Milwaukee Brewers – MLB Trade Rumors 2019-10-23T06:04:14Z WordPress Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Pitchers Recently Electing Free Agency]]> 2019-10-22T15:43:42Z 2019-10-22T14:56:58Z Since the conclusion of the regular season, a number of players have elected free agency. That right accrues to certain players who are outrighted off of a 40-man roster during or after the season — namely, those that have at least three years of MLB service and/or have previously been outrighted. Such players that accepted outright assignments during the season have the right to elect free agency instead at season’s end, provided they aren’t added back to the 40-man in the meantime.

We already rounded up the position players. Now, here are the pitchers that have recently taken to the open market, along with their now-former teams (via the International League and PCL transactions pages):

TC Zencka <![CDATA[CC Sabathia Retires]]> 2019-10-21T17:35:55Z 2019-10-21T17:35:55Z CC Sabathia announced his retirement this morning on Twitter. Obviously, this comes as no surprise, as the entire season served as Sabathia’s retirement tour.

Sabathia first appeared in the majors as a 20-year-old rookie way back in 2001 for the Cleveland Indians. In a career spanning 19 seasons, Sabathia finished with 251 wins across 560 starts, compiling a 3.74 ERA/3.78 FIP, 3,577 1/3 innings, 3,093 strikeouts, summed to 63.0 bWAR/66.5 fWAR. It was certainly an impressive career for Sabathia, who pitched for the Indians, Brewers, and Yankees.

Sabathia won a World Series with the 2009 Yankees and made 6 All-Star teams. He won the Cy Young award for the Indians in 2007 after going 19-7 with a 3.21 ERA/3.14 FIP across a league-leading 241 innings. Sabathia ranks 16th all-time in strikeouts (3,093), 37th in pitcher fWAR (66.5), and 48th in wins (251). 68.75% of MLBTR readers believe Sabathia put together a Hall of Fame career.

It certainly didn’t finish in an optimal fashion, leaving the ALCS due to injury, but Sabathia appears to have no qualms about finishing out his career. He released a retirement statement with a tweet that that read simply, “Thank you, Baseball.”

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Brewers Agree To MLB Deal With Deolis Guerra]]> 2019-10-18T16:26:10Z 2019-10-18T16:26:10Z The Brewers announced today that they have agreed to a one-year, MLB contract with righty Deolis Guerra. Terms were not announced.

Guerra, 30, was outrighted to Triple-A earlier this season and chose not to elect free agency at the time. Having previously been outrighted, however, he had the right to take to the open market instead at season’s end. Instead, the sides lined up on a new deal.

The Milwaukee organization obviously didn’t see fit to bring Guerra back onto the roster down the stretch. But his strong showing at Triple-A obviously impressed the club. The out-of-options reliever will still need to show well in camp to keep his roster spot, but he now seems to have the inside track on a bullpen job in 2020.

Guerra had a solid 2016 effort in the majors with the Angels, but otherwise hasn’t been able to hold down a MLB role. He was shelled in his lone outing last year at the game’s highest level, but excelled at Triple-A. In 66 2/3 innings over 45 appearances for the Brewers’ top affiliate, Guerra pitched to a 1.89 ERA with 11.9 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9.

Dylan A. Chase <![CDATA[Hernan Perez Elects Free Agency]]> 2019-10-16T23:14:57Z 2019-10-16T22:15:23Z Veteran infielder Hernan Perez has elected for free agency, choosing to forego an outright assignment from the Brewers.

Perez, 28, was designated for assignment and outrighted previously this summer, although he ultimately hung around the Milwaukee farm and was subsequently selected for the active roster again in September. Formerly a quasi-regular in Milwaukee, Perez was limited to just 246 plate appearances in the majors this year, finishing the season with a .228/.262/.379 line (62 wRC+). Though he’s recorded a sub-par 73 wRC+ across 1800+ MLB plate appearances, Perez did flash some tantalizing speed back in 2016, when he swiped 34 bags in 123 games for the Brew Crew.

The versatile Perez is almost certain to latch on somewhere for 2020, as he offers one of the most flexible gloves in the game. Even in limited duty in 2019, the Venezuelan logged time at every single spot on the diamond, save for catcher. Milwaukee’s 40-man roster count now sits at 39.

Dylan A. Chase <![CDATA[Moustakas Buyout Described As 'Formality']]> 2019-10-16T12:33:48Z 2019-10-15T15:19:06Z
  • “I don’t think it’s particularly controversial that I’d love to have both of them back,” said Brewers decision-maker David Stearns in regard to Yasmani Grandal and Mike Moustakas, in an article from Adam McCalvy of (link). Both players are expected to decline their halves of mutual options for 2020, with McCalvy relaying that Moustakas’ agent, Scott Boras, described the latter’s $3 million buyout as a “formality”. There is no quote from Boras provided in the article, but, if true, it would indicate with certainty that the 31-year-old Moustakas is preparing to reenter a free agent market that has been notoriously unkind to him in recent years. Moustakas, who has hit 101 home runs over the last three seasons with a 110 combined wRC+, lingered long in the 2018 soup line before receiving a $6.5MM one-year pact with the Royals; 2019 saw him again settle for a one-year deal amounting to $10MM (after accounting for the “formality” of that buyout). This winter should provide a third attempt at the multi-year apple for Moustakas.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Brewers Part With First Base Coach Carlos Subero]]> 2019-10-15T04:03:43Z 2019-10-15T04:03:43Z
  • The Brewers are parting with first base coach/infield coach Carlos Subero, per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Subero, the lone member of manager Craig Counsell’s staff who won’t return in 2020, spent four seasons as a major league coach with the Brewers. He previously managed in the minors with the organization.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[MLBTR Poll: Yasmani Grandal’s Next Contract]]> 2019-10-12T01:37:01Z 2019-10-12T01:37:01Z For the second straight offseason, Yasmani Grandal is scheduled to reach free agency as the undisputed No. 1 catcher available. Grandal got to the open market last winter after a strong multiyear run with the Dodgers, but he’ll return there this offseason on the heels of a quality campaign with the Brewers, who look likely to lose him.

    The fact that Grandal even ended up in Milwaukee in the first place came as a surprise. Expectations were he’d emerge from his previous trip to free agency with a long-term, high-paying contract, but that didn’t materialize. There was at least one opportunity for Grandal to score that type of pact, as he reportedly turned down a four-year, $60MM offer from the Mets weeks before settling for far less.

    The small-market Brewers capitalized on Grandal’s decision to reject New York, not to mention a lack of offers he deemed suitable from other clubs, by reeling him in on a one-year, $18.25MM guaranteee in January. The switch-hitting Grandal paid the Brew Crew back with a .246/.380/.468 batting line, a career-high 28 home runs and 5.2 fWAR in 632 plate appearances during another playoff-bound season for the team. Grandal performed well behind the plate at the same time, thus continuing a long run as one of the most well-rounded backstops in baseball.

    The Brewers could technically control Grandal for another season, as the two sides have a $16MM mutual option (or a $2.25MM buyout) for 2020. Exercising it should be a no-brainer for Milwaukee, but rejecting it ought to be an easy call for Grandal. He has now put up five straight elite seasons, after all, and no longer has to worry about a qualifying offer weighing him down. The Dodgers hit Grandal with a QO a year ago, and because a player can’t receive it more than once, he’s in line for an unfettered free-agent run this time around. Not only that, but the 31-year-old Grandal won’t face much competition on the open market. It’s obvious the next best unsigned catchers – Jason Castro, Travis d’Arnaud and Robinson Chirinos – aren’t in his stratosphere.

    Adding everything up, Grandal may be in ideal position this offseason to secure the type of payday he desired last year. Do you expect the two-time All-Star to outdo the $60MM he reportedly turned down back then?

    (Poll link for app users)

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[This Year’s Super Two Cutoff Is Abnormally Low]]> 2019-10-10T18:41:03Z 2019-10-10T18:35:38Z This year’s cutoff point to determine Super Two status will be unusually low, per Adam McCalvy of (via Twitter). While an exact cutoff point is yet unclear, McCalvy reports that Josh Hader, who has two years and 115 days of MLB service time (abbreviated as 2.115) will be eligible for arbitration this winter. In essence, that means that Hader is about to become a very well-compensated reliever. That would’ve been the case in the 2020-21 offseason anyway, but he’ll now tap into that earning power a year early. It’s also worth noting that this cutoff point will place Miami’s JT Riddle, who finished the season at 2.118 years of service, into arbitration eligibility as well.

    A 2.115 cutoff would already be the lowest Super Two threshold in the past decade. The previous lowpoints in that span came in 2010 and 2013, when the cutoff was 2.122. Last year, it settled at 2.134. If the threshold is any lower this season, others could also be impacted. Arizona’s Luke Weaver (2.112) and Oakland’s Matt Chapman (2.109) are the most notable names within reasonable distance of Hader’s 2.115.

    Super Two designation is one of the innumerable quirks to the ever-confounding arbitration system. For the unfamiliar, Major League players earn “service time” for every day spent on an MLB roster. One year of MLB service is defined as 172 days — despite the fact that there are more days than that in the regular season. (This year’s season was 186 days; again — hooray for quirks!)

    Upon reaching three years of service time, all players become eligible for salary arbitration. Prior to that point, teams are effectively able to set (most) player salaries at any rate they wish, so long as it is north of the league minimum. Many teams have formulas they use to determine pre-arbitration salaries, and it’s quite rare for pre-arb players to earn even $1MM (barring a long-term extension). Arbitration is the first point at which players and their agents can begin negotiating with teams regarding their salary, though arbitration prices still typically fall shy of open-market value.

    The “Super Two” wrinkle further complicates matters. The top 22 percent of players (in terms of total service time) with between two and three years of service also are considered eligible for arbitration and termed “Super Two” players. Any player who falls into that service bucket and spent at least 86 days of the preceding season on a 25-man roster or the Major League injured list become eligible a year early and then go through the arbitration process four times.

    In the case of Hader, he’s now in line for a fairly considerable salary. He has 37 more innings, eight more saves and a whopping 116 more strikeouts than his own teammate, Corey Knebel, had when reaching arbitration as a Super Two player last season. Knebel landed a $3.65MM salary, which Hader should handily top. Beyond that, Hader’s subsequent raises in 2021, 2022 and 2023 will be built off a higher base because of his early entry into the arbitration process.

    Once the exact cutoff is determined, we’ll add projections for Hader, Riddle and any other newly minted arbitration-eligible players to our just-released annual list of arbitration projections.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[David Stearns Discusses Brewers Roster Questions]]> 2019-10-04T22:07:57Z 2019-10-04T22:07:57Z Brewers GM David Stearns talked about the upcoming offseason in the wake of his club’s Wild Card loss, with Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel among those to cover the proceedings.

    Despite the disappointing end, it was obviously another successful campaign, as the Brewers charged late and again reached the postseason despite losing superstar Christian Yelich. But the club won’t be able to rest on its laurels, as there are a variety of decisions to be made right out of the gates.

    As Stearns puts it, he and his front office has “some important questions” that will need to be answered. Every offseason has its own “narrative,” he said, and it’s still not clear what path this one will take.

    The first call that has to be made involves corner infielders Eric Thames ($7.5MM club option, $1MM buyout) and Travis Shaw (arbitration eligible). Stearns said he hasn’t reached any decision on Thames, who had a productive season with the bat and seems a reasonable value at that price. As for Shaw, whose season was a disaster, Stearns says the club will “spend a lot of effort internally determining what to do” in advance of the non-tender deadline.

    The Shaw situation ties in to the Brewers’ slate of departing free agents, which includes several key players. Infielder Mike Moustakas could replace Shaw, though he’ll likely require a bigger commitment to retain than he commanded on the open market last winter. And then there’s Yasmani Grandal, who had a highly productive year behind the plate and will leave a big hole. Stearns was happy to acknowledge that he’d “love to have both of them back.” Will it happen? “Whether the realities of the market permit that and whether the realities of the free-agent market permit that is something we will have to evaluate as we go through the off-season.”

    Likewise, a pair of key hurlers will be available to all teams. Mid-season trade acquisitions Jordan Lyles and Drew Pomeranz. Stearns called the pair “unbelievable” and said he’d be interested in returns in both cases. “They both contributed a lot to this club and I’m sure we’ll be in contact with them,” said Stearns.

    There’s no shortage of other roster issues to be addressed. The Brewers’ creative pitching strategies will again be tested. Stearns said he isn’t ready to say precisely how hurlers such as Corbin Burnes, Freddy Peralta, and Brent Suter will be used next year, though he did note that “we tend to blur lines between starters and relievers anyways.” And it certainly sounds as if the Brewers will at least be interested in exploring ways of supplementing (if not supplanting) Orlando Arcia at shortstop. Stearns says the team “need[s] better overall production” from that spot, though he added that he believes Arcia is “a better player than he showed this year” and that the incumbent could still represent the necessary solution.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Brewers’ Wild Card Roster Includes Lorenzo Cain]]> 2019-10-01T15:21:05Z 2019-10-01T15:21:05Z Moments after the Nationals released their Wild Card roster, the Brewers have followed suit. The Milwaukee group notably includes center fielder Lorenzo Cain, who has been limited of late by injury and could be a game-time decision.

    Otherwise, the club is preparing for a contest in which manager Craig Counsell will likely call upon quite a few members of this 25-man unit:

    Right-Handed Pitchers

    Left-Handed Pitchers




    With four lefties on hand, it’s fair to presume that the Brewers will aim to match up whenever possible. But the team is also going to need to get a number of innings out of each arm. Woodruff will presumably take two or three frames, with righties Lyles, Anderson, and Guerra options to fill volume behind him.

    It’d be a surprise if Josh Hader doesn’t end up throwing more than one inning, but it remains to be seen whether the club will deploy him early or save him for the end of the contest. Don’t forget that the team suddenly has another southpaw strikeout weapon in the form of key mid-season trade acquisition Pomeranz. He and fellow lefty Suter are also capable of working multiple frames. By mixing these pitchers in with the aforementioned starters, Counsell could go back and forth between lefties and righties all game long. Though the Brewers have long foregone significant rotation additions, they’ll trust that their deep and talented pitching staff can defeat the Nats’ more traditional trio of top-shelf starters (each of whom will be available this evening).

    Cain remains the big question on the position-player side. He obviously feels well enough to be a possibility to play, though that could end up being determined by pre-game workouts. Perhaps there’s a chance he opens the game and goes as long as he can, or is held back for late-game need. Whatever approach the club takes, it’ll have a significant impact on the way the contest unfolds.

    It’s possible to draw up an anticipated strategy for a game like this, but odds are it’ll go out the window as soon as things get underway. Counsell will be trying to get the best possible matchups from the jump while also keeping an eye on how early-game moves impact his options as the contest proceeds.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[MLBTR Poll: NL Wild Card Matchup]]> 2019-10-01T13:57:11Z 2019-10-01T13:57:11Z It’s a quiet morning, but the evening promises to be filled with fireworks. The Nats and Brewers will square off in D.C. after falling shy in their respective divisions but out-running the rest of the National League Wild Card field.

    All Wild Card games come with the potential to be … well, wild. The format allows teams to compile rosters aimed at maximizing situational possibilities in one single game. And the win-or-go-home setting ensures that those rosters are unloaded — sometimes in creative fashion — without concern for ensuing contests. But this particular matchup is especially intriguing. In part by design and in part by happenstance, these teams have polar-opposite distributions of pitching talent.

    The Nats are in good shape on paper, as they’ll trot out one of the game’s preeminent aces and competitors in Max Scherzer. An exceedingly unreliable bullpen lies in wait, but the club may attempt to forego it entirely by calling upon their other top-shelf starters — Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin — to clamp down on a Brewers lineup that managed to produce a late winning streak even after losing superstar Christian Yelich for the season. In theory, it’s a reasonably straightforward situation for Nats skipper Davey Martinez, but there could easily be some nervy moments as he decides whether and when to pull his horses and hand the ball off to Sean Doolittle and company.

    The Brewers will also call upon their best starter in Brandon Woodruff. But he won’t be tasked with turning in a lengthy, shut-down performance. The young righty has only made a pair of two-inning appearances since returning from injury and surely won’t be extended too far beyond that point. His abbreviated start will kick off a cat-and-mouse bullpen game that is likely to feature multiple frames from relief ace Josh Hader and gobs of mixing and matching. It’ll be fascinating to see how manager Craig Counsell attempts to navigate a deep and balanced Nationals lineup. He’ll no doubt try to get as many outs as possible from his best arms while deploying situational relievers when necessary. The Milwaukee pitching situation could take any number of different paths and involve every hurler on the roster.

    Which team has the edge in the NL Wild Card? (Poll link for app users.)

    Dylan A. Chase <![CDATA[Brandon Woodruff To Pitch Wild Card Game]]> 2019-10-01T00:17:53Z 2019-09-30T01:40:21Z
  • In other Brewers-related news, outfielder Ryan Braun expects to play in that Tuesday tilt against D.C. Haudricort also relays that outfielder Lorenzo Cain is “hopeful” for the game (link). Braun is dealing with a calf issue, while Cain has a balky ankle. As previously noted here, the Brewers may be limited to Trent Grisham or Tyrone Taylor in center if Cain is indeed too hindered to give it a ’go’ on Tuesday night.
  • Dodgers manager Dave Roberts hasn’t yet announced the full pitching lineup for the NLDS, but he tells Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Time that he is “feeling really good” about trusting Rich Hill with potential Game 4 duties (link). Hill was only activated from the IL on September 24th but did strike out five Padre hitters in just two innings of work in that appearance. As the number-one seed in the National League, the Dodgers will host the winner of the Nats-Brewers Wild Card play-in matchup. The Dodgers, in fact, will play at home throughout the postseason, unless they face the Astros in the World Series–by posting an MLB-best 107-55 record, Houston clinched homefield advantage through the Fall Classic.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On Brewers’ Outfield Injuries]]> 2019-09-29T16:11:36Z 2019-09-29T16:11:21Z Sunday: Cain is indeed out of today’s lineup, a must-win if the Brewers are to have any hope of capturing their second consecutive NL Central title.

    Saturday: The Brewers have already clinched at least a wild card berth, and they’ll head into the last day of the regular just a game behind the Cardinals for the NL Central lead.  As the team continues to try and force a one-game playoff for the division crown, however, they continue to deal with some significant injury problems in their outfield.

    In the top of the ninth inning on Saturday, Lorenzo Cain took a hard slide into Rockies catcher Drew Butera, as Cain was trying to score from first on a double.  Cain was called out, and then replaced in center field prior to the bottom half of the inning.  The Brewers announced that Cain suffered a left ankle sprain, and the outfielder told’s Adam McCalvy and other reporters that he wasn’t sure if he could play on Sunday.

    A similar injury forced Cain out of a game back on Sept. 20, though he didn’t end up missing any time.  2019 has been a tough season in general for Cain, who hasn’t spent any time on the injured list but has been dealing with a wide range of nagging problems to his oblique, wrist, and thumb all year.  The result has been the worst full season (.260/.325/.372 over 643 PA) of Cain’s career, though he has hit much better in September to help carry the Brew Crew back into the postseason.  Just on Saturday alone, Cain went 2-for-3 with a walk, and made an exceptional catch to prevent a Garrett Hampson home run.

    It remains to be seen if Cain’s ankle problem could keep him out of a potential tiebreaker game with the Cardinals on Monday or the Brewers’ current postseason date, Tuesday’s National League wild card game against the Nationals.  One player who does plan to be available beyond the regular season is Ryan Braun, as the outfielder told McCalvy and other media members that he is “very optimistic” that his mild left calf strain isn’t a major issue.  Braun left Friday’s game with the injury, and it was already known that he would sit out Milwaukee’s final two regular season contests.

    Braun has been no stranger to injuries in recent years, though his 144 games played this season represents his highest total since 2012.  The 35-year-old has been both pretty durable and productive in his 13th MLB season, as Braun has hit .285/.343/.505 with 22 homers over 508 plate appearances.

    With Cain and Braun nursing injuries and Christian Yelich already done for the season, the Brewers are in danger of being without their entire Opening Day outfield as they head into the playoffs.  Ben Gamel is Milwaukee’s primary fourth outfielder, with utilityman Cory Spangenberg and rookies Trent Grisham and Tyrone Taylor also capable of filling in, while Eric Thames could potentially step into right field if he isn’t needed at first base.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Ryan Braunt Leaves Game With Calf Discomfort]]> 2019-09-28T04:09:37Z 2019-09-28T03:53:06Z
  • The Brewers announced that outfielder Ryan Braun exited their game against the Rockies on Friday with discomfort in his left calf. The severity of the injury isn’t clear, but with Christian Yelich done for the year and Lorenzo Cain playing through injuries, a serious ailment for Braun would be another unwelcome development for the Brewers’ outfield as the playoffs approach. While the 35-year-old Braun is no longer the star he was in his prime, he has still contributed a valuable .285/.343/.505 line with 22 home runs and 11 steals on 12 attempts in 508 plate appearances this season. [UPDATE: Braun suffered a strain and will undergo an MRI, per Adam McCalvy of]
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    George Miller <![CDATA[Latest On Christian Yelich's Progress]]> 2019-09-21T22:43:54Z 2019-09-21T22:39:15Z
  • Brewers megastar Christian Yelich, who suffered a fractured kneecap after fouling a ball off his right knee, is showing signs of progress more than a week after the injury. Per Adam McCalvy of, Yelich could be walking with crutches in about a week, with the possibility of running as early as the end of October. That’s not to say that he’ll be ready in time for a potential playoff return, however. While that doesn’t make the absence of the Brewers’ franchise player any more bearable, it’s encouraging that he’s making progress in his recovery.
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