Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun revealed Saturday that he made one change to his no-trade clause during the offseason, though he didn’t offer details, reports Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The only teams to which Braun couldn’t block a trade in 2016 were the Angels, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Giants, Marlins and Padres. He nearly ended up with the Dodgers last August, of course, but the Brewers haven’t engaged in serious talks regarding Braun with LA or any other club since, according to Haudricourt. If the Brewers don’t deal Braun by May 24, he’ll gain 10-and-5 rights and have the ability to prevent Milwaukee from sending him to any of the majors’ other 29 teams. Nevertheless, the Brewers feel no urgency to move the longtime franchise cornerstone anytime soon. “He’s signed for four more years, and a lot of these players have a chance to be here for the same period of time, so this group is going to be together and he’s going to be one of them,” declared manager Craig Counsell. The 33-year-old Braun is still due $76MM, including a $4MM buyout in 2021.
Arbitration decisions on several first-year arb-eligible starting pitchers have been released. According to prior reports, the outcomes of the pending cases were being held until all had been heard and decided, to avoid earlier results impacting later decisions.
Three starters won their cases:
- Collin McHugh, Astros: With his victory, McHugh will earn $3.85MM rather than the $3.35MM that the team had argued for, as Brian McTaggart of MLB.com first reported on Twitter.
- Jake Odorizzi, Rays: In another relatively high-dollar case, the right-hander will get his requested $4.1MM payday over the club’s $3.825MM submission, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter).
- Marcus Stroman, Blue Jays: Stroman takes home $3.4MM in his Super Two year instead of the team’s $3.1MM proposal, also via Heyman.
Teams prevailed against three others:
- Taijuan Walker, Diamondbacks: The new Arizona rotation member, who’s also a Super Two qualifier, will earn $2.25MM instead of his filing figure of $2.6MM, per Jack Magruder of Fan Rag (via Twitter).
- Chase Anderson, Brewers: Anderson, the final Super Two member of this bunch, will settle for the team’s $2.45MM proffer rather than the $2.85MM he sought, according to Heyman.
- Michael Wacha, Cardinals: In his first year of eligibility, Wacha will take home $2.775MM, falling shy of his $3.2MM request, per Heyman.
- The Yankees discussed a potential Chris Carter trade with the Brewers before the slugger was non-tendered by Milwaukee, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney. Had that deal come to fruition, the Yankees would likely have been on the hook for an arbitration salary near $8MM for Carter, who instead agreed to a one-year, $3.5MM free-agent deal with the Yanks earlier this week. Certainly, that could’ve had a trickle-down effect on the Yankees’ offseason, as those talks would’ve occurred prior to the Yankees’ signing of Matt Holliday to a one-year deal. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times spoke to Carter’s agent, Dave Stewart, who wouldn’t directly comment on how the Rays’ bid compared that of the Yankees (Twitter link), though Stewart did note that Carter “felt the opportunity was the same.”
TUESDAY: The Brewers, Reds, Indians, Orioles, Astros and Twins also sent scouts to observe Maness’ workout, according to Goold.
MONDAY: Scouts from at least 16 Major League clubs were on-hand today to watch free agent right-hander Seth Maness work out, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Instagram). Per Goold, the Royals, Cubs and Nationals were all represented at Maness’ audition.
Maness’ showcase is especially intriguing due to the circumstances surrounding his injury. The 28-year-old suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament last summer and underwent surgery in August, but he elected to undergo an experimental “primary repair” surgery that, if successful, could represent a potential alternative to Tommy John surgery. Not every pitcher with a torn UCL can turn to the primary repair procedure as an alternative — the operation is dependent on the location and extent of the ligament tear — but certainly a return to health for Maness in seven and a half months would pique the interest of others with similar diagnoses around the league. (Those who are interested in the matter and missed Goold’s column on Maness last month should absolutely take the time to read through his breakdown of the operation itself and the larger-reaching potential implications of the surgery.)
The 28-year-old Maness was a fixture in the St. Louis bullpen from 2013-16, racking up 237 1/3 innings with a 3.19 ERA, 5.8 K/9, 1.7 BB/9 and a hefty 59.4 percent ground-ball rate along the way. Last season, however, he logged a 3.41 ERA with career worst K/9 and BB/9 rates of 4.6 and 2.3, respectively. Following the August operation, the Cardinals non-tendered him rather than pay him a projected $1.6MM via arbitration (projection via MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz).
As an added bonus for any club that ultimately signs Maness, if he is indeed able to return and pitch at a high level, he’d remain under club control not just for the 2017 season but through the 2019 season. Maness wrapped up the 2016 campaign with three years and 154 days of Major League service time, so he’d be arbitration-eligible in each of the next two winters before hitting free agency in advance of his age-31 season.
- The Brewers announced today that right-hander Rob Scahill has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A. The 29-year-old had previously been designated for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for infielder Ehire Adrianza, who was claimed off waivers before promptly being designated for assignment himself (in favor of first baseman and fellow waiver claim Jesus Aguilar). Scahill pitched well for the Brewers late in the 2016 season, tossing 18 1/3 innings with a 2.45 ERA and a 14-to-3 K/BB ratio. Scahill’s ground-ball rate has soared in each of the past two seasons, sitting around 62 percent in that time. He’s yet to find consistent success in the Majors, though he does possess a very solid 3.03 ERA in his past 65 1/3 innings in the big leagues.
The Twins have claimed infielder Ehire Adrianza off waivers from the Brewers, as per a team press release. To make room on the 40-man roster, Minnesota designated right-hander Pat Light for assignment.
Adrianza has now been designated for assignment and claimed on waivers twice this week, as Milwaukee claimed him from the Giants on January 31. The Giants DFA’ed the 27-year-old to make room for Nick Hundley, while the Brewers quickly designated Adrianza themselves after claiming Jesus Aguilar off waivers from Cleveland (though Brewers GM David Stearns said that his team was hopeful of keeping Adrianza if he cleared waivers).
Adrianza has a .220/.292/.313 slash line over 331 career plate appearances in the big leagues, all with San Francisco from 2013-16. While the switch-hitter has never delivered much at the plate even at the minor league level, Adrianza has displayed defensive versatility as a shortstop and second baseman, plus a handful of games at third. He’ll join a fellow switch-hitter in Eduardo Escobar as the Twins’ primary reserve infielders, and while both could end up competing for a lone job, the Twins could have particular need for infield bench depth. Miguel Sano’s ability to handle third base is still up in the air and Jorge Polanco is still largely unproven as a major leaguer. Polanco will obviously get a lot of time to prove himself, though Sano could ultimately be moved to DH if he can’t manage to be at least passable at the hot corner.
Light, 25, made his MLB debut in 2016 and had a rough introduction to the Show. The righty posted an 11.34 ERA over 16 2/3 innings with the Twins and Red Sox, allowing four homers in his brief amount of mound time and issuing as many walks (16) as strikeouts. The hard-throwing Light came to Minnesota from Boston at the trade deadline in exchange for Fernando Abad. The 37th overall pick of the 2012 draft, Light posted a 4.35 ERA, 7.4 K/9 and 2.16 K/BB rate over 297 2/3 IP in the minors, though his results improved after being moved to full-time bullpen work in 2015.
- Right-hander Chase Anderson and his representatives don’t expect to avoid arbitration with the Brewers, who are employing a file-and-trial approach, a source told Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. The two sides are set to argue their cases sometime before Feb. 14, which would be the Brewers’ first arbitration hearing since 2012. Anderson, who’s arbitration eligible for the first time, is seeking $2.85MM as his 2017 salary, while the Brewers have offered $2.45MM (MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projected a $3.1MM award entering the offseason). The 29-year-old is coming off a season in which he amassed 151 2/3 innings, totaled nine wins and recorded a 4.39 ERA – the three statistics arbitrators examine when dealing with starting pitchers.
In Aguilar, Milwaukee has acquired a 26-year-old power bat who has a track record of production in the upper minors. He has spent quite a bit of time at Triple-A, compiling a .271/.346/.472 slash across 1,647 plate appearances. That success hasn’t carried over to the majors, though Aguilar has received only 64 opportunities to bat at the game’s highest level. He’s out of options, though, after bouncing up and down over the past three seasons.
As for Adrianza, who was just claimed from the Giants and is also out of options, Brewers GM David Stearns notes that the organization hopes to keep him as a non-roster player if he clears waivers, as Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel tweets. The 27-year-old, a switch-hitting utility infielder, has slashed .220/.292/.313 in his 331 MLB plate appearances across the past four years. Adrianza previously inked a deal with San Francisco that would pay him $600K in the majors or $300K in the minors for the coming season.
[RELATED: Updated Brewers Depth Chart]
Adrianza, a 27-year-old switch hitter, could compete for a bench spot in camp with players such as Hernan Perez and Scooter Gennett, along with minor-league signees Eric Sogard and Ivan De Jesus Jr. He has spent time in the bigs over each of the past four seasons, posting a cumulative .220/.292/.313 batting line over 331 plate appearances. He already agreed to a split arb deal with the Giants that would pay him $600K in the majors and $300K in the minors.
As for Scahill, who’ll soon turn 30, the move could bring an end to his brief tenure with the organization. He allowed just five earned runs over 18 1/3 innings in Milwaukee last year after coming over from the Pirates in a mid-season waiver claim. Scahill owns a useful 3.68 ERA in 122 1/3 total MLB frames over the past five years.
Though he carries just 6.3 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 for his career, Scahill has generated grounders at better than a sixty percent clip in each of the past two seasons and averages over 93 mph with his average fastball. He’ll surely end up at least competing for a big league job in camp somewhere, whether or not it’s with the Brewers.
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.