Milwaukee Brewers – MLB Trade Rumors Sun, 22 Apr 2018 19:51:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Brewers Acquire Tyler Saladino, Designate Alec Asher Fri, 20 Apr 2018 00:19:02 +0000 The Brewers have acquired infielder Tyler Saladino from the White Sox, per a club announcement. Cash will go to Chicago in the swap.

Milwaukee has designated recently acquired righty Alec Asher for assignment to create roster space. He’ll either continue his tour of the league via waiver wire or end up finally clearing and being outrighted. To this point in the season, Asher has already been placed on waivers by both the Orioles and Dodgers, though he’s obviously yet to clear.

Saladino, 28, has been a heavily used reserve on the South Side since the start of the 2015 season. He has had his moments, particularly during a solid 2016 campaign, but in the aggregate has only managed a .231/.281/.330 slash in 863 total plate appearances. Of course, he’s valued more for his versatile fielding ability and will provide the Brewers organization with some depth in that regard. Saladino has played all over the infield in addition to cameos at all three outfield spots. Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating are particularly bullish on his work at second base and third base, though he’s no stranger to shortstop, either, having logged 429 big league innings there.

[Related: Updated Brewers depth chart and White Sox depth chart]

Saladino entered the season with two years, 87 days of Major League service time, meaning he’ll likely be arbitration eligible if he spends any meaningful amount of time on the Brewers’ Major League roster. He does have two minor league option seasons remaining (including 2018), though, so it’s possible that he still falls shy.

Decision On Wade Miley Looming For Brewers Thu, 19 Apr 2018 01:51:41 +0000
  • Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel passes along some Brewers injury news, reporting that Wade Miley’s first rehab start went smoothly and adding that he’ll start again on Sunday (Twitter links). At that point, the Brewers will likely have to make a decision whether they’ll add him to the big league rotation or keep him in the minors for another rehab outing. Additionally, lefty Boone Logan threw a bullpen session for the first time since injuring his left triceps muscle — a notable first step in his debut in the Milwaukee ’pen.
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    Offseason In Review: Milwaukee Brewers Wed, 18 Apr 2018 15:01:28 +0000 This is the latest entry in MLBTR’s 2017-18 Offseason In Review series. Click here to read the other completed reviews from around the league.

    Milwaukee’s rebuild reaped significant benefits faster than most anticipated in 2017, setting the stage for an active but also puzzling offseason from GM David Stearns & Co.

    Major League Signings

    Trades and Claims

    Notable Minor League Signings


    • Chase Anderson, RHP: Two years, $11.75MM plus club options for 2020 ($8.5MM) and 2021 ($9.5MM)

    Notable Losses

    Needs Addressed

    Milwaukee’s needs on the pitching staff received the lion’s share of attention headed into the offseason, which was understandable following staff ace Jimmy Nelson’s shoulder surgery. But the Brew Crew also had some fairly notable needs on the offensive end of the spectrum as well. The Brewers did hit the seventh-most homers in MLB last year, but they nonetheless ranked 20th in the Majors in runs scored. Their collective output against lefties (.248/.321/.413, 89 wRC+) ranked 24th in the Majors, while their production against right-handers (.250/.323/.434, 94 wRC+) wasn’t dramatically better.

    Lorenzo Cain

    The Brewers’ primary means of bolstering the offense came in effectively swapping out Keon Broxton for Lorenzo Cain, who inked the third-largest contract of any position player this offseason and the fourth-largest overall at five years and $80MM. Milwaukee also shipped out a four-player package headlined by Lewis Brinson and Monte Harrison to acquire a whopping five seasons of Christian Yelich — all of which figure to be prime years.

    The outfield, of course, didn’t look like a huge need for the Brewers on paper, and it’s arguable that it wasn’t a need at all. However, manager Craig Counsell should have around 2600 to 2700 plate appearances to divide up primarily between Cain, Yelich, Domingo Santana, Ryan Braun and Eric Thames in a rotation of players in the outfield at at first base (where Braun and Thames will factor most prominently).

    Christian Yelich

    The depth allows Thames (.182/.270/.394 vs. lefties in 2017) to be platooned, and the group of Cain, Braun, Santana and occasional first baseman Jesus Aguilar gives Counsell plenty of possibilities versus lefties. The club has also held onto righty-swinging first bagger Ji-Man Choi after his eye-opening spring, though he’s currently on optional assignment. Plus, Broxton and Brett Phillips are both still on hand as outfield options should injuries necessitate. That level of depth is hard to find throughout the league.

    That’s not to say, either, that the Brewers didn’t address their pitching staff at all. Jhoulys Chacin has quietly been a quality arm for the Angels and Padres over the past two seasons. It’s a bit too rudimentary to say Chacin needs to prove he can pitch outside of San Diego — his home/road splits were pronounced with the Halos as well — but he’ll certainly hope to pitch more consistently than over the past two seasons. The bottom-line results for Chacin have tended to even out in the end, though, and he’ll provide a veteran source of innings to an otherwise inexperienced rotation.

    In the ’pen, the Brewers added quantity but did not join in on the Winter Meetings’ relief craze. With premium annual values and multi-year deals for setup men en vogue — the Rockies led the way with more than $100MM worth of bullpen spending — the Brewers went the opposite route. Matt Albers was a late sign at a more traditionally expected rate and will look to prove to his doubters that last year’s brilliant season with the Nats was no fluke. Dan Jennings was a late-Spring steal at $750K, and he’ll pair with veteran Boone Logan (once healthy) and exciting youngster Josh Hader to give Counsell the left-handed depth he sorely lacked in 2017. (Yovani Gallardo was also signed to a non-guaranteed deal, but he didn’t make the cut out of Spring Training.)

    Questions Remaining

    The common belief once the Brewers acquired Yelich and Cain within mere hours of one another was that the front office would use its newfound outfield depth to trade for a rotation upgrade. Rumors persisted throughout the offseason, and Milwaukee remained connected to the likes of Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb throughout their respective time on the open market. In the end, though, Chacin was the lone rotation addition outside of a minor league deal for Wade Miley, who figures to get some starts for the Brewers once he recovers from a groin injury after showing well this spring.

    With Nelson out until midseason, then, Milwaukee’s rotation will consist of Chase Anderson, Zach Davies, Chacin and a combination of Brent Suter, Junior Guerra, Brandon Woodruff and, eventually, Miley. Clearly, it’s a group that is rife with uncertainty. Anderson and Davies impressed in 2017, and Chacin should be serviceable, but the rest of the group is less certain. Guerra had a nightmarish 2017 season, while Suter and Woodruff lack much in the way of a big league track record. Miley pitched poorly enough in 2016-17 that he had to settle for a minor league deal despite a history of durability.

    Brewers fans and onlookers wondered for the final several months of the winter when Stearns and his staff were going to make some kind of splash on the pitching market, but in retrospect, perhaps the opportunity for a meaningful upgrade on the trade front never materialized. Corner outfielders aren’t exactly in high demand these days, as both the trade and free-agent markets in the past couple of seasons have made abundantly clear.

    Santana had a nice season, to be sure, but being a 30-homer bat in a season that saw 74 players swat 25+ big flies doesn’t hold the same appeal as being a 30-homer bat would’ve been even three years prior. Add in a 31 percent career strikeout rate, and it’s plenty plausible that the offers for him simply didn’t include a rotation piece of note. Broxton and Phillips both have significant strikeout issues, and Phillips’ big year was at least somewhat fueled by BABIPs north of .400 in the Majors and the minors. The Brewers undoubtedly could’ve added some depth via trade, but if they felt that the best the market had to offer was arms with similar uncertainty to the ones they already possessed, then the lack of a deal is more justifiable.

    As far as free agency goes, a match with any of the big four starters seemed plenty plausible on paper, even as far back as November. Milwaukee never seemed keen on beating the market for one of the top arms, however, with the possible exception of Darvish, who instead went to the Cubs on what would’ve been a record deal for the Brewers.

    It’s somewhat of a surprise that Milwaukee seemingly didn’t play for Lynn, even when his market dipped to the point where he could be had on a one-year deal. The Brewers, after all, would’ve only been required to punt a third-round pick to sign Lynn, as they’d already surrendered a second-round pick in order to sign Cain earlier in the winter. Lynn’s strikeout, walk and home-run rates in 2017 were all questionable in 2017, but the Milwaukee rotation would still look more solid with him penciled into the middle.

    Elsewhere on the diamond, the Brewers looked to be a quality landing spot for Neil Walker, who thrived in Milwaukee following a trade from the Mets last season. There were longstanding rumors connecting the Crew to Ian Kinsler as well, but he went to the Angels while Walker landed on a one-year, $4MM deal with the Yankees. Milwaukee had already re-signed Eric Sogard, but they’ll now lean on the same mix of Sogard, Jonathan Villar and Hernan Perez that was shaky enough to prompt last August’s trade for Walker in the first place. If 2016 Villar resurfaces, all will be fine. But for a team that stockpiled depth so substantially in the outfield, it’s curious that the Brewers wouldn’t bring Walker back into the fold at a fairly minimal cost. It won’t be a surprise if they’re on the hunt for second base help again in two months’ time.


    Milwaukee’s offense, defense and overall outfield depth should be drastically improved with the additions of Cain and Yelich on long-term commitments. Those two acquisitions should help to deepen the lineup and create a more complete offense than last year’s deceptively home-run-dependent unit. It’s fair to wonder how Cain will hold up into his age-36 campaign, but those questions exist with any long-term deal for a position player. Though second base could eventually be an issue for the club, that’s a position that’ll be fairly easy to address on the trade market if the past couple of years are any indication.

    For the 2018 Brewers, the rotation will be the main focus of fans and critics alike. Pundits widely opined that the team was making a misstep by not making further additions. I’m of the mind that, except for a late one-year deal for Lynn that would’ve made some sense, the Brewers’ lack of activity was largely justifiable given that the supply of available outfielders dampened the value of their potential trade chips and given the prices for the other top free agents. But if the group they have in place right now falters and/or Nelson takes longer than anticipated to return, the Brewers will be in the market for rotation help this summer and forced to field questions as to why that need wasn’t more thoroughly addressed in the winter.

    How would you grade the Brewers’ offseason? (Link to poll for Trade Rumors app users.)

    Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Brewers Claim Alec Asher From Dodgers Tue, 17 Apr 2018 19:20:40 +0000 The Brewers announced that they’ve claimed right-hander Alec Asher off waivers from the Dodgers and optioned him to Triple-A Colorado Springs. Milwaukee had an open spot on its 40-man roster, so no corresponding move is necessary.

    Asher, 26, made six starts and 18 relief appearances for the Orioles last year, working to a total of 60 innings with a 47-to-23 K/BB. While the righty demonstrated an ability to pitch out of both the rotation and bullpen in multi-inning stints, he struggled to a 5.25 ERA and yielded 10 homers in last year’s 60 frames with the O’s. Asher does sport a quality 3.75 ERA in 170 1/3 innings of Triple-A work, where he’s averaged 6.4 K/9 against 2.1 BB/9. That he has a minor league option remaining only makes him more appealing. He can be shuttled back and forth from Triple-A this season as the Brewers see fit.

    With the Dodgers, Asher saw just one game in Triple-A, during which he worked three innings and allowed an earned run on three hits and no walks with one strikeout.

    J.J. Hoover Elects Free Agency Mon, 16 Apr 2018 17:44:07 +0000 April 16: The Brewers announced this afternoon that Hoover has rejected his outright assignment and will instead elect free agency.

    April 15: Veteran reliever J.J. Hoover is staying with the Brewers after being designated for assignment earlier this week, per Adam McCalvy of (Twitter link). The 30-year-old right-hander will head to Triple-A Colorado Springs.

    Hoover, whom the Brewers added on a minor league pact in January, joined the big club on April 7. He then made two appearances, including a nightmarish second one against the Cardinals this past Tuesday. Hoover picked up both a blown save and a loss after surrendering three earned runs on four hits and a walk in an inning of work. As a result of that disastrous showing, he lost his place on Milwaukee’s 40- and 25-man rosters.

    Since debuting with the Reds in 2012, Hoover has enjoyed some success in the majors – including in 2017. As a member of the Diamondbacks last season, Hoover threw 41 1/3 innings of 3.92 ERA ball and notched 11.76 K/9. However, a 5.66 BB/9 and a 32.8 percent groundball rate helped prevent him from landing a major league deal over the winter. Hoover will now attempt to work his way back to the Brewers via the minors.

    Brewers To Recall Jacob Nottingham Mon, 16 Apr 2018 16:12:32 +0000 The Brewers will recall catcher Jacob Nottingham from Triple-A Colorado Springs before tonight’s game, Adam McCalvy of reports. It’ll be the first taste of the Majors for Nottingham, who was acquired by Milwaukee in the trade that sent Khris Davis to Oakland. The 23-year-old Nottingham has had two rough seasons in Milwaukee’s system, posting a sub-.700 OPS at Double-A in both 2016 and 2017. He’s off to a fast start this year, however, hitting .296/.345/.519 through a tiny sample of 29 plate appearances. The corresponding 25-man move for Milwaukee isn’t yet clear, though primary catcher Manny Pina is day-to-day at the moment, as are Eric Thames and Ryan Braun, McCalvy notes. Nottingham doesn’t figure to be a long-term add for the time being, as Pina, Jett Bandy and Stephen Vogt (who is working his way back from a shoulder injury) all come with more experience.

    Josh Hader Content In Relief Role Sun, 15 Apr 2018 17:28:05 +0000 Although Brewers left-hander Josh Hader worked through the minor league ranks as a starting pitching prospect, he has served exclusively as a reliever since making his MLB debut last year. That’s OK with Hader, who has emerged as one of the game’s most dominant bullpen weapons during his 57 1/3-inning career. “I like the idea of coming out of the bullpen and attacking hitters,” he told Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “That plays to my strengths a little bit better.” Hader added that “being able to come in 1-2 innings every other day, that keeps me in shape and keeps my pitches more intact” (Twitter links). It’s hard to argue with the results – a 2.04 ERA with 14.13 K/9 against 3.92 BB/9. The 24-year-old is averaging upward of 20 strikeouts per nine early this season, thanks in part to his five-K performance against the Mets over two perfect innings on Saturday. Hader earned the first save of his career in that outing.

    Brewers Notes: Yelich, Braun Sun, 15 Apr 2018 03:17:44 +0000
  • Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich is eligible to come off the disabled list Sunday, but the club won’t activate him then, Adam McCalvy of tweets. Yelich, who suffered an oblique injury last week, isn’t yet 100 percent, McCalvy notes. Meanwhile, fellow corner outfielder Ryan Braun left Saturday’s game against the Mets with back tightness, Adam Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was among those to report. Whether it’s problematic enough to lead to a DL stint isn’t yet known. Braun, of course, missed 58 games last year while dealing with various injuries.
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    Padres Claim Tyler Webb Sat, 14 Apr 2018 18:06:08 +0000 The Padres announced that they have claimed southpaw Tyler Webb off waivers from the Brewers.  Webb will report to Triple-A, while Dinelson Lamet (who is slated for Tommy John surgery) will be shifted to the 60-day DL to create a 40-man roster spot.

    Milwaukee designated Webb for assignment last week, and the 27-year-old will now join his third different organization in less than a year.  Webb was selected by the Yankees in the 10th round of the 2013 draft, and he made his MLB debut in the pinstripes last season before being traded to the Brewers last July for Garrett Cooper.  Webb ended up tossing eight innings for New York and Milwaukee in his first taste of Major League action, and he’ll join Buddy Baumann as San Diego’s top minor league choices for a left-handed bullpen arm.  Southpaw relievers Kyle McGrath and Robbie Erlin currently have places on the 25-man roster, as well as closer Brad Hand.

    Webb has worked primarily as a reliever throughout his pro career, only making five starts in 156 career minor league appearances.  Over 264 2/3 frames in the minors, Webb has a 3.64 ERA, 11.2 K/9, and a 4.45 K/BB ratio.

    Brewers Designate J.J. Hoover Wed, 11 Apr 2018 13:53:56 +0000 The Brewers have designated righty J.J. Hoover for assignment, per a club announcement. Milwaukee cleared another roster spot by optioning outfielder Brett Phillips.

    These departures will make way for the addition of two new righties to the active roster. Junior Guerra and Jorge Lopez are both coming up to supplement the pitching staff.

    [RELATED: Updated Brewers Depth Chart]

    Hoover did not make the Milwaukee Opening Day roster out of camp, but was brought up just a week into the season. He ended up coughing up a game-ending home run last night. Even if the Brewers were willing to look past that performance, the club needed fresh arms and evidently decided that Hoover was the most expendable player on the roster.

    The move could cost the Brewers the chance to hang onto Hoover, who turned in a solid performance this spring. In his 10 1/3 frames, he allowed just one run on six hits, though he also recorded only five strikeouts. He also filled some useful innings last year for the Diamondbacks, posting a 3.92 ERA with 11.8 K/9 (on a career-high 12.0% swinging-strike rate) and 5.7 BB/9 in 41 1/3 innings.

    Instead, the team will give Lopez a shot at helping to bolster a relief unit that has worked more innings than those of all but three other teams. He spent most of 2017 as a swingman at the Double-A level, working to a 4.25 ERA with 9.1 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9. With a background as a starter, Lopez can perhaps offer some length to the Milwaukee pen.

    Guerra, meanwhile, is scheduled to start tonight’s game. The 33-year-old struggled last year after his astounding, late-career breakout in 2016. But he turned in a strong showing in camp and a nice first outing at Triple-A. The Brewers would obviously love to see Guerra return to something like the form he showed in ’16, when he ran up a 2.81 ERA in 121 2/3 innings, after watching their rotation limp to a 4.92 ERA through its first dozen collective starts on the season.

    Brewers Place Christian Yelich on 10-Day DL Sun, 08 Apr 2018 16:11:48 +0000 After letting him sit out a few games with a minor oblique injury, the Brewers have elected to place outfielder Christian Yelich on the 10-day DL. In a corresponding move, the team has recalled right-hander Taylor Williams from Triple-A Colorado Springs.

    During Yelich’s absence, it seems likely that Domingo Santana will fill in for him in the outfield. Yelich was off to a hot start for the 2018 season; he’s hit .385/.407/.577 across 27 plate appearances for the Brew Crew with one long ball and five runs driven in.  The 26-year-old has played at least 155 games in consecutive seasons, a streak that will now officially come to an end with the news that he’ll miss at least the ten-day minimum.

    Yelich, of course, was perhaps the Brewers’ biggest offseason addition. The club sent top prospects Lewis Brinson and Isan Diaz, along with two other minor-leaguers, to Miami in order to bring the young slugger to Milwaukee. He sports a career .291/.366/.433 batting line across his first 2,839 plate appearances, with 60 homers and a 121 wRC+.

    Details On Dan Jennings' Contract Sun, 08 Apr 2018 03:26:19 +0000
  • Left-handed reliever Dan Jenningsdeal with the Brewers is worth $750K, and it includes up to $1.075MM more in games pitched incentives, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. Jennings, whom the Rays released before the season, has already made five appearances and tossed 5 1/3 innings with Milwaukee. Thus far, he has allowed one run on four hits, with three strikeouts against two walks.
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    Brewers Select J.J. Hoover’s Contract, Designate Tyler Webb Sat, 07 Apr 2018 17:15:10 +0000 The Brewers have selected the contract of veteran right-hander J.J. Hoover, according to a team press release.  In corresponding moves to create 25-man and 40-man roster space, righty Brandon Woodruff was optioned to Triple-A and left-hander Tyler Webb was designated for assignment.

    After a rough 2016 season, Hoover signed a minors contract with the Diamondbacks in January 2017 and ended up getting his career back on track with a decent year in the desert.  Hoover posted a 3.92 ERA and 11.76 K/9 over 41 1/3 innings for the D’Backs, though his effectiveness was belied by some control problems (5.66 BB/9) and trouble keeping the ball in the park (15.2% home run rate).  Batters did manage quite a bit of solid contact against Hoover (35.3% hard-hit ball rate), though the righty may have also had some bad luck in his results, as evidenced by a .367 BABIP and a 84.1% strand rate.

    Hoover was projected by MLBTR to earn $1.6MM through the arbitration process last winter, but the D’Backs instead non-tendered him.  The Brewers inked Hoover to a minor league deal in January that, since Hoover has now reached the big league roster, will pay the 30-year-old $1.1MM in guaranteed salary, plus another $1.65MM is available in incentives.

    Hoover does have some closing experience dating back to his days with the Reds, and it’s possible he could snag a save opportunity or two as part of the closer committee the Brewers will employ with Corey Knebel on the disabled list.  In the short term, however, Hoover’s arrival may just represent a need for a fresh arm, as Milwaukee’s bullpen ranks third in baseball with 36 2/3 innings pitched during this young season.  Woodruff made two appearances out of the pen, though he also started last night’s game, allowing two runs in 3 2/3 innings of work.  Junior Guerra may be the top candidate for a recall the next time the Brewers need a fifth starter, as the team continues to explore its options at the back end of the rotation.

    Webb made his MLB debut last season, pitching eight innings for the Brew Crew over nine appearances and posting a 5.63 ERA.  Webb has spent much of his career in the Yankees organization, minus a brief stint with the Pirates when they selected him in the 2016 Rule 5 Draft, but the left-hander was returned to New York prior to the season.  The Brewers acquired Webb last summer in a trade that sent first baseman Garrett Cooper to the Yankees.  Webb has worked as a reliever in all but five of his 167 career minor league games, posting a 3.64 ERA and a very strong 11.2 K/9 and 4.45 K/BB rate.

    Corey Knebel Suffers Hamstring Injury, Will Be Placed On DL Fri, 06 Apr 2018 19:50:34 +0000 TODAY: The DL placement is now official, with the team calling the injury a strain. Knebel will miss at least six weeks, manager Craig Counsell tells MLB Network Radio (Twitter link). The Brewers plan to share closing opportunities among a variety of players rather than declaring one single replacement.

    Young righty Adrian Houser is heading up to the active roster. Originally acquired in the 2015 deal that sent Carlos Gomez to Houston, Houser had fallen off the radar a bit owing to Tommy John surgery. It’ll be interesting to see how he performs and how much of an opportunity he’ll receive.

    YESTERDAY: 10:20pm:’s Adam McCalvy tweets that Knebel will be placed on the disabled list and will undergo an MRI to evaluate the extent of the damage tomorrow morning.

    10:16pm: Brewers closer Corey Knebel exited Thursday night’s game with what looked to be a hamstring injury. Upon making a pitch to Cubs infielder Tommy La Stella with two outs in the ninth inning, Knebel dropped to the ground and immediately clutched his left hamstring — the same hamstring which, as noted by the Milwaukee broadcast, prompted Knebel to exit a Cactus League game early in Spring Training.

    Knebel, who was getting some work in after going a week between appearances, made his way to the clubhouse with a pair of athletic trainers and was unable to put weight on his leg as he was helped off the field.

    The 26-year-old Knebel broke out as one of the best relievers in the National League last season when he saved 39 games and logged a 1.78 ERA with an otherworldly 14.9 K/9 against 4.7 BB/9 in 76 innings of work. The 2018 season represents what would be his first full season as a big league closer, though any serious injury would obviously throw a wrench into that plan.

    The Brewers have several options who could step into the ninth-inning spotlight; veteran Matt Albers has pitched the eighth inning three times already this season. Josh Hader has been dominant in a bullpen role since moving into that spot last season, though limiting his role to save situations would leave the team with only one southpaw setup option. Veteran righty Jeremy Jeffress, of course, is no stranger to closing out games for the Brewers and could conceivably be a candidate to step into that role as well. Fellow right-hander Jacob Barnes has been pitching in a setup capacity since last season and has demonstrated an ability to miss plenty of bats in his own right.

    Latest On Several Injured Brewers Thu, 05 Apr 2018 00:45:56 +0000
  • Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel provides a host of updates on some injured Brewers (all links to Twitter). Veteran lefty Wade Miley, who signed a minor league deal last month, is playing catch but likely a month away from returning from the groin injury that sidelined him. Both Miley and lefty Boone Logan, who is dealing with a triceps injury, are hoping to begin throwing off a mound next week. Ace Jimmy Nelson, meanwhile, is hoping to throw from a mound by the end of the month. As for catcher Stephen Vogt, he hopes to throw by the end of the week after recently being cleared by doctors, but he’s still a few weeks from returning. When he does, the Brewers will have to make a call on what to do with Vogt and Jett Bandy, as both are out of minor league options and behind Manny Pina on the depth chart.
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    Brewers Sign Andres Blanco Mon, 02 Apr 2018 22:23:44 +0000 The Brewers have agreed to a minors deal with infielder Andres Blanco, according to a club announcement. He’ll head to Triple-A to take the team’s open third base job there.

    Blanco, who’ll soon turn 34, had been cut loose by the Giants at the tail end of Spring Training. He was limited during camp by injury and never got much of a shot at a fairly crowded utility infield competition in San Francisco.

    Between 2014 and 2016, Blanco provided the Phillies with a surprising .274/.337/.457 cumulative batting line. But he ran into a wall in 2017, ending the year with an ugly .192/.257/.292 output in his 144 trips to the plate.

    Brewers GM Shoots Down Ryan Braun-Matt Kemp Trade Rumor Sun, 01 Apr 2018 04:33:02 +0000 A trade rumor centering on Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun and Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp made the rounds Saturday evening on social media, but “there’s nothing to it,” according to Milwaukee general manager David Stearns. While the executive told Adam McCalvy of and other reporters that he doesn’t normally respond to rumors, he felt the need to shoot this one down publicly. “You guys know my policy, I don’t like commenting on this type of stuff,” he said. “But given that I don’t want this to be any sort of distraction, I’ll say when I first read it, I thought maybe someone was making an early April Fool’s joke.” The Dodgers reportedly showed serious interest in Braun in the past, but “there’s nothing clearly relevant” this time around, per Stearns.

    • It could be a month before Red Sox reliever Tyler Thornburg joins the team’s bullpen, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told WEEI on Saturday (via Ian Browne of Thornburg remains on the comeback trail from the thoracic outlet syndrome surgery he underwent last June. The 29-year-old, whom the Red Sox acquired from the Brewers in a December 2016 deal that also involved third baseman Travis Shaw, still hasn’t pitched in a meaningful game for Boston.
    Brewers Sign Dan Jennings, Move Jimmy Nelson To 60-Day DL Fri, 30 Mar 2018 23:11:16 +0000 FRIDAY: The deal has been announced. Milwaukee opened a 40-man spot by shifting righty Jimmy Nelson to the 60-day DL. That will mean he can’t debut until the end of May, though he was not expected back before then anyway.

    First baseman/DH Ji-Man Choi — whose eye-opening spring surprisingly earned him a MLB roster spot — was optioned to create room on the active roster.

    WEDNESDAY: The Brewers are in agreement with left-hander Dan Jennings, pending a physical, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter link). I’m told it’s a Major League pact for the veteran southpaw.


    The ACES client was released by the Rays earlier this week, and Tom Haudicourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel suggested earlier tonight that the Brew Crew was pursuing an external pitching addition that could carry 25-man roster implications (Twitter links). Specifically, Haudicourt implied that Ji-Man Choi, who won a spot on the Brewers’ Opening Day roster but has an option remaining, could be sent to Triple-A early in the season once this deal is finalized.

    Jennings, 31 next month, was somewhat surprisingly cut loose by the Rays earlier this week. He’d agreed to a $2.375MM salary with Tampa Bay earlier this winter, avoiding arbitration, and the Rays’ decision to cut him loose means they’ll be on the hook for about $584K of that sum (45 days’ termination pay). He’ll pocket that sum in addition to the guarantee to which he agreed on his new deal with the Brewers.

    The decision to cut Jennings had been speculated upon but was nonetheless somewhat of an eye-opener, as the veteran southpaw posted a strong 3.45 ERA with 7.3 K/9, 4.5 BB/9 and a 59.8 percent ground-ball rate in 62 2/3 frames between the White Sox and Rays last season. Opposing lefties hit just .213/.323/.306 in 128 plate appearances against Jennings. Moreover, the Rays traded at least a somewhat notable prospect, first baseman Casey Gillaspie, in order to acquire Jennings.

    He’ll now join a Brewers bullpen that saw its left-handed depth take a hit with an injury to fellow veteran Boone Logan, who looks likely to miss six or more weeks with a strained triceps muscle.. As an added bonus, Jennings enters the year just a single day shy of five years of MLB service. Because of that, the Brewers will be able to control him through the 2019 season via arbitration as opposed to just the 2018 season.

    All told, Jennings will bring to the Brewers a veteran arm with a career 2.90 ERA, 7.3 K/9, 4.1 BB/9 and a 55.2 percent ground-ball rate to a Brewers’ bullpen that also features closer Corey Knebel and setup men Jeremy Jeffress, Josh Hader, Matt Albers and Jacob Barnes.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Notable Roster Decisions: Wednesday Thu, 29 Mar 2018 01:46:13 +0000 The latest noteworthy roster decisions across Major League Baseball as Opening Day draws ever closer…

    • The Brewers announced that they’ve selected the contract of Ji-Man Choi, who’ll make their Opening Day roster. (Sung Min Kim of Fangraphs and River Ave. Blues first tweeted that Choi had made the roster.) That means both Choi and the out-of-options Jesus Aguilar will make a roster which also includes first base options Eric Thames and Ryan Braun. However, as Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel points out (via Twitter), the composition is likely to change quickly — possibly as soon as Friday. Choi has an option remaining, Haudricourt notes. More interestingly, Haudricourt adds that the Brew Crew is pursuing an external pitching addition, and if said move goes through, then Choi could quickly be optioned to Colorado Springs to clear a 25-man roster spot. Also of particular note for the Brewers is that Wade Miley was reassigned to minor league camp and won’t be making the club.

    Earlier Decisions & Moves

    • The White Sox have selected the contract of left-hander Hector Santiago, giving them a full 40-man roster, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times was among those to report on Twitter. In other moves, the club sent southpaw Carlos Rodon (left shoulder rehabilitation) and catcher Kevan Smith (left ankle sprain) to the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to March 26. Santiago will now officially begin his second major league stint as a member of the White Sox, with whom he started his career in 2011 and stayed with through 2013. Santiago was successful during that span, but his career has trended downward lately – particularly last season as a Twin – which prevented him from landing a major league contract over the winter. The minors deal the 30-year-old signed with Chicago includes a $2MM salary in the bigs, which he’s now in position to earn. Santiago’s a longtime starter, but he’ll open 2018 in the Sox’s bullpen.
    • The Dodgers have optioned outfielder Andrew Toles, as Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports (Twitter link). Toles’ demotion means Joc Pederson is likely to be the Dodgers’ Opening Day left fielder, DiGiovanna notes. Toles had been part of a crowded corner outfield battle during spring action alongside Pederson, Matt Kemp, Enrique Hernandez, Alex Verdugo and the just-jettisoned Trayce Thompson. The fact that Toles had options remaining – unlike the expensive, apparently immovable Kemp – probably didn’t do him any favors in his bid to make the Dodgers. The 25-year-old Toles has been successful in Los Angeles since debuting in 2016, having batted .294/.341/.483 with 2.1 fWAR n 217 plate appearances. He missed all but 31 games last season, though, after suffering a torn ACL in May.
    • Outfielders Gregor Blanco and Gorkys Hernandez will open the season with the Giants, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. The Giants signed Blanco, 34, to a minors pact back in January. Per that deal, he’ll earn a $1MM salary in the majors and have a chance at $500K in incentives in San Francisco, with which he previously played from 2012-16 and won a pair of World Series. Hernandez is out of options, so he was also in a do-or-die position this spring. The 30-year-old rose to the challenge, though he’ll surely need to improve on last season’s showing (.255/.327/.326 line with no home runs in 348 PAs) to keep his roster spot for all of 2018.
    • Outfielder Matt Szczur and righty Jordan Lyles will be part of the Padres’ Opening Day roster, AJ Cassavell of tweets. The out-of-options Szczur, 28, will continue to provide outfield depth in San Diego after coming over in a trade with the Cubs last summer. Lyles, meanwhile, spent a bit of time with the Padres in 2017 and then re-signed on a major league contract in the offseason. The deal also features a club option for 2019 for Lyles, who’ll begin the year in the Friars’ bullpen. Having pitched to a 5.43 ERA/4.55 FIP across 681 combined innings (182 appearances, 107 starts) with the Astros, Rockies and Padres, Lyles hasn’t lived up to the billing he had as a prospect. He’s still just 27, however.
    • Catchers A.J. Ellis and Raffy Lopez will also be on the Padres’ roster, the team announced. Those two and starter Austin Hedges will give the Padres three backstops on their 25-man roster. Ellis, an established veteran backup, is now set to make $1.25MM after signing a minor league deal in the offseason. The 30-year-old Lopez, who brings just 83 PAs of MLB experience, also signed a minors pact over the winter.
    • The Marlins will add catcher Bryan Holaday to their 40- and 25-man rosters, per Joe Frisaro of Holaday, 30, signed a minor league deal with the Marlins in the offseason. He’ll be one of three catchers on their season-opening roster, joining Tomas Telis (out of options) and Chad Wallach, son of bench coach Tim Wallach. It’s not an ideal setup for Miami, which won’t have standout starter J.T. Realmuto at the outset of the season. Realmuto is on the DL with a bone bruise.
    • The Twins will roster outfielder Ryan LaMarre to open the year, Phil Miller of the Star Tribune tweets. LaMarre, an offseason minor league signee of the Twins, spent last year with the Triple-A affiliates of the Angels and Athletics, combining for a meager .628 OPS. He’s a lifetime .268/.335/.388 hitter at the Triple-A level (954 PAs) who has seen very brief MLB action with the Reds, Red Sox and A’s.
    • The Tigers announced that they’ve selected infielder Niko Goodrum’s contract, which puts their 40-man roster at capacity. Goodrum, who signed a minors deal with Detroit in November, spent 2010-17 with the Minnesota organization and batted .250/.333/.379 in 2,796 minor league PAs. He saw minimal big league action with the club (18 PAs, all of which came last season).
    • The Mariners made the DL placements of Erasmo Ramirez, Ben Gamel and David Phelps official, and they also announced that they’ve selected the contract of right-hander Casey Lawrence, who will return to the team after spending parts of the 2017 campaign on Seattle’s big league roster. The M’s also optioned infielder/outfielder Taylor Motter to Triple-A Tacoma.
    Brewers Notes: Santana, Attanasio, Pitching Wed, 28 Mar 2018 02:18:30 +0000 Despite a lackluster Spring Training performance, Domingo Santana doesn’t believe he was distracted by the trade speculation that followed him all winter, the outfielder tells Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  Though he said he didn’t worry about the rumors because they were out of his control, Santana admitted that “it would have been hard to get traded. I’m really attached to this group of people here. Even the staff, they have been really good to me since Day 1.”  Since Santana didn’t get dealt, he now faces some type of reduction in playing time with Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain moving into everyday outfield roles and Ryan Braun also in the mix for left field or a first base timeshare with Eric Thames.  It remains to be seen how the Brew Crew will juggle all of these players, though it also isn’t out of the question that a trade could still solve this logjam.

    Some more from the Brewers’ camp…

    • In an appearance on the “Power Alley” show on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (audio link), Brewers owner Mark Attanasio said that the team exhibited “a little bit of discipline in some of our signings” during the winter in order to save some resources for potential trade deadline pickups.  “Some of the decisions we made in the offseason here were more keeping our powder dry for midseason acquisitions,” Attanasio said.  The team will already go into 2018 with an estimated payroll of almost $93.5MM, as opposed to just over $70MM at the end of last season, with the Cain and Yelich salaries representing the biggest new outlays.
    • It could be that the Brewers explore adding a pitcher at midseason, though in another piece from Haudricourt, Brewers GM David Stearns discussed how the Brew Crew simply weren’t comfortable spending at the levels necessary to land a major free agent arm like Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta, or Alex Cobb.  Stearns feels his team already has some good pitching on hand, which he realizes runs counter to criticism from pundits and fans that the Brewers still need rotation help.  “We’re flying against what the common perception is of our team.  We understand that.  We’ve also done that a lot since I’ve been here,” Stearns said.  “Look, we’re wrong plenty. But we’re as wrong on the conventional moves as we are on the unconventional moves.  We have to do what we think is right and not necessarily do what convention says….We might not necessarily agree with conventional wisdom on some players.  If someone is willing to pay more than you, then you’re not going to get the player.  When we’re willing to be the high bidder, as we were with Lorenzo Cain, you get the player.”
    Brewers Dealing With Excess Bats Tue, 27 Mar 2018 04:29:31 +0000
  • It seems increasingly unlikely that the Brewers will make a move to alleviate their evident logjam of bats. As Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports, that has left some eyebrows raised among the team’s players, some of whom still aren’t sure exactly how much playing time they’ll get once the season gets underway. It’s not exactly a new subject, of course, as the Milwaukee roster has been under a microscope all winter long. But it’s interesting to consider it from the player’s perspective, as Nightengale does. As third baseman Travis Shaw puts it: “Depth is a nice problem to have, but I’m sure it sucks individually for a couple of guys.” Meanwhile, skipper Craig Counsell says “there’ll be a lot of shuffling going on” early in the season, as’s Adam McCalvy reports, but also notes that he anticipates some clarity to emerge as the season goes along.
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    Brewers Release Yovani Gallardo Mon, 26 Mar 2018 22:32:36 +0000 The Brewers have released veteran righty Yovani Gallardo, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (via Twitter). He’ll be owed $500K under the partially guaranteed MLB contract he agreed to over the winter.

    This move had been expected, as the club determined over the weekend that Gallardo would not be on the Opening Day roster. That made it all but certain that the reunion would be short-lived between Gallardo and the organization he pitched for from 2007 through 2014.

    Still, there had been at least some belief that he might end up being moved in trade. Instead, Gallardo will head back onto the open market in search of a new organization.

    Gallardo, 32, was long an effective rotation piece. But he has struggled badly over the past two seasons. Injury certainly played a role, and Gallardo lost about a full tick on his heater in 2016. But even in a 2017 season in which he recovered some of that lost velo and revived his swinging-strike rate to its highest level since 2011, Gallardo limped to a 5.72 ERA in 130 2/3 innings by surrendering a career-high 1.65 homers per nine.

    While the recent signs aren’t all that promising, the Brewers obviously felt Gallardo was worth at least a partial commitment. He was not particularly effective this spring, allowing seven earned runs in 13 1/3 innings while recording a 12:8 K/BB ratio, but may yet find a MLB opportunity to open the season. If not, odds are that Gallardo will be an in-demand depth piece.

    Ji-Man Choi Impressing In Brewers' Camp Mon, 26 Mar 2018 00:59:04 +0000
  • Ji-Man Choi has become a popular figure both on and off the field with the Brewers, Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes, as he has quickly won friends in the clubhouse and forced his way into consideration for a roster spot after a big spring.  Choi entered the day with a whopping 1.253 OPS over 51 plate appearances in camp, and though the Brew Crew are pretty set with first base options, manager Craig Counsell and GM David Stearns haven’t closed the door on the possibility of Choi being with the team on Opening Day.  Choi hasn’t hit much over 147 career Major League PA with the Angels and Yankees, though he has an impressive .305/.402/.497 slash line over 1943 plate appearances in the minors.  His minor league contract with the Brewers carries an opt-out date of May 15 if Choi hasn’t already been promoted to the big leagues.
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    Brewers Set Rotation; Yovani Gallardo Won't Make Team Sun, 25 Mar 2018 01:37:46 +0000 In the wake of Wade Miley’s multi-week injury, the Brewers have set their season-opening starting five, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel relays. Brent Suter and Brandon Woodruff will fill out the rotation behind Chase Anderson, Zach Davies and Jhoulys Chacin, manager Craig Counsell announced Saturday. That spells bad news for offseason signing Yovani Gallardo, who won’t make the team, Haudricourt tweets. A highly successful Brewer from 2007-14, Gallardo rejoined the club for a non-guaranteed $2MM in December after spending time with the Rangers, Orioles and Mariners. The 32-year-old’s future is now in question. The Brewers could still trade Gallardo, according to general manager David Stearns. However, if no deal comes together by Monday, they’ll have to release him, per Haudricourt.

    • The Brewers wouldn’t have had two open spots in their rotation if not for the right shoulder injury top starter Jimmy Nelson suffered late last year. Nelson continues to make progress in his recovery from September surgery and could start working from the mound again as early as mid-April, Adam McCalvy of reports. Meanwhile, catcher Stephen Vogt – out since February with a shoulder issue of his own – is aiming to return to game action by May 1.
    Wade Miley Diagnosed With Slight Groin Tear, Boone Logan With Triceps Strain Sat, 24 Mar 2018 20:27:39 +0000 Saturday: Logan is expected to be out six weeks according to GM David Stearn, via a tweet from Haudricort. The timeline for Miley is thought to be two to four weeks.

    Thursday, 4:41pm: Tom Haudricort of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel tweets that while the Brewers are calling Boone’s injury a triceps strain, there’s “some concern” that it’s in the area of last season’s lat tear. More testing will be needed, but it’s “a DL situation in any event.”

    Additionally, Haudricort adds that while Miley is not expected to go on the major league roster at this time, GM David Stearns is working with Miley’s agent to keep him in the organization.

    10:38am: Two Brewers lefties have learned more about their injury situations, as’s Adam McCalvy reports (Twitter links). Rotation candidate Wade Miley has been diagnosed with a slight groin tear, while reliever Boone Logan has a mild triceps strain.

    There’s more than just an injury at play for Miley, who can opt out of his minors deal today if not added to the MLB roster. There’s also the matter of an upcoming $100K retention bonus for the Article XX(B) free agent. It’s not clear at this point how much time he’s expected to miss.

    As McCalvy notes, it seems that Miley’s representatives will need to hash things out with the Brewers. The veteran hurler says he hopes to remain with the organization after a solid showing this spring. It had been expected that he would crack the rotation to open the season. His existing deal would promise him $2.5MM with as much as $3.2MM more via incentives in the majors.

    As for Logan, who inked a $2.5MM guaranteed contract over the winter, the timeline is also yet to be determined. He generally expressed optimism that the injury will not be a significant one, though skipper Craig Counsell tells reporters (including Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel; Twitter link) that Logan will be on the DL to open the season.

    The news, particularly with regard to Miley, creates some added questions for a Milwaukee staff that has been the subject of much debate all winter long. Many have wondered why the organization has not pursued further rotation help, while the club has indicated optimism with the unit on hand. Junior Guerra now seems to be in good shape to crack the rotation, while pitchers such as Brent Suter, Brandon Woodruff, and perhaps veteran Yovani Gallardo now have additional opportunity to sneak into the Opening Day starting five — assuming, at least, that the Brewers don’t take another look at outside possibilities.

    Stearns On Brewers' Pitching Sat, 24 Mar 2018 04:39:32 +0000 Brewers GM David Stearns spoke today about his team’s much-discussed offseason pitching decisions, as Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes. Explaining that the organization believes it has ample rotation depth on hand, Stearns explained that his focus was on evaluating “the extent of the upgrade” that could be achieved in any particular transactions. Clearly, the team felt it could do more by adding two high-quality outfielders than by putting veteran hurlers in front of a group of youngsters that, in Stearns’s view, “have the ability to make an impact on the major-league level” in the near future. That said, Stearns acknowledges that his front office was involved with several free agents and also “were close a couple of times” to trades for pitching.

    Brewers Offered Alex Cobb A One Year/$12MM Deal Fri, 23 Mar 2018 13:41:02 +0000
  • After Lance Lynn signed with the Twins for one year and $12MM, the Brewers offered Cobb a contract with the same terms.  Cobb rejected the deal, as it was known that he was looking for multiple years and wasn’t willing to settle for a one-year pact.  It should be noted that Lynn himself could’ve had at least one multi-year offer on the table, but opted instead to sign the one-year deal with Minnesota since he was excited about their potential as a contender.
  • While none of these teams were specifically cited as being interested in McHugh, Heyman listed the Reds, Brewers, Mariners, and Rangers as teams that are looking for pitching.  All four of the clubs have dealt with some injury setbacks in Spring Training, so further additions could be more akin to fill-in options rather than major acquisitions.  Texas, however, does seem to be at least considering making a higher-priced add, given how the Rangers showed some recent interest in Cobb and Greg Holland.

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    Central Notes: Indians, Naquin, Refsnyder, Reds, Miley, Cabrera Fri, 23 Mar 2018 02:27:29 +0000 Tyler Naquin and Rob Refsnyder are still competing for a potential spot on the Indians’ opening day roster, and Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal tweets that manager Terry Francona has explained some details to them. Francona reportedly told the two players that the spot won’t simply go to the guy who gets the most hits over the last week, and that roster construction could be the biggest factor. For instance, if Brandon Guyer and/or Michael Brantley aren’t ready in time for opening day, Naquin and Refsnyder would stand a better chance to make the club out of camp. Whether the club chooses to carry seven or eight relievers will also affect their fates. It’s worth noting that Tyler Naquin has multiple options remaining, while Rob Refsnyder is an out-of-options player.

    More out of the midwest…

    • In a piece for The Athletic, Doug Gray details ten Reds prospects to keep an eye on for the coming season. The players in the article aren’t necessarily top prospects, but rather a group of under-the-radar players who Gray describes as “unheralded”. The list includes right-handers Nick Hanson and Ryan Hendrix, $10MM shortstop Jose Garcia, and Brandon Phillips’ cousin Montrell Marshall. Many of these players have significant upside and are worth the exploration by any Reds fan, or indeed any avid baseball follower.
    • Wade Miley’s opt-out date has been pushed back, Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reports on Twitter. The southpaw seemed likely to make the Brewers’ rotation before suffering a torn groin that’s expected to keep him out two to four weeks. Miley could have opted out of his contract tomorrow after being informed that he wouldn’t make the opening day roster, but GM David Stearns apparently worked out a deal with his agent. Miley’s opt-out date has been extended until the point at which he’s able to start pitching again.
    • Two-time MVP Miguel Cabrera is stuck in “baseball purgatory”, says Scott Miller in an opinion piece for Bleacher Report. Miller describes Cabrera as “an island unto himself”, on a rebuilding Tigers team that will not likely be able to deal him and the $192MM remaining on his contract, particularly coming off the worst season of his career wherein he was plagued by back issues. For his part, Cabrera doesn’t seem to be focused on that aspect of his situation. “I’m here to play,” he says. “I’m not here to give my opinion of what’s going to happen. I’m here to do my job, to help win games and to help the process.” 
    Wade Miley, Boone Logan Dealing With Injuries Thu, 22 Mar 2018 00:14:58 +0000
  • Brewers southpaw Wade Miley exited his outing Wednesday with a strained left groin and will undergo an MRI, Adam McCalvy of was among those to report (Twitter links here). That’s obviously not ideal for Miley, who’s vying for a place in the Brewers’ rotation, or the team, which isn’t yet sure who will occupy the final two starting spots behind Chase Anderson, Jhoulys Chacin and Zach Davies. Miley looked like a front-runner to earn one of those jobs prior to Wednesday – manager Craig Counsell said that “Wade had made a really good case to be on the team” – though that’s up in the air as we await further news on his injury. It’s also worth noting that the 31-year-old can opt out of his minor league deal as early as Thursday.
  • Lefty reliever Boone Logan also left the Brewers’ game with an injury, McCalvy relays (Twitter links). Counsell attributed his departure to triceps/shoulder discomfort, but he’s not yet sure of the severity. Logan joined the Brewers for a guaranteed $2.75MM over the winter after spending a shortened 2017 in Cleveland, where his season ended in July on account of a strained lat muscle.
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    Brewers Notes: Miley, Catchers Sun, 18 Mar 2018 21:57:51 +0000 The minor league contract left-hander Wade Miley signed with the Brewers last month contains a March 22 opt-out clause, Adam McCalvy of tweets.  Miley can ask for his release if the Brewers don’t inform him that he has made the club by then, McCalvy adds. The latest we’ll know Miley’s fate is March 24, as he’s an Article XX(B) free agent whom Milwaukee must either cut loose or put on its roster by that date. The 31-year-old Miley has a legitimate chance to win a spot in the Brewers’ rotation, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentintel suggested Saturday.

    • More on the Brewers, who are “monitoring the catching market,” according to Haudricourt. Their backstops at the moment are Manny Pina and Jett Bandy, while Stephen Vogt will open the season on the disabled list, manager Craig Counsell told McCalvy and other reporters Sunday. Assuming the Brewers don’t change their minds and release Vogt, his $3.065MM salary will become guaranteed on Opening Day. Vogt has been out since late February with a capsule strain in his right shoulder. He has a fan in Brewers general manager David Stearns, who said (via Haudricourt): “We want him here. Stephen brings a lot to this team.”
    Brewers Bring Back Jim Henderson, Release Ernesto Frieri Sun, 18 Mar 2018 19:59:16 +0000
  • The Brewers are reuniting with reliever Jim Henderson on a minor league pact, Adam McCalvy of tweets. Interestingly, the 35-year-old Henderson will act as a player/coach, and he could even do some scouting eventually, per McCalvy. The majority of Henderson’s major league time has come in Milwaukee, where he made his MLB debut and pitched to a 3.44 ERA across 102 innings from 2012-14. He last saw action in the majors in 2016 with the Mets. An attempt to catch on with the Cubs a year ago didn’t take, so Henderson went through the season without pitching competitively.
  • The Brewers have released reliever Ernesto Frieri, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. The 32-year-old Frieri will look to continue his career, even though he struggled in camp, per Haudricourt. Once of the game’s premier relievers, Frieri was last an effective major leaguer in 2013, when he was the Angels’ closer. He logged just seven innings last year (with the Rangers) after not pitching in the bigs in 2016. Frieri performed well with the Triple-A affiliates of the Rangers, Yankees and Mariners, though, as he combined for a 3.43 ERA with 11.9 K/9 against 4.8 BB/9 over 39 1/3 frames.
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    Central Notes: Suarez, Mahle, Romano, Garrett, Kirby, Tigers Sat, 17 Mar 2018 15:02:26 +0000 Mark Sheldon of posits that the Redsextension of Eugenio Suarez is a sign that the club is making an effort to keep a young core of players together for the foreseeable future, alongside potential future Hall-of-Famer Joey Votto. In the companion video, GM Dick Williams speaks highly of Suarez, particularly in regards to his defensive capabilities. “This is one of the premier defenders in the league,” says Williams. “At third base he’s established himself as one of the best young players in the league… he’s an offensive force, defensive force, leader in the clubhouse, say no more.” It’s interesting that Williams so specifically refers to Suarez as a third baseman, given the speculation that the former shortstop might slide back to his old position to make room for top prospect Nick Senzel. The GM’s comments seem to suggest the possibility that the destination of Senzel’s path to the majors isn’t the hot corner.

    More from some non-coastal ballclubs…

    • In other Reds news, the starting rotation picture is beginning to gain some clarity beyond Homer Bailey and Luis Castillo, who appear to be the only locks following injuries to Anthony DeSclafani and Brandon Finnegan. Per a tweet from C. Trent Rosencrans of The Athletic, manager Bryan Price says that Sal Romano and Tyler Mahle “may have separated themselves from the pack a little bit” in the rotation competition. A piece by John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer contains quotes that line up with this tweet, perhaps also suggesting that lefty Amir Garrett is tabbed for a spot if Finnegan’s injury sidelines him to start the season. “With the way Romano and Mahle have thrown in camp, they’ve certainly put themselves in the lead,” Price said, via Fay’s article. “I think with the way Amir has thrown has created an opportunity to jump in there in the rotation and get a start against the Diamondbacks and get stretched out.”
    • Brewers prospect Nathan Kirby is finally healthy and determined to establish himself as a valuable pitcher, writes Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Rosiak describes Kirby as something of a “forgotten man” in Milwaukee’s system for the past two and a half years. The 24-year-old was drafted 40th overall by the organization back in 2015, but has since undergone two surgeries on his left elbow (a Tommy John operation and another for ulnar neuritis). Though Kirby ranked near the bottom on most Milwaukee prospect lists, he was a large part of the University of Virginia’s first College World Series title, and would seem to have the potential to rise through the Brewers’ farm system quickly if he can stay healthy this season.
    • Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press tweets that the Tigers remain on the lookout for veteran insurance for their starting rotation. The organization is reportedly concerned about the dependability of its starting rotation as a whole; their current options include Michael Fulmer, Francisco Liriano, Mike Fiers, Jordan Zimmerman, Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris. Alex Cobb tops the list of available free agent starters, while Scott Feldman, Trevor Cahill and Clay Buchholz are some other interesting arms that remain on the market.
    Latest On Brewers’ Catching Corps Wed, 14 Mar 2018 17:53:06 +0000 March 14: Haudricourt tweets that the second opinion on Vogt’s shoulder revealed nothing new, confirming that he’s still suffering from a capsule strain in his throwing shoulder. That could mean he’s in line to open the season on the disabled list, which would temporarily solve the out-of-options logjam at backup catcher. Upon being cleared to play, Vogt would have a month’s time to get back up to speed in a rehab assignment, and the Brewers would have some additional time in-season to evaluate Bandy.

    Haudricourt wonders in a followup tweet whether the Brewers may monitor the market for catching depth with Vogt on the shelf. Milwaukee’s catching depth thinned out a bit earlier this winter when the Orioles picked up Andrew Susac in a minor trade.

    March 12: Brewers catcher Stephen Vogt, initially projected to be out for two to three weeks with a shoulder issue, experienced a setback when attempting to throw on the field today, tweets’s Adam McCalvy. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel adds that Vogt is headed for an MRI to further evaluate the root of his shoulder discomfort (Twitter links).

    As both McCalvy and Haudricourt point out, the timing of the move puts both Vogt and the Brewers in a difficult spot. The well-respected veteran entered camp as the favorite to join Manny Pina in comprising Milwaukee’s primary catching tandem, but his status is now up in the air. Moreover, Vogt is out of minor league options and is on a non-guaranteed arbitration contract. The Brewers could still cut him between now and Opening Day and only owe Vogt 45 days of termination pay — or $750K of his $3.05MM arbitration salary.

    [Related: Updated Milwaukee Brewers depth chart]

    The injury is of interest not only because Vogt is out of minor league options but also due to the fact that fellow catcher Jett Bandy is out of options as well. It seemed like a long shot that both Vogt and Bandy would make the Opening Day roster (barring an injury to Pina), but Bandy looks less like the odd man out now that Vogt’s shoulder is proving to be a continued source of discomfort. Bandy hit just .207/.287/.349 through 188 MLB plate appearances in Milwaukee last year and hasn’t provided anything at the plate in 28 spring PAs (.222/.250/.296), but he nonetheless is likely to be the backup if Vogt proves unready for the opener.

    Depending on the severity of Vogt’s shoulder, Milwaukee could cut him loose and try to bring him back to the organization on a new minor league contract. If he does ultimately make the roster, Vogt would be guaranteed the full $3.05MM to which he agreed in arbitration, even if he were to land on the disabled list to begin the year.

    Latest On Brewers Pitching Tue, 13 Mar 2018 00:32:51 +0000
  • Right-hander Alex Cobb is the last of the top free-agent starters who remains unsigned, and the Brewers have long been considered a fit for the righty. But Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel tweets that he doesn’t expect Milwaukee to make a play for Cobb unless his asking price drops further. Milwaukee has been cited all winter long as a team that needs starters, but to date has only given guaranteed money to Jhoulys Chacin (two-years, $15.5MM) while also picking up Wade Miley and Yovani Gallardo on minor-league deals.
  • Given their stance on Cobb, it seems the Brewers will see how things shake out with their current rotation mix while hoping that the anticipated mid-season return of Jimmy Nelson provides a boost. That strategy will require good health for the existing starters. Fortunately, right-hander Zach Davies looks to have moved past the minor oblique strain which was plaguing him.’s Adam McCalvy tweets that Davies pitched three innings in an intrasquad game, seemingly setting him up to ramp up in time to open the season at full strength.
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    Brewers Won't Name Starting Second Baseman Sun, 11 Mar 2018 20:25:35 +0000
  • The Brewers don’t plan to name a starting second baseman by the beginning of the season, manager Craig Counsell said Sunday (Twitter link via Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). Rather, the hope is that someone from the Jonathan VillarEric SogardHernan Perez trio will stand out during the season, Haudricourt suggests. Notably, second baseman Neil Walker remains on the open market after performing well as a Brewer during the second half of 2017, and he’s arguably a better option than anyone they have now. However, the Brewers don’t seem to be interested in a reunion with the 32-year-old.
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    Ryan Braun Discusses Challenge Of Playing First Base Sun, 11 Mar 2018 05:20:54 +0000
  • Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun’s attempt to play first base this spring isn’t going all that smoothly, even though it has been “enjoyable,” he explained Saturday (via the Associated Press). “I definitely don’t feel comfortable at all,” the 34-year-old admitted. “I’m doing the best I can with it. Guys have to make sacrifices. I think ultimately if we want to get to where we want to get as a team, based on the roster we’ve put together, it obviously helps make us a better team if I’m able to play multiple positions.” Interestingly, Braun added that because of the bending and squatting that are required for playing first, his new position has been “a lot harder” on his back than lining up in the outfield. Braun’s back issued contributed to his abbreviated campaign in 2017 (104 games), and with Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich now on hand in the Brewers’ outfield, playing first could help get him and other Brewers outfielders more at-bats this year. That’s if he’s able to hold up from a health standpoint, of course.
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    David Stearns Discusses Brewers' Rotation Sun, 11 Mar 2018 01:00:48 +0000
  • The Brewers were extremely active in upgrading their outfield during the offseason, as they added the star-caliber twosome of Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich. General manager David Stearns arguably didn’t do enough to bolster the team’s starting staff, on the other hand, having only signed the fairly cheap trio of Jhoulys Chacin, Yovani Gallardo and early spring success story Wade Miley. But Stearns seems largely content with the Brewers’ rotation options, he tells Richard Justice of “Because we don’t have a lot of names in our rotation, I think it’s easy to forget that our starting rotation was the strength of our team last year,” Stearns said. “One of the main reasons we got where we got was because of how good our starting rotation was, especially the second half, and all those guys are still here.” Milwaukee’s rotation was indeed among the league’s best in 2017 (eighth in fWAR, 10th in ERA), though that was thanks largely to emergent ace Jimmy Nelson, who will miss the first couple months of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery last September.
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    Padres Made Run At Yelich Before Brewers Trade Sat, 10 Mar 2018 05:41:31 +0000
  • In other news that’s largely of historical interest, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag provided some notes on the Padres’ offseason efforts. The team was able to land Eric Hosmer after Kansas City was unable to earn ownership authorization for its initially reported, seven-year offer, Heyman reports. That seemingly helps explain why subsequent reports indicated that K.C. never went that high in the bidding. San Diego also “made a big play” for outfielder Christian Yelich before he was shipped from the Marlins to the Brewers, Heyman notes in his leaguewide rundown of information. Notably, the Pads effectively ended up adding an outfielder when they inked Hosmer, thus pushing Wil Myers back onto the grass.
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    Junior Guerra Has Fourth Option Year Fri, 09 Mar 2018 23:50:59 +0000 The Brewers have some more flexibility with righty Junior Guerra than had generally been realized, as’s Adam McCalvy tweets. Milwaukee GM David Stearns says that the hurler has one option season remaining.

    It seems that Guerra was granted an additional option season at some point in the past, though the details aren’t perectly clear. Players presumptively may only be optioned in three seasons, but in certain circumstances will be granted a fourth year. (Of course, whether or not it’s more beneficial to the player or his current team is not always immediately evident.)

    Fourth options are given where a player misses all of an option year to due injury or has all three options burned before he has finished his fifth season as a professional. The latter provision seems to apply to Guerra’s unusual background. He appeared in the minors in 2006 and 2008 before reappearing in affiliated ball in 2015, kicking off a series of three campaigns in which he spent time on optional assignment.

    In any event, the news means that the Brewers won’t be forced into a tough decision on Guerra’s status, either at the end of camp or during the season. Instead, the club can make its determination on whether and how he’ll be utilized in the majors based upon merit — along with a healthy consideration for the contract situations of other options.

    Guerra, 33, struggled to a 5.12 ERA last year after a remarkable breakout effort in 2016. As the Brewers plot their staff for the season to come, he may or may not end up being seen as the best choice to take a rotation spot to open the year. With Wade Miley and Yovani Gallardo among the hurlers battling for jobs in camp, it’s certainly possible that Milwaukee will best be able to preserve its depth by holding Guerra in the minors to open the year.

    At this point, the team’s course is hardly clear; indeed, there’s ample speculation about the possibility of acquiring another hurler altogether. But Guerra’s option year adds to the slate of possibilities for the Brewers front office.

    Brewers Rumors: Broxton, Santana, Aguilar, Remaining Moves Wed, 07 Mar 2018 05:24:41 +0000 Much has been made of the Brewers’ outfield logjam since the signing of Lorenzo Cain and acquisition of Christian Yelich seemingly left the team with more big leaguers than spots to play them. While Domingo Santana has been an oft-speculated trade candidate, frequently connected to pitching targets, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that Keon Broxton has actually been garnering more attention on the trade market (Twitter links). Santana, of course, had a breakout 2017 season in which he slugged 30 homers and hit .278/.371/.505 in 607 plate appearances and is more than two years younger than Broxton. However, Broxton’s ability to play center field is leading to a greater volume of interest than the Brew Crew is receiving in Santana, per the report. Haudricourt also notes that because Broxton has a minor league option remaining, he could potentially spend enough time in Triple-A to miss Super Two status, which would mean he’s not arbitration-eligible until after the 2019 season. Even spending a month in the minors would put Broxton’s year-end service time at two years, 118 days, which would leave him shy of standard Super Two range.

    A bit more on the Brewers…

    • There doesn’t appear to be space on the Brewers’ Opening Day roster for first baseman Jesus Aguilar, writes’s Adam McCalvy in his latest Brewers Inbox column. And, because Aguilar is out of minor league options, that means he’d be exposed to waivers (and quite likely claimed) or traded to another organization. The Brewers plan to carry eight relievers, and with Cain, Yelich, Ryan Braun, Eric Thames and Santana all in a carousel in the outfield and (in the case of Braun and Thames) at first base, there’s no clear bench spot for Aguilar. The 27-year-old Aguilar hit .265/.331/.505 with 16 homers as a rookie last year, including a .302/.370/.531 line against lefties. (A trade or injury could open a door to keep Aguilar on the roster.) McCalvy notes that Aguilar is “off-the-charts good in the clubhouse,” so retaining him would likely be a popular move with his teammates.
    • McCalvy also notes in that column that he’s received “no indication” that the Brewers are having conversations with the agents for either Neil Walker or Jonathan Lucroy — two former Brewers who remain unsigned. That meshes with comments from GM David Stearns in a Monday interview with Gary Ellerson and Ramie Makhlouf of 105.7 FM The Fan in Milwaukee (h/t:’s Alyson Footer). Stearns said that he doesn’t expect another “significant” addition via either free agency or the trade market, though he notes that he’s still doing his due diligence and monitoring both markets with a “never say never” mentality. Nonetheless, Steanrs plainly stated that he “[anticipates] that we go into the season with the current group we have.” The GM also indicated, without delving into specific names, that the Brewers’ rumored interest in some free agents was overstated this offseason, stating that there was a “higher percentage” than usual of rumors that made him “scratch [his] head a little bit and wonder where that came from.”
    Central Notes: Moustakas, Bryant, Miley, Freese Sat, 03 Mar 2018 01:41:16 +0000 It has long been suggested that the White Sox would make for an interesting match with free agent third baseman Mike Moustakas, but we’ve seen little in the way of a clear connection. But now there’s evidence at least that the sides are “staying in touch,” in the words of Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). Whether that means the South Siders have real interest that would drive a significant offer, of course, is not yet clear. Presumably, the club would be intrigued mostly in a value proposition of some kind, perhaps in a multi-year scenario. While few outside observers believe the Sox roster is primed to compete in 2018, Moustakas would boost the quality in the short term and (more importantly) is young enough that he could be installed as a solid asset for future seasons. With little in the way of clear demand from contenders, this remains one of the more intriguing fits on paper.

    • Cubs star Kris Bryant says this winter’s slow-moving free agent market has spurred him to take labor issues seriously, as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times writes“I need to study up, have my voice heard, continue to learn, because this is going to affect us for years to come,” says Bryant. His own delayed promotion to start the 2015 season has obviously played a role in spurring his attention to the subject. It’s an interesting read on one of the game’s brightest young players, who says he and other players are readying to take a more proactive role. “I think with this next [CBA] things are definitely going to change, and there’ll definitely be more fight on our side just because we’re going to get the chance to experience the effects of some of the things we agreed to,” says Bryant.
    • The Brewers rotation still has plenty of questions at the back end; indeed, many fans would still like to see an outside addition to provide one answer. As things stand, though, there’s a camp battle underway with quite a few participants. Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel wrote yesterday that, while it’s still plenty early, both Wade Miley and Brent Suter have made favorable initial impressions. In Miley’s case, at least, it might even be that his showing already makes him an odds-on favorite to crack the roster. He has over a thousand MLB innings under his belt, after all, and the Brewers might well lose him through an opt-out (he’s an Article XX(B) free agent) if they don’t ultimately put him on the 40-man. Of course, there’s plenty of time yet for candidates to rise and fall in camp.
    • Pirates third baseman David Freese had some salty words for the organization earlier in the winter, but he tells Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that they weren’t directed at finding his way to another team. Rather, it seems, Freese was making a call for all in the organization to recommit to winning — a possibility he says he believes in, particularly with the recent acquisitions of Corey Dickerson and Kevin Siegrist. Freese also says he understands he’s not likely to command the lion’s share of the time at third base. “I’ve had a good run in the big leagues,” he said, “and I just want to go out there and win some games.”
    Latest On The Top Remaining Free Agent Starters Fri, 02 Mar 2018 18:44:10 +0000 The Nationals reportedly remain open to adding to their roster before the season begins, and while they’ve been oft-linked to top remaining free agent Jake Arrieta, Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post reports that the Nats “haven’t engaged with Arrieta’s camp recently.” The Nationals, it seems (much like the rest of baseball), would be likelier to jump into the fray if Arrieta’s price drops.

    Castillo does note that at least three other clubs have made recent inquiries with Arrieta’s agent, Scott Boras. One of those is likely the Phillies, who are reported to have an ongoing dialogue with Boras regarding Arrieta. However, most reports out of Philadelphia suggest that the Phils are loath to go beyond three years for the former NL Cy Yong winner, who will pitch this season at age 32 and has displayed some signs of decline in recent years — most notably a loss of velocity and worsened K/BB rates.

    Alternatives for the Nats, Phillies and other clubs searching for rotation upgrades are still on the market in the form of Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn, who both remain unsigned. Todd Zolecki of writes, however, that the Phils are even less likely to sign Cobb or Lynn to a long-term deal than they are Arrieta (and again reports that the Phils don’t want to go past three years for Arrieta). Even a contract in the vicinity of Tyler Chatwood’s three-year, $38MM pact with the Cubs could be too rich for the Phillies’ tastes when it comes to Lynn and Cobb, Zolecki writes.

    It seems that virtually every club in need of rotation help is awaiting the asking price on the top three starters to drop. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden tweets that both Cobb and Lynn are still seeking guarantees worth more than $50MM. (It’s worth pointing out that the manner in which that report frames draft compensation is inaccurate; the draft/international penalty for signing any of Arrieta, Cobb or Lynn is not tied to that $50MM figure, but a deal of $50MM or more would improve the compensation for the teams losing those players.)

    The Orioles, Brewers, Phillies and Twins all hold varying levels of interest in Cobb and/or Lynn, Bowden notes, but not at the current asking price. The Twins’ level of interest in Lynn doesn’t appear to be especially high at this point, though. While Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN walks back a recent report a bit by tweeting that Minnesota’s offer to Lynn was for more than the $12MM he initially reported, he adds that it was nonetheless well shy of anything his camp considered and that there are no current talks between the two sides.

    Brewers Notes: Outfield, Vogt, Nelson, Braun, Aguilar Thu, 01 Mar 2018 02:04:18 +0000 Much has been made of the Brewers’ crowded outfield and the potential need to trade someone from that mix, but manager Craig Counsell doesn’t see it that way. Speaking to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, Counsell described a rotation of Ryan Braun, Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich, Domingo Santana and Eric Thames between the three outfield spots and first base that could still get everyone from that quintet ample playing time. “If you split it evenly with five guys, that’s 560 [plate appearances] apiece,” Counsell explained, using a rough guideline of about 2800 PAs over the four positions. “With injuries and everything, we’ll find a way. Some guys will get 500, and some will get 600, but it will work out.” Of course, the Brewers also have Keon Broxton and Brett Phillips on hand, though each has minor league options remaining and could be used as a high-quality depth piece (or a trade candidate — either over the next month or later this summer).

    Here’s more out of Milwaukee…

    • Catcher Stephen Vogt has been diagnosed with a shoulder strain and will miss the next two to three weeks of Spring Training games, per Tom Haudricourt and Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. He’ll also be shut down from throwing for a week. As Haudricourt and Rosiak note, the injury could have significant repercussions for Vogt and could very well impact the Opening Day roster. Vogt’s $3.05MM contract, like the vast majority of arbitration contracts, isn’t fully guaranteed. The Brewers could theoretically cut him and be on the hook only for 30 to 45 days of termination pay between now and Opening Day. Vogt is competing with Jett Bandy to serve as the backup to Manny Pina this season, and Bandy is out of minor league options, meaning he’d be exposed to waivers or traded if he doesn’t make the Opening Day roster.
    • Also via Haudricourt and Rosiak, Brewers ace Jimmy Nelson is still limited to throwing from flat ground and won’t get onto a mound until after the season starts. The team isn’t giving any sort of firm timeline on when Nelson can be expected to return to the big league club, though the report posits that a return around the All-Star break is plausible for Nelson, who underwent shoulder surgery last September after suffering an injury when diving back into first base.
    • Braun got his first work of the spring in at first base and saw plenty of action in today’s game, writes’s Adam McCalvy“There were runners on base quite a bit, so he was holding runners, getting a feel for that,” said Counsell. “He had a pick in the second inning. He had to get in the cutoff position on a couple of different plays. I would say it was a real positive experience for the first day. Some things to put through his head that he can check off the list as experiences.” As McCalvy points out, the Braun experiment at first base will impact more than just the outfield rotation; Braun seeing more action at first could also have a direct impact on Jesus Aguilar’s role with the club, though it’s not year clear how the Brewers will sort out their considerable depth. Aguilar, like Bandy, is out of minor league options, thus further muddling the scenario.
    Morosi: Brewers Monitoring Top Available Starters Sun, 25 Feb 2018 22:59:27 +0000 Yankees manager Aaron Boone suggested Sunday that they won’t sign either Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb, yet the team has “maintained contact with Lynn throughout the offseason,” Jon Morosi of writes. The Yankees are monitoring the top available starters in general, according to Morosi, who hears that the Brewers, Phillies, Rangers, Orioles and Nationals are doing the same. The Angels, meanwhile, are open to signing the best free agent reliever, Greg Holland, if the price is right, per Morosi. The Halos’ bullpen has seemingly taken a step back since last year ended, having lost Yusmeiro Petit and Bud Norris to free agency and added only Jim Johnson. While Holland would help make up for those exits, he’s presumably not going to sign for cheap, and inking the qualifying offer recipient would cost the Angels their second-highest draft pick this year and $500K in international spending room.

    Ryan Braun's Role Yet To Be Determined Fri, 23 Feb 2018 02:42:03 +0000
  • The Brewers’ plans regarding Ryan Braun are perhaps an underappreciated spring storyline. As Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes, the veteran slugger is going to find time at first base and perhaps also second. That would potentially allow the club to balance the demands of finding enough time for Braun after adding Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich to an outfield that already featured Domingo Santana (with Brett Phillips and others also pushing up from the farm). As a long-time star corner outfielder who is now 34 years of age, Braun is an unusual candidate to turn into a utility player of sorts. But it’s also interesting to consider the potential upside as well as the merits of limiting the load on Braun, who has had his share of nicks and scrapes over the years. Just how things look on Opening Day, though, still aren’t clear. It still seems possible Santana could be dealt. And Jon Heyman of Fan Rag argues the organization still needs to add a significant rotation piece if it hopes to keep pace.
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