was only Urena. It wasn’t. You guys hit him 5 times in his first 52 games including 3 times with the first pitch of the game. Urena’s was just the most egregious because he was trying to set the all time MLB record for consecutive leadoff homers by a rookie. At that time he had only been hit 24 times in his career.
Just because you guys wised up and realized that hitting him was pissing him off and actually making him BETTER against you, doesn’t mean you’re now all of a sudden blameless in all this.
This type of signing usually means the the Brewers’ evaluation department sees something that they can fix, or at least emphasize, to create an effective reliever. No risk.
For Love of the Game
Not sure about the former, but the latter is absolutely true – no risk.
Boxberger type profile that the Brewers seem to get the most out of. These are kind of moves that keep them in contention and poised to improve.
They are just the next team in line to try and “fix” him. He throws hard but can’t strike people out. He throws grounders, but gets torched. His fastball must not have movement. If Chris Fetters couldn’t fix him, I’m doubtful anyone can.
John Rocker fan club
Well, since they view him as long relief I’d imagine he’ll mostly just pitch in blowouts/short outings to start the year. Wouldn’t be shocked if he was cut once rosters shrink.
Take his four-pitch mix (sinker, slider, 4-seam, changeup) and knock it down to two—sinker, slider—and you’ve got another Luis Perdomo.
Perdomo looks terrific
I know the Brewers want revenge for the 2021 NLDS but throwing at Acuna isn’t the answer.
Ducky Buckin Fent
Well…ya know, it might be.
Freeman is the one they’d probably want revenge against, and he’s not there anymore.
He had a few good starts with the Tigers in the beginning of the year but then was an absolute dumpster fire.
For Love of the Game
Three straight years of elevated hits, walks, and homers, diminished strikeouts. Yikes!
I have a hard time believing he’s any better than guys already in camp, but they must see something they think is worth the roster spot. Whatevs
Ole’ Plunkie Brewster.
Screw em… Lol
These kind of signs by the brewers always intrigue me because they seem to have a way with fixing pitchers. Maybe they see something they can fix and have him be a good bullpen piece. Or maybe this is your sacrificial lamb to eat up junk innings
I said last year the Mets ought to sign Urena and make him a reliever
He’s got a really live arm. He’s at the age now where raw stuff will be balanced out with better command
It wouldn’t surprise me if he came out and had a good year out of the bullpen
Sometimes guys can’t get started but you put them in the bullpen towards the end of the game and they can find the control then
Tigers tried him in the bullpen the 2nd half. It didn’t help. No consistency.
@stymeedone Yeah, but not mainly as a 7th inning reliever. They were giving him multiple innings 4th through the 6th as a multiple inning reliever
The one time he was used as a one-inning reliever in the 7th he retired the side in order
He’s a guy that probably is better knowing he’s getting only one inning in the 7th or 8th
Urena has a career 3.00 ERA and 3.18 ERA in the 7th and 8th inning. 6.92 through 4.42 all other innings
You make him a 7th inning bullpen guy and he can thrive
Brewers will win the Central by 10 games only to make a quick postseason exit again. Eventually it’s going to be time to rethink Craig Counsell.
Yeah to make the postseason every year in the smallest market in baseball with a lower third payroll means you need to re-think your manager. Guy has no clue because he gets beat by $200 million payroll teams in the playoffs. Good thinkin, Jimmy Forum
I have already predicted a Brewers/Yankees World Series in 2027. Yankees in five.
Counsell probably just needs to tweak a couple of his usual methods rather than the Brewers going a whole different direction with a new manager.
And I’m not real sure what he or anyone could have done different last year. The offense was not great most of the year. It wasn’t like he had a ton of options to put more runs on the board.
This guy doesn’t deserve to be on this major league team period. it’s a joke how the Brewers give guys like this a third and fourth try and then not give others a legit chance .