MLB Trade Rumors » » Milwaukee Brewers Sat, 20 Jan 2018 16:47:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Brewers Not Aggressive On Starters, Have Been Linked To Eduardo Nunez Fri, 19 Jan 2018 18:34:56 +0000 Right-handers Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn entered the offseason regarded by many as the third- and fourth-best options on the starting pitching market (in varying order) behind fellow righties Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta. And like virtually every other free agent (relievers aside), they’re still struggling to find teams willing to meet their asking prices. FanRag’s Jon Heyman reports in his latest notes column that one GM tells him Cobb is still seeking a contract of four to five years in length at an annual rate of $15MM or more. (Presumably, Cobb’s camp would want a higher annual value on the shorter pact.) Lynn, meanwhile, is believed to be seeking a “at least four years” at $15MM+ annually. The Brewers, according to Heyman, are monitoring the free-agent market with an opportunistic eye and believe both Cobb and Lynn to be more plausible targets for them than the more expensive Arrieta. MLBTR recently penned Free Agent Profiles on both Cobb and Lynn, taking a lengthier look at each right-hander’s strengths, weaknesses, market and earning capacity.

  • Also via Heyman, Eduardo Nunez is seeing his market “heat up” a bit. There are as many as eight teams that have shown interest in Nunez of late, including the Mets, Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Giants, BravesBrewers and Royals. (Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area recently suggested that a reunion with San Francisco wasn’t likely, implying that Nunez can receive superior offers elsewhere.) Heyman joins others that have recently reported that Nunez is on the Mets’ radar as a second base option. The Yankees, Red Sox, Braves and Brewers all make varying degrees of sense as well, though it’s tougher to see a clear fit with the Jays, Giants and Royals for various reasons. Toronto has already added Aledmys Diaz and Yangervis Solarte this winter (with Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis both still on board as well), while the Giants picked up Evan Longoria and are reportedly striving to remain under the luxury tax threshold. Nunez would almost certainly put them over, as they’re within less than $5MM of that point at present. As for the Royals, they could use a versatile infielder, but they’re also gearing up for a rebuild.
Brewers Agree To Minor League Deal With Ernesto Frieri Thu, 18 Jan 2018 15:49:05 +0000 The Brewers have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with veteran righty Ernesto Frieri, reports’s Mark Feinsand (on Twitter). The former Angels closer will be invited to Major League Spring Training and vie for a spot in the bullpen.

Frieri, 32, did not pitch in the Majors or minors in 2016, but he used the 2017 World Baseball Classic as an audition to return to pro ball in North America. Frieri pitched for his native Colombia in that tournament and showed enough that the Yankees picked him up on a minor league pact. While Frieri didn’t make it to the big leagues in the Bronx, the 3.00 ERA and 24-to-9 K/BB ratio that he logged with their Triple-A affiliate was enough to draw the interest of the Rangers.

Frieri did log seven innings out of the Rangers’ bullpen last season, though that was his lone big league action in 2017. He spent the bulk of the year in Triple-A with the Yanks, Rangers and also the Mariners, pitching to a 3.43 ERA with 11.9 K/9 against 4.8 BB/9.

Overall, Frieri has a lifetime 3.59 ERA in 303 1/3 innings at the Major League level. He’s averaged a healthy 11.5 K/9 in the Majors against 4.2 BB/9 but just a 26.4 percent ground-ball rate. Frieri relies heavily on a four-seam fastball that he’ll often throw up in the zone, generating to plenty of whiffs above the zone and a sky-high 15.5 percent infield-fly rate (one of the best in the Majors over the past decade). However, home runs became an increasing problem for Frieri over the course of his career, as he averaged 1.7 HR/9 from 2012-15 before sitting out the 2016 campaign.

Jimmy Nelson Reportedly Ahead Of Schedule In Shoulder Rehab Tue, 16 Jan 2018 04:08:58 +0000 Brewers ace Jimmy Nelson is “way ahead of schedule” in his rehab from shoulder surgery, reports’s Adam McCalvy. The initial plan for Nelson had been to begin a throwing program at the beginning of Spring Training, but Nelson tells McCalvy that he’ll now begin throwing next week. Nelson credits his accelerated timeline to regular use of a hyperbaric chamber, improved conditioning and diet as well as rigorous arm care and physical therapy.

The shortened timeline is music to the Brewers’ ears, though an exact timetable for Nelson remains uncertain following a September operation which, as McCalvy notes, repaired his shoulder in three separate places. Milwaukee already signed Jhoulys Chacin to a two-year deal, and they’ll return right-handers Chase Anderson and Zach Davies as well. That trio will be relied upon heavily while Nelson rehabs, with other candidates to take the ball every fifth day including Brent Suter, Josh Hader, Brandon Woodruff, Junior Guerra, Jorge Lopez ,Aaron Wilkerson and old friend Yovani Gallado (among others).

Brewers Sign Ji-Man Choi To Minor League Deal Mon, 15 Jan 2018 04:55:54 +0000 The Brewers have signed first baseman/outfielder Ji-Man Choi to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, his agency announced (via Naver Sports; h/t: Sung Min Kim of River Ave Blues, on Twitter). Choi’s deal comes with an $850K salary if he makes the Brewers’ roster and a chance to earn $650K more in incentives.

To this point, the 26-year-old Choi hasn’t done much in the majors, having batted .181/.279/.386 in 147 plate appearances. While Choi struggled across 129 PAs as an Angel in 2016, he was terrific over a much smaller sample with the Yankees last year, when he slashed .267/.333/.733 in 18 trips to the plate. The lefty-swinger spent the majority of the season with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate and hit a robust .288/.373/.538 in 338 PAs.

On the heels of Choi’s strong showing in 2017, the Yankees were among a slew of clubs that offered him a contract. He’ll instead head to Milwaukee to vie for a big league role, though a path to immediate playing time at his positions isn’t evident. The Brewers have Eric Thames and Jesus Aguilar at first base, Choi’s primary spot, and they’re loaded with outfielders.

Arbitration Updates: 1/13/18 Sat, 13 Jan 2018 22:22:30 +0000 Here are the arbitration numbers we’ve learned thus far today — all of them coming via the Twitter feed of Jon Heyman of Fan Rag unless otherwise noted:

  • The Giants’ previously known deals with two righty relievers now have dollar values attached. Sam Dyson is slated to earn $4.425MM, while the team will pay righty Cory Gearrin $1.675MM. MLBTR’s Matt Swartz projected a $4.6MM award for Dyson and a $1.6MM salary for Gearrin.
  • Diamondbacks infielder Chris Owings settled out at $3.4MM, just a shade over the $3.3MM the team will pay outfielder David Peralta. Swartz had both Owings and Peralta at $3.8MM.
  • Right-hander Nick Vincent will take down a $2.75MM payday from the Mariners, coming in just north of his $2.7MM projection.
  • Astros righty Lance McCullers Jr. is set to receive $2.45MM (a bit shy of his projected $2.6MM) in his first season of arb eligibility, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.
  • Infielder Hernan Perez receives $1.975MM from the Brewers, falling short of a $2.2MM projection.
  • The Athletics agreed yesterday with righty Liam Hendriks at $1.9MM, matching his projection, and catcher Josh Phegley for $905K. Swartz had Phegley at $1.1MM.
  • White Sox third baseman Yolmer Sanchez has filed at $2.35MM while the team countered at $2.1MM – the same as his projection.
Players Avoiding Arbitration: National League Fri, 12 Jan 2018 21:10:22 +0000 The deadline for MLB teams to exchange salary arbitration figures with their arbitration-eligible players is today at 1pm ET. As such, there will be a veritable flood of arb agreements piling up in the next few hours — especially in light of a more universal approach to the “file and trial” method for teams. (That is to say, those teams will no longer negotiate one-year deals after arb figures are exchanged and will instead head to a hearing with those players, barring an agreemenr on a multi-year deal.)

Note that you can keep an eye on all of today’s deals using MLBTR’s 2018 Arbitration Tracker, which can be filtered to show only the results of the team you follow and is also sortable by service time and dollar value of the agreement. All projections that are referenced come from MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz’s annual compilation of projected arbitration salaries.

Onto today’s landslide of deals…

National League West

  • The Rockies have agreed to a $2MM salary with righty Chad Bettis, MLBTR has learned (Twitter link). That’s a fair sight more than his $1.5MM projection. Bettis surely would have had an opportunity to set a bigger platform for himself, but had to battle through testicular cancer before returning to the hill in 2017. Meanwhile, second baseman DJ LeMahieu has settled for a $8.5MM payday in his final year of arbitration, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. That’s just a hair short of the $8.8MM he was pegged for in MLBTR’s projections.
  • Giants second baseman Joe Panik is slated to earn $3.45MM in his first season of arb eligibility, Devan Fink of SB Nation was first to tweet. That’s just a hair shy of the $3.5MM that MLBTR projected. Lefty Will Smith has settled at $2.5MM, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). The club has also announced deals with its remaining arb-eligible players, right-handed relievers Sam Dyson ($4.6MM projection), Hunter Strickland ($1.7MM projection), and Cory Gearrin ($1.6MM projection). (H/t John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, on Twitter). Strickland earns $1.55MM, Nightengale tweets.
  • The Padres and Freddy Galvis agreed to a $6.825MM deal for his lone season of team control in San Diego, tweets Robert Murray of FanRag Sports. Galvis, who spent the first several seasons of his career in Philadelphia before being traded this winter, had been projected to make $7.4MM. Infielder Cory Spangenberg settled at $1.7MM, Heyman tweets, falling below a $2.0MM projection. San Diego has also reached agreements with righty Kirby Yates and outfielder Matt Szczur, the team announced. Yates will earn $1,062,500, Heyman tweets, which is just shy of his $1.1MM projection. Szczur, meanwhile, will get $950K, a healthy boost over his $800K projection, per Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link).
  • The Diamondbacks agreed to a $7.75MM deal with center fielder A.J. Pollock, Murray tweets. Pollock was projected to earn $8.4MM in his final year of eligibility before free agency. Murray also notes that Brad Boxberger is set to earn $1.85MM next year (Twitter link). Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic adds that lefty Andrew Chafin ($1.2MM projection) and the D-backs have a $1.195MM deal in place. Third baseman Jake Lamb, meanwhile, agreed to a $4.275MM deal with the Diamondbacks, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (Twitter link). Lamb, eligible for arbitration for the first time, was projected to earn $4.7MM. He’s controllable through 2020. And ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that Chris Herrmann ($1.4MM projection) landed a $1.3MM deal. Righty Taijuan Walker has settled for $4.825MM, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter), which is within range but shy of the $5.0MM he projected for. Lefty Robbie Ray has settled at $3.95MM, per Nightengale (Twitter link), which falls short of his $4.2MM projection. Infielder Nick Ahmed will $1.275MM, per Heyman (via Twitter), which tops the projected figure of $1.1MM. Arizona has also announced that Chris Owings and David Peralta have agreed to terms.
  • The Dodgers are in agreement on a $6MM deal with lefty Alex Wood, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). He had projected at $6.4MM. Meanwhile, righty Josh Fields agreed to a $2.2MM deal, tweets Murray. Heyman tweets that Enrique Hernandez will earn $1.6MM. Fields’ projection of $2.2MM was on the money, whereas Hernandez topped his mark by $300K. Fields is controlled through 2019, while Hernandez is controllable through 2020. Southpaw Tony Cingrani gets $2.3MM, Murray tweets, which is just a shade over his $2.2MM projection. Outfielder Joc Pederson has also settled, per J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group (via Twitter), with Beth Harris of the Associated Press reporting a $2.6MM salary that rather handily tops the $2.0MM that MLBTR projected.

National League Central

  • All three remaining Cardinals arb-eligibles have agreed to deals,’s Jenifer Langosch tweetsMarcell Ozuna will earn $9MM after drawin a much larger $10.9MM projection, Heyman tweets. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had explained that Ozuna likely wouldn’t quite reach the amount the algorithm suggested, though the actual salary still comes in a bit shy of expectations. Lefty Tyler Lyons ($1.3MM projection) receives $1.2MM, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter). The Cards have also reached agreement with Michael Wacha for $5.3MM, per Nightengale (via Twitter); he was projected to earn $5.9MM.
  • The Reds agreed to a $860K salary with Anthony DeSclafani, tweets Murray. DeSclafani missed the 2017 season due to arm troubles and had been projected to earn $1.1MM. He’ll remain under Reds control through 2020. Billy Hamilton and the Reds have settled on a one-year deal worth $4.6MM, tweets Murray. A popular trade candidate this offseason, Hamilton was projected to earn $5MM and comes with another two seasons of team control. Murray also conveys that Michael Lorenzen agreed to a $1.3125MM deal, which lines up fairly well with his $1.4MM projection.
  • The Cubs have struck a deal with lefty Justin Wilson, agreeing to a one-year, $4.25MM pact, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link). Wilson, who had been projected at $4.3MM, will be a free agent next winter. The Cubs alsoagreed to a $950K salary with infielder Tommy La Stella, tweets’s Carrie Muskat. La Stella was projected to make $1MM in his first offseason of arbitration eligiblity and can be controlled through 2020. Right-hander Kyle Hendricks and the Cubs have agreed to a $4.175MM salary, per Nightengale (on Twitter). That sum comes in a fair bit shy of his projected $4.9MM projection as a first-time eligible player. The Cubs control Hendricks through the 2020 season. Chicago also agreed with Addison Russell, per Wittenmyer (Twitter link). The shortstop will receive $3.2MM for the coming season.
  • Nightengale reports (on Twitter) that the Brewers and breakout closer Corey Knebel settled at $3.65MM. As a Super Two player, Knebel can be controlled through the 2021 season and will be arb-eligible thrice more. He was projected at $4.1MM.’s Adam McCalvy tweets that the Brewers and right-hander Jimmy Nelson settled at $3.7MM, which falls $1MM shy of his $4.7MM projection (though some of that discrepancy may be due to Nelson’s shoulder injury). Milwaukee also announced a deal for infielders Jonathan Villar (projected at $3MM) and Hernan Perez (projected at $2.2MM). McCalvy reports that Villar will earn $2.55MM, while terms of Perez’s deal are not yet available.
  • The Pirates have avoided arbitration with shortstop Jordy Mercer by settling on a $6.75MM salary for 2018, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Mercer, who’d been projected to earn $6.5MM, is entering his final year of team control and will be a free agent next winter. Biertempfel also reports that Gerrit Cole will earn that same $6.75MM salary in 2018 — a $3MM raise over last year (Twitter link). He has two years of control remaining and had been projected to earn $7.4MM. Righty George Kontos has also agreed to terms, per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Twitter). He had projected for $2.7MM and will receive a smidge more, at $2,725,000, per Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Twitter link).

National League East

  • The Braves reached a $3.4MM deal with righty Arodys Vizcaino, per Jon Heyman of FanRag (Twitter link). He’d been projected at $3.7MM. The Braves and righty Dan Winkler agreed to a $610K salary for the upcoming season, tweets Mark Bowman of Winkler tossed just 14 1/3 innings in the Majors this year as he made his way back from elbow surgery. He’d projected at $800K.
  • The Marlins and Miguel Rojas agreed to a $1.18MM deal for 2018, Heyman tweets, placing him north of his $1.1MM projection. Rojas should see additional playing time following the Marlins’ wave of trades this offseason. He’s controlled through 2020. Miami also has a deal in place with infielder Derek Dietrich for $2.9MM, Heyman tweets, after projecting at $3.2MM.
  • The Mets were able to settle perhaps their most notable arb case, agreeing to a $7.4MM deal with righty Jacob deGrom, per James Wagner of the New York Times (via Twitter). That’s well shy of his $9.2MM projection, though MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had explained the formula likely overestimated deGrom’s earning power by quite a wide margin. Fellow top righty Noah Syndergaard gets $2.975MM, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter), which goes a fair sight past the $1.9MM projection for the outstanding young starter, whose 2017 season was limited by injury. And reliever AJ Ramos will take home $9.225MM, according to Wagner (via Twitter). That’s just barely past the $9.2MM projection.  Wilmer Flores has also avoided arbitration with the Mets, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports (on Twitter). He’ll receive a $3.4MM salary, which falls within $300K of his projected rate. The Mets control Flores through the 2019 campaign. The Mets and right-hander Matt Harvey agreed to a one-year deal worth $5.625MM, tweets Nightengale. Harvey, who is a free agent next winter, had been projected to earn $5.9MM. Meanwhile, Marc Carig of Newsday tweets that Jeurys Familia will earn $7.925MM for the upcoming year, while Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that catcher Travis d’Arnaud will earn $3.475MM in 2018 (Twitter link). Familia, a free agent next winter, was projected at $7.4MM. The Mets control d’Arnaud through 2019, and his projection was $3.4MM. Righty Hansel Robles gets $900K, Heyman tweets.
  • Also via Nightengale (Twitter link), the Nationals agreed to a $6.475MM salary for 2018 with right-hander Tanner Roark. That falls about $1MM shy of his $7.5MM projection but still represents a noted raise of $4.315MM for Roark, whom the Nats control through 2019. Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post adds that Michael Taylor will earn $2.525MM next year. Taylor is controlled through 2020 and was projected at $2.3MM.
  • The Phillies and Maikel Franco settled on a $2.95MM salary for the 2018 season, reports Jim Salisbury of (Twitter link). Franco, a Super Two player who’d been projected at $3.6MM, remains under club control with the Phils through the 2021 season. Second bagger Cesar Hernandez will earn at a $5.1MM rate in 2018, per’s Todd Zolecki (via Twitter). That beats his $4.7MM projection and wraps up this year’s arb business for the Phillies.
Brewers Release Taylor Jungmann To Pursue Opportunity In Japan Wed, 10 Jan 2018 19:06:44 +0000 The Brewers announced today that righty Taylor Jungmann has been released in order to allow him to pursue an opportunity in Japan. The 40-man space was needed to accommodate the addition of Boone Logan, whose previously reported signing was also made official.

It is not known what organization Jungmann will be joining, but it rates as something of a surprise that he’s heading out of affiliated ball. He was the 12th overall selection in the 2011 draft and showed rather well in his debut season of 2015. More recently, though, Jungmann had struggled to gain opportunities at the game’s highest level.

After receiving 21 MLB starts in 2015, Jungmann was pummeled in his 26 2/3 MLB frames in the ensuing season and did not fare much better at Triple-A. In 2017, though, he worked to a 3.06 ERA in 123 1/3 innings split between Double-A and Triple-A, averaging 8.2 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9. That still was only enough to earn him a single appearance in the majors.

Brewers Sign J.J. Hoover Wed, 10 Jan 2018 17:11:30 +0000 The Brewers have announced the signing of righty J.J. Hoover to a minor-league deal. It includes an invitation to participate in MLB Spring Training as a non-roster invitee. He can earn $1.1MM in the majors with another $1.65MM available through incentives, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter).

Hoover, 30, spent the 2017 season with the Diamondbacks. Over 41 1/3 innings, he racked up a solid 11.8 K/9 on a 12.0% swinging-strike rate, though he also surrendered 5.7 walks and 1.52 home runs per regulation affair. Hoover ended up with a 3.92 ERA on the year, representing a nice bounce back after a disappointing 2016 season.

For Milwaukee, Hoover will join a camp competition to build out the bullpen. The club has already pursued cost efficiency in its early winter relief moves, including striking a multi-year deal with Jeremy Jeffress and bringing in Boone Logan via free agency.

Minor MLB Transactions: 1/10/18 Wed, 10 Jan 2018 14:24:27 +0000 We’ll track the latest minor signings and other transactions here …

  • The Brewers have brought back left-hander Nick Ramirez on a minor-league deal, per a club announcement. Brewer Nation first tweeted word of the signing. He converted from first base to the mound in 2017, turning in rather impressive results. In 79 1/3 frames over 49 appearances, all but one of which came at Double-A, Ramirez ran a 1.36 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9. It obviously remains to be seen whether the former fourth-round pick can earn a shot at the majors, but it seems promising that he was able to throttle both right-handed (.214/.260/.305) and left-handed hitters (.167/.273/.240) while working in a multi-inning role.
  • First baseman/outfielder Kyle Jensen has a minors deal with the Giants, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter). The 29-year-old has only seen brief MLB time but has generally produced quality numbers at Triple-A. In 1,793 plate appearances at the highest level of the minors, he carries a .266/.341/.488 batting line with 178 home runs — though also over a thousand strikeouts. Jensen had a six-game stretch last year with Japan’s Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, but otherwise did not appear professionally. A former 12th round draft pick of the Marlins, Jensen has also spent time in recent years with the Dodgers and Diamondbacks organizations.
  • Also signing a minor-league pact is lefty Keith Hessler, who’ll join the Rockies, according to Cotillo (Twitter link). Hessler, 28, has 34 MLB frames under his belt, over which he has allowed 21 earned runs while recording 23 strikeouts and issuing 17 walks. He has mostly plied his trade in the upper minors in recent years, though he also took an indy ball detour last season. At times, Hessler has produced solid groundball numbers and been very hard on opposing lefties, though neither really held true in his most recent showing. In 45 1/3 Triple-A frames with the Padres in 2017, Hessler carried a 4.57 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9.
Matt Garza To Undergo Shoulder Surgery Tue, 09 Jan 2018 02:55:14 +0000 Free agent righty Matt Garza is set to undergo surgery for a torn right shoulder labrum, according to’s Adam McCalvy. It seems the injury was sustained in a mid-season collision that knocked Garza out of commission for a time but did not end his season.

Now 34 years of age, Garza just wrapped up a four-year, $50MM deal with Milwaukee. (The contract had included an option provision, but it was voided when he reached an appearances threshold.) His future as a pitcher appears uncertain now that he’s facing down a significant procedure.

As McCalvy notes, Garza was throwing rather well when he crashed into Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar on June 3rd. Though he landed on the DL, Garza returned and pitched through the injury — the extent of which was evidently not fully appreciated or fully expressed at that time. He continued to provide solid frames for the Brewers for a while and never really exhibited a velocity loss. Nevertheless, Garza lost his edge in an ugly run of outings during August.

The tough finish to the 2017 season left Garza with 114 2/3 innings of 4.94 ERA ball. Though he did manage to top the century mark in frames in each of his four seasons in Milwaukee, Garza only managed a 4.65 earned run average during his time there.

Prior to signing on with the Brewers, of course, Garza had been a steadily useful pitcher, with a 3.84 ERA and 7.6 K/9 against 3.0 BB/9 through over a thousand MLB innings. He turned in a solid first campaign, with a 3.64 ERA through 27 outings, but things trended sharply south in 2015 and Garza never full returned to form.

Brewers Sign Christian Bethancourt Mon, 08 Jan 2018 19:54:32 +0000 The Brewers announced that they’ve signed catcher Christian Bethancourt to a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training. The 26-year-old former top prospect has been with the Padres organization for the past two seasons after spending his first seven-plus seasons with the Braves organization.

San Diego sought to convert Bethancourt, whose 80-grade arm has long been considered his best tool, from a catcher into a relief pitcher over the past two seasons, though the results of that experiment were less than favorable. Bethancourt’s fastball was capable of reaching the upper 90s, but he never demonstrated much ability to locate his pitches. The 2017 campaign was his long season spent primarily as a pitcher, and it produced an unsightly 8.21 ERA with 5.0 K/9 against 7.1 BB/9 in 41 2/3 innings of Triple-A ball last season.

The Brewers, however, announced Bethancourt as a catcher, so it seems they’ll focus on him as a depth option behind the dish rather than on the mound. Bethancourt is a lifetime .298/.326/.437 hitter in parts of three Triple-A seasons (601 plate appearances) but has batted just .222/.252/.316 over the life of 489 PAs at the MLB level. He’s had some significant trouble with passed balls (19 in 940 MLB innings as a catcher), though his exceptional arm has helped him to throw out 35 percent of would-be base thieves in the Majors and 37 percent over the course of his minor league tenure.

Milwaukee presently has Manny Pina, who had a breakout season in 2017, and veteran Stephen Vogt atop its catching depth chart with Andrew Susac and Jett Bandy as 40-man options beyond that pairing. As such, Bethancourt will have a difficult time cracking the big league roster out of camp, though it’s certainly conceivable that he could reach the Majors at some point during the 2018 campaign should injuries or poor performances from the options ahead of him open a path to at-bats.

Brewers Appear Unlikely To Spend Big On Starter Sun, 07 Jan 2018 17:56:52 +0000 A quick look around the National League…

  • The Brewers are arguably in position to spend big on a free agent starting pitcher this offseason, but it’s unlikely to happen “unless prices come down,” Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes. General manager David Stearns claims he’s “comfortable” with the team’s current rotation options – including the newly signed duo of Jhoulys Chacin and Yovani Gallardo. At the same time, he’s still working to improve the Brewers’ pitching and other areas of their roster. “I wouldn’t say we have anything that is imminent,” he told Haudricourt. “But that can always change with one phone call. We are involved on a number of fronts, some of them farther along than others. We’ll see where that takes us.”
  • Outfield prospect Edward Olivares is someone San Diego had “been on for some time” before acquiring him in Saturday’s Yangervis Solarte trade with Toronto, Padres general manager A.J. Preller said (via Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune). Preller went on to reveal that the Padres may not be done trading infielders, even after shipping out Solarte. “We’re still having discussions on the different infielders, and we’ll see how things play out,” stated Preller, who admitted after acquiring third baseman Chase Headley last month that he could flip him. Other teams had also called about Cory Spangenberg and Carlos Asuaje at that point.
  • The Mets and reliever Jenrry Mejia avoided arbitration this week, settling on a $1.729MM salary, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag (Twitter link). However, Mejia isn’t in position to collect that money, as Heyman notes. Major League Baseball issued Mejia a lifetime ban in February 2016 after his third positive test for performance-enhancing drugs.
Brewers To Sign Boone Logan Fri, 05 Jan 2018 22:20:13 +0000 Lefty reliever Boone Logan has agreed to a one-year deal with the Brewers, reports Adam McCalvy of (Twitter links). Logan will be guaranteed $2.5MM on the deal, which comes in the form of a $1.875MM base salary plus a $625K buyout on a $4.125MM option for the 2019 season. Logan can also earn up to $3.2MM worth of incentives in each year of the deal. He’s represented by Hub Sports Management.

[RELATED: Updated Brewers Depth Chart]

Milwaukee was light on left-handed bullpen help for much of the 2017 season and, at multiple points throughout the year, didn’t have a lefty in its bullpen at all. The 33-year-old Logan will give the Brew Crew an experienced option to help remedy that situation in 2018; it’s quite possible that he’ll be joined by young southpaw Josh Hader, who excelled in a relief role last year. Milwaukee could also return Hader to a starting role in ’18, though that could be dependent on what moves are yet to come for GM David Stearns and his staff.

Last season with the Indians, Logan hit the disabled list with a strained lat muscle in late July, and that injury ultimately proved to be season-ending in nature. He wound up tossing just 21 innings in 38 appearances as a lefty specialist in Cleveland, working to a 4.71 ERA. That said, Logan racked up a dozen strikeouts per nine against 3.9 walks per nine along with a 50 percent ground-ball rate in that time and has generally been a quality relief piece over the past eight seasons, with last year’s injury-shortened campaign and a dreadful 2014 season (6.84 ERA for the Rockies) standing out as notable exceptions.

Logan has long offered tantalizing skills, even if the results haven’t always quite matched. He has long boasted well-above-average swinging-strike rates — never higher than last year’s 18.5% rate — with a heater that sits around 94 mph and a heavily used, generally devastating slider. He has registered eleven or more strikeouts per nine in each of the past six campaigns. Of late, Logan has also generated quality groundball numbers as well (around 50% in each of the past two seasons).

Nevertheless, Logan owns a less-than-exciting 4.47 ERA in over 400 career MLB innings. No doubt that’s due in some part to the fact that he has never really figured out right-handed hitters. When pitching without the platoon advantage, Logan has coughed up a .286/.373/.472 cumulative batting line, with a K/BB ratio less than half that he has maintained against same-handed hitters.

Given the relatively meager commitment this contract represents, the Brewers will likely not feel much pressure to extend Logan beyond his area of greatest function — that is, entering to face tough lefties but not being asked to serve in a general setup capacity in high-leverage spots. Certainly, Logan won’t occupy much space on the organization’s payroll ledger, which still seems to offer quite a bit of room for additions for 2018 and beyond.

Brewers Reportedly Interested In Lorenzo Cain, Open To Trading Current Outfielders Thu, 04 Jan 2018 17:27:31 +0000 The Brewers possess a wealth of young MLB-ready options in the outfield, but Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports (subscription required and recommended) that Milwaukee has nonetheless expressed interest in Lorenzo Cain, who has been a “frequent topic of conversation” for Brewers officials this winter.

Milwaukee has Ryan Braun, Keon Broxton and Domingo Santana currently aligned in the outfield, with 23-year-old Brett Phillips also factoring prominently into the mix and top prospect Lewis Brinson looming in Triple-A. One possible outcome, according to Rosenthal, is that the Brewers could deal from their current outfield depth to add a controllable rotation option and make room for Cain. He’s not the only one to report on such a possibility as of late, either; Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweeted yesterday that Milwaukee is open to dealing Broxton or, for a much more significant haul, Santana.

Of the incumbent group of outfielders, any of Broxton, Brinson, Santana or Phillips would figure to draw plenty of interest, though the Brewers showed no inclination to make Brinson available at the non-waiver trade deadline. Each of that group is controllable for either four (Santana), five (Broxton) or six (Brinson, Phillips) full seasons.

Broxton has a penchant for strikeouts and is OBP-challenged as a result, but he’s coming off a 20-homer, 20-steal season with the potential to be an asset on defense. While Defensive Runs Saved (-7) and Ultimate Zone Rating (-2.2) were down on his glove in 2017, Statcast’s Outs Above Average metric pegged him at +9, thus placing him among the game’s best outfielders, and his excellent speed gives him plenty of range in center.

[Related: Milwaukee Brewers depth chart & Milwaukee Brewers payroll]

Santana is fresh off a strong .278/.371/.505 slash and 30 homers, though he’s best suited for corner outfield duty (despite some experience in center). For a team seeking an offensive boost in right or left field, he’d be an extremely appealing target, but his controllable nature and strong 2017 play are undoubtedly the reasons that Schulman suggested Santana would require parting with “a ton” in any trade.

As for Brinson and Phillips, both are capable of manning center field and both have at various points been considered among baseball’s very best prospects. Brinson currently holds that distinction in the eyes of many after hitting .331/.400/.562 in Triple-A last year, though he struggled mightily in 55 MLB plate appearances. Phillips’ star has faded due to an alarming strikeout problem (29.8 percent in both Double-A and Triple-A, 34.7 percent in the Majors). He still managed to post strong numbers in Triple-A and in the Majors last year, though both of those batting lines were fueled by BABIPs north of .400.

A trade of Braun doesn’t seem especially likely given that he’s owed $72MM over the next four seasons (including a $4MM buyout on a 2022 option and $18MM in deferred salary) and can veto any trade thanks to his 10-and-5 rights.

Signing Cain, who rejected the Royals’ qualifying offer, would cost the Brewers their third-highest selection in the 2018 draft as well as the slot money that comes with that pick. (That would be their selectionin Competitive Balance Round B, which is currently No. 74 overall.) That’d obviously represent somewhat of a deterrent, though the Brewers may look at signing Cain and addressing their rotation via trade as a means of more financially palatable course of action than signing Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn (each of whom would also require the forfeiture of that pick after rejecting their own QOs).

Milwaukee has been tied to virtually every top starter on the market to varying degrees, ranging from Arrieta and Lynn earlier in the offseason to Cobb shortly before the New Year. If GM David Stearns and his staff have deemed asking prices for free agency’s most meaningful rotation upgrades too sizable, there’s logic to spending on Cain and then utilizing organizational depth to fortify the starting corps. That, of course, assumes Cain can be had at a more reasonable price point. Ultimately, the possibility of adding Cain and addressing the rotation via trade is likely just one of many avenues that the Brewers are exploring at present as they seek to remain competitive in a strong NL Central division.

Jimmy Nelson Discusses Rehab Wed, 03 Jan 2018 02:03:46 +0000
  • Brewers righty Jimmy Nelson, who underwent surgery on a torn labrum in September, told MLB Network on Tuesday that his “rehab is going just about as well as it could possibly go, knock on wood” (via Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). Its still unclear, though, how much time the 28-year-old will miss next season after emerging as a front-of-the-rotation starter in 2017. For now, Nelson’s “really anxious to start a throwing program and get to spring training.”
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    Dodgers Acquire Dylan Baker Tue, 02 Jan 2018 17:13:58 +0000 12:10pm: The transaction actually occurred as a trade, with the Brewers set to receive cash or a player to be named later in the deal, per a club announcement.

    11:13am: The Dodgers have claimed righty Dylan Baker off waivers from the Brewers, according to a tweet from Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. Baker had been designated for assignment by Milwaukee.

    The 25-year-old hurler has spent his entire professional playing career to date with the Indians, who took him in the fifth round of the 2012 draft out of Western Nevada College. He was claimed by the Brewers earlier in the offseason, though obviously he won’t end up suiting up with that organization (barring future waiver movement).

    Though Baker has not thrown much of late, owing to Tommy John surgery, he has obviously drawn the attention of scouts around the game. In 2017, Baker worked to a 2.84 ERA in 12 2/3 Double-A frames over 13 appearances, recording a healthy 10:1 K/BB ratio. He had mostly worked previously as a starter, so it’s somewhat unclear what role he might occupy moving forward.

    Brewers Have Reportedly Made Offer To Ji-Man Choi Mon, 01 Jan 2018 15:31:02 +0000
  • First baseman Ji-Man Choi’s agency in Korea recently spoke to the media about their client’s current foray into free agency and revealed that he’s received offers (presumably of the minor league variety) from the Yankees, Angels, Rays, A’s, Brewers, Marlins, Cubs, Reds, Orioles, Twins, Braves, Blue Jays and White Sox (English link via Jee-ho Yoo of South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency). The 26-year-old Choi slugged a pair of homers in 18 plate appearances with the Yankees last year and posted a strong year with their Triple-A affiliate, slashing .288/.373/.538 in 87 games. In parts of five Triple-A campaigns, Choi has posted a robust .298/.390/.479 batting line.
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    Brewers Among Teams To Show Interest In Alex Cobb Sun, 31 Dec 2017 20:11:18 +0000 The Brewers are among the MLB organizations to have shown some level of interest in free agent righty Alex Cobb, according to a report from Jon Morosi of MLB Network (via Twitter). Per Morosi, Milwaukee has spoken with Cobb’s agency “recently” about the veteran starter. Of course, it’s also far from clear how serious the interest is.

    Last we heard, the asking price was still high for Cobb, who even appears to have some hope of securing five guaranteed seasons. As MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes has noted, the surprisingly lofty payday secured by Tyler Chatwood seemingly bodes well for Cobb’s market.

    The ongoing delay in free agent signings has many wondering whether some open-market players will end up taking a haircut as against expectations. To this point, however, we’ve yet to see any top-tier free agents settle for contracts that would support such a conclusion.

    In Cobb’s case, it seems there’s still wide interest in his services. While the Brewers won’t be expected to bid up a massive payday, they have plenty of money to work with, making them a legitimate potential suitor on paper. The division-rival Cubs have long been cited as a top potential landing spot, with teams like the Rangers, Yankees, Blue Jays, and Orioles among those having shown prior interest.

    Prior surgeries continue to represent a possible drag on Cobb’s market, but he is fresh off of a productive and healthy 2017 campaign in which he ran up a 3.50 ERA over 179 1/3 innings. Plus, of course, Cobb has demonstrated the talent for even greater productivity; in 309 2/3 innings over 2013-14, he compiled a 2.82 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9.

    Brewers Reportedly In Talks With Boone Logan Fri, 29 Dec 2017 18:33:15 +0000 The Brewers and free-agent lefty Boone Logan are engaged in contract discussions, writes’s Adam McCalvy. It seems likely the sides will formalize an agreement, though it won’t be finalized until after the new year. Chuck Miketinac of FOX Sports San Antonio tweeted recently that a deal was in place.

    Milwaukee was light on left-handed bullpen help for much of the 2017 season. Indeed, at multiple points throughout the year, the club didn’t have a lefty in its bullpen at all. Adding Logan would give the club an experienced southpaw to help fill that void, though he is coming off an injury-shortened season with the Indians.

    The 33-year-old Logan hit the disabled list with a strained lat muscle in late July, and that injury ultimately proved to be season-ending in nature. He wound up tossing just 21 innings in 38 appearances as a lefty specialist in Cleveland, working to a 4.71 ERA. That said, Logan racked up a dozen strikeouts per nine against 3.9 walks per nine along with a fifty percent grounder rate.

    All told, Logan seems to represent rather an appealing buy-low target. He still delivered his four and two-seam heaters at around 94 mph and posted a career-high 18.5% swinging-strike rate in 2017. Some common indicators of poor fortune are also present, as opposing hitters posted a lofty .353 batting average on balls in play and Logan stranded only 62.5% of baserunners.

    So long as he can stay healthy, Logan could deliver good value on a limited commitment. He has not always produced exciting earned-run results, but has a long history of lofty whiff rates and of being hard on opposing lefties. Of course, we don’t yet know the prospective contract terms — or whether a deal will be consummate.

    Brewers Sign Radhames Liz To Minors Deal Sat, 23 Dec 2017 04:09:21 +0000
  • The Brewers announced that they’ve signed right-hander Radhames Liz to a minor league contract. Liz, a hard-throwing 34-year-old, has seen more time in the Korea Baseball Organization and Nippon Professional Baseball than in the Majors in recent years. He didn’t pitch in 2017 but has allowed just two runs in 35 1/3 innings during the Dominican Winter League this offseason. He’ll compete for a bullpen spot in Spring Training.
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    Brewers Sign Yovani Gallardo Fri, 22 Dec 2017 01:31:43 +0000 DECEMBER 21, 7:31pm: In a new tweet, Adam McCalvy of breaks down the full details of Gallardo’s deal. The $2MM in incentives are based on innings pitched, or relief appearances. The righty will earn $100K for reaching milestones of 50, 65 and 80 IP, $150 for 95 and 110 IP thresholds, $200K for reaching 125 and 140 IP, and $250K for 155, 170 and 185 IP marks. Gallardo can also earn $50K for reaching 30 and 40 relief appearances, and $75K when he makes 50 and 60 relief appearances.

    11:39am:’s Adam McCalvy tweets out an important note regarding the $2MM salary: it’ll only apply should Gallardo crack the Opening Day roster, meaning it isn’t fully guaranteed. McCalvy further notes the incentives can be achieved either by innings or appearances, allowing him some earning possibilities regardless of role.

    11:55am: Gallardo’s signing has been announced. He’ll be promised $2MM and can double that via incentives, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter).

    DECEMBER 16, 5:23pm: Gallardo received a major league deal, Jon Heyman of FanRag tweets. It’s pending a physical, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel adds (via Twitter).

    4:53pm: The Brewers and free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo have agreed to a contract, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports (Twitter link). Details of the pact aren’t yet available. Gallardo is an Octagon client.

    MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers

    This move represents a homecoming of sorts for the soon-to-be 32-year-old Gallardo, whose greatest major league success has come in a Brewers uniform. A second-round pick of the Brewers in 2004, Gallardo debuted in the majors in 2007 and ultimately served as a front-of-the-rotation presence with the club through 2014. During that eight-season span, Gallardo racked up 1,289 1/3 innings – tossing fewer than 180 frames in just two individual campaigns – and recorded a 3.69 ERA with 8.56 K/9, 3.31 BB/9 and a 46.3 percent groundball rate. He also earned an All-Star nod, the only one of his career, in 2010.

    While Gallardo was terrific during his first go-around in Milwaukee, he has significantly declined since it traded him to Texas in a January 2015 deal involving now-Brewers closer Corey Knebel and others. Gallardo’s results were appealing with the Rangers that season (184 1/3 innings of 3.42 ERA ball), but he fell off in earnest after inking a three-year, $35MM contract to join the Orioles heading into 2016. Between Baltimore and Seattle, where he spent last season after going to the Mariners in a January trade for outfielder Seth Smith, Gallardo posted a 5.57 ERA with 6.48 K/9 against 4.38 BB/9 across 248 2/3 innings and 51 appearances (45 starts).

    Despite his woes last season, Gallardo did offer some encouraging signs in the form of a velocity increase, his highest swinging-strike rate (8.3 percent) since 2011 and a career-best infield fly percentage (16.3). The Brewers will obviously hope those gains carry over, though it’s unclear if Gallardo will slot into their rotation immediately or occupy a swingman role in his return to Milwaukee. Gallardo’s struggles as a starter last year forced him into the bullpen for the first time in his career, and the Mariners subsequently bought him out in November for $2MM in lieu of keeping him aboard with a $13MM club option.

    The Brewers were among the majors’ surprising success stories during an 86-win 2017, but they’ll head into 2018 without top starter Jimmy Nelson, who will miss time after undergoing shoulder surgery in September. Now, they’re down to Chase Anderson and Zach Davies atop a rotation mix that could clearly use more help beyond Gallardo (depth chart). It’s reasonable to expect general manager David Stearns to make further pitching additions, then, whether via free agency, the trade market or both.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Brewers Designate Dylan Baker Thu, 21 Dec 2017 20:21:32 +0000 The Brewers have designated righty Dylan Baker for assignment, per a club announcement. His roster spot was needed for the two signings the club announced today.

    As had been reported previously, Milwaukee inked veteran righty Jhoulys Chacin and brought back former hurler Yovani Gallardo. With those two players joining the organization and Baker departing, the 40-man roster is full.

    Baker, 25, was snatched off the waiver wire from the Indians in late November. He has thrown just 21 2/3 minor-league frames since the start of the 2015 season owing to Tommy John surgery. Clearly, though, there’s some interest in Baker’s future. He struck out ten and walked just one while allowing four earned runs in 12 2/3 frames at Double-A in 2017.

    Brewers Sign Jhoulys Chacin Thu, 21 Dec 2017 17:33:35 +0000 TODAY: The contract is now official. It’s for $15.5MM, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports (Twitter links), with a $1.5MM signing bonus and consecutive salaries of $8MM and $6MM.

    YESTERDAY, 1:49pm: The sides are working to finalize a two-year pact for something approaching $8MM annually, per’s Jerry Crasnick (Twitter links). That’s right around the contract value that MLBTR suggested entering the winter.

    11:19am: The Brewers are closing in on a contract with free agent righty Jhoulys Chacin, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). Terms of the prospective deal are not known at this time. Chacin is a client of the Legacy Agency.

    Jhoulys Chacin | Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

    Chacin, 30 next month, is fresh off one of the best seasons of his career, having notched a 3.89 ERA with 7.6 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 and a 49.1 percent ground-ball rate over the life of 180 1/3 innings with the Padres, who signed him to a modest one-year commitment last offseason. Chacin’s strong output in 2017 positions him to handily top the $1.75MM guarantee he received in San Diego last winter. He’d join a Brewers rotation that will be without top starter Jimmy Nelson for a yet-undetermined portion of the 2018 campaign following September shoulder surgery.

    Assuming the deal is ultimately completed, Chacin will join Chase Anderson and Zach Davies in the Milwaukee rotation, with Josh Hader, Brent Suter, Brandon Woodruff and Junior Guerra among the other candidates vying for opportunities to start. Chacin may not bring significant upside to the table, but he’s been a durable mid-rotation arm over the past two seasons and should help to stabilize a group that carried significant questions about the number of innings it could be reasonably expected to provide to manager Craig Counsell.

    Chacin’s solid 2017 season did produce its fair share of skeptics — most notably owing to his significant home/road splits. In 100 1/3 innings at the pitcher-friendly Petco Park, Chacin logged a sensational 1.79 ERA, but that number spiked to a ghastly 6.59 in 80 road innings. Chacin also dominated right-handed hitters to the tune of a .213/.284/.318 opponents’ slash line, while lefties posted a much more adept .251/.356/.433 slash against him.

    The move to a more hitter-friendly Miller Park, then, will undoubtedly raise some questions. However, Chacin enjoyed success earlier in his career in the game’s worst pitching environment, Coors Field, and he’s long limited home runs better than the average pitcher. Despite spending parts of six seasons in Colorado and despite the recent uptick in homers throughout the league, Chacin has averaged just 0.85 HR/9 as a big leaguer.

    Newer metrics paint Chacin in a favorable light, as well; Statcast pegs Chacin’s average exit velocity on balls in the air (91.3 mph) and overall exit velocity (85.4 mph) among the weakest in the game for qualified pitchers. His .303 xwOBA, while not elite, places him alongside names like Danny Duffy, Jake Arrieta and Madison Bumgarner. That’s not to say, of course, that Chacin should be expected to produce at comparable levels to those three starters, but rather that his solid results and overall penchant for weak contact could be more conducive to success than his surface-level home/road splits would suggest.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Brewers Sign Erik Davis Tue, 19 Dec 2017 01:36:00 +0000
  • Righty Erik Davis has inked a minor-league pact with the Brewers, per a club announcement. The 31-year-old had a brief but highly promising debut with the Nats back in 2013, but hasn’t returned to form since ensuing Tommy John surgery. Davis spent the 2017 season pitching at Triple-A for the Diamondbacks organization. over 63 2/3 innings, he worked to a 4.38 ERA with 10.2 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9.
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    Brewers Sign Mike Zagurski To Minors Contract Mon, 18 Dec 2017 03:21:52 +0000
  • The Brewers signed left-hander Mike Zagurski to a minors deal,’s Jerry Crasnick reports (via Twitter).  Zagurski pitched in parts of five big league seasons with the Phillies, Diamondbacks, Pirates, and Yankees, last appearing in the Show during the 2013 campaign.  Zagurski has since spent two seasons in Japan and pitched in the Tigers’ farm system in 2017.
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    Brewers, Royals Talked At Winter Meetings Sun, 17 Dec 2017 22:51:56 +0000 The Brewers, searching for starters, relievers and a second baseman, spoke with the Royals about their available players at the Winter Meetings, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported earlier this week (on Twitter). It’s unclear whether those discussions actually led anywhere, however. Speculatively, considering the Brewers’ needs, talks could have involved anyone from a group consisting of Royals starters Danny Duffy and Jason Hammel, relievers Kelvin Herrera, Joakim Soria and Scott Alexander, and second baseman Whit Merrifield. All six of those players have been part of the rumor mill this month.

    Brewers Re-Sign Angel Ventura To Minors Pact Sun, 17 Dec 2017 00:14:21 +0000
  • The Brewers announced the re-signing of 24-year-old right-hander Angel Ventura to a minors pact. Ventura, whom the Brewers signed out of the Dominican in 2011, owns a 3.96 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 across 534 minor league innings with the organization (130 appearances, 67 starts)
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    Villar Not An Option In Mets' Second Base Search Fri, 15 Dec 2017 02:48:41 +0000
  • The Mets are still looking for help at second base, though they don’t appear to be close on some of the options on the trade market, Mike Puma of the New York Post writes.  Team officials “indicated there was little momentum” in talks with the Phillies on Cesar Hernandez and the Pirates about Josh Harrison, while the Twins are giving the impression that Brian Dozier is unlikely to be dealt.  The BrewersJonathan Villar is available in the wake of his down year, though Villar isn’t seen “as a serious possibility” by the Mets for now.  Looking at outside-the-box possibilities, signing shortstop Zack Cozart and switching him to second base seems like a “long shot” scenario, a source tells Newsday’s Marc Carig (Twitter link).
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    Brewers Interested In J.J. Hoover Thu, 14 Dec 2017 05:49:15 +0000
  • The Twins are also seeking bullpen help, and they have an offer out to a free agent reliever, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. That’s not J.J. Hoover, whom they’re uninterested in but who’s “squarely in the mix” for the Brewers, per Wolfson. The Twins also weren’t in on Juan Nicasio before he signed with the Mariners on Wednesday, Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press writes (Twitter links here).
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    Pitching Market Chatter: Phils, Yanks, Greinke, Cole, Archer, Duffy, CC, Jays Thu, 14 Dec 2017 00:51:51 +0000 With a pair of relief signings being wrapped up, the Phillies seem to feel good about that aspect of their roster. Per’s Todd Zolecki, via Twitter, the team will turn its gaze to improving the rotation. Both they and the Yankees checked in with the Diamondbacks regarding right-hander Zack Greinke, Robert Murray of FanRag writes. Greinke ending up with either club is unlikely, however, sources informed Murray. With the Rangers also having shown interest in Greinke, we now know at least three teams have inquired about the expensive 34-year-old this offseason.

    Greinke is the latest hurler to land on the radar of the Yankees, who have also eyed Pirates righty Gerrit Cole. Consequently, the Bucs “are gathering names of young, controllable” Yankees they could acquire in a Cole deal, though there’s “nothing close,” Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports (on Twitter). Notably, Brink adds that the Yankees are also “looking at” Rays righty Chris Archer. The 29-year-old has drawn significant interest this winter, but it’s unclear whether the Rays will move him.

    Plenty more pitching rumors…

    • The Royals are giving serious consideration to dealing southpaw Danny Duffy, who’s “extremely popular” on the trade market, Jon Heyman of FanRag tweets. Duffy suggested on Twitter that he doesn’t want to go anywhere, for what it’s worth. “Bury me a Royal,” he declared.
    • As the Blue Jays look for pitching reinforcements, they are giving real consideration to veteran CC Sabathia, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of writes. Though manager John Gibbons suggested his own priority is to add bats, he also said he’d welcome the addition of the veteran Sabathia — who has a lengthy history with the Jays’ current front office leadership stemming from their time in Cleveland together.
    • Teams have given up on trying to acquire Reds closer Raisel Iglesias, Heyman reports on Twitter. The Reds understandably want an enormous haul back for the 27-year-old star, who’s under affordable control for the foreseeable future.
    • The Twins and Rays have chatted about veteran righty Jake Odorizzi, per Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press (via Twitter), who adds that Tampa Bay was not interested in Minnesota’s initial offer.
    • Although they’re at the beginning of a full, cost-cutting rebuild, the Marlins aren’t feeling any urgency to deal righty Dan Straily, per Joe Frisaro of (Twitter link). Miami’s de facto ace will play his first of three arbitration-eligible seasons in 2018. He’s projected to earn a $4.6MM salary, which even the Marlins can afford.
    • The Mets are not likely to sign another free agent reliever, at least in the near term, according to GM Sandy Alderson and as’s Anthony DiComo tweets. Instead, after landing Anthony Swarzak, the organization expects to begin looking to fill its other needs.
    • Brewers GM David Stearns discussed his organization’s situation with reporters including’s Adam McCalvy (Twitter links). He said the team was willing to go to two years to get Swarzak, but wasn’t willing to match the dollar amount he ultimately took. The club still has open payroll capacity, which Stearns says he’ll put to good use. “We have spending power this offseason,” he said. “I’m confident we are going to find places to use that effectively.”
    • Before the Astros agreed to a deal with Joe Smith on Wednesday, Brian McTaggart of hinted on Twitter that the team could have interest in free agent righty Hector Rondon. Whether that still stands remains to be seen, but the Astros are already chock-full of righty relievers as it is.
    Details On Ian Kinsler’s No-Trade Clause Wed, 13 Dec 2017 18:57:40 +0000 12:57pm: Sherman has now tweeted the full list, reporting that the Yankees, Dodgers, Athletics, Padres, Giants, Rays, and Blue Jays are also teams to which Kinsler can block a move.

    9:28am: It has long been anticipated that the Tigers will attempt to deal veteran second baseman Ian Kinsler, who’ll play for a reasonable $11MM salary. Indeed, the organization has made no secret of its intentions to hear offers to cash in one of its few clear trade assets.

    As in the past, though, Kinsler’s partial no-trade rights could become a factor. According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Kinsler has the right to block deals to three teams that seem to be quite sensible matches on paper: the Mets, Angels, and Brewers.

    Indeed, the Halos may well be targeting Kinsler in particular. According to’s Jerry Crasnick, via Twitter, the Los Angeles organization has clear interest and may even be prioritizing Kinsler as it continues to search for an upgrade at second. At this point, there’s little clarity on how Kinsler will utilize his rights, though Sherman does note that he seems inclined to okay a deal to Los Angeles.

    Of course, it’s unlikely that Kinsler is thrilled at the prospect of spending the season with the rebuilding Tigers rather than suiting up for a contender. And he has seemingly expressed an interest in just that. There were past indications that Kinsler would seek to use his no-trade clause to gain contract inducements, though he also downplayed that consideration at the time.

    Brewers Notes: Santana, Contract Offers, Pirates Wed, 13 Dec 2017 00:13:56 +0000
  • Domingo Santana’s name has been mentioned in trade talks, with Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporting that the Brewers are actively shopping the outfielder rather than just listening to offers.’s Jerry Crasnick hears from one executive that the Brewers are trying to “sell high” on Santana, and that the market for his services isn’t as active as the Crew had hoped.  Crasnick has heard “mixed reviews” on Santana’s potential, as while he enjoyed a good 2017 season, teams aren’t enamored with his strikeouts, defense, and his soon-to-be growing price tag in arbitration.  (Both links to Twitter)
  • Brewers GM David Stearns told reporters (including Haudricourt and’s Adam McCalvy) that the team is waiting to hear on offers it has extended to multiple free agents.  Pitching is Milwaukee’s focus this winter, so Haudricourt assumes that the Brewers have made offers to at least a few arms.  Stearns also added that the Brew Crew are willing to explore both signings and trades, and talks continue on the latter front.
  • In two more tweets from Haudricourt, he mentions that the Brewers and Pirates were in talks today.  With Milwaukee looking for pitching and second base help, Haudricourt speculates that Gerrit Cole or Josh Harrison could have been topics of discussion between the two division rivals.
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    Position Player Rumblings: Padres, Moose, Walker, Napoli, Cards, D-Backs Tue, 12 Dec 2017 18:49:37 +0000 The Padres could play a major role in the market over the next few days, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports writes on Twitter. Indeed, the organization has already made one interesting move today. San Diego is looking around for a controllable shortstop and could conceivably match up with the Cubs, Passan suggests. (From an outside perspective, it seems ace reliever Brad Hand would be the most likely Padres piece to pique Chicago’s interest, but that’s just speculation.) Also, the team’s interest in free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer is seemingly increasingly serious. Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets that the Friars are “strongly in [the] mix” for Hosmer, while Passan says the sides have gained “traction” in discussions.

    Here’s more from the position-player side of the market:

    • At this point, at least, the Braves are not engaged on the market for third baseman Mike Moustakas, according to Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio (via Twitter). Atlanta does have interest in improving at the hot corner, but it seems that new GM Alex Anthopoulos is not all that intrigued by the powerful but OBP-challenged Moustakas. Of course, there’s still time for the market to develop.
    • Free agent second baseman Neil Walker is still looking for a four-year deal, according to Heyman (via Twitter). That seems like a lofty ask, though, for a 32-year-old player on a market full of possibilities at second. Walker has been a steady producer, to be sure, and finished with a strong .267/.409/.433 run with the Brewers, but with so many other options out there it seems more likely he’ll end up settling for a two or three-year guarantee.
    • The Mets have some interest in free agent Mike Napoli, per the New York Post’s Joel Sherman. Indeed, the club’s new skipper, Mickey Callaway, has reached out to Napoli to discuss the possibility. (The two share a connection from the Indians.) Presumably, Napoli would share time with Dominic Smith at first base, with the organization arranging a natural platoon pairing and then allowing things to play out based upon performance.
    • As the Cardinals continue to seek ways to upgrade after missing on Giancarlo Stanton, they have been scanning the market for alternatives. The team’s preference, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes, is to “turn two of their excess outfielders into one newcomer.” That would seemingly represent a fairly clean way to improve the roster, though of course it will likely also require a rather particular trade partner. It is not difficult to imagine such a team also wishing to receive a sweetener in exchange for giving up a premium asset for volume. There are plenty more details and quotes from the Cards front office in the post.
    • The Diamondbacks have been contacted by other organizations about the availability of their middle infielders, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). Arizona certainly has quite some volume of MLB-level options up the middle, though it’s also not entirely clear at this point just which players (if any) have firmly secured places in the club’s long-term plans. It’s possible that market demand could help dictate the decisonmaking process, too, as the organization seeks ways to navigate a tricky payroll situation. Though none of the team’s top middle infielders are very costly, that very feature might allow the D-Backs to bring back equally affordable pieces that meet needs or perhaps structure a package deal to shed other salary. Chris Owings ($3.8MM arb projection) has only two years of control left, while Nick Ahmed ($1.1MM) has three and Daniel Descalso will hit the open market after earning $2MM in 2018. Ketel Marte and Brandon Drury are still shy of arbitration.
    Pitching Market Rumblings: Brewers, Rays, Duffy, Nicasio, Arrieta Tue, 12 Dec 2017 17:28:06 +0000 Starting pitching is in the news this morning, with several notable names being discussed. But there are a whole lot of other moving pieces out there. Let’s run down the latest chatter on the pitching market:

    • The Brewers have chatted with the Rays about their potential rotation trade pieces, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (via Twitter), who cautions that there’s no indication to this point that “any traction was made.” It’s not immediately clear which Tampa Bay hurlers have piqued the interest of the Milwaukee front office, though surely they’d have the trade pieces necessary to swing a deal for just about anyone. Chris Archer remains the big name to watch, though we don’t yet know whether he’s truly available. The Brewers could conceivably have interest in other pitchers, too, including veteran Jake Odorizzi, but it’s all speculation at this stage.
    • Meanwhile, the Brewers are said to have interest in righty Jesse Chavez, Haudricourt also tweets. We heard yesterday the veteran swingman was likely to find a new home this week.
    • Veteran closer Fernando Rodney has met with the Rangers and Twins, per’s TR Sullivan (via Twitter) and Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press (via Twitter). It’s not clear at this point how serious the interest is, though Rodney might conceivably be an option for either club, both of which have largely unsettled ninth-inning plans.
    • Another interesting possibility on the rotation market is Royals lefty Danny Duffy. He has drawn interest from the Cubs, per Robert Murray of Fan Rag. Indeed, K.C. has been contacted by rivals on Duffy and a few other notably interesting assets,’s Jeffrey Flanagan tweets. It’s entirely unclear at this point what kinds of scenarios might be pondered on Duffy, but the Royals will surely want a significant return for a player they only recently extended. His contract runs through 2021 and promises him $60MM. While a DUI arrest and elbow surgery introduce some uncertainty into the situation, from a pure on-field perspective Duffy remains a valuable asset as he nears his 29th birthday.
    • The Mets are among the organizations with interest in free agent righty Juan Nicasio, according to Tyler Kepner of the New York Times (via Twitter). The 31-year-old pitched quite well throughout 2017, both before and after an odd series of August transactions. He ended the year with a 2.61 ERA over 72 1/3 innings, with 9.0 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9.
    • We’ve heard some possibility that the Nationals could have interest in free agent righty Jake Arrieta, and’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that agent Scott Boras is working to sell that potential fit to the team’s ownership. Then again, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post characterizes the Nationals’ interest as “tepid” in a tweet. The division-rival Phillies are reportedly also a possibility, along with several other teams, as we covered this morning. Given that the Nats have an opening in their rotation, it isn’t at all surprising to hear that Boras is pushing for it to be filled by Arrieta; after all, his connection to the organization’s ownership is quite well-established by this point. Of course, adding yet another high-priced starter would carry some pretty notable risk for the organization, so it stands to reason that the club will explore other possibilities before deciding whether to join the pursuit of the 31-year-old Arrieta. Crasnick also takes a broader look at Arrieta’s still-developing market, including an extensive examination of Boras’s marketing strategy.
    • While there is action at the top of the pitching market, the Blue Jays seem to be taking a patient approach, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of writes. While GM Ross Atkins says there’s a lack of depth in the rotation market, he also has indicated no interest in pushing hard to strike a deal. It seems the organization’s inclination remains to seek value in bolstering the rotation depth.
    • For the Diamondbacks, meanwhile, the team may at least be preparing to consider deals involving some fairly surprising players. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic runs down the team’s options for trade candidates who might free up some payroll space and enable the team to achieve future value. At the top of the list are center fielder A.J. Pollock and lefty Patrick Corbin. Meanwhile, the D-Backs are certainly still looking to field a competitor in the near term as well. They are one team with some level of interest in reliever Seung-Hwan Oh, according to Murray. Oh was not able to match his compelling MLB debut season in 2017, but still posted 8.2 K/9 against 2.0 BB/9 while carrying a 4.10 ERA over 59 1/3 innings.
    Chris Archer Drawing Plenty Of Interest Tue, 12 Dec 2017 05:17:24 +0000 Rays right-hander Chris Archer is drawing widespread interest early in the Winter Meetings, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. The Braves, Brewers, Twins, Cardinals and Cubs are some of the teams eyeing Archer, according to Topkin.

    Given that Archer’s one of the most valuable trade chips in the game, his popularity around the majors isn’t a surprise. He’d surely bring back a significant haul in a deal, thereby helping the Rays improve an already strong farm system, but it’s unclear whether he’ll be among the veterans the payroll-cutting club parts with this offseason. If the long-struggling Rays opt for a rebuild, which they may have to strongly consider in the wake of the division-rival Yankees’ acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton, it could indeed bring about the end of the 29-year-old Archer’s tenure in Tampa Bay.

    Archer has been with the Rays since they acquired him from the Cubs – who, as mentioned, seem to want him back – in a 2011 trade centering on righty Matt Garza. He turned into a front-line starter in 2013, his first full major league season, and has pitched to a 3.63 ERA/3.46 FIP combination with 9.72 K/9 against 2.94 BB/9 in 967 career innings. Archer’s a workhorse, too, having made no fewer than 32 starts four years in a row.

    Archer’s now fresh off his third straight 200-inning season, in which he racked up 201 frames with an ERA (4.07) that doesn’t do justice to his performance. After all, the flamethrowing Archer finished behind only Chris Sale, Robbie Ray and the reigning Cy Young winners – Max Scherzer and Corey Kluber – in K/9 (11.15). He also walked a respectable 2.69 batters per nine and placed seventh among starters in swinging-strike rate (13.4 percent).

    Archer’s track record on the mound is clearly enticing, and the fact that his contract is among the league’s most team-friendly pacts significantly adds to his value. He’s controllable for the next four years for $34MM, including club options for 2020 and ’21. If the Rays do make an earnest bid to move him, then, it’s likely to spark a bidding war.

    FA Rumors: LoMo, Rox, Hunter, Mets, Kintzler, Brewers, O’s, Tigers, Jays Mon, 11 Dec 2017 23:41:02 +0000 The latest free agent rumors…

    • Contrary to a report from Sunday, the Rockies haven’t had any discussions about signing first baseman Logan Morrison, per Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post (Twitter link).
    • Reliever Tommy Hunter has emerged as a “prime target” for the Mets in their search for bullpen help, according to Marc Carig of Newsday (on Twitter). The 31-year-old right-hander was quietly excellent over 58 2/3 innings with the Rays in 2017, recording a 2.61 ERA and putting up 9.82 K/9 against 2.15 BB/9.
    • Count the Diamondbacks among those interested in reliever Brandon Kintzler, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, who expects the former Twins closer to land a two-year deal. Kintzler suggested last month that his wife is rooting for him to sign with Arizona. The Twins continue to monitor him, and they’ve also checked in on almost every other available pitcher, chief baseball officer Derek Falvey revealed (Twitter link via Rhett Bollinger of
    • Brewers GM David Stearns said Monday that he’s likely to “cross paths” at the Winter Meetings with the agents for second baseman Neil Walker and reliever Anthony Swarzak, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. Walker and Swarzak ended last season with the Brewers after coming over in trades and performed quite well during their short stints in Milwaukee.
    • Although the Orioles badly need starters, they’re not inclined to dole out long deals. GM Dan Duquette suggested to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun and other reporters Monday that four- to five-year pacts for pitchers generally don’t work out well (Twitter link). On the other hand, Duquette hasn’t closed the door on re-signing righty Chris Tillman, who figures to be an affordable, short-term pickup after enduring a dreadful 2017 (Twitter link via Roch Kubatko of
    • As is the case with Baltimore, the Tigers are in the market for a starter who won’t require a long commitment, GM Al Avila informed reporters (via Evan Woodbery of, on Twitter). Detroit is open to reeling in another starter on a one-year deal to join the just-signed Mike Fiers.
    • The Blue Jays are engaging with multiple starters and relievers, GM Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet and other reporters Monday. They “will most likely add an infielder,” too, and are looking at outfielders, Atkins said (Twitter link).
    • The Rangers are considering signing catcher Rene Rivera, per Jon Heyman of FanRag (Twitter link). The righty-hitting Rivera, who was with the Mets and Cubs last year, batted .252/.305/.431 in 237 plate appearances. Behind the plate, he caught an excellent 38 percent of would-be base stealers (10 percent above the league average) and, as has been the case for most of his career, held his own as a framer.
    • Right-hander Jesse Chavez appears likely to sign this week, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes tweets. The 34-year-old Chavez spent last season with the Angels and posted an ugly 5.35 ERA across 138 innings and 38 appearances (21 starts), though he did log acceptable strikeout and walk rates (7.76 K/9, 2.93 BB/9).
    Trade Chatter: Machado, Phils, Yanks, Bucs, Cole, Ellsbury, Tigers, Brewers Mon, 11 Dec 2017 22:59:07 +0000 Should the Orioles decide to trade superstar third baseman Manny Machado prior to 2018, his contract year, they could find a taker in Philadelphia. The Phillies are among “the more interested parties” in Machado, Roch Kubatko of reports. The Orioles have studied the Phillies’ farm system in the event of a deal, and they now “covet” right-hander Sixto Sanchez (Baseball America’s 61st-best prospect), per Kubatko. Second base prospect Scott Kingery and major league shortstop Freddy Galvis could also be involved in a potential trade, Kubatko writes. But a swap would require a 72-hour window for the Phillies to extend the 25-year-old Machado, according to Kubatko, and hammering out an agreement could be a tall order given that he’s so close to hitting the open market.

    More of the latest trade chatter:

    • The Yankees reportedly came away from talks with the Pirates with the impression that they won’t move righty Gerrit Cole. However, the Pirates are at least willing to listen to offers for Cole, per Buster Olney of ESPN (Twitter link). The Yankees and Bucs match up well for a potential Cole trade, sources tell Olney, who notes that Bombers general manager Brian Cashman and the Pirates’ Neal Huntington have swung plenty of deals in the past.
    • In the wake of the Giancarlo Stanton acquisition, the Yankees are loaded with outfielders. Although that seems to be bad news for Jacoby Ellsbury, who’s toward the bottom of the Yankees’ current outfield depth chart, he’s still “unlikely” to waive his no-trade clause, Mark Feinsand of tweets. The belief is that the Yankees would eat roughly half of the $68MM to jettison Ellsbury, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag, but it could be a moot point if he’s unwilling to go anywhere. And Cashman said Monday that Ellsbury “has a spot on the roster” and “will compete to take his job back,” Alex Speier of the Boston Globe relays (Twitter link). On the other hand, if the Yankees make 23-year-old outfielder Clint Frazier available, the Athletics would unquestionably have interest, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (via Twitter). However, the price to acquire Frazier would likely be too high, Slusser adds.
    • The Tigers expect to deal second baseman Ian Kinsler, GM Al Avila told Evan Woodbery of and other reporters (Twitter link). Meanwhile, they’ve gotten “mild inquiries” on arguably their most valuable trade chip – righty Michael Fulmer – but they’re not actively shopping him (via Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press, on Twitter). “There are a handful of teams out there that have the players to do it, but we have not come close to those conversations,” Avila said of a potential Fulmer trade (Twitter link via Jason Beck of
    • While the Brewers are listening to offers for outfielder Domingo Santana, there’s not a lot of traction in trade talks, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN tweets. The Brewers want “an affordable impact starter” for Santana, Crasnick suggests. GM David Stearns told reporters Monday that “if we’re going to even consider trading someone who is such an important part of our team, we are going to expect a sizable return” (via Adam McCalvy of, on Twitter).
    Cafardo: Brewers Would Consider Dealing Ryan Braun Sun, 10 Dec 2017 16:35:24 +0000
  • The Brewers would consider proposals for left fielder Ryan Braun, Cafardo suggests. Milwaukee has no shortage of outfielders, which could open the door for a Braun trade, but moving him would be challenging. The 34-year-old posted one of his worst seasons in 2017, thanks in part to injuries, and still has $57MM coming his way (including a $4MM buyout in 2021). He also has full no-trade rights as a 10-and-5 player.

  • ]]>
    Giants Among Teams Showing Interest In Domingo Santana Sun, 10 Dec 2017 14:34:40 +0000 SUNDAY: The Giants also have interest in Broxton, per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link). After breaking out during an abbreviated 2016 campaign, Broxton took steps backward last season, hitting .220/.299/.420 across 463 PAs and earning poor marks in center field (minus-7 Defensive Runs Saved, minus-2.2 Ultimate Zone Rating). The soon-to-be 28-year-old still managed to rack up 20 homers and 21 stolen bases, however, and comes with five years of team control.

    FRIDAY: The Brewers are “getting hits” on quite a few outfielders, according to a report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter link). That includes Domingo Santana, who has been pursued by teams including the Giants.

    It’s hardly surprising to hear that rival organizations are prodding the Brewers to move an outfielder. The team has numerous talented players that fit several different profiles. Veteran Ryan Braun is unlikely to be traded, per the report, due at least in part to his no-trade rights. But with a few other roster needs and other areas to upgrade, it’s certainly reasonable to think that Milwaukee is amenable to considering a move involving some of its other outfielders.

    Santana is likely the most valuable player of the bunch. He’s just 25, is controllable for four more seasons (one of them at the league minimum), and is fresh off of a season in which he posted a .278/.371/.505 slash with thirty home runs in 607 plate appearances. If the team prefers to keep the established asset, it might consider swaps involving Keon Broxton, Lewis Brinson, or Brett Phillips, each of whom could conceivably be a long-term answer in center field for the Brewers or another team.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean the Brewers are offering up any bargains. As Brewers GM David Stearns told’s Adam McCalvy today (Twitter link), the club is not exactly anxious to pare back its depth and can still option Brinson and/or Phillips. There’s no question whatsoever that Santana, among others, would only be dealt if the Brewers felt they were receiving compelling value — likely, in a manner that would allow the team to improve both now and in the future. Milwaukee is most clearly in need of starting pitching.

    Santana makes for an interesting target for the Giants, who could also compete with the Cardinals for the best outfielders on the free agent and trade markets after being spurned by Giancarlo Stanton. San Francisco is clearly working through a variety of possibilities now that the Stanton deal won’t be happening. Rosenthal also notes that San Francisco has maintained its interest in free agent outfielder Jay Bruce, and’s Mark Feinsand tweets that the same holds true of Lorenzo Cain.

    NL Central Notes: Cardinals, Cubs, Brewers Sat, 09 Dec 2017 21:10:26 +0000 Though the Cardinals weren’t able to convince Giancarlo Stanton to waive his no-trade clause, they may yet be able to work out a trade with the Marlins. Specifically, rival execs say they expect the Redbirds to make a “legit pitch” for fellow outfielders Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN tweets. Crasnick describes a deal for Ozuna or Yelich as more of a “pure baseball trade” than a deal for Stanton, adding that he believes that’s more in the confines of St. Louis GM John Mozeliak’s comfort zone. While it would require a lot more in terms of prospects to land one of the Marlins’ remaining outfielders, previous negotiations for Stanton could potentially expedite trade talks. It stands to reason that the two teams should already be quite familiar with each others’ valuations on several Cardinals prospects. Furthermore, the Cardinals may have already evaluated avenues for what to do with Randal Grichuk or Stephen Piscotty in the event they are able to acquire a new outfielder. It will be interesting to see if anything unfolds between these two teams during the winter meetings.

    • The Cubs have their sights set on Rays pitchers Alex Colome and Chris Archer, Phil Rogers of reports with a tweet, though he acknowledges that getting both in one swoop would require a “monster return.” From my point of view, it seems difficult to imagine that the Cubs could put together a package worthy of Archer alone; their farm system is devoid of top 100 prospects following several promotions over the past few seasons, coupled with trades for players such as Wade Davis, Aroldis Chapman and Jose Quintana. Archer alone would require at least some players from the major league club. It’s tough to know whether giving up one or more of Ian Happ, Javier Baez or Kyle Schwarber (to name just a few examples) in exchange for pitching would significantly improve the major league team. The top three names in the Cubs’ farm system (according to MLB Pipeline) are right-handed pitchers Oscar de la Cruz, Jose Albertos and Adbert Alzolay.
    • Tom Haudricort of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel details some of Brewers GM David Stearns’ comments about the upcoming winter meetings. Last year, Stearns had no idea he’d gain enough traction in talks for Travis Shaw to actually complete a trade during the meetings. “You’re never really sure which one will be the one you get a foothold on,” Stearns said. “Last year, we were able to get that foothold in the Shaw talks and get a deal done.” Haudricort describes adding to a thin starting rotation as a “major priority” for Stearns this winter, noting that Jimmy Nelson might not be healthy in time for Opening Day. Beyond Chase Anderson, Junior Guerra and Zach Davies, there aren’t any definite fixtures in the rotation. Josh Hader performed well in the bullpen last year, but the notion of transitioning him back to a starting role remains simply a “topic of discussion.” Stearns notes that Hader’s role with the team will depend on how the offseason shakes out, as well as continued internal dialogue about how he fits best on the team. The only thing Stearns would commit to is that Hader will be in a “position to accumulate innings.” On the notion of that the Brewers could pursue big-ticket names like Jake Arrieta and Yu Darvish, Stearns had the following comment: “Our market and our history here probably is a better indicator of the types of moves we’re seeking than some of the external speculation.”
    Stearns On Brewers' Plans Entering Winter Meetings Sat, 09 Dec 2017 06:35:16 +0000
  • Brewers GM David Stearns chatted with the team’s beat writers, including Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, in advance of the Winter Meetings. Regarding the team’s rotation needs, Stearns says that the organization’s “market and history” under his stewardship are “a better indicator of the types of moves we’re seeking than some of the external speculation.” That seemingly hints that the organization won’t be chasing high-end free agents, though perhaps some of the top pitchers could still be considered in the right circumstances. He noted that lefty Josh Hader could yet end up “in a multi-inning relief role, similar to last year, or a more conventional starter role.” While the team wants to ensure Hader is able to “accumulate innings,” its winter moves could dictate his precise usage. Generally, Stearns said the club has many talks at various stages of development, though nothing that is nearing completion as of this particular moment.
  • ]]>
    Mariners, Giants, Padres, Rangers, Cubs, Angels Among Teams To Meet With Shohei Ohtani Mon, 04 Dec 2017 05:40:33 +0000 11:40pm: The Angels are indeed one of the finalists, as per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter).

    10:39pm: The Angels are thought by “multiple sources” to be one of the finalists, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan tweets.  The Tigers are out of the running, according to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press.

    8:59pm: The Rangers and Cubs will both meet with Ohtani, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports (Twitter link), and they’re also the only two non-West Coast teams who appear to still be alive in the candidate process.  The Rangers, Grant notes, have yet to comment on their status one way or the other.

    7:22pm: The Nationals won’t be receiving a meeting, the Washington Post’s Chelsea Janes reports (Twitter link).

    6:58pm: The Braves are out,’s Jerry Crasnick reports (via Twitter).

    6:50pm: The Padres will receive a meeting with Ohtani, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (Twitter links).  The Dodgers are also thought to still be active in the Ohtani sweepstakes though Heyman doesn’t have confirmation; regardless, the Dodgers aren’t thought to be favorites to land Ohtani.

    6:38pm: The Rays, Cardinals and White Sox are out, according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (all Twitter links).

    6:15pm: The Diamondbacks won’t receive a meeting, Ken Rosenthal tweets.

    6:12pm: The Blue Jays, Pirates, and Brewers are all out, as respectively reported by’s Shi Davidi,’s Adam Berry, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt (all Twitter links).

    5:48pm: The Mets are also out, as per Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link).

    5:38pm: Ohtani’s list is “heavy” on West Coast teams, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports, though the Cubs may still be involved.  Not every west-based team is included, however, as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal tweets that the A’s aren’t involved.

    5:28pm: The Red Sox are also out of the running, president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.  The Twins also won’t be getting a meeting with Ohtani, Heyman tweets.

    5:16pm: The Giants and Mariners are among the teams that will receive meetings with Shohei Ohtani and his representatives next week, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports (Twitter link).  It isn’t known who the other finalists are in the Ohtani sweepstakes, though the Yankees are one of the teams that didn’t make the cut, as Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters (including’s Brendan Kuty and’s Bryan Hoch).

    According to Cashman, Ohtani seems to be leaning towards West Coast teams in smaller markets.  This ties to a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman saying that Ohtani’s reps are informing teams that the two-way star would prefer to play in a smaller market.

    The news adds another fascinating layer to the Ohtani sweepstakes, which was already one of the more intriguing free agent pursuits in recent memory.  Given the seeming lack of immediate financial motive that inspired Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball, it opened the door for every team in baseball (regardless of market or payroll size) to make a push for the 23-year-old.  There had been speculation that Ohtani might look to avoid playing in a larger market, so this apparent confirmation creates a realistic possibility that he will land with a team that wouldn’t normally be considered a favorite to land such a coveted free agent.

    Of course, San Francisco isn’t exactly a small market, though Ohtani wouldn’t necessarily be the center of attention on a club with such established stars as Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner (and maybe even Giancarlo Stanton in the near future).  Playing for an NL team, however, would force Ohtani into a pinch-hitting or even a part-time outfield role for the at-bats he seeks in his attempt to be a two-way player in the big leagues.  The Mariners do have such a DH spot available (in a timeshare with Nelson Cruz), and were considered to be a contender for Ohtani given their long history of Japanese players.

    The Yankees also have had several significant Japanese players on their past and current rosters, and were widely seen as one of the major favorites for Ohtani’s services from a financial (in terms of available international bonus money) and positional (openings at DH and in the rotation) standpoint, not to mention their international fame and their young core of talent ready to make a World Series push.  With Ohtani now out of the picture, the Yankees could move to signing more pitching depth — a reunion with C.C. Sabathia has been widely speculated as a possibility — or a veteran bat to serve as designated hitter, if the club doesn’t just rotate its DH days to find plate appearances for everyone on the current roster.

    2017 Non-Tenders Sat, 02 Dec 2017 01:10:38 +0000 The deadline to tender 2018 contracts to players is tonight at 8pm EST. We’ll keep track of the day’s non-tenders in this post (all referenced arbitration projections courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz) …

    • The Giants non-tendered righty Albert Suarez, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. Suarez, 28, was not yet eligible for arbitration.
    • Righty Tom Koehler and infielder Ryan Goins are heading to the open market after being non-tendered by the Blue Jays, per a team announcement.
    • The Rays announced that lefty Xavier Cedeno has been non-tendered, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets.
    • The Cubs non-tendered catcher Taylor Davis, per a team announcement. He was not yet eligible for arbitration.
    • Four Rangers players have not been tendered contracts, per a club announcement. Righties Chi Chi Gonzalez, A.J. Griffin, and Nick Martinez have been cut loose along with infielder Hanser Alberto. Griffin ($3.0MM projection) and Martinez ($2.0MM) were both noted as non-tender candidates by MLBTR. The other two players were not yet eligible for arbitration. Gonzalez was a former first-round pick who had struggled of late and underwent Tommy John surgery in July.
    • The Diamondbacks have also non-tendered lefty T.J. McFarland, who had projected at a $1.0MM salary.
    • The Reds non-tendered lefty Kyle Crockett, a pre-arb lefty who was only recently claimed on waivers, per a club announcement.
    • Per a club announcement, the Brewers have non-tendered veteran righty Jared Hughes. He will end up being the only 40-man player not to receive a contract from Milwaukee. Hughes had projected at a $2.2MM arbitration value. The 32-year-old is a master at inducing grounders and has turned in repeatedly excellent results. He also averaged a career-best 93.9 mph on his sinker in 2017.
    • The Mariners have non-tendered lefty Drew Smyly and righty Shae Simmons, per a club announcement. While the former was expected, due to Smyly’s Tommy John surgery, the latter rates as something of a surprise given his cheap $700K projection. Of course, it’s possible the club is not optimistic of his chances of bouncing back from arm troubles.
    • The White Sox will not tender a contract to reliever Jake Petricka, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter). He had projected to take home $1.1MM in his second trip through the arb process. Also non-tendered, per a club announcement, were righties Zach Putnam and Al Alburquerque as well as infielder Alan Hanson.
    • It seems that righty Bruce Rondon will wind up his tenure with the Tigers, as the organization is set to non-tender him, per Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free-Press (via Twitter). Rondon was long viewed as a potential late-inning arm for the Tigers, but had some notable run-ins with the organization, struggled with control, and never consistently produced at the MLB level. Though he projected to earn just $1.2MM, Rondon will be allowed to find a new organization. He will turn 26 later this month.
    • The Diamondbacks will non-tender righty J.J. Hoover, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter). Hoover projected at just $1.6MM, but Arizona is watching every penny as it seeks to return to the postseason with a tight payroll situation. The 30-year-old turned in 41 1/3 innings of 3.92 ERA ball in 2017 with 11.8 K/9 but also 5.7 BB/9 on the year.
    • The Royals announced that they have non-tendered outfielder Terrance Gore. Though Gore was not eligible for arbitration, teams occasionally utilize today’s deadline to prune their 40-man rosters. Gore had quite an interesting run with Kansas City, scarcely playing at all during the regular season and then appearing as a speed-and-defense asset in the team’s two storied postseason runs. Now, though the fleet-footed 26-year-old is out of options. With an upper minors OPS that hovers just over .600, Gore just was not going to break camp with the club. It seems reasonable to think there’s a chance he’ll return to the organization on a minors deal, though Gore will also have a shot at exploring the broader market.
    Players Avoiding Arbitration: 12/1/17 Sat, 02 Dec 2017 01:05:54 +0000 With the deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players set for 8pm tonight, there should be several agreements over the next few hours — particularly among players that were considered to be potential non-tender candidates. Many non-tender candidates will be presented with offers that are lower than what they’d project to earn via arbitration in a “take it or leave it” manner; some will agree to the lesser deal (as Brewers catcher Stephen Vogt did earlier this morning) while others will reject and likely hit the open market.

    Here’s today’s slate of players that have avoided the arb process and locked in at least a partial guarantee for the upcoming season (arbitration contracts are not fully guaranteed, but each of these players will be guaranteed one sixth of the agreed-upon sum unless specifically negotiated otherwise). All projections are via MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz

    • The Padres announced that lefty Robbie Erlin has agreed to a contract for 2018. The 27-year-old missed all of 2017 due to Tommy John surgery and was projected to earn $700K through arbitration. Terms of his deal have not yet been reported.
    • The Braves appear to have agreed to terms with just-claimed righty Chase Whitley, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). Whitley, who was projected to earn $1.0MM in his first season of arb eligibility, is said to be in line for an opportunity to work as a starter. It’s a split deal that would pay Whitley $800K in the majors, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets.
    • The Mariners agreed with Andrew Romine on a $1.05MM contract, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). Romine, a versatile infielder, was claimed off waivers after the end of the 2017 season.
    • Outfielder Abraham Almonte has reached a deal to avoid arbitration with the Indians, per a club announcement. He had featured as a possible non-tender candidate but instead found common ground with the organization. Almonte, 28, slashed just .233/.314/.366 in his 195 trips to the plate in 2017. He had projected to earn a $1.1MM payday in his first season of arbitration eligibility but will take home $825K, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter).
    • The Royals have agreed to terms with righty Mike Morin to avoid arbitration, the club announced. He’ll receive a split contract,’s Jeffrey Flanagan tweets, with a $750K annual earning rate in the majors and $250K in the minors. Morin, who projected at $700K, drew a mention on MLBTR’s non-tender candidates list. Indeed, his contract reflects the middling season that he turned in. Morin allowed 16 earned runs in twenty MLB frames, though he was more effective at Triple-A.
    • Yimi Garcia and the Dodgers have avoided arbitration, per J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group (via Twitter). Garia projected to command only a $700K salary after missing all of 2017 following Tommy John surgery; he’ll end up taking home $630K, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). Now 27, Garcia had established himself as a significant member of the Dodgers’ bullpen in 2015, when he compiled a 3.34 ERA with 10.8 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 over 56 2/3 innings. But injuries limited him in the ensuing season and ultimately culminated in a UCL replacement.
    • Per a club announcement, the Indians have agreed to a contract with righty Dan Otero. Otero will take home $1.3MM, per’s Jordan Bastian (via Twitter). He was projected to command $1.4MM. The 32-year-old Otero has been an unmitigated bargain for Cleveland over the past two years, turning in 130 2/3 total innings of 2.14 ERA pitching despite averaging just 6.5 K/9 in that span. Otero has succeeded with unfailing command (just 19 walks since joining the Indians) and a hefty groundball rate (over 60% in each of the past two seasons).
    • The Angels and righty Blake Wood agreed to a one-year, $1.45MM deal that falls well shy of his $2.2MM projection, as FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman was the first to report (via Twitter). Wood struggled mightily in Cincinnati before being picked up by the Halos late in the year and turning his season around a bit. In 17 innings with the Angels, he posted a 4.76 ERA with a much more promising 22-to-4 K/BB ratio. Heyman notes that he can earn up to $50K worth of incentives as well.
    • The White Sox announced that they’ve signed right-hander Danny Farquhar to a one-year deal worth $1.05MM — a pact that falls shy of his $1.5MM projection. In 49 1/3 innings between the Rays and ChiSox, the 30-year-old logged a 4.20 ERA with 8.2 K/9, 5.1 BB/9 and a 41.7 percent ground-ball rate.
    Brewers Agree To Deal With Jeremy Jeffress Sat, 02 Dec 2017 00:10:07 +0000 The Brewers have struck a deal with righty Jeremy Jeffress, as’s Adam McCalvy first reported (Twitter link). While the contract will promise the second-time arb-eligible reliever just one more season worth of salary, it also comes with two club options, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter link).

    The 30-year-old Jeffress will play for $1.75MM in 2017, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets. The options are valued at $3.175MM and $4.3MM. He’ll also have up to $2.2MM in available incentives for each year of the deal, tied to innings pitched and games finished, McCalvy tweets.

    Jeffress had projected to command $2.6MM in his second season of arbitration eligibility. Instead, he’ll take a fairly interesting contract that will allow him to continue pitching with Milwaukee while giving up control over one potential free agent campaign.

    There have been some ups and downs through the years for Jeffress, who emerged as the team’s closer with a strong 2016 season before being shipped at the deadline to the Rangers. Things did not go well in Texas, as Jeffress was arrested for driving while intoxicated and struggled out of the gates in 2017.

    Still, Jeffress rebounded upon being shipped back to Milwaukee, turning in 24 2/3 innings of 3.65 ERA pitching with 8.0 K/9 and 5.5 BB/9. He has also managed to induce grounders at a 60% clip, giving cause to think he could still be a quality contributor.