Milwaukee Brewers – MLB Trade Rumors 2020-08-12T03:07:57Z WordPress Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Brewers Reinstate Luis Urias, Designate Logan Morrison]]> 2020-08-11T04:52:21Z 2020-08-10T19:22:24Z The Brewers have reinstated infielder Luis Urias from the injured list. He had been sidelined due to a COVID-19 diagnosis.

To open roster space, the Milwaukee organization has designated veteran first baseman Logan Morrison for assignment. He could conceivably remain with the team if he clears waivers and the club wants to keep him in the 60-man player pool.

Urias came to the Brew Crew along with Eric Lauer in the swap that sent Trent Grisham and Zach Davies to the Padres. The Friars have received strong initial production on their side of the deal, though it’s obviously far too soon to declare a winner.

Through about a half-season of total MLB play, Urias has struggled to a .221/.318/.331 batting line with six home runs. But the former top-100 prospect has ripped up Triple-A pitching for a cumulative .305/.403/.511 output over 887 plate appearances.

Morrison, soon to turn 33, has seen his MLB opportunities wane in recent seasons. He struggled in 28 plate appearances early this season in Milwaukee. In his eleven major league campaigns, LoMo has launched 140 long balls and produced a .238/.323/.425 slash.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[60-Man Pool Additions: Orioles, Brewers]]> 2020-08-04T02:52:34Z 2020-08-04T02:52:34Z Here are the latest additions to 60-man player pools from around the majors:

  • Joining the Orioles’ 60-man player pool are righty Kyle Bradish, outfielder Ryan McKenna, and southpaw Bruce Zimmermann. Bradish, a fourth-round pick of the 2018 draft, had a solid year at the High-A level in 2019 and came to the Baltimore organization in the Dylan Bundy swap. The latter two will each be eligible for the Rule 5 draft this fall if they’re not added to the 40-man roster beforehand. McKenna had a tough season last year at Double-A, where slashed just .232/.321/.365 in 567 plate appearances. The 25-year-old Zimmermann topped out at Triple-A in 2019, scuffling in seven starts. But he earned his way there with 101 1/3 impressive frames at Bowie, over which he carried a 2.58 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9.
  • The Brewers have brought outfielder Hedbert Perez and righty Justin Topa into their alternate training site, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports on Twitter. It’s a rather interesting duo. The former only just turned 17 years of age and is obviously still a long ways away from the majors. The organization obviously sees quite a lot of potential. Topa is already 29 but sits in the upper nineties with his fastball, so this’ll be an opportunity for the Milwaukee organization to see if he could ultimately be an option at the MLB level. Last year, Topa worked to a cumulative 3.38 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 over forty frames split between the High-A and Double-A levels.
Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Shelby Miller Opts Out Of 2020 Season]]> 2020-08-03T21:44:31Z 2020-08-03T20:03:04Z Righty Shelby Miller has opted out of the 2020 season, the Brewers announced. He had been working out at the team’s alternative training site.

Miller, once an exciting young MLB hurler, has fallen on hard times on the mound of late. He has thrown only 82 innings in the majors over the past three seasons due to a combination of injuries and ineffectiveness.

The Brewers had inked Miller to a minor-league pact in hopes of unlocking some of his former promise. Now, we’ll have to wait and see whether Miller elects to mount another comeback attempt next spring.

Miller joins a still-growing list of players who have opted out of the campaign.

Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Brewers Place Ryan Braun On 10-Day Injured List]]> 2020-08-02T22:20:07Z 2020-08-02T22:20:07Z The Brewers have placed Ryan Braun on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to July 30, the club announced. He’s dealing with an infection in his right index finger. Milwaukee didn’t provide a timetable for his return.

The 36-year-old has only gotten into four games to this point, starting three at designated hitter. He’s coming off a productive 2019 effort (.285/.343/.505 in 508 plate appearances) and figures to reemerge as a middle-of-the-order bat for manager Craig Counsell upon his return to health.

The Brewers have not yet made a decision as to who will replace him on the 30-man active roster. Between Justin SmoakLogan MorrisonJedd GyorkoChristian Yelich and Avisaíl García, they have a fair number of options to rotate through the first base/corner outfield/DH mix while Braun is out.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Lorenzo Cain Opts Out Of 2020 Season]]> 2020-08-01T17:32:59Z 2020-08-01T16:57:54Z Brewers center fielder Lorenzo Cain has opted out of the rest of the 2020 season, according to a team press release.  President of baseball operations David Stearns commented on the situation in the release, saying “Lorenzo Cain has informed us that he will not participate for the remainder of the 2020 season.  We fully support Lorenzo’s decision, and will miss his talents on the field and leadership in the clubhouse.”

Cain becomes the 18th player to opt out of playing in 2020, not counting Nick Markakis who initially opted out but chose to resume playing for the Braves.  Cain is certainly one of the biggest names on that list, a long-time veteran with a decorated resume that includes two All-Star appearances, a Gold Glove, and a World Series ring as a member of the 2015 Royals.

There hasn’t been any word as to whether or not Cain was opting out due to any personal medical reason, and if Cain isn’t at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19, his decision will mean that he is walking away from the prorated portion of his original $16MM salary for the 2020 season.  It’s no small amount of money, obviously, though less of a financial cost for a player who has already banked well over $50MM in career earnings, and is slated to earn $33MM over the 2021/22 seasons as per the terms of the five-year, $80MM deal he signed with Milwaukee in January 2018.

Like all teams, the Brewers have had their share of COVID-19 cases, with Luis Urias and Angel Perdomo both testing positive before the start of Summer Camp.  (Eric Lauer also missed time after exposure to someone who was COVID-positive, though Lauer himself didn’t have the virus.)  It’s fair to wonder whether Cain’s decision was prompted not necessarily by his own team, but rather the wider scope of coronavirus cases around the National League in particular, with the Marlins and Cardinals.  Milwaukee, in fact, was supposed to be the Cardinals’ opponent this weekend before an outbreak within the St. Louis clubhouse led to two postponed games and almost certainly will prevent the two clubs from playing on Sunday.

From a baseball perspective, losing Cain is certainly a blow to a Milwaukee team that had aspirations of another postseason appearance, at minimum.  While Cain was coming off an injury-hampered 2019 season that saw post only a .697 OPS over 623 plate appearances, he still managed to generate 1.5 fWAR due to his typically excellent center field defense.  Prior to 2019, Cain has been a solidly above-average offensive performer over his previous five seasons, hitting .301/.361/.433 over 2805 PA from 2014-18 with the Royals and Brewers.

Without Cain, Ben Gamel now looks to be the Brewers’ primary center fielder.  Gamel has shown decent potential as both an everyday player with the Mariners and a part-timer with the Brewers, hitting a respectable .266/.336/.391 over 1199 PA from 2017-19, though the jury is still out on his center field glovework.  Gamel has a -5.0 UZR/150 and minus-1 Defensive Runs Saved over only 181 career innings in center, as the vast majority of his big league playing time has come as a corner outfielder.  Avisail Garcia is the only other realistic center field candidate on Milwaukee’s active roster, so the Brew Crew could turn to one of the other options (Keon Broxton, Corey Ray, or Tyrone Taylor) within their 60-man player pool.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Multiple Cardinals Players/Staffers Test Positive For COVID-19]]> 2020-08-01T14:47:44Z 2020-08-01T14:47:40Z 9:47AM: One Cardinals player has tested positive, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Jared Diamond, while The Athletic’s Mark Saxon (Twitter link) reports three of the positive tests were from the coaching staff.

9:10AM: Multiple Cardinals players have tested positive for the coronavirus in the wake of the club’s most recent tests.  The exact number isn’t yet known, though SportsGrid’s Craig Mish (Twitter link) reports “more than five” positive results amongst the players, while The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that “between four and six” of a “combination of staff and players” tested positive.  Former big leaguer Trevor Plouffe tweeted earlier this morning that “at least four” St. Louis players tested positive.

This ominous news indicates that a second team is now in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak, following the 20 total reported cases between Marlins players and the club’s coaches and training staff.  Yesterday’s Cardinals/Brewers game was postponed due to positive coronavirus tests for two St. Louis players.

The Marlins haven’t played since last Sunday, and it now seems inevitable that the Cardinals will face a similar schedule pause of at least a week following today’s results.  Most immediately, today’s game with the Brewers has been postponed, according to Heyman.  Aside from the weekend series with the Brewers, the Cards were also set to play the Tigers four times (twice in Detroit, twice in St. Louis) from August 3-6, and then continued the homestand with three games against the Cubs on August 7-9, and three against the Pirates on August 10-12.

The Cardinals were also supposed to face the White Sox in the “Field Of Dreams” game in Iowa on August 13 and then have August 14 off before embarking on another long stretch of games, without another off-day until August 27.  The sheer volume of games involved will mean a mass overhaul of not only the Cardinals’ schedule, but the schedules of several other teams.  In a best-case scenario (if such a term even applies to this situation), “only” the 10 games against the Brewers, Tigers and Cubs, would have to be reworked if St. Louis is able to resume play next week.

In the bigger picture, however, the Cardinals’ outbreak raises even more serious questions about whether Major League Baseball as a whole can feasibly continue a 2020 season in its current form.  With two teams now in outbreak situations after barely more than a week into the season, a wider-scale shutdown (either temporary or otherwise) could be in order.  Commissioner Rob Manfred reportedly told MLBPA executive director Tony Clark that such a halt may be necessary.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cardinals-Brewers Game Postponed Due To Positive Covid-19 Tests]]> 2020-07-31T16:59:22Z 2020-07-31T16:55:47Z 11:55am: The Cardinals issued a statement that the two tests which came back positive were performed Wednesday prior to their game with the Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis. The Cardinals have not been to Miller Park yet. That statement carries particular significance for the Twins and for the Indians, who used Target Field’s visiting clubhouse last night.

10:32am: The league announced that tonight’s game has been postponed. They’ll attempt to make it up as part of a doubleheader Sunday. MLB’s statements reads as follows:

Today’s scheduled game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park has been rescheduled as part of a traditional doubleheader on Sunday, August 2nd at 1:10 p.m. (CT).  The rescheduling as a result of two positive COVID-19 tests in the Cardinals’ organization is consistent with protocols to allow enough time for additional testing and contact tracing to be conducted.

That statement seems to represent a departure from the protocols of just one week ago, when the Marlins/Phillies series was played to completion despite as many as seven known positive cases by Sunday. It’s surely frustrating for some fans to see, but it’s also in the best interest of completing a 2020 season to update protocols based on the efficacy of the standing regulations.

9:35am: SportsGrid’s Craig Mish tweets that two Cardinals players have tested positive so far. Both were pitchers, Saxon adds.

9:25am: The Athletic’s Mark Saxon reports that if the remainder of the Cardinals’ roster tests negative, the series against the Brewers could still begin tomorrow. It remains unclear how many players and/or staff members on the club have tested positive, however.

8:47am: Tonight’s game between the Brewers and Cardinals will be postponed due to positive Covid-19 tests within the Cardinals organization, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (Twitter links). Joel Sherman of the New York Post adds that the Cardinals are isolating at their hotel and have not been to Miller Park.

It’s a discouraging development for the league, which had previously emphasized that the current outbreak within the sport was contained within the Marlins organization. Neither the Brewers nor the Cardinals have played (or will play) the Marlins in 2020 under the realigned schedule.

The number of positive tests will be telling, but it’s easy to imagine widespread implications. The Brewers will obviously be directly impacted, but they’re unlikely to be alone. The Cardinals just traveled to Milwaukee from Minneapolis, for instance, after completing a two-game set with the Twins. Minnesota hosted the Indians last night, meaning the Cleveland players and staff were in the same visitors clubhouse that had just hosted the Cardinals. Both the Twins and Indians, then, could feel the impact of the Cardinals’ tests even if none of the players on either roster have tested positive yet. The Pirates, whom the Cardinals played in their first series of the season, are also likely on alert after today’s news. The Cards had been scheduled to take on the Tigers next week, but as we saw with the Marlins, Phillies and their upcoming opponents, that now could be subject to change, too.

The hope, of course, is that the number of positives is minimal or even singular. Postponing a game based on a small number of positive tests would surely draw some criticism from fans, but the league would be justified in pointing to the prior Marlins outbreak as justification for not allowing a series to commence after a small number of players tested positive. The Marlins had four positives prior to that series, played the three games anyhow, and by yesterday were up to a staggering 17 positives among players and two on the coaching/training staff.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Alex Wilson Retires]]> 2020-07-29T03:44:51Z 2020-07-29T03:44:51Z Former major league right-hander Alex Wilson has retired, Robert Murray reports. The 33-year-old will join the Ballengee Group as an advisor, per Murray.

Wilson, a second-round pick of the Red Sox in 2009, debuted in 2013 and generated solid results with Boston over a combined 56 innings through 2014. But Wilson wasn’t long for the Red Sox, who traded him to Detroit after the 2014 campaign in the teams’ Yoenis CespedesRick Porcello swap. Wilson went on to enjoy a successful stint as a member of the Tigers, with whom he was a durable and effective reliever.

Wilson amassed 264 2/3 innings and pitched to a 3.20 ERA with 5.8 K/9 against 2.1 BB/9 as Tiger from 2015-18, but they non-tendered him heading into last season. He saw his final major league action in Milwaukee, where he was tattooed for 12 earned runs on 15 hits in 11 1/3 frames. Although the Tigers brought Wilson back last offseason on a minor league contract, they ended up releasing him in June.

While his career didn’t end in ideal fashion, there’s no denying Wilson had a more productive MLB career than most. He’ll depart with 332 innings of 3.44 ERA ball and 6.1 K/9 against 2.4 BB/9. MLBTR wishes Wilson the best in his next venture.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Marlins Claim Mike Morin]]> 2020-07-28T18:14:45Z 2020-07-28T18:02:13Z The Marlins have claimed righty Mike Morin from the Brewers, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports on Twitter. The Miami organization is continuing to gather big league-capable players amidst a coronavirus-driven roster reshuffling.

Morin, 29, split the 2019 campaign between Minnesota and Philadelphia, logging a combined 4.62 ERA with a 26-to-10 K/BB ratio in 50 2/3 frames. Morin punched out 95 hitters in his first 94 MLB frames from 2014-15 but has since seen his strikeout numbers plummet. He made the Brewers’ Opening Day roster but was quickly jettisoned when the Brewers welcomed southpaw Eric Lauer back from the Covid-19 injured list. Morin has had multiple effective seasons but has struggled to find consistency at the MLB level. He’ll bring 224 innings of MLB experience, a 4.65 ERA and a much better 3.60 FIP to a Marlins bullpen that is undergoing a rapid reconstruction following the team’s outbreak.

TC Zencka <![CDATA[Predict The NL Central Winner]]> 2020-07-25T14:28:06Z 2020-07-25T14:28:06Z With final roster decisions in the books and the 2020 season underway at long last, it’s time to make some predictions. We’ve started to poll the MLBTR readership on each of the game’s six divisions — starting with the AL Central. With plenty more teams primed to crack the postseason under the inclusive new playoff qualification system, let’s jump the pond and take a look at the NL Central.

Kyle Hendricks gave the Cubs an early lead in the division yesterday with a 2 1/2 hour complete game shutout of the Brewers. The Reds were right there with them in blowing away the Tigers. Many believe the Reds won the offseason, and their beefed-up lineup looks to bullrush the rest of the division. Matt Davidson took the Reds’ DH at-bats in game one, but newcomers Mike Moustakas and Nicholas Castellanos will cycle through as well. The pitching is underrated, and they’re going to be a force. The Brewers roll out two of the most impactful rostered players in the sport in Josh Hader and Christian Yelich, a dangerous pair of superstars in a short season. The Pirates are an organization in transition, and if they manage a string together a competitive 60-game season, it’ll be a surprise. Until a new champ is crowned, however, the Cardinals remain the toast of the NL Central. With Carlos Martinez back in the rotation and Matt Carpenter set to take a healthy slate of DH at-bats, the 2020 Cardinals are a slightly different shape, but no less formidable.

Which team do you think is the best of the bunch? (Poll link for app users.)

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Brewers Select Mike Morin, Set Opening Day Roster]]> 2020-07-23T17:52:46Z 2020-07-23T16:17:01Z The Brewers on Thursday announced their 30-man roster for Opening Day. Within they revealed that they’ve selected righty Mike Morin the Major League roster. He joins previously announced non-roster invitees Logan Morrison and Justin Grimm in making the club. The Brewers will also bring up righty J.P. Feyereisen to make his MLB debut, though he was already on the 40-man roster.

The 29-year-old Morin is no stranger to the Midwest, having been born in Minnesota, raised in St. Louis and previously pitched for both the Twins and Royals. He split the 2019 campaign between Minnesota and Philadelphia, logging a combined 4.62 ERA with a 26-to-10 K/BB ratio in 50 2/3 frames. Morin punched out 95 hitters in his first 94 MLB frames from 2014-15 but has since seen his strikeout numbers plummet. He’ll bring 224 innings of MLB experience, a 4.65 ERA and a much better 3.60 FIP to a deep Milwaukee bullpen.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Brewers Place Ray Black On IL Due To Strained Rotator Cuff]]> 2020-07-22T00:15:23Z 2020-07-22T00:15:23Z The Brewers announced Tuesday that they’ve placed right-hander Ray Black on the 10-day injured list due to a strained right rotator cuff. Milwaukee also formally announced the previously reported additions of Logan Morrison and Justin Grimm to its 40-man roster. There’s no word from the club on Black’s timeline for recovery, although any shoulder issues are of extra concern in a shortened, 60-game season.

Black, 30, has long been an intriguing arm given his triple-digit fastball and gaudy minor league strikeout totals (career 16.7 K/9), but injuries have hobbled him throughout his career. Milwaukee acquired him alongside Drew Pomeranz in the trade that sent Mauricio Dubon to San Francisco last summer, and he went on to pitch 14 innings of relief out of the Brewers’ pen (eight runs on 10 hits and eight walks with 13 strikeouts).

Black has just 39 1/3 innings under his belt at the MLB level and hasn’t yet found consistent success. That said, he’s also out of minor league options, which made him quite likely to land on the club’s big league roster to open the season. A pitcher who averages better than 98 mph on his heater and has a 98th percentile spin rate on the pitch was never likely to make it through waivers, after all, even if he doesn’t have a track record of success in the Majors. Now, there’s no telling exactly when he’ll be a realistic option for manager Craig Counsell.

If he’s able to make it back this season, Black would likely join a relief corps that includes Josh Hader, Corey Knebel, David Phelps, Brent Suter, Alex Claudio and Grimm. Others who could factor in, particularly early in the year when rosters are expanded, include J.P. Feyereisen, Bobby Wahl and non-roster veteran Shelby Miller.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Brewers Place Brett Anderson On Injured List]]> 2020-07-20T20:26:12Z 2020-07-20T20:26:12Z The Brewers have placed left-hander Brett Anderson on the injured list, Adam McCalvy of tweets. Anderson’s dealing with a blister.

Anderson was one of the Brewers’ most important offseason acquisitions of the winter, when they signed him to a one-year, $5MM guarantee, and should play a key role in their rotation when he returns to health. But various injuries have troubled the 32-year-old Anderson since he debuted in the majors with the Athletics in 2009. He remained healthy for the most part last year, though, throwing 176 innings and registering a 3.89 ERA/4.57 FIP in Oakland despite a measly 4.6 K/9. Anderson helped his cause with an above-average 54.5 percent groundball rate and a 2.51 BB/9.

The Anderson IL placement is the latest setback for Milwaukee’s rotation, which will also begin the season without fellow southpaw Eric Lauer. As a result, it’s unclear how their rotation will look when the season starts. Brandon Woodruff, Adrian Houser and Josh Lindblom make for some of the Brewers’ most experienced healthy starting options. They’re in line for starting jobs, while Brent Suter, Corbin Burnes, Freddy Peralta and David Phelps have also opened games in their own right and could fill in thanks to the team’s health issues.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Brewers Notes: Braun, Lauer]]> 2020-07-20T19:53:22Z 2020-07-20T19:49:37Z
  • Brewers slugger Ryan Braun is dealing with “nagging” back, oblique and neck issues, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel relays (Twitter links). It’s unclear whether those problems will jeopardize his Opening Day chances, but it’s worth noting that they have prevented Braun from playing in Summer Camp. Meanwhile, teammate and southpaw Eric Lauer will miss the start of the season “by a little bit,” manager Craig Counsell revealed. Lauer is behind schedule because he was exposed to someone with the coronavirus, but he is healthy. The 25-year-old was a key offseason pickup for Milwaukee, which landed him in a four-player trade with San Diego. Lauer tossed 149 2/3 innings of 4.45 ERA/4.23 FIP ball with 8.3 K/9 and 3.07 BB/9 a season ago.
  • ]]>
    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Justin Grimm, Logan Morrison To Make Brewers’ Opening Day Roster]]> 2020-07-19T23:01:46Z 2020-07-19T23:01:35Z 6:01PM: Right-hander Justin Grimm has also been told he will make Milwaukee’s roster, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweets.  Grimm signed a minors contract last December, and will thus also require a 40-man roster spot before being officially selected.

    Grimm posted solid numbers over 180 1/3 innings out of the Cubs bullpen from 2013-16, including a 4.10 ERA over 52 2/3 frames for Chicago’s 2016 World Series championship club.  Since that memorable year, however, Grimm has struggled, and he didn’t pitch in the big leagues at all in 2019.

    11:00AM: The Brewers plan to add Logan Morrison to the Opening Day roster, reports Robert Murray (Twitter link). He’ll need to be added to the 40-man roster. Morrison signed a minor-league deal with the club in January.

    The 32-year-old has impressed both in the spring and into summer training camp since arriving as a non-roster invitee. He did hit 3 home runs in 33 Spring Training plate appearances, though it would be rash to draw conclusions from such a small showing. Of course, Craig Counsell and the Brewers have seen more good signs to warrant including him as part of their Opening Day 30.

    With Justin Smoak in the fold and slotted in as the regular first baseman, Morrison doesn’t figure into the Brewers’ everyday starting lineup, though he’ll be the first off the bench if Smoak needs a day off. Ryan Braun is in line to get the lion’s share of at-bats at DH, but with Braun’s status for Opening Day questionable due to soreness, Morrison could see an expanded role early in the season.

    The last two seasons have been unequivocally disappointing for Morrison, who’s not far removed from a 38-homer showing with the Rays in 2017. Since then, he’s bounced between a few teams, making stops with the Twins, Yankees, and Phillies, but he hasn’t caught on anywhere. Last year, he appeared in just 29 games for the Phils and posted a dismal .663 OPS. He posted solid numbers at the Triple-A level, hitting .308/.369/.640, but the Major League production has not been there. Of course, the Brewers will look to unlock a version of Morrison closer to his 2017 self, and if that happens, he could be a real bargain-bin find for the Brew Crew.