Milwaukee Brewers – MLB Trade Rumors 2019-08-22T14:49:00Z WordPress Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Jung Ho Kang Working Out With Brewers' Triple-A Team]]> 2019-08-17T03:13:59Z 2019-08-17T03:13:59Z After spending several years with the Pirates, who released him Aug. 5, it’s possible free-agent infielder Jung Ho Kang will resurface in the National League Central. Kang took infield practice with the Brewers’ Triple-A affiliate in San Antonio on Thursday, as journalist Joe Alexander noted. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel corroborated Alexander’s report Friday, tweeting that Kang has been working out with the Brewers’ top farm club. Kang and the Brewers have not reached an agreement on a minor league contract yet, though, as general manager David Stearns said the two sides still have issues to work out, per Haudricourt. The once-valuable Kang, 32, is looking to rebuild his stock after batting a hideous .169/.222/.395 in 185 plate appearances with Pittsburgh this season.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[NL Notes: Carlson, Hader, Hosmer, Ahmed]]> 2019-08-15T18:05:48Z 2019-08-15T18:05:48Z The Cardinals have promoted top outfield prospect Dylan Carlson to Triple-A, per an announcement from the club’s top affiliate. That puts the 20-year-old switch-hitter right on the doorstep of the big leagues. Carlson turned in a strong .281/.364/.518 batting line with 21 long balls and 18 steals over 483 Double-A plate appearances. It’s not clear whether the club has any thought of a late-2019 MLB promotion for the talented youngster.

More from the National League …

  •’s Mike Petriello provides an interesting examination of the feast-or-famine experience hitters have had this year against Brewers lefty relief ace Josh Hader. It really is a curious situation, as Petriello explains in full detail. In essence: Hader is harder to make contact against than anyone in baseball. But when batters have put bat to ball this year, they’ve tended to make loud sounds and often ended up trotting the bases. Petriello identifies a few potential causes/fixes for the Milwaukee southpaw. In particular, it seems Hader can work on reducing first-pitch predictability and tightening up his command at times. You’ll certainly want to read the entire piece to appreciate it.
  • As he continues to produce middling overall offensive numbers, Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer is showing increasingly yawning platoon splits, as’s AJ Cassavell writes. It’s simple enough, in theory, to spell him against southpaws. But that’s tough to do given the club’s mammoth investment in Hosmer. Skipper Andy Green made clear it’s not an immediate possibility. That makes sense, as the Friars have to hope that Hosmer turns a corner and can afford to give him the leash to work things out. But if it comes down to it, the extreme platoon situation actually ought to make it easier in the long run to deal with a contract that has simply not panned out.
  • Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed has long been lauded for his superlative glovework, but has mostly remained an obscure player. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic highlights the growing value of the 29-year-old, who is now finally marrying his excellent defensive performance with much-improved hitting. With torrid recent streak, Ahmed has reached league-average offensive levels for the season as a whole. Piecoro provides an excellent look at Ahmed’s thus-far successful efforts to avoid chasing pitches out of the zone and make better contact when he does offer. Ahmed, who is earning $3.663MM this season, is entering his final season of arbitration eligibility.
Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Brewers To Sign Tyler Austin]]> 2019-08-13T13:27:40Z 2019-08-13T13:17:58Z The Brewers are slated to sign outfielder/first baseman Tyler Austin to a minor-league deal, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter). Austin was cut loose recently by the Giants.

While Austin will have to earn his way up to the MLB roster, he could fill a role in the majors. At the deadline, the club shipped away right-handed-hitting slugger Jesus Aguilar. He’s now raking in Tampa Bay while the Brewers appear to be in need of a righty power bat — if only for pinch-hitting and first-base platoon purposes.

Austin, 27, found himself out of a job in San Francisco after a tepid showing in part-time duties there. Over 147 plate appearances in seventy games, he slashed just .185/.279/.400. But Austin was much better against southpaws, as has been the case for his entire career. Through 556 career plate appearances, he’s carrying a spread of more than two-hundred points between his OPS against right-handed (.647) and left-handed (.865) pitching.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Giants Claim Burch Smith, Designate Ryan Dull]]> 2019-08-12T18:15:10Z 2019-08-12T18:02:27Z The Giants have claimed right-hander Burch Smith off waivers from the Brewers, Adam McCalvy of tweets. Smith had been in limbo since the Brewers designated him for assignment Friday. The Giants opened up a spot for Smith by designating fellow righty Ryan Dull for assignment, Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group reports.

Smith’s the second waiver claim since Friday for the Giants, who took Kyle Barraclough from the Nationals then. Smith, like Barraclough, will report to Triple-A Sacramento. The 29-year-old Smith has pitched to an ugly 7.82 ERA/6.69 FIP with 9.95 K/9 against 7.11 BB/9 in 12 2/3 major league innings this season. He has been much better over 77 1/3 Triple-A frames, however, with a 2.33 ERA/4.29 FIP, 9.89 K/9 and 4.31 BB/9.

The 29-year-old Dull lasted only a week on the Giants’ 40-man – they claimed him from the Bay Area rival Athletics last Monday. Dull didn’t throw a pitch for the Giants, instead tossing three frames of three-run ball with their Triple-A affiliate. The once-promising major leaguer has spent the majority of the past two seasons in the minors.

Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Jimmy Nelson To Work Out Of Bullpen On Rehab]]> 2019-08-11T16:27:26Z 2019-08-11T16:27:26Z
  • Brewers right-hander Jimmy Nelson, who went down in June with an elbow injury, will work out of the bullpen on rehab in Double-A San Antonio, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Nelson isn’t eligible to be activated until August 26. A burgeoning ace in 2017, Nelson has lost most of the last two seasons to arm injuries. While he returned from an 18-month absence stemming from shoulder surgery in June, his fastball velocity was down over 2 miles per hour from his 2017 peak, per Brooks Baseball, reflecting the toll the surgery had taken. While there may still be hope for the 30 year-old as a starter in the long run, any 2019 impact he can make will be in short stints for the playoff-hopeful Brew Crew.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Brewers Select Contract Of Hernan Perez, Designate Burch Smith]]> 2019-08-09T23:04:26Z 2019-08-09T20:28:16Z The Brewers announced that they have selected the contract of utilityman Hernan Perez. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel first indicated (via Twitter) that a move was coming.

    To create a 40-man spot, the club designated righty Burch Smith for assignment. Infielder Travis Shaw was optioned out for an active roster space.

    The 28-year-old Perez lost his 40-man spot earlier in the year after serving as a fixture in recent campaigns. He was hitting just .235/.277/.383 at the time, the third-straight season in which he has fallen shy of a .300 OBP (after barely topping that mark in 2016). Perez has performed better against Triple-A pitching (.290/.372/.523).

    Smith, 29, was knocked around in his brief MLB time with the Brewers. He has generated better results at Triple-A, turning in a 2.33 ERA with 9.9 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 through 77 1/3 innings across 15 starts. Clearly, though, the Milwaukee organization wasn’t convinced that he’d be a significant contributor in the majors down the stretch.

    The Brewers still aren’t giving up on Shaw. He has endured a miserable campaign both before and after his earlier demotion, with a cumulative .162/.276/.279 batting line over 228 plate appearances. It’s certainly possible he’ll end up back in the majors, once roster expand if not sooner, but it seems he’s on a trajectory for an offseason non-tender at this point.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Zach Davies Doesn't Expect To Miss Much Time]]> 2019-08-06T05:13:24Z 2019-08-06T05:13:24Z
  • The Brewers sent one of their top starters, righty Zach Davies, to the IL with a back issue on Monday. Davies discussed the problem with Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other reporters, saying he’s “not concerned” it’ll lead to a lengthy absence. Davies has fallen flat over his most three most recent outings, though the wild card-contending Brewers can ill afford to go without another starter for a long period. They were already sans their No. 1, Brandon Woodruff, as well as Jhoulys Chacin before Davies hit the shelf. To this point, Davies has defied underwhelming peripherals to post a solid 3.74 ERA in 122 2/3 innings.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Brewers To Place Zack Davies On IL, Promote Jake Faria]]> 2019-08-05T22:05:23Z 2019-08-05T20:44:48Z The Brewers will place righty Zach Davies on the 10-day injured list, per Robert Murray of The Athletic (Twitter links). His precise injury situation isn’t yet clear, but it seems he’s dealing with some sort of back ailment.

    Also heading off of the active roster is right-hander Aaron Wilkerson, who was optioned to Triple-A. Joining the big-league club are recently acquired Jake Faria and fellow righty Devin Williams, with’s Adam McCalvy (via Twitter) reporting the latter’s promotion. Williams will need to be added to the 40-man roster.

    Losing Davies is tough news for a Milwaukee club that’s as far out of first place as it has been all year (four games) after a four-game skid. While Davies has had a few rough outings of late, he has paced the team in starts made (23) and innings (122 2/3) while working to a solid 3.74 ERA with 5.7 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9.

    ERA estimators have been predicting regression for Davies for some kind. But the Brewers had every reason to keep running him out there and hoping he could continue to generate results, at least until his velo began to droop of late.

    It still isn’t known how the club will account for the open rotation spot. Faria has spent time in a starting capacity this year but has been working of late as a reliever. Williams has functioned exclusively in the pen this season. It’s possible recently acquired southpaw Drew Pomeranz could work as a starter (or, at least, in some kind of multi-inning capacity).

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Brewers Excited By Ray Black]]> 2019-08-05T05:57:29Z 2019-08-05T05:57:29Z
  • The Brewers believe they might have a hidden gem in trade deadline acquisition Ray Black, as president of baseball operations David Stearns told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Black has “as good…stuff as any reliever in the game.”  Black had only a 6.04 ERA over 25 1/3 career Major League innings as a member of the Giants, due in part to five homers allowed in that brief stint.  However, he also struck out 38 batters with his blazing fastball, and also posted a 3.70 ERA, 2.83 K/BB rate, and 16.8 K/9 over 153 1/3 career frames in the minors.  Between that live arm and those strikeout totals, Stearns thinks Black can blossom in Milwaukee, and pointed to a relatively healthy season for Black in 2019 as a positive development after multiple years shortened by injuries.  “The most important thing for him is keeping him on the field….He has changed some of his training regimens over the last year, and that seems to have helped. We’re hoping and optimistic that we can help keep him healthy,” Stearns said.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Brent Suter Continues Tommy John Rehab]]> 2019-08-05T00:47:31Z 2019-08-05T00:47:31Z
  • After beginning a minor league rehab assignment for the Brewers’ rookie league affiliate, left-hander Brent Suter will continue the process at Double-A, Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes.  Suter underwent Tommy John surgery in late July 2017 and is still hopeful of returning to the hill for the Brewers before the season is over.  The soft-tossing Suter posted a 3.91 ERA, 3.54 K/BB rate, and 7.2 K/9 over 204 2/3 innings for Milwaukee from 2016-18, overcoming his lack of velocity by becoming a master at generating soft contact from opposing batters.
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    Dylan A. Chase <![CDATA[Brewers Release Alex Wilson]]> 2019-08-03T23:56:00Z 2019-08-03T23:49:31Z According to an announcement from Milwaukee’s Player Development Department, the Brewers have released veteran reliever Alex Wilson. The 32-year-old had been playing with Triple-A San Antonio since being outrighted back in May.

    Details are scarce on the circumstances surrounding Wilson’s release. Though he was torched 11.1 innings with Milwaukee early in the year, he had been apparently healthy and generally effective during his time in San Antonio. Through 38.0 innings, the righty had logged a sparkly 2.13 ERA–even if that marker’s shine concealed a grimy FIP of 5.46.

    It will be interesting to see if contenders in search of bullpen help will come nibbling around Wilson’s name. After all, the Saudi Arabia-born Wilson is not too far removed from several years as a mainstay in the Detroit bullpen: over four Motor City seasons, he logged a combined 3.20 ERA with a 5.8 K/9 mark and a 2.1 BB/9 average. Veteran free agents like Wilson represent one of the few ways in which teams can hope to upgrade their rosters past the trade deadline nowadays, so it would not be shocking to see his name resurface in the coming weeks.

    Ty Bradley <![CDATA[Royals Claim Jacob Barnes]]> 2019-08-03T20:12:58Z 2019-08-03T19:47:38Z The Royals have claimed righty Jacob Barnes off waivers from Milwaukee and optioned him to Triple-A Omaha, the team reports.

    Though Barnes did struggle to prevent runs for the Crew this season, it’s a bit of a surprise to see the 29-year-old dangled on waivers given his stellar track record in Milwaukee. In 167 innings for the Crew since his debut in 2016, Barnes posted a very respectable 3.93 ERA/3.68 FIP, numbers which, when park-adjusted for the Brewers’ bandbox of a yard, place him firmly within reliable 7th-inning territory. Barnes’ homer rate, like so many across the league, shot up to a career-worst 1.37 per nine this season, and his command temporarily abandoned him (5.03 BB/9), but it shouldn’t be a lengthy reclamation project for the 6’2 righty.

    There’s an argument to be made that Barnes is already Kansas City’s second-best reliever; his track record, anyway, is second to only longtime starter Ian Kennedy’s in its patchwork unit. His initial report to Omaha, if more than simple posturing, should end quickly: the club needs another quality arm as soon as it can get it.

    Ty Bradley <![CDATA[Mets Claim Donnie Hart]]> 2019-08-03T19:57:30Z 2019-08-03T19:44:33Z The Mets have claimed lefty Donnie Hart off waivers from Milwaukee and optioned him to Triple-A Syracuse, the team reports.

    Hart, a longtime Oriole, spent much of this season with Triple-A San Antonio, where he posted a 4.10 ERA/4.29 FIP with a 55.4% grounder rate in 37 1/3 IP. Like most low-slot lefties, Hart’s been much better against same-side bats (.312 career wOBA against, compared to .334 against righties), though he’s walked nearly four of them per nine over his career. The lefty’s set down just 5.83 men per nine in 88 career big-league innings, and relies heavily on his 87 MPH sinker to generate grounders for his outs.

    It’s possible Hart will soon displace the ineffective Luis Avilan as the second lefty in the Mets’ pen, though judging by the team’s high-leverage deployment of the eight-year vet, it seems higher on him than most. Lefty Justin Wilson makes up the other half of the contingent, though he can be hardly counted on to throw strikes, and fielder-independent metrics (4.66 FIP, -0.1 fWAR) haven’t been fans of his performance to date.

    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Brewers Recall Aaron Wilkerson, Option Jay Jackson]]> 2019-08-03T17:17:57Z 2019-08-03T17:13:59Z The Brewers announced a change to their bullpen crew ahead of today’s game against the rival Cubs. Aaron Wilkerson joins the big league club from Triple-A San Antonio, while Jay Jackson has been optioned back to the minors.

    Wilkerson, 30, has made five scattered relief appearances since April, unfortunately surrendering earned runs each time out. He has been an effective starter in Triple-A this season, however, going 7-1 with a 3.06 ERA across 14 starts. The Brewers are prepared for a quick hook of Gio Gonzalez today should there be any sign of shoulder trouble, with Wilkerson serving as the contingency plan, notes’s Adam McCalvy (via Twitter).

    Jackson, 31, has also served as little more than a 25th man while on the major league roster. In ten appearances, Jackson has a 5.79 ERA (4.93 FIP) across 14 innings. The South Carolina native gave Milwaukee some length in July with five two-inning outings, four of which he escaped scoreless.

    The Brewers are sticking with an eight man bullpen for now, a necessity given the injuries sustained by the starting rotation. With Jhoulys Chacin, Jimmy Nelson, Brandon Woodruff, and Brent Suter on the injured list, Milwaukee figures to be more reliant than most contenders on players like Wilkerson and Jackson, even as they continue to shuttle them back and forth from San Antonio.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Brewers Designate Jacob Barnes For Assignment]]> 2019-08-01T18:30:04Z 2019-08-01T18:18:59Z The Brewers announced a series of roster moves today, including the selection of outfield prospect Trent Grisham’s contract from Triple-A.  In addition to Grisham making his Major League debut, right-hander Jacob Barnes was designated to assignment to create a 40-man roster spot.  (Righty Taylor Williams and utilityman Tyler Saladino were also optioned to Triple-A.)

    After posting some solid numbers out of Milwaukee’s pen in 2017-18, Barnes has struggled this year, resulting in a series of shuttles between Triple-A and the majors.  The 29-year-old has a 6.86 ERA, 10.1 K/9, and 2.00 K/BB rate over 19 2/3 innings for the Brew Crew this season, with increases in his walk and homer rate both influencing that ungainly ERA.