Milwaukee Brewers – MLB Trade Rumors 2021-04-17T17:54:54Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Christian Yelich]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=437217 2021-04-17T03:32:47Z 2021-04-17T03:32:47Z Although Brewers left fielder Christian Yelich hasn’t appeared in a game since Sunday, the team doesn’t seem overly concerned about his ailing back. Manager Craig Counsell said Yelich began baseball activities Thursday and is “making progress,” per Tom Haudricourt and Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Counsell likened Yelich’s current back ailment to the ones that he dealt with in previous seasons, noting that the former MVP didn’t require an IL stint in those cases and was able to return within a few days.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Brewers Place Lorenzo Cain On 10-Day IL]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=435859 2021-04-14T23:43:18Z 2021-04-14T23:43:18Z
  • The Brewers have placed center fielder Lorenzo Cain on the 10-day IL with a strained left quad and recalled outfielder Tyrone Taylor, the team announced. There’s no word on how much time Cain will miss, but he strained his other quad during the spring and was limited to seven exhibition games as a result. The 35-year-old has gotten off to a slow start this season with a .154/.214/.423 line in 28 plate appearances.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Lorenzo Cain Exits With Left Quad Issue]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=435129 2021-04-14T03:48:01Z 2021-04-14T02:41:15Z
  • Brewers center fielder Lorenzo Cain exited their game versus Chicago with “left quad discomfort,” Adam McCalvy of MLB.com tweets. The Brewers shifted Jackie Bradley Jr. to center and brought in Billy McKinney to handle left when Cain departed. Cain also dealt with a quad issue (on his right side) in spring training, but that didn’t prevent him from debuting on time this season. It remains to be seen whether this will cost him any time.
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    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Christian Yelich, Travis Shaw Day-To-Day After Leaving Brewers’ Game]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=434277 2021-04-11T21:41:27Z 2021-04-11T21:40:28Z 4:40 pm: It doesn’t seem there’s much cause for concern. Manager Craig Counsell says Yelich is day-to-day with lower back tightness (via Andrew Wagner of the Wisconsin State Journal). Third baseman Travis Shaw is also day-to-day after leaving the game with a right shin contusion. It’s possible both players are back in the lineup for tomorrow’s contest against the Cubs.

    2:34 pm: Brewers star outfielder Christian Yelich left this afternoon’s game against the Cardinals in the second inning, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was among those to note (Twitter link). He’s dealing with back soreness, per Adam McCalvy of MLB.com (via Twitter).

    Jackie Bradley Jr. replaced Yelich in left field. Bradley, Lorenzo Cain and Avisaíl García would make up the Brewers outfield on most days if Yelich is forced to miss any time, with Billy McKinney on hand as depth. Of course, there’s no indication at this point Yelich’s removal was anything more than due caution.

    The 2019 National League MVP, Yelich had a down year (by his lofty standards) during the shortened 2020 season. He’s off to a rather bizarre start in 2021. Yelich already has ten hits and six walks over his first 37 plate appearances, but he’s also struck out twelve times and has yet to hit a home run.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Brewers Place Kolten Wong On 10-Day IL]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=433672 2021-04-10T19:17:13Z 2021-04-10T19:10:44Z 2:10PM: Wong’s injury may be “on the minor side,” manager Craig Counsell told reporters (including Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).  A firmer timeline will be established after Wong undergoes more treatment, but the team is hopeful he won’t be out of action for much beyond the 10-day minimum.

    10:28AM: The Brewers have officially announced the moves, placing Wong on the 10-day IL with a left oblique strain.  Peterson’s minor league contract was selected, and to create a 40-man roster spot, righty Bobby Wahl was moved to the 60-day injured list.

    10:03AM: The Brewers are placing second baseman Kolten Wong on the 10-day injured list due to an oblique injury, FanSided’s Robert Murray writes.  Utilityman Jace Peterson will be called up to take Wong’s spot on the active roster.

    An IL stint seemed likely for Wong considering that he missed Wednesday’s game and then was forced into an early exit from Thursday’s game due to the same oblique problem.  No timetable is yet known for Wong’s return, as oblique injuries can sometimes require several weeks of recovery time based on the severity of the issue.

    Even a shorter-term absence is an unfortunate outcome for both Wong and the Brewers, as the former Gold Glover just joined the team on a two-year, $18MM free agent contract during the offseason.  Wong’s injury also emerged just two days after Milwaukee traded shortstop Orlando Arcia to the Braves, so the Brewers are now even more short-handed in the infield.

    The left-handed hitting Peterson and the right-handed hitting Daniel Robertson could form a second base platoon while Wong is out of action, with Travis Shaw and Luis Urias remaining as the everyday options at third base and shortstop, respectively.  Keston Hiura could also see some time at his old second base position, if the Brewers wanted to move him away from first base and give Daniel Vogelbach some playing time.  Dee Strange-Gordon just recently signed to a minor league deal for additional depth (perhaps essentially as Arcia’s replacement) and could see some time with the big league team in relatively short order depending on how the Brewers juggle the roster.

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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Kolten Wong Dealing With Oblique Issue]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=432295 2021-04-09T00:34:45Z 2021-04-09T00:34:11Z Brewers second baseman Kolten Wong departed the team’s game against the Cardinals on Thursday after re-aggravating his left oblique, manager Craig Counsell told Andrew Wagner of the Wisconsin State Journal and other reporters. It’s the same issue that kept Wong from playing Wednesday, and Counsell said (via Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) there’s a “distinct possibility” that he’ll require a trip to the injured list. Wong, previously with St. Louis, joined the Brewers on a two-year, $18MM contract during the offseason. If he does have to miss time shortly into his Brewers tenure, it would be another blow to the middle infield depth of a team that traded Orlando Arcia to Atlanta earlier this week. The Brewers did add veteran Dee Strange-Gordon on a minor league contract Thursday, though Daniel Robertson – who replaced Wong when he exited – would be the favorite to handle most of the reps at the keystone.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Brewers To Sign Dee Strange-Gordon]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=432103 2021-04-08T20:56:12Z 2021-04-08T20:42:41Z The Brewers have agreed to a minor league contract with infielder/outfielder Dee Strange-Gordon, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets.

    Milwaukee will be the second straight National League Central organization for Strange-Gordon, who spent time with Cincinnati during the offseason and in the spring. The Reds ended up releasing him toward the end of March, and though Strange-Gordon subsequently rejected minors offers from other teams, he’ll now settle for one a little over a week into the season.

    While the 32-year-old Strange-Gordon has an accomplished resume – two All-Star bids, an NL batting title, a Gold Glove Award and three seasons with at least 58 stolen bases – the former Dodger, Marlin and Mariner has struggled recently. From 2018-20 in Seattle, Strange-Gordon batted a meek .266/.293/.343 (good for a 73 wRC+) in 1,091 trips to the plate. Strange-Gordon stole 55 bags in that span and saw time in the middle infield and multiple outfield positions, but the Mariners made the easy decision to decline his $14MM club option in favor of a $1MM buyout after last season.

    Now that he’s joining the Brewers, Strange-Gordon will give the team some middle infield depth behind Kolten Wong and Luis Urias after it dealt Orlando Arcia to the Braves on Tuesday. The Brewers’ outfield boasts Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Avisail Garcia as regulars, while Daniel Robertson and Billy McKinney are on their bench.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Brewers Select Brad Boxberger]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=428233 2021-04-06T19:01:36Z 2021-04-06T19:01:36Z The Brewers announced Tuesday that they’ve selected the contract of veteran right-hander Brad Boxberger. He’ll join the club for their matchup against the Cubs and take the recently traded Orlando Arcia’s spot on the active roster. Righty Justin Topa was transferred to the 60-day injured list to open a spot on the 40-man roster.

    Boxberger, 32, is a veteran of nine big league seasons who has ample experience as both a closer and setup man. He spent the 2020 season setting up for Brandon Kintzler in Miami, pitching to a 3.00 ERA with a 22.8 percent strikeout rate and 10.1 percent walk rate. It’s been awhile since his peak at this point, but Boxberger posted a 2.94 ERA through his first 177 1/3 MLB frames from 2012-15 and led the American League with 41 saves for the 2015 Rays.

    In the five seasons since that stretch, Boxberger’s entire body of work has been solid enough, but he’s lacked consistency on a year-over-year basis. He’ll look to continue last year’s success while hopefully putting a rocky Spring Training effort behind him; in nine spring frames with the Brewers, Boxberger was tagged for eight earned runs on 10 hits, although his 14-to-1 K/BB ratio was certainly more encouraging.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Brewers Trade Orlando Arcia To Braves]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=428022 2021-04-06T19:20:23Z 2021-04-06T17:40:57Z The Brewers and Braves have lined up on a rare, early-season trade involving three players on the teams’ respective 40-man rosters. The Brewers are sending infielder Orlando Arcia to the Braves in return for right-handed relievers Patrick Weigel and Chad Sobotka, per announcements from both teams. Weigel and Sobotka will report to the Brewers’ alternate training site.

    While it’s a bit surprising to see a trade of any note taking place so early in the season, Arcia’s role with the Brewers has diminished in recent years. The hope at one point was that he’d be the long-term answer at short, but Luis Urias now looks to be the preferred option at that position for the Brew Crew. Arcia has also seen some time at third base this year, but Travis Shaw made the Brewers’ Opening Day roster and is expected to serve as the primary option at the hot corner.

    Arcia is off to a 1-for-11 start to his 2021 season, but he turned in perhaps the best showing of his career last summer when he slashed .260/.317/.416 through 189 plate appearances. That said, it’s somewhat disappointing for that output to represent a career-best showing for Arcia, given that he once ranked among baseball’s top 10 overall prospects at both Baseball America and MLB.com. Arcia’s glove always gave him a decent floor, but his bat simply hasn’t come around as hoped. Through 1876 plate appearances at the big league level, he’s managed just a .244/.293/.364 batting line with 42 homers and 39 steals.

    The Braves obviously don’t have a need for an everyday shortstop — Dansby Swanson has the position locked down — but Arcia gives them a utility option with a solid glove. He has 4250 career innings at shortstop, so it’s not a surprise that Atlanta would be comfortable sliding him over to either second base or third base.

    Ehire Adrianza had been filling that role with the club, although there’s some uncertainty surrounding his status at the moment. Adrianza left the club to tend to a personal matter recently, and he was reportedly in the process of going through intake testing to return to the club. David O’Brien of The Athletic tweets that Adrianza is expected to return to the club by this weekend.

    Arcia joins Adrianza, Johan Camargo and Pablo Sandoval as utility options off the bench for skipper Brian Snitker, although the Braves can’t carry that many backup infielders simultaneously. Both Arcia and Camargo have a minor league option remaining. Arcia is the more expensive of the two, with a $2MM salary to Camargo’s $1.36MM, and it would stand to reason that if the Braves are giving up some pitching to acquire him, he’d get the nod. At some point, the acquisition of Arcia could place the roster spot of one of the other backup infielders in jeopardy.

    Depending on how things play out for Arcia in Atlanta, he could be an option for them not only in 2021 but in 2022. He currently has four-plus years of big league service, which means he’ll be controllable through the 2022 season via arbitration.

    In exchange for Arcia, the Brewers will pick up a pair of optionable relievers — one of whom once rated as one of the better arms in a pitching-rich Braves system. The 26-year-old Weigel ranked ninth among Braves farmhands on Baseball America’s list back in 2017 and still checked in 14th this past offseason.

    His career has been slowed by 2018 Tommy John surgery, but Weigel’s 2019 return from that procedure created some optimism. In 79 innings split between Double-A and Triple-A, the righty worked to a 2.73 ERA — albeit with less-encouraging strikeout and walk rates (21.6 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively). Weigel pitched in just one game with Atlanta last year, allowing a pair of runs in two-thirds of an inning. That’s his lone MLB appearance to date.

    Sobotka, 27, has displayed a knack for missing bats but has also battled control issues in parts of three seasons with the Braves. The righty boasts a fastball that averages better than 96 mph and a career 28.8 percent strikeout rate through 47 big league innings, but he’s also walked 14.2 percent of his opponents and plunked three more.

    The trade gives the Brewers some flexibility on the pitching staff in a season where most teams figure to need it more than ever before, but it also closes the book on one of the organization’s most promising farmhands in recent memory. They’ll now turn the reins over to Urias, a former top prospect himself, in hopes of better results. While Urias himself hasn’t had any real big league success yet, he’s more than three years younger than Arcia and has a vastly better track record in Triple-A, where he’s put together a .305/.403/.511 line in 867 plate appearances.

    MLB Network’s Jon Heyman first reported that the Brewers were in talks to trade Arcia. FanSided’s Robert Murray reported that a deal with an unknown club had been reached. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that the Braves were acquiring Arcia, and MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reported that Weigel and Sobotka were headed to the Brewers.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Brewers Outright Ray Black]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=422326 2021-03-30T19:00:32Z 2021-03-30T18:45:37Z The Brewers have outrighted right-hander Ray Black off their 40-man roster, the team announced.  Black has cleared waivers and will report to the team’s alternate training site.

    Black has been bothered by elbow inflammation for much of the spring, which cost him a chance at winning a job in Milwaukee’s Opening Day bullpen.  Since Black is out of minor league options, a trip through the waiver wire was necessary for the Brewers to remove him from the 40-man.

    Injuries have been a recurring problem for Black, beginning with a shoulder surgery that delayed the start of his pro career for almost two years after being drafted by the Giants as a seventh-rounder in 2011.  A strained right rotator cuff kept Black on the injured list for much of 2020, and he appeared in only three games for the Brew Crew last season.

    The hard-throwing righty has a strong 30.2% strikeout rate over his 42 1/3 career MLB innings, but also a 5.53 ERA and a very subpar 12.3% walk rate.  Milwaukee acquired Black as part of the Drew Pomeranz/Mauricio Dubon trade with the Giants in 2019.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Brewers Notes: Topa, Fisher, Cain, JBJ, Vogelbach]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=419951 2021-03-29T21:48:58Z 2021-03-29T21:48:06Z MARCH 29: Topa has a flexor tendon strain and is unlikely to pitch for at least the first half of the season, Counsell told Haudricourt and other reporters (Twitter link).

    MARCH 28: Brewers manager Craig Counsell discussed some roster situations with MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy (Twitter links), the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt (Twitter links) and other reporters today, and Counsell revealed that right-hander Justin Topa will begin the season on the injured list.  Topa underwent an MRI last night after he felt elbow discomfort during a simulated game, and the club is still waiting on the results.

    Any sort of elbow problem is of particular concern for Topa, who has already undergone two Tommy John surgeries.  Despite these injury setbacks, Topa battled through five seasons in the affiliated minors and an indy ball stint before finally making his MLB debut in 2020.  Though Topa only tossed 9 2/3 total innings over six regular-season outings and one postseason game, the righty opened some eyes by allowing just two earned runs and recording 12 strikeouts against just a single walk.

    Topa and Derek Fisher (hamstring) will both be on the 10-day injured list, but Counsell doesn’t believe the IL will be necessary for either Lorenzo Cain or Jackie Bradley Jr.  The two veteran outfielders had missed some time in camp with quad and wrist problems, respectively, though Counsell indicated that he wouldn’t push Cain or Bradley hard in the early stages of the season.  The Brewers were already planning to deploy something of a timeshare in the outfield in order to keep everyone fresh, and beyond Cain, Bradley, Christian Yelich, and Avisail Garcia, Billy McKinney might yet make the team in a bench role for further depth.

    Speaking of Milwaukee’s bench, Counsell also said that Daniel Vogelbach made the Opening Day roster.  Though the Brewers tendered Vogelbach a contract over the winter, there was some thought that the team could still cut Vogelbach (whose $1.4MM deal isn’t guaranteed until Opening Day) because Vogelbach doesn’t offer much in the way of bench versatility.  The slugger is blocked by Keston Hiura at first base, and since the NL won’t have the designated hitter spot available this season, Vogelbach is likely just limited to pinch-hit opportunities and DH duty in interleague games.  Still, the Brewers decided Vogelbach was worth keeping in the fold, considering his .987 OPS in 67 PA for Milwaukee last season.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Brewers Re-Sign Brad Boxberger, Jordan Zimmermann]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=418797 2021-03-28T16:52:51Z 2021-03-28T16:52:02Z TODAY: The Brewers have also re-signed Boxberger a new minors deal, manager Craig Counsell told reporters (including Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).

    MARCH 27: The Brewers announced they’ve re-signed Zimmermann to another minor-league contract.

    MARCH 26: The Brewers have released veteran right-handers Brad Boxberger and Jordan Zimmermann, president of baseball operations David Stearns announced to reporters Friday (Twitter link via Adam McCalvy of MLB.com).

    Though both are now free agents, Stearns noted that he hopes to be able to re-sign both to new minor league deals. Both players were Article XX(B) free agents (i.e. six-plus years of MLB service and in camp on a non-roster deal after finishing the prior season on a big league roster), and as such could only be retained in the minor leagues beyond Saturday if they were paid a $100K retention bonus. That arrangement, by default, allows a player to opt out of the deal on June 1 if he’s not added to the MLB roster by then.

    The Brewers could work on a new deal with either player that comes with an earlier opt-out opportunity while avoiding the $100K retention bonus as a trade-off. In the meantime, they’ll both be able to seek big league opportunities — or more promising minor league deals — elsewhere.

    Neither veteran pitched particularly well with the Indians during Cactus League play. Boxberger whiffed 11 hitters in eight innings but also served up eight runs on 10 hits — including three home runs. He was sharp in 18 innings with the Marlins in 2020, however, logging an even 3.00 ERA with an 18-to-8 K/BB ratio.

    Zimmermann, meanwhile, yielded four runs in six frames while punching out three hitters. He recently wrapped up a five-year deal with the Tigers that was marred by injuries and a precipitous downturn in performance. Zimmermann, a Wisconsin native, may have some extra incentive to work out a new deal with his hometown Brewers.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Offseason In Review: Milwaukee Brewers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=409246 2021-03-26T22:05:15Z 2021-03-26T22:05:15Z With the NL Central wide open, the Brewers made a pair of late free agent strikes to solidify their roster for another run at the playoffs.

    Major League Signings

    Trades & Claims

    Notable Minor League Signings

    Notable Losses

    Defense wasn’t a strength for the Brewers in 2020, as they posted lackluster finishes in such league-wide categories as Outs Above Average (ranking 16th of 30 teams), Defensive Runs Saved (22nd), and UZR/150 (24th).  These numbers were going to improve anyway with former Gold Glover Lorenzo Cain back in action, but glovework may now become a real plus now that Kolten Wong and Jackie Bradley Jr. are on the roster.

    After eight seasons in St. Louis, Wong became a free agent after the Cardinals declined their $12.5MM club option on the second baseman for 2021.  Several teams had interest in Wong over the course of the winter, and he was able to parlay that interest into a two-year contract and at least $18MM in guaranteed money, moving from the Cards to a division rival that is very familiar with what Wong brings to the table.

    If Wong comes close to his career .261/.333/.384 slash line (94 OPS+, 96 wRC+), the Brewers won’t mind such slightly below-average production as long as Wong keeps providing elite-level defense.  The signing may also have the secondary impact of helping Keston Hiura’s game, as the defensively-challenged former second baseman now moves from the keystone to first base.  Such a position switch will lessen Hiura’s defensive responsibility and possibly allow him to focus more on his hitting, as Hiura went through a sophomore slump after his big 2019 rookie season.

    The Brew Crew had three established outfield starters in Cain, former NL MVP Christian Yelich, and Avisail Garcia, yet signing Bradley made a lot of sense.  It has been over two years since Cain has been a productive regular, as he struggled through an injury-riddled 2019 and then opted out of much of the 2020 season.  Garcia (signed to a two-year, $20MM deal last offseason) at least provided passable center field defense filling in for Cain but suffered through a rough year at the plate.  Even Yelich had a down year by his standards, never quite looking on track over 247 plate appearances while posting a .205/.356/.430 slash line with 12 homers.

    Into this mix comes Bradley, who joined Wong as another defensive standout hitting the open market after eight seasons with his original team.  It seemed like there was at least some chance Bradley could end up back with the Red Sox considering how long he remained a free agent, though Boston made other moves to replace Bradley in the Fenway Park outfield.  As the winter wore on, many of the other teams linked to Bradley also addressed their outfield needs with other players, perhaps just because clubs preferred these other options, or maybe because Bradley’s rather hefty contract demands might have immediately lost the interest of some suitors.

    Bradley will earn $13MM of his $24MM guarantee in 2021, and the outfielder then has an $11MM player option to either rejoin the Brew Crew in 2022 or re-enter free agency.  The contract seems pretty palatable for both sides — Bradley gets an extra year of security, and even if he does struggle in 2021 and end up exercising his option out of necessity, $24MM isn’t so big a sum that it would significantly hamper even a smaller-market team like Milwaukee.

    That said, the Brewers didn’t necessarily act like most other smaller-market franchises operated in the wake of 2020’s revenue losses.  The team was originally slated for a payroll of roughly $102.5MM in 2020 prior to the pandemic and the league shutdown, and as we approach Opening Day 2021, the Brewers have (according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts) approximately $96.9MM committed to this season’s payroll.  There are some sizeable deferrals within the 2021 salaries for both Bradley and Wong, but in terms of money on the books, the Brew Crew could certainly match or surpass their projected 2020 payroll figure depending on any in-season additions.

    Since the Brewers didn’t do much of anything transaction-wise until February, president of baseball operations David Stearns might not have known exactly how much of a budget he had to work with for much of the offseason, or it was perhaps something of a tactical move to wait out the market in search of potential bargains.  Even after signing Wong, Milwaukee still made a strong attempt to sign Justin Turner before the longtime Dodger third baseman ended up re-signing with his old team.

    Turner wasn’t the only bigger free agent bat under consideration, as the Brewers reportedly looked into Marcell Ozuna, Marcus Semien, and Eddie Rosario during the winter.  Whether the team was doing due diligence on available free agents or had a more serious interest in any of these other names isn’t known, but it does represent an interesting alternate picture of Milwaukee’s offseason.  The Brewers, after all, didn’t produce much offense last season, but their two biggest additions were defensive stars with middling offensive track records, whereas the likes of Ozuna or Rosario would have been clear bat-first additions.

    Had Turner been signed instead of Bradley, it’s fair to assume Milwaukee looks to add a veteran outfielder on a minors contract or a low-cost MLB contract to fill that void in the outfield.  However, with Turner back in Los Angeles, that left third base as the position in need of some veteran reinforcement.

    Milwaukee brought back an old friend in Travis Shaw, whose minor league deal has already been guaranteed by the team. The Brewers parted ways with Shaw after he struggled through a miserable 2019 season, but he did rebound to some modest extent in hitting .239/.306/.411 over 180 PA with the Blue Jays last year.  If Shaw can at least get back to producing against right-handed pitching, the Brewers can deploy a third base timeshare of Shaw and right-handed hitters Daniel Robertson and Orlando Arcia.

    That duo could also factor into the shortstop picture if Luis Urias isn’t get ready for regular big league work.  Arcia was seen as a possible non-tender candidate heading into the offseason, but the Brewers chose to retain him as insurance in the wake of Urias’ forgettable 2019 season, which was hampered by both a wrist injury and a case of COVID-19.  Robertson was signed to a one-year, $900K deal as further utility depth, as the former Tampa Bay Ray first-round pick can play any infield position and has some experience at a corner outfielder.

    Tim Lopes and Jace Peterson were also signed as utility candidates, yet the Brewers went another direction in tendering a contract to Dan Vogelbach.  This decision was made before Hiura was moved to first base, and before it became apparent that the National League wasn’t going to adopt the DH again for the 2021 season.  Vogelbach is out of minor league options and without a real position on the roster, so he stands out as a potential trade candidate in the final days of Spring Training.  Conversely, the Brewers could simply cut him before Opening Day and only owe him around $339K of his $1.4MM salary for the 2021 campaign.

    The lack of a universal DH might have also closed the book on Ryan Braun’s career, as the longtime Brewers fixture recently said he hasn’t been doing any offseason training and is “strongly leaning” towards hanging up his glove.  Since nothing is yet official, Milwaukee fans can still hold out hope for a storybook late-season comeback scenario, but in all likelihood, the Brewers are already in the post-Braun era.

    Rich Hill and Trevor Rosenthal were two of the Brewers’ targets for the rotation and bullpen this winter, but with neither hurler signed, Milwaukee’s pitching mix will look pretty similar to its collection of arms from the 2020 season.  Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes, and Adrian Houser join the re-signed Brett Anderson atop the rotation.  While it sounds odd to refer to the oft-injured Anderson as an innings-eater, the grounder specialist has been mostly healthy for the last two seasons and will provide some veteran experience at the back of the rotation.

    Freddy Peralta won the fifth starter’s job over Josh Lindblom, but in a season that will require as many pitchers on hand as possible, the Brewers will likely be even more flexible than usual with its pitching plans.  A six-man rotation, piggybacked starters, openers — nothing seems off the table in 2021.  With this in mind, veteran minor league signings like Jordan Zimmermann, Zack Godley, Brad Boxberger or Blaine Hardy could perhaps stick around (and not exercise any opt-out clauses) even if they don’t crack the Opening Day roster, since there should be plenty of opportunity for big league action throughout the season.

    And, it probably bears mentioning that Josh Hader is still a Brewer.  Despite some rumors during the winter, it didn’t appear as though the Brewers ever strongly considered moving their relief ace (or maybe co-ace, considering Devin Williams’ emergence).  Hader is earning $6.675MM in his first year of arbitration eligibility and he is still under control through the 2023 season, so while a trade might eventually happen down the line, it doesn’t appear the southpaw is going anywhere in the near future.

    While much of the offseason chatter in the NL Central focused on the players the Cubs, Reds, and (prior to the Nolan Arenado trade) Cardinals were letting go, the Brew Crew somewhat quietly flew under the radar and didn’t part ways with any major pieces.  As flawed as the 2020 team was, it was still able to squeak into the expanded playoff bracket, and now the Brewers will return with Bradley, Wong, Cain, and what they hope are several bounce-back candidates in the lineup.

    How would you grade the Brewers’ offseason? (Poll link for app users)

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Brewers Set Season-Opening Rotation]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=418299 2021-03-25T22:54:33Z 2021-03-25T22:46:29Z The Brewers have set their season-opening rotation, manager Craig Counsell announced to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other reporters on Thursday. Following the strong one-two punch of Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes, they’ll go with Adrian Houser, Brett Anderson and Freddy Peralta.

    With Peralta earning the fifth spot, right-hander Josh Lindblom will begin the season in the bullpen, though Counsell is confident he’ll make his fair share of starts in 2021. Lindblom,  a former Dodger, Phillie, Ranger, Athletic and Pirate who starred in Korea from 2018-19, returned to the bigs last winter on a three-year contract worth upward of $9MM. Unfortunately for Milwaukee, the gamble didn’t yield great bottom-line results last season. The 33-year-old pitched to a 5.16 ERA with a minuscule 26.9 percent groundball rate in 45 1/3 innings, but that did come with some better underlying numbers – including a 3.88 FIP/4.09 SIERA and a 27.2 percent strikeout rate against an 8.4 percent walk rate.

    Peralta, meanwhile, has spent the majority of his career as a reliever since he debuted in 2018. The 24-year-old had his best season to date in 2020, when he recorded a 3.99 ERA and a far more impressive 2.81 SIERA across 29 1/3 frames. Peralta also logged a tremendous 37.6 percent strikeout rate.

    Thursday’s news means veteran righty Jordan Zimmermann, whom the Brewers signed to a minor league contract, will not factor into their rotation at the beginning of the season. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the former National and Tiger won’t stay with the Brewers. Counsell said they’re talking with Zimmerman and “trying to figure out what’s going to happen,” per Adam McCalvy of MLB.com.The Brewers have to decide by Saturday whether to add him to their roster.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Gio Gonzalez Announces Retirement]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=418041 2021-03-25T19:42:52Z 2021-03-25T19:15:34Z Veteran left-hander Gio Gonzalez took to Instagram this afternoon to announce his retirement from baseball after a 13-year Major League career. The 35-year-old Hialeah, Fla. native was in camp with the Marlins on a minor league deal and called simply donning the jersey of his hometown club one of his “biggest dreams.” However, Gonzalez also added that his “body wasn’t keeping up with [his] mind.” The lefty offered a heartfelt thanks to the Athletics, Nationals, Brewers, White Sox, Yankees and Marlins organizations.

    Gio Gonzalez | Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

    “My heart and mind are finally at peace with my decision,” Gonzalez wrote at the conclusion of his post. “Here’s one last tip of the cap! I’m coming home to my wonderful family. I love u!”

    Gonzalez was the No. 38 overall draft pick by the White Sox back in 2004 and had, to say the least, an unconventional career arc with the team. Chicago traded him to the Phillies in Dec. 2005 as part of the Jim Thome blockbuster, only to reacquire him a year later alongside Gavin Floyd in the trade that sent Freddy Garcia to Philadelphia. Gonzalez was close to big league ready at that point and looked as though he could make his debut with the team that originally drafted him … until the White Sox again traded him away — this time to the Athletics as part of the return for Nick Swisher.

    Between his draft status, his inclusion in trades for three high-profile big leaguers and his annual placement on Baseball America’s Top 100 prospect list from 2006-09, it was clear that Gonzalez was highly regarded within the industry. It took him a bit to deliver on that talent, but he did so in a big way with a breakout showing in 2010, when he tossed 200 2/3 innings of 3.23 ERA ball and solidified himself as part of the Athletics’ rotation.

    That marked the first of six consecutive seasons in which the durable Gonzalez would make at least 27 starts and pitch to a sub-4.00 ERA. Oakland, as is often the case, traded him when he was on the cusp of arbitration eligibility, shipping him to the Nationals in return for a prospect package of four future big leaguers: A.J. Cole, Tommy Milone, Derek Norris and Brad Peacock.

    Gonzalez was nothing short of excellent in Washington, finishing third in National League Cy Young voting in his first season as a Nat. He inked a five-year, $42MM contract extension with the Nats in Jan. 2012 and would go on to spend the next seven seasons in D.C. under the terms of that deal (which contained a pair of club options). Gonzalez’s first season with the Nationals was his best, but he finished sixth in NL Cy Young voting in 2017 — his final full year with the club. In parts of seven years there overall, Gonzalez racked up 1263 1/3 innings of 3.62 ERA ball and helped the Nats to four postseason berths.

    With the Nats out of playoff contention in 2018, they traded Gonzalez to the Brewers for a pair of prospects. Gonzalez was brilliant in five starts down the stretch with Milwaukee, helping pitch the Brewers into the postseason. He re-signed with the Brewers in April 2019 after being granted his release from a minor league deal with the Yankees organization and again pitched quite well, tossing 87 1/3 frames of 3.50 ERA ball.

    In the 2019-20 offseason, Gonzalez had a full-circle moment when he signed a one-year contract to return to the White Sox. He finally took the mound with his original organization on July 26 last summer. Gonzalez was tagged for six runs in his first appearance, but he bounced back with 28 innings of 3.54 ERA ball for the South Siders the rest of the way.

    Gonzalez will walk away from baseball as a two-time All-Star who twice finished sixth or better in his league’s Cy Young voting. Long one of the game’s more underrated starters, his career body of work stands as a testament to his consistency: in 1933 innings, Gonzalez went 131-101 a 3.70 ERA and 1860 strikeouts. He earned more than $73MM in a career valued by Baseball-Reference at 30.1 wins above replacement and valued by FanGraphs at 32.1 WAR. Gonzalez never won a ring but appeared in the postseason five different times, made a pair of All-Star Games and was always good for an entertaining interview. It was a strong career by any measure, and Gonzalez will head into retirement having left his mark on several fanbases and countless teammates and coaches around the sport.

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