Milwaukee Brewers – MLB Trade Rumors Thu, 17 Jan 2019 15:11:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Yasmani Grandal On Decision To Sign With Brewers Thu, 17 Jan 2019 02:17:41 +0000
  • New Brewers backstop Yasmani Grandal discussed why he chose to go to Milwaukee, as Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes. Grandal, of course, is known to have rejected a four-year deal with the Mets that would have paid him at a lower annual rate than the $18.25MM he’s guaranteed in Milwaukee ($2.25MM of which comes in the form of the buyout of a mutual option). While many would argue the lengthier term was the better deal, the veteran backstop says he felt it would have done a disservice to his fellow players to take less than he was worth for a given season. “I felt like part of my responsibility as a player was to respect the guys that went through this process before I did, those guys who established pay levels and markets for upper-tier catchers like me,” he said. Grandal talked about the “stressful” run through the open market; clearly, he thought hard about things not just for his personal benefit but from a broader perspective. Whether budging on years is preferable to taking a haircut on dollars is certainly debatable, but it’s interesting to note Grandal’s perspective on the subject regardless.
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    Brewers Sign Yasmani Grandal Mon, 14 Jan 2019 21:45:45 +0000 3:45pm: Grandal’s contract actually contains a 2020 option, per Fancred’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link). He’ll earn $16MM in 2019, and his option is also for $16MM with a $2.25MM buyout. It’s a mutual option, ESPN’s Jeff Passan tweets. As he notes, mutual options are virtually never exercised by both parties.

    Jan. 14, 2:59pm: The Brewers have officially announced the signing.

    Jan. 9, 10:16pm: Yahoo’s Tim Brown reports that Grandal will be guaranteed $18.25MM in 2019 (Twitter link).

    10:06pm: The Brewers are in agreement on a contract with free-agent catcher Yasmani Grandal, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). It’s a one-year contract for Grandal, however, which pales in comparison to the four-year contract that was reportedly offered by the Mets earlier this offseason. Rosenthal adds that the deal is still pending the completion of a physical.

    Yasmani Grandal

    Clearly, the decision to spurn a four-year offer from New York looks especially regrettable now, even if, as Fancred’s Jon Heyman tweeted yesterday, the Mets’ offer was actually for a bit less than the initially reported $60MM figure. The exact size of the proposed guarantee isn’t known, but USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets it was in excess of $50MM, and Rosenthal tweets that the Mets’ offer could have reached $60MM in total value, presumably indicating that there were some incentives or escalator clauses at play.

    It’s still possible, of course, for Grandal to come out ahead over the 2019-22 seasons. A strong showing with the Brewers could yet net him a lucrative multi-year deal in free agency next year — when he won’t have a qualifying offer attached to his name. A three-year offer in the range of $13-14MM per season next winter would effectively recoup the money Grandal’s camp turned away, and it’s hardly unthinkable that he could deliver a strong enough performance to land another four-year offer a year from now and actually earn even more.

    For Milwaukee, getting an upgrade of Grandal’s caliber on a one-year pact was likely something they never envisioned as a possibility when the offseason began. Many expected him to land at least a three-year contract, and we at MLBTR predicted that he’d land a four-year, $64MM deal which apparently checks in just north of what the Mets offered him earlier this winter. A one-year deal simply never seemed likely.

    As a revenue-sharing recipient, the Brewers will forfeit their third-highest selection in next year’s draft as penalty for signing Grandal. That’s a fairly small price to pay for a win-now club that has successfully upgraded one of its most glaring deficiencies, though, especially when considering the fact that they already traded their Competitive Balance pick (No. 39 overall) to acquire Alex Claudio in a trade with the Rangers. Because of that deal, Milwaukee’s third-highest selection is their third-round pick — currently No. 104 overall in the draft.

    Milwaukee catchers combined to post a meager .237/.294/.363 batting line with 16 home runs in 637 plate appearances last season. Grandal, meanwhile, hit .241/.349/.466 in full-time duty with the Dodgers last season, meaning he should provide the Brew Crew with a substantial boost in terms of both on-base percentage and overall power. Salvador Perez was the only catcher in baseball with more home runs than Grandal’s 24 big flies last season, and no catcher (min. 300 PA) topped Grandal’s .225 ISO (slugging percentage minus batting average).  In other words, the Brewers are quite arguably getting the game’s most powerful catcher.

    On the defensive side of the coin, most casual onlookers will surely recall Grandal’s disastrous postseason, during which he yielded three passed balls before eventually ceding playing time to backup Austin Barnes for a second consecutive October. But Grandal has prevented stolen bases at a league-average or better rate in each of the past four seasons, and there’s no catcher in baseball who has consistently graded out as strongly as Grandal in terms of pitch-framing. The postseason passed-ball issues aren’t exactly a total hiccup for Grandal, who has thrice led the National League in passed balls allowed, but his adequate throwing and elite framing have nevertheless led to consistently top-shelf ratings in Baseball Prospectus’ Fielding Runs Above Average category. Grandal is also perennially among the league leaders in Defensive Runs Saved at catcher, with a collective +45 DRS across the past four seasons.

    For the Brewers, he’ll serve as an unequivocal upgrade over the previously projected pairing of Manny Pina and Erik Kratz and deepen a lineup that already ranked sixth in the National League in on-base percentage and second in home runs. The Brewers aren’t set to lose any key members of the lineup with the exception of midseason acquisition Mike Moustakas, so they’ll essentially be adding Grandal to the same lineup that proved to be one of the NL’s best in 2018.

    From a payroll perspective, Grandal will push the Brewers’ Opening Day projection to $123.5MM, as Jason Martinez outlines at Roster Resource. That mark would shatter the Brewers’ previous franchise record, as the organization has only twice had a $100MM+ payroll in its entire history — in 2014-15 when the Opening Day payrolls checked in at $103.5MM and $104.3MM. Of course, the Brewers have a bit more funds at their disposal having just completed a deep postseason run. That NLCS appearance also makes it easier for Mark Attanasio to spend aggressively, as his team is now firmly past its rebuilding phase and is a widely projected playoff contender.

    The Dodgers, meanwhile, will stand to gain a compensatory draft pick after Competitive Balance Round B. Currently, that round runs through the 78th overall selection, though further free-agent machinations could slightly alter the exact placement of picks. Regardless, the Dodgers will add a pick in the late 70s or very early 80s as compensation for losing Grandal.

    It’s at least somewhat curious that the Dodgers wouldn’t make an effort to bring Grandal back on a one-year deal, now knowing that was an option he was willing to consider. Perhaps Grandal simply wasn’t interested in returning to L.A., or perhaps the Dodgers soured on Grandal after his ongoing passed-ball issues. However, the catching position is still a glaring need in Los Angeles, where Barnes is currently lined up as the starter but neither of the organization’s top catching prospects, Keibert Ruiz and Will Smith, are ready for a look at the MLB level just yet. The Dodgers have myriad other options available to them, both in trade and on the free-agent market, but they were willing to risk Grandal accepting a $17.9MM salary just a few short months ago.

    Farhan Zaidi On Giants’ Offseason, Bumgarner Mon, 14 Jan 2019 03:19:45 +0000 In a Friday appearance on the Murph & Mac podcast (audio link and partial transcript here), Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi discussed the relatively slow pace of the offseason, his personal takes on some Giants players, and several other subjects over the course of the interview.  From a hot-stove perspective, Zaidi noted that “we’re hopeful to have an announcement on a signing or a trade here in the next couple of days,” so some type of transaction could be imminent now that we’re more than two days removed from the interview.

    Some more highlights…

    • In general, the Giants’ offseason maneuverings have been made more difficult by their lack of prospect depth and financial flexibility.  “The reality is our organizational stock in both those areas is not particularly high right now.  It just casts a different light on the opportunities that we have out there,” Zaidi said, while adding “I still think we’re going to have those opportunities” as the offseason develops.  Headline-grabbing moves aren’t always the ones that help the team the most, as Zaidi noted that the Giants’ best move of the 2017-18 offseason may have been inking Dereck Rodriguez to a minor league contract.
    • Zaidi reiterated that the Giants aren’t going into a full rebuild, saying “We’re going to do what we can within the constraints we have to put a competitive ballclub out there” in 2019.  Winning the division “is always going to be a goal,” even as Zaidi admits the Dodgers are still the team to beat at this point.
    • A recent report from’s Jon Morosi linking the Brewers and Giants in trade talks about Madison Bumgarner was “overblown,” in Zaidi’s words, as Bumgarner is “a huge part” of San Francisco’s plans to compete next season.  “We spent this offseason having to be realistic with where we are and being willing to listen on anything,” Zaidi said. “But it doesn’t change the fact that Madison Bumgarner is a very central cog to this team.  Nobody is making any outgoing calls on Madison Bumgarner.”
    Brewers Sign Jake Petricka Sat, 12 Jan 2019 20:04:19 +0000 Jan. 12, 2:03 PM: The club has made the signing official this afternoon.

    Jan. 8, 8:52 PM: The Brewers have agreed to terms on a split, Major League contract with free-agent righty Jake Petricka, per The Athletic’s Robert Murray (Twitter links). He’ll land a spot on the Brewers’ 40-man roster as part of the deal, which is still pending a physical. Petricka is represented by Platinum Sports.

    Jake Petricka | Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

    Petricka, 30, spent the 2018 season with the Blue Jays and logged 45 2/3 innings out of the Toronto bullpen, working to a 4.53 ERA with 8.1 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 1.18 HR/9 and a strong 51 percent ground-ball rate. The former White Sox setup man averaged better than 95 mph on his sinker and posted a career-best 10.5 percent swinging-strike rate in his lone year with Toronto.

    Prior to his time with the Jays, Petricka appeared in parts of five seasons for the ChiSox, though his final two years in Chicago were marred by injury. He pitched to a 3.24 ERA / 3.56 FIP through his first three seasons on the South Side, averaging 6.1 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9 with a ground-ball rate of nearly 64 percent in that time. Petricka, though, required elbow surgery in 2016 and pitched just 33 2/3 innings from 2016-17 combined before last year’s return effort.

    Because he only has four years, 157 days of Major League service time, Petricka will be controllable for both the 2019 season and the 2020 season. If he carves out a spot in the Brewers’ bullpen this season, he’ll be arbitration-eligible next winter before becoming a free agent in the 2020-21 offseason.

    Petricka does have a minor league option remaining, and by virtue of the split deal he signed, he’ll earn at different rates for time spent in the Majors and the minors. Once his deal is complete, the Brewers will have 39 players on their 40-man roster.

    Players Avoiding Arbitration: National League Sat, 12 Jan 2019 18:15:47 +0000 The deadline for players and teams to exchange arbitration figures passed yesterday at 1pm ET, and there has been a landslide of settlements on one-year deals to avoid an arbitration hearing. We’ll track those settlements from the National League in this post. Once all of the day’s settlements have filtered in, I’ll organize them by division to make them a bit easier to parse.

    It’s worth mentioning that the vast majority of teams have adopted a “file and trial” approach to arbitration, meaning that once arbitration figures are exchanged with a player, negotiations on a one-year deal will cease. The two parties may still discuss a multi-year deal after that point, but the majority of players who exchange figures with their team today will head to an arbitration hearing.

    As always, all salary projections referenced within this post are courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz, and we’ll also be updating our 2019 Arbitration Tracker throughout the day…

    Today’s Updates

    • Rounding out contract numbers for the St. Louis Cardinals, Dominic Leone will take home $1.26MM, Chasen Shreve will make $900K, and outfielder Marcell Ozuna will earn $12.25MM in his last season before free agency, per’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). Ozuna has the most high-impact potential as he looks to rebound from a still-productive season in 2018 that saw his power output hindered at times by a balky shoulder. He still managed 23 home runs and a .280/.325/.433 slash line while playing just about every day outside of a 10-day DL stint late in August.
    • The Diamondbacks came to terms with a slew of players, per Feinsand (via Twitter), including Matt Andriese for $920K, Steven Souza Jr. for $4.125MM, shortstop Nick Ahmed for $3.6625MM, and potential closer Archie Bradley for $1.83MM.
    • The Rockies and starting pitcher Jon Gray have come to an agreement on a $2.935MM deal, per Feinsand (via Twitter). Gray had an up-and-down 2018 that is generally considered to be more promising than the optics of his 5.12 ERA make it seem.
    • The Pirates have come to terms on one-year deals with both of their arbitration eligible players, per Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Left fielder Corey Dickerson signs for $8.5MM, and reliever Keone Kela takes home $3.175MM. It’s a small arb class for the Pirates, whose list will grow next season as players like Josh Bell, Jameson Taillon, and Joe Musgrove, among others, reach their first season of eligibility.
    • The Dodgers signed a couple of their remaining arbitration-eligible players yesterday, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (Twitter links). Utility man Chris Taylor has a $3.5MM deal, while outfield Joc Pederson settled at $5MM.

    Earlier Updates

    Read more

    Manny Pina’s Contract Details Sat, 12 Jan 2019 17:47:38 +0000 Catcher Manny Pina signed for $1.6MM in 2019, his first season of arbitration eligibility, but the Milwaukee Brewers hold a team option for 2020 worth $1.85MM, per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

    The team option for 2020 also includes a $150K buyout, pushing Pina’s guaranteed dollar amount to $1.75MM. Incentives could push the value of the deal higher if Pina wins a Gold Glove ($25K), Silver Slugger ($50K), LCS MVP ($25K), World Series MVP ($50K), National League MVP ($100K), or if he earns a trip to the All-Star game ($50K).

    The Brewers now have three catchers signed to guaranteed contracts for 2019: Yasmani Grandal ($18.25MM), Erik Kratz ($1.2MM) and Pina. Grandal figures to see most of the playing time this upcoming season, but as an unrestricted free agent, he’s far from a lock to stay in Milwaukee long-term. Kratz, 39 in June, somewhat surprisingly took over the starting catcher position throughout the Brewers’ playoff run last season, though the journeyman hit only .236/.280/.355 across 219 plate appearances during the regular season. It was the first time Kratz ever exceeded 200 at bats in a season, and the first time eclipsing 100 at-bats since 2014.

    Pina, then, seems the most likely of the three to stay with the Brewers beyond 2019, especially now that Milwaukee has secured him at a reasonable price point for 2020. Playing in a little over 60% of Milwaukee’s games over the last two seasons, the 31-year-old Pina slashed a solid .266/.317/.410 across 696 plate appearances. Generally-speaking, he is the least accomplished defensive catcher of the trio, though he received solid marks in blocking and throwing out would-be base stealers. It remains to be seen how exactly manager Craig Counsell plans to divvy up the backup duties behind Grandal.

    Brewers Sign Burch Smith To Minor League Contract Fri, 11 Jan 2019 15:50:32 +0000 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.

    Brewers In “Heavy” Pursuit Of Infield Upgrade Thu, 10 Jan 2019 23:34:59 +0000 5:34pm: LeMahieu is not likely to land in Milwaukee, per’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). It seems the price tag is too steep after the team’s addition of Grandal.

    (It’s worth noting, too, that Lowrie has now reportedly agreed to terms since this post was first published.)

    3:40pm: The Brewers surprised many with a sudden agreement with free-agent catcher Yasmani Grandal last night, promising the former Dodgers All-Star $18.25MM on a one-year pact. The catching position now upgraded, the Brewers are in “heavy” pursuit of an infield upgrade, reports Jeff Passan of ESPN (via Twitter). Both second basemen and third basemen are in play as Milwaukee looks for a new player to patrol the dirt.

    Adding a true second baseman would seem a better fit on the surface, as the Brewers already have a strong defensive option at the hot corner in the form of Travis Shaw. However, the Brewers did acquire Mike Moustakas last summer, shifting Shaw to second base in the process. Apparently, the team was comfortable enough with what it saw in Shaw’s 268 innings at the position — he checked in at -1 DRS and -1.5 UZR in that tiny sample, for what little it’s worth — that it’s comfortable with the idea of Shaw returning to second base in 2019 as well.

    One prominent free-agent option at second base came off the board this morning when Brian Dozier agreed to a reported $9MM contract with the Nationals. Dozier seemed a strong fit for Milwaukee in many respects, and though they’d previously been tied to the former Twin, they’ll look to other options. DJ LeMahieu’s market is reportedly beginning to gain a bit of steam, and he’s one of many free-agent options for Milwaukee GM David Stearns and his staff. The trade market has no shortage of options, either; for instance, Passan reported earlier this morning that the Giants are exploring deals involving Joe Panik.

    If the Brewers prefer a more versatile option who can handle multiple positions, thus preserving some flexibility, they’re in luck. Marwin Gonzalez, Jed Lowrie, Josh Harrison and Asdrubal Cabrera are among the free-agent options that can handle either second base or third base (in addition to other positions, at least in the case of the former three). With Cory Spangenberg already in the fold as a potential utility option that can handle both second and third, the Brewers’ likely focus at this juncture is to acquire a player they feel can shoulder the majority of the load at either second or third, with Shaw manning the other spot.

    Brewers, Giants Have Reportedly Discussed Madison Bumgarner Trade Tue, 08 Jan 2019 20:44:48 +0000 TODAY: Morosi now tweets that the Giants have left the Brewers with the impression that “a young starting pitcher — Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, or Freddy Peralta — would need to be part of [an] offer” to make a deal on Bumgarner. Of course, that may only be one portion of a palatable package.

    Whether the Milwaukee organization has any inclination to pay such a price is not evident. It’s also far from clear just how active the discussions really are at this time. Per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, on Twitter, “nothing substantive is being discussed at the moment” regarding Bumgarner.

    YESTERDAY: The Giants and Brewers have had “substantive communication” this offseason regarding a potential Madison Bumgarner trade, Jon Morosi of wrote this morning. While there’s no indication that the sides are particularly likely to reach agreement, it seems there’s serious interest on the part of the Milwaukee organization.

    From the surface, at least, it’s tempting to view this as a possible blockbuster. Morosi suggests a deal involving the star lefty — a still-youthful player with unmatched postseason credentials — could be the only immediate means available for the Giants to “obtain high-end young players.” And the Brewers rotation is more notable for its depth than for big names at the top of the staff — a state of affairs that has often led to outside calls for a major strike.

    Upon closer examination, though, it’s hard to see immense value in the contract rights to the undeniably accomplished hurler. After all, he has not only been limited by injury over the past two seasons, but has exhibited numerous declines in peripheral numbers. To be sure, he has still managed to secure excellent results, and he’s hard to count out at just 29 years of age, but there’s real concern about Bumgarner’s outlook.

    With just one season of control remaining, at a not-insignificant $12MM rate, it’s tough to imagine any team giving up its favorite prospects for the chance to see what’s left in the tank. Neither does it make much sense for new Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi to part with MadBum for little more than cost savings. All said, it’s not entirely surprising that there has been so little chatter this winter on Bumgarner despite the Giants’ reported willingness to move him. Indeed, last we heard (nearly one month back), it was said to be increasingly unlikely he’d be dealt before the start of the season.

    Beyond that, Brewers GM David Stearns proved last year that he won’t be swayed by outside opinions on the state of his club’s pitching staff. While the consensus was that the Milwaukee org needed to bolster the top of its rotation — both last winter and in the mid-season trade period that followed — the club largely elected to go with internal options bolstered by seemingly unexciting outside acquisitions. While the resulting staff was hardly dominant, it was a solid unit (particularly when paired with an excellent bullpen) that allowed the Brewers to exceed expectations.

    All that being said, it’s plenty notable that the Brewers seem to have serious, ongoing interest in Bumgarner. While the sides obviously have not lined up to this point, Morosi goes so far as to say that the Milwaukee club is “most likely” to land Bumgarner if he does end up being moved. The Brew Crew brass is said still to be conducting “internal deliberations” on the matter, suggesting that the two teams are still looking for ways to bridge the gap in negotiations — and, perhaps, that both sides have some reason to think they may be able to do so.

    Stearns Discusses Broxton Trade Mon, 07 Jan 2019 03:17:40 +0000
  • The Brewers’ deep outfield and Keon Broxton’s out-of-options status made him a trade chip for the club, GM David Stearns told reporters (including the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt) in the aftermath of the trade that sent Broxton to the Mets.  “Teams are smart, so they looked at our outfield situation and saw we had a couple of out-of-option players who are talented,” Stearns said.  “Teams have been poking around on Keon since the end of the season. We discussed scenarios with different teams and this is the one that finally went over the (finish) line.”  In regards to any outfield additions, Stearns said the team will do its due diligence, but overall, “we are comfortable with the options we have at this point.”
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    Mets Acquire Keon Broxton Sat, 05 Jan 2019 18:33:45 +0000 Per releases from both teams, the Mets have acquired OF Keon Broxton from the Brewers for righty Bobby Wahl and minor leaguers Adam Hill and Felix Valerio.

    Broxton, who’s one of the league’s flashiest defenders in center field, has been a fixture on the rumor mill since the back half of last winter, when the Brewers traded for Christian Yelich and signed Lorenzo Cain in a matter of days. Plate appearances in Milwaukee were scarce last season for the 28-year-old, who returned to Triple-A for the fourth time, slashing a below-average .254/.323/.421 over 334 plate appearances in one of the minors’ most hitter-friendly yards. In 89 big-league trips to the plate, Broxton managed just a .179/.281/.410 line, though he did post a ridiculous 11 DRS in just 134 center-field innings, a total which bested all but four full-time players at the position.

    The former Diamondback and Pirate farmhand, who remains under club control for four additional seasons, has long been beset by an alarming propensity for the swing and miss – in 2017, when he accumulated a robust 463 plate appearances for the Crew, Broxton’s 37.8 K% was the highest in baseball among all near-full-time players; in 2016, he struck out over 36 percent of the time. The totals, though, are somewhat offset by a willingness to work counts and an especially-discerning eye vs. left-handed pitching – in 252 career plate appearances against lefties, Broxton sports an excellent 15.5% BB rate, and should represent a quality weak-side platoon option for New York at any outfield position, should Brandon Nimmo or Michael Conforto sputter against same-side arms next season.

    For the Mets, the move goes a long way toward addressing the team’s outfield depth, one of its few remaining offensive holes. Juan Lagares, who profiles almost identically to Broxton, as a late-twenties, right-handed, light-hitting quality defender in center, was the penciled-in starter at the position, but the longtime Met has found it almost impossible to stay healthy for a good portion of the season, appearing in just 203 combined games since the outset of the 2016 season. Yoenis Cespedes, who underwent a second heel surgery in October, has also been routinely shelf-ridden, and may miss the entirety of 2019. The other two spots are locked down by Nimmo and Conforto, but the club had precious little depth aside. Such a move likely removes A.J. Pollock from the team’s offseason table, though New York had lately seemed a fringe-at-best candidate for his services anyway.

    The Brewers, as mentioned, were dealing from an outfield surplus: in addition to reigning All-Stars Cain and Yelich, the club also sports Ryan Braun and Eric Thames as corner options, and just moved one-time regular Domingo Santana for another, left-handed outfielder Ben Gamel. The 2019 outlook for Broxton didn’t figure to brighten, so dealing the soon-to-be 29-year-old seemed prudent indeed for the defending NL Central champs.

    Wahl, 26, will bring his highly-touted fastball/slider mix to one of the league’s deepest bullpens. Acquired by New York in a midseason deal that sent righty Jeurys Familia to Oakland, Wahl spent most of his time at Triple-A Nashville last season, where he sported a prodigious 14.75 K/9 over 39 2/3 innings. The flamethrowing righty has struggled with an array of injury issues in the past, including a thoracic outlet procedure in 2017, but looked mostly healthy last season. Command has also been a problem – in short big-league stints with the A’s and Mets, Wahl has walked a troubling 5.54 men per nine, and Steamer projects the total at 4.36 for the upcoming campaign.

    Hill, 21, was the Mets’ 4th-round selection in the 2018 draft. In 15 short-season A-ball innings, the 6’6 righty struck out a promising 26 batters in just 15 1/3 IP. Baseball America’s pre-draft scouting report lauds Hill’s “heavy” fastball and projects mid-rotation upside, with the caveat that his secondary offerings can be “inconsistent” and his command “at times erratic.” The South-Carolina born product checked in at #24 on FanGraphs’ latest ranking of the New York farm.

    Valerio, 18, was signed in early 2018 as an international free agent from the Dominican Republic. The now-shortstop stands just 5’7 but showed well in his initial professional exposure, slashing .319/.409/.433 for the Mets’ Dominican Summer League affiliate.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Quick Hits: Giants, Brewers, Spangenberg, Orioles Sat, 05 Jan 2019 15:57:05 +0000 First-year Giants President of Baseball Ops Farhan Zaidi isn’t feeling the pressure of the offseason quite yet, in part because the offseason action has shifted later and later into the winter. Zaidi doesn’t care to comment publicly about any specific trade talks or which free agents the team might be targeting, but he knows the San Francisco fanbase is growing restless, per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. Madison Bumgarner remains their biggest trade chip, but assuming the World Series hero stays in the Bay, relievers Tony Watson and Will Smith have drawn the most interest around the league. Still, their new President is in no rush to jump the market. Despite coming to SF from LA, Zaidi is a small market strategist who spent his first ten years in the game with Oakland before working under long-time Rays’ GM Andrew Friedman. Large market teams like SF and LA have poached front office personnel from smaller markets in part to better avoid the exact type of splashy free agent signing that fans crave. All signs point to Zaidi bringing the Dodger model to the Bay – which isn’t huge payrolls and headline free agents – it’s creative, innovative “small market” thinking first, and dipping into the reserves of their large market second. 

    • The Milwaukee Brewers are fairly confident that offseason signee Cory Spangenberg has room to grow in a couple areas of his game, per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. GM David Stearns sees some unrealized power potential in the 6’0″ infielder, but the more actionable area of growth for Spangenberg is his versatility. He mostly played second base and third base as a Padre, with occasional spurts in the outfield (in 2017, he got 25 starts in left field). Stearns sees Spangenberg continuing with outfield work, as well as picking up some time at shortstop in the spring. Defensive metrics haven’t raved about Spangenberg’s work at any position, but even if he’s only a passably below-average defender, there’s something to be said for being passably below-average all over the diamond.
    • The hallways at Orioles HQ aren’t exactly bustling with activity, but the analytics, coaching and front office teams are beginning to fill out. With less than six weeks before the opening of Spring Training, GM Mike Elias is comfortable being in the early stages of building, shaping and refining those departments. Nonetheless, Baltimore’s front office team is – in the fateful parlance of the Emperor – fully armed and operational, per Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun. After clearing out much of the staff both before and after the hiring of Elias, those remaining staffers have been given more responsibility until key vacancies are filled. Koby Perez takes over one of those key roles as the new senior director of international scouting, a position with greater import in Baltimore than perhaps any other organization in the league, as his responsibilities include the management of their robust international bonus pool money. Though they have until June 15th to spend that money, Elias and Perez recognize that the international scouting process is typically a years-long, not a months-long process, per’s Joe Trezza, and they are in no rush to spend to the limit. Though they can spend close to $6MM in that area, they are by no means required to, and there are many areas internally where that sum of money could be put to use.
    Brewers Still Looking For Infielders Sat, 05 Jan 2019 03:51:14 +0000
  • Even with Cory Spangenberg now officially in the fold, the Brewers continue to be open for business in looking for infield help, general manager David Stearns told’s Adam McCalvy and other reporters.  A “wide variety” of free agent infielders are under consideration, as well as trade possibilities, and the option of acquiring a third baseman and then shifting Travis Shaw back to second base.
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    Brewers Sign Cory Spangenberg Fri, 04 Jan 2019 22:11:28 +0000 TODAY: The Brewers have officially announced the signing.

    DEC.20: The Brewers are in agreement on a one-year, Major League contract with infielder Cory Spangenberg, pending a physical, tweets Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It  appears to be a split contract for Spangeberg (who has a minor league option remaining), as Rosenthal notes that he would earn $1.2MM in the Majors and $250K in the minors. Spangenberg is represented by Jet Sports.

    Milwaukee is known to be in the market for infield options, particularly after non-tendering Jonathan Schoop, though the split nature of Spangenberg’s deal underscores the fact that he’s viewed more as a depth option than a primary addition for general manager David Stearns and his staff. The Brewers figure to continue exploring the market for a higher-profile solution, though Spangenberg’s ability to play second base or third base could very well put him in the mix for a bench job this spring.

    Spangenberg, 28 in March, was the 10th overall selection in the 2011 draft but has yet to cement himself as a regular contributor at the MLB level. While he showed promise in his first few looks at the Majors, hitting .274/.330/.408 through 410 plate appearances, Spangenberg’s bat has gone dormant since that time. From 2016-18, he managed just a .251/.312/.384 slash through 868 plate appearances for the Padres while seeing time at second base, third base and in left field.

    Brewers Linked To Brian Dozier Thu, 03 Jan 2019 14:59:26 +0000
  • The Brewers “like” free-agent second baseman Brian Dozier, writes Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic in his latest notes column (subscription required), though there’s no clear indication that the two sides have had any substantial talks to this point. Bringing Dozier into the fold would give Milwaukee a potential short-term bridge to prospects Keston Hiura and Mauricio Dubon while affording the longtime Twins slugger to rebuild some value in the wake of a poor 2018 season which was hindered by knee troubles. From 2014-17, Dozier hit .254/.338/.476 and averaged 32 homers per season, but he faceplanted with a .215/.305/.391 slash between Minnesota and Los Angeles last year.
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