MLB Trade Rumors » » Milwaukee Brewers 2017-10-20T12:44:28Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom Steve Adams <![CDATA[Offseason Outlook: Milwaukee Brewers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=104856 2017-10-16T19:09:33Z 2017-10-16T17:57:40Z In what most expected to be another transitional season, the Brewers spent much of the year in contention for the NL Central title and finished just shy of an NL Wild Card berth. With an 86-76 record under their belts and a promising core of controllable players, the Brewers will no longer enter the offseason with a “rebuilding” label and will instead likely add pieces with an eye toward winning in 2018 and beyond.

Guaranteed Contracts

  • Ryan Braun, OF: $57MM through 2020 (includes buyout of 2021 option)
  • Eric Thames, 1B/OF: $12MM through 2019 (includes buyout of 2020 option)

Arbitration-Eligible Players (Service time in parenthesis; projections via MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz)

Free Agents

[Milwaukee Brewers Depth Chart | Milwaukee Brewers Payroll Outlook]

General manager David Stearns and his staff caught some flak from Brewers fans this summer for not acting more aggressively to add pieces to a surprising contender. While flipping prospects Ryan Cordell and Eric Hanhold to add a pair of solid veteran rentals (Swarzak and Walker) definitely strengthened the roster, the division-rival Cubs went for broke and shelled out multiple top prospects for Jose Quintana, Justin Wilson and Alex Avila. It’s possible that had the Brewers splurged in similar fashion, adding Quintana or Sonny Gray, that they could’ve emerged as the NL Central champs, but Stearns & Co. steadfastly refused to part with top-echelon prospects — most notably center field prospect Lewis Brinson. Now, they’ll spend the offseason looking for long-term help while holding onto the luxury of plugging Brinson and other top prospects into the lineup in the near future.

Starting on the position-player side of the equation, the Brewers made several then-unheralded moves in the 2016-17 offseason that now look to have helped form a solid nucleus. Manny Pina enjoyed a breakout behind the plate and should at the very least be in an even timeshare with Stephen Vogt (or another veteran backstop should Vogt be non-tendered). Eric Thames cooled after a Cinderella start to his comeback season in MLB, but his overall numbers were strong. Jesus Aguilar, a waiver claim out of the Indians organization last winter, gives Thames an affordable platoon partner. Travis Shaw, meanwhile, was deemed expendable by the Red Sox with Rafael Devers on the horizon and instead broke out as one of the NL’s best third basemen after the Brewers acquired him in a December trade.

Top prospect Orlando Arcia showed quite well at shortstop as the season wore on, and the Brewers will return Braun and Domingo Santana as corner outfield options with plenty of pop. (Thames, too, can play some corner outfield.) Keon Broxton saw the bulk of the time in center field in 2017 and could be reinstalled there to open the 2018 season if the Brewers want to play some service time games with Brinson. But center field should go to Brinson by midseason, assuming good health, so it’s possible that the Brewers will look to shop Broxton this summer. His 37 percent strikeout clip is an eyesore, but Broxton has plenty of speed and power, and he handles center field well enough. Brett Phillips gives the Brew Crew another option in center, should they ultimately move Broxton, or he could simply spell Braun, Broxton and Santana in a semi-regular role.

The biggest question mark for the Brewers, then, is at second base. Jonathan Villar had a breakout 2016 season, but the Brewers likely feel as though they dodged a bullet when Villar reportedly rejected a contract extension last offseason. The 26-year-old’s strikeout woes returned stronger than ever in 2017, and he hit just .241/.293/.372 in 436 PAs. Veteran Eric Sogard saw plenty of action at second base as Villar lost playing time, and Walker stepped in and hit well there following his acquisition. With both Walker and Sogard set to hit the open market, the Brewers will need to decide whether they can once again trust Villar or if external reinforcements are needed.

Re-signing Sogard to an affordable one-year deal could provide some insurance, but the Brewers must now also think more like a contender. If there’s an obvious hole to fill, they’ll likely covet more certainty. Milwaukee had interest in Ian Kinsler before the non-waiver deadline, and he’s all but certain to be traded by the Tigers this winter. Re-signing Walker would be more expensive than retaining Sogard, though he’d bring more reliable production. Other free-agent options are fairly thin, though Howie Kendrick and Eduardo Nunez could stabilize the spot. The trade front is more interesting, where Philadelphia’s Cesar Hernandez and Miami’s Dee Gordon will both be available. Gordon is owed $38MM over the next three seasons, but the Brewers can afford to take on some significant financial commitments this winter.

It’s also worth mentioning that Braun’s name figures to once again surface in trade rumors at least occasionally this offseason. However, he’s coming off his worst season since 2014 and has full veto power over any trades (to say nothing of the $57MM he’s still owed through 2020). A deal doesn’t seem particularly likely.

On the pitching front, things are far less clear for the Brewers. Emergent ace Jimmy Nelson will miss a yet-unreported amount of time in 2018 following shoulder surgery. That leaves Chase Anderson and Zach Davies as the two locks for rotation spots. Brent Suter performed well in 14 starts, but he’s averaged just 124 1/3 innings across the past three seasons. Relying on him for 170+ frames would be difficult, but he’ll certainly be in next year’s rotation mix. Righty Brandon Woodruff showed flashes of potential but didn’t cement himself, while Junior Guerra posted terrible numbers in his followup to his out-of-the-blue rookie success at age 31. Touted prospect Josh Hader shined in the bullpen, but the lefty will likely get a look as a starter next year.

The Brewers look as though they’ll need to add at least one established starter, and making a second, smaller-scale addition wouldn’t be unwise. One glance at the “guaranteed contracts” section above is evidence that they could afford to spend as aggressively as they wish this offseason, though the team’s lower payroll ceiling creates less margin for error when shelling out cash to a Jake Arrieta or Yu Darvish. Second-tier names like Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn seem much more plausible, though their last foray into that price range (Garza) didn’t pan out.

Alternatively, the Brewers have an exceptionally deep farm — deep enough that they can acquire both one-year rentals and more controllable options. Given the Brewers’ questionable on-paper rotation, relatively blank payroll slate and wealth of prospects, there are literally dozens of scenarios on which to potentially speculate. Suffice it to say — they’ll be connected to a plethora of arms this winter.

The Milwaukee bullpen brings a bit more clarity. Corey Knebel broke out as one of the game’s most dominant relievers, posting baseball’s fourth-highest strikeout percentage and second-highest K/9 rate in 2017. His walk rate is still troublesome, but Knebel functioned as a genuinely elite bullpen weapon in his record-setting 2017 season (most consecutive relief appearances with at least one strikeout). If Hader isn’t in the rotation, he’ll be back in the bullpen, pairing with Knebel to create a formidable duo. Jacob Barnes and Jared Hughes should return as additional right-handed options. Jeffress is a fan favorite in Milwaukee and showed improvement after returning in a July 31 trade, but his overall output makes less certain to be brought back. I’d still expect him to be tendered, though perhaps at a lower rate than the projected $2.6MM sum, as our algorithm doesn’t factor in context such as Jeffress’ off-the-field issues.

Swarzak was terrific after being acquired from the White Sox, so a potential reunion with him is something the Brewers will surely explore. Milwaukee also needs to add at least one left-handed reliever — if not two, depending on what happens with Hader. The Brewers were without a southpaw reliever for much of the year and certainly would prefer to have greater matchup flexibility in 2018 and beyond. Tyler Webb is one intriguing internal option, and the free-agent market bears names such as Jake McGee, Brian Duensing and Tony Watson. As ever, the trade market will be rife with options in this department, though Brad Hand stands out as the likeliest name to be bandied about on the rumor mill this winter.

An oft-overlooked component of the offseason among fans is the possibility of extending core pieces. While many focus on what pieces can be added to a contending core (or shipped off of a rebuilding roster), the Brewers are in a strong position to obtain some cost certainty and perhaps some additional club control over long-term cornerstones. After trying to do with Villar last winter, they’ll likely try once again with other targets as Spring Training nears in 2018. Arcia, Shaw and Davies all make sense as candidates for a long-term pact. Anderson does as well, to a lesser extent. He’s already controlled through his age-32 season, but the club could try to buy out his arbitration years in one fell swoop and possibly tack on a club option over his age-33 season in exchange for the up-front payday. As a late bloomer, he could be more amenable to that type deal than some younger arms would be.

The Brewers enter the 2017-18 offseason with a sizable portion of a contending club already in place, though they’ll still need to make some adjustments — most notably at second base and on the pitching staff. Their unexpected status as contenders in 2017 has undoubtedly accelerated their timeline to contention, though, and their deep stash of prospects and pristine long-term payroll ledger should give Stearns and his charges plenty of opportunities to creatively supplement a roster that roster that looks infinitely better than it did one year ago at this time.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Brewers Announce Front Office Promotions]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=104480 2017-10-09T16:05:23Z 2017-10-09T15:55:51Z
  • The Brewers’ David Stearns-led front office has promoted Karl Mueller to vice president of player personnel, Matt Kleine to director of baseball operations and Scott Campbell to special assignment scout, according to a team announcement. Mueller, a 14-year veteran of Milwaukee’s baseball department, spent the past two seasons in Kleine’s new position. Kleine, who’s entering his 12th year with the Brewers, most recently served as their manager of baseball operations. Campbell, yet another longtime member of the organization (he’s entering his 13th year), was the Brewers’ assistant director of video scouting from 2015-17.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Five Brewers Minor Leaguers Select Free Agency]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=104267 2017-10-06T16:30:16Z 2017-10-06T16:30:16Z Right-handers Wily Peralta, Rob Scahill, Michael Blazek, David Goforth, and outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis have all elected to become free agents, as per the Brewers’ player development Twitter feed (tip of the hat to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy).

    Peralta is the most notable name of the bunch, as it wasn’t long ago that the righty looked like a promising part of Milwaukee’s rotation.  After posting solid numbers in 2013-14, however, Peralta’s form dipped the next two seasons and then cratered this year, as he managed only a 7.85 ERA over 57 1/3 IP, with 10 homers and 32 walks in that stretch.  Peralta wasn’t helped by a month-long DL stint due to a calf strain, but his performance also fell off at the Triple-A level over the last two seasons.

    His struggles got him designated for assignment and then outrighted off Milwaukee’s 40-man roster over the summer, which allowed Peralta to elect free agency even though he still had two remaining years of team control thanks to Super Two status.  Peralta and the Brewers avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $4.275MM deal last winter.

    Blazek was twice DFA’ed and then outrighted off Milwaukee’s roster this season, so it perhaps isn’t surprising that he’s looking for a chance of scenery, especially given his displeasure at being demoted to the minors during Spring Training.  Blazek only made five appearances (one of them a start) for the Brewers in 2017, posting an 8.31 ERA over 8 2/3 innings of work.  The righty posted very effective numbers out of Milwaukee’s bullpen in 2015 but ran into some injury problems and struggled in 2016.

    Scahill was also twice designated for assignment this season, plus once more back in February.  The 30-year-old tossed 22 1/3 innings for the Brew Crew, posting a 4.43 ERA despite recording the same number of strikeouts (10) as walks, though four of those free passes were intentional.  Never one to miss many bats over his six years in the bigs, Scahill nevertheless posted a solid 3.03 ERA over 65 1/3 innings for the Pirates and Brewers in 2015-16.

    Nieuwenhuis agreed to a split contract last winter and spent much of the season at Triple-A, only appearing in 16 big league games.  Nieuwenhuis received the most playing time of his six-year career in 2016 (125 games and 392 PA) but became an afterthought this year as the Crew had more outfield depth.

    Goforth appeared in just one game for the Brewers in 2017, and has 36 1/3 Major League innings to his name after appearing in parts of the last three seasons.  The right-hander has a 3.96 ERA over 533 2/3 career frames in the minors (all in the Milwaukee organization), though he has had increasing control issues and a lack of strikeouts over the last couple of years.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Brewers To Look At Second Base, Starting Pitching In Offeason]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=104023 2017-10-04T00:44:45Z 2017-10-04T00:43:04Z Second base is “a position we’re going to have to take a long look at,” Brewers GM David Stearns said during the team’s end-of-season meeting with reporters (including Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).  Jonathan Villar’s struggles required the Brew Crew to trade for Neil Walker in August, and now with Walker headed for free agency and Eric Sogard (another free agent) perhaps best suited for utility duty, a decision will need to be made about giving Villar another chance or perhaps looking for another addition.  Starting pitching is another need given the uncertainty surrounding Jimmy Nelson’s return from a labrum procedure, though manager Craig Counsell said it was too early to consider whether Josh Hader could be moved into a rotation role.

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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Brewers Entire Coaching Staff To Return In 2018]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=103962 2017-10-03T21:46:38Z 2017-10-03T21:46:25Z
  • Brewers GM David Stearns announced in an end-of-season press conference that the team will retain its entire coaching staff for 2018.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Brewers' Impending FAs Discuss Plans]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=103814 2017-10-01T21:50:01Z 2017-10-01T21:50:01Z The Brewers’ impending free agents – infielders Neil Walker and Eric Sogard, reliever Anthony Swarzak and starter Matt Garza – spoke about their futures Sunday with Adam McCalvy of MLB.com and other reporters. Walker, the most noteworthy of the bunch, suggested that he’s keen on testing the open market in the offseason, though the August trade acquisitions did note that Milwaukee “is the type of team I’m going to be looking at. One that’s ready to win now and one that I can help.” Sogard and Swarzak made it clear they’d like to return to the Brewers, meanwhile, with the latter saying: “There’s still room to get better, and hopefully everybody in Brewers Nation gets to see a better Anthony Swarzak next year, because I want to stay here. I want to make another push here.”

    While there’s clearly more baseball ahead of Walker, Sogard and Swarzak, the elder statesman of the group, Garza, admitted that his career could be at an end. The soon-to-be 34-year-old Garza acknowledged that he has struggled over the past couple seasons and said he’s “not expecting much” in the way of offers during the winter. Garza is wrapping up the four-year, $50MM contract he inked with the Brewers prior to the 2014 campaign. The righty made 96 appearances (93 starts) as a Brewer and logged a 4.65 ERA/4.38 FIP with the team.

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    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Matt Garza Does Not Have 2018 Option, Will Become Free Agent]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=103745 2017-09-30T18:31:12Z 2017-09-30T18:28:36Z Contrary to what had previously been known about Matt Garza’s contract, the Brewers no longer have a 2018 option on the right-hander, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy tweets. The option was voided after he crossed a games pitched threshold. Without the option, Garza is set to hit free agency this winter as his four-year, $50MM contract comes to an end.

    Garza’s contract had a vesting option for 2018 that would have automatically exercised at $13MM if he had 110 starts from 2014-17 and under certain other conditions. He had only started 93 games in that time frame, however. The vesting option would have become a $1M club option if Garza had spent over 130 days on the disabled list in any season from 2014 through 2017, but he did not. It was previously thought that, in the absence of the $13MM vesting option or the $1M team option, the Brewers would have a $5MM team option, but evidently that isn’t the case.

    It didn’t appear especially likely that the Brewers would exercise Garza’s option even at the reduced $5MM price. Jimmy Nelson is already set to miss the start of the 2018 season, and not having an option on Garza further reduces the club’s flexibility, but it still appears likely that the Brewers would have looked elsewhere for starting pitching help or relied on other internal options even if they could have kept Garza at $5MM.

    After a strong first season in Milwaukee, Garza has struggled, and this year he’s posted a 4.94 ERA, 6.2 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 while missing time to groin and leg issues. He also struggled down the stretch and was removed from the Brewers’ rotation weeks ago. That’s not exactly a world-beating performance, particularly when considered in the broader context of a third straight underwhelming season — since 2015, Garza has a 5.10 ERA, 6.2 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 over 365 innings. The Brewers also might generally prefer to go with younger pitchers.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Nathan Kirby Pitching In Instructional League]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=103513 2017-09-27T23:12:06Z 2017-09-27T23:12:06Z
  • Brewers left-handed pitching prospect Nathan Kirby, who hasn’t pitched in two years due to a pair of elbow surgeries, is back on the mound in the team’s instructional league, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The former University of Virginia ace was at one point a projected top five pick in the 2015 draft but slipped to the Brewers at No. 40 overall that year due to injury concerns. Tommy John surgery cost Kirby the 2016 season, and he had a second elbow procedure earlier this year. While it’s hardly the start to his pro career that Kirby had envisioned, he’s not yet 24 years of age, so there’s certainly time for him to get back on track.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Jeremy Jeffress Hopes To Return To Brewers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=103378 2017-09-25T22:38:49Z 2017-09-25T22:38:49Z
  • Brewers reliever Jeremy Jeffress talks about his rehab process and desire to remain in Milwaukee in an interview with Todd Rosiak of The Journal Sentinel. Jeffress expresses hope that the Brewers will tender him this coming offseason, gives some explanation behind his struggles in Texas, and talks about being traded to the Royals early in his career. Jeffress has seen his walk rate spike dramatically since being traded to the Rangers at the deadline last season; he’s walked 4.74 batters per nine innings since that trade. However, his 67% ground ball rate so far in the second half of 2017 is intriguing and certainly valuable if he can sustain something close to it.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Brewers Notes: Braun, Quintana, Hader]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=103298 2017-09-23T23:47:59Z 2017-09-23T23:47:59Z
  • Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun wouldn’t have been minded going to the Dodgers had the teams’ talks last summer led to a trade, per Rosenthal. Now, Braun’s happier than ever in Milwaukee, which has unexpectedly turned into a playoff contender this season. “I do love it here. If I didn’t, I probably would have been out of here a long time ago,” Braun told Rosenthal. Playing his age-33 season, in which injuries have limited him to 394 plate appearances, Braun has slashed .274/.345/.503 – somewhat modest production by his standards. With $57MM left on his contract, including a $4MM buyout in 2021, he’d be a difficult player for the low-payroll Brewers to move even if they wanted to part with him. Braun also has a full no-trade clause and 10-and-5 rights, further decreasing the likelihood of a trade.
  • Speaking of potential Brewers trades, they weren’t willing to deal rookie left-hander Josh Hader in a package for White Sox southpaw Jose Quintana back in July, Rosenthal reports. The Sox ended up sending Quintana to one of the Brewers’ NL Central rivals, the Cubs, for a return including outfielder Eloy Jimenez and right-hander Dylan Cease. Milwaukee might not have topped that in the White Sox’s eyes even if it offered outfielder Lewis Brinson and righty Luis Ortiz, as the South Siders were bent on landing Jimenez, Rosenthal suggests. As for Hader, the 23-year-old has turned in 44 relief innings of 1.64 ERA ball, with 12.48 K/9 against 4.3 BB/9, making him one of the Brewers’ best players this season.

    [SOURCE LINK]
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Jimmy Nelson Underwent Labrum Procedure, Will Miss Time In 2018]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=103125 2017-09-20T21:49:21Z 2017-09-20T20:57:15Z The shoulder procedure performed today on Brewers righty Jimmy Nelson ended up being somewhat more extensive than had been hoped. While there was optimism that surgeons would not find a need to repair Nelson’s labrum, they did end up needing to do some tissue work, GM David Stearns told reporters including MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy (via Twitter).

    As a result, it is now expected that Nelson will miss “a chunk” of the 2018 season, per Stearns. Just how long the key righty will be sidelined isn’t yet known and will surely depend upon his rehab progress. Regardless, Milwaukee will need to plan on alternatives to fill the rotation to start the year.

    Losing Nelson for any chunk of time constitutes a blow for the Brewers, putting a damper on an otherwise exciting season. The club has plenty of intriguing young pitchers, and could still decide to retain Matt Garza for depth, but Nelson had emerged as a force and can’t realistically be replaced. It’s possible that the Brewers will still mostly look to internal options to fill out the staff early next season, though it’s also conceivable that the injury could spur Stearns to look into ways to bolster the rotation over the offseason.

    Unfortunately, the news also clouds Nelson’s long-term outlook. Labrum tears are among the most worrying injuries that a pitcher can suffer, as we discussed recently with regard to Angels right-hander Alex Meyer — who is expected to miss a full year of action. There is perhaps some added optimism here, McCalvy notes on Twitter, because the injury occurred to a different area of the labrum than is typically the case for tears caused by throwing.

    Despite the unfortunate news, Nelson should take home a significant first-time arbitration salary after topping 170 innings in each of the past three seasons — and carrying a 3.49 ERA with 199 strikeouts in 2017. Of course, time missed in the season to come will reduce his ability to earn in the future, though at this point the focus will be on simply getting the 28-year-old back to full health.

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    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Haudricourt: Brewers' Resurgence Arrived More Quickly Than Anticipated]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102889 2017-09-16T21:41:21Z 2017-09-16T21:41:21Z The Brewers’ rebuilding efforts have worked more quickly than most outside experts predicted, and GM David Stearns credits the team’s resilience, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes. “Really, last year, while we maybe had a month or two that was disappointing, we never went on those prolonged losing streaks,” says Stearns. “That speaks to what has been a theme of this year – the resilience of this team. We talk about that a lot. A lot of the credit for that goes to the character of our players, and the culture and energy that Craig (Counsell) and his staff have instilled, going back to Spring Training of last year.” Of course, as Haudricourt notes, the Brewers’ success this year does not guarantee they won’t take a step backward in 2018. Stearns, though, has been careful to avoid specific season wins goals, either on the low end or the high end, and focus instead on assembling a talented group of players who can be competitive for the next several seasons. Here’s more from the NL.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Lewis Brinson Unlikely To Return In 2018]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102854 2017-09-16T05:50:59Z 2017-09-16T00:26:20Z
  • There’s little more than an “outside” shot for Brewers outfielder Lewis Brinson to make it back to health in time to impact the current season, per GM David Stearns (via Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, on Twitter). He has been down with a hamstring strain. The 23-year-old struggled upon reaching the majors for the first time this year, but had put up a monster season at Triple-A — where he batted .331/.400/.562 across 340 plate appearances. Brinson will surely be a big part of Milwaukee’s plans next year even if he can’t make it back on the field in 2017.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Jimmy Nelson To Undergo Shoulder Surgery]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102842 2017-09-15T21:30:48Z 2017-09-15T21:10:23Z It was already known that Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson would miss the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury, representing a big loss. What wasn’t clear, though, was whether he’d require surgery. Now, it’s clear that Nelson will indeed go under the knife, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports (Twitter links).

    It won’t be known just how serious the injury is — and what kind of repair work is needed — until the surgeons access the joint. That said, it seems Nelson has received at least some cause for optimism; the right-hander suggested he has been told that his labrum may not be in need of significant work.

    Clearly, we don’t yet know what to expect coming out of the surgery and won’t until it’s already over. In all likelihood, though, the less that’s done to the labrum, the less recovery time Nelson will need — and the less cause for concern there’ll be for his long-term outlook.

    Needless to say, both Nelson and the team will be hoping for the best when he heads in for the procedure next Tuesday. The 28-year-old had elevated his game quite a bit in 2017, emerging along with Chase Anderson to form a solid top-of-the-rotation duo. Through 175 1/3 innings before his injury, Nelson posted a 3.49 ERA with 10.2 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 along with a 50.3% groundball rate.

    Fortunately for Nelson, he was able to put up those numbers before the unfortunate injury, which occurred on the basepaths. With that excellent recent work and over 600 total MLB innings on his ledger, Nelson should be handsomely rewarded in his first trip through the arbitration process.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Brewers Designate Yadiel Rivera For Assignment]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102830 2017-09-15T18:58:43Z 2017-09-15T18:09:14Z The Brewers announced Friday that they’ve designated infielder Yadiel Rivera for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for right-hander Aaron Wilkerson, whose contract has been selected from Triple-A Colorado Springs. Wilkerson was acquired from the Red Sox in the 2016 trade that sent Aaron Hill to Boston.

    Rivera, 25, has appeared in just one game for Milwaukee this season thanks in part to improved infield depth that has helped the team contend in 2017. While Rivera saw action in 35 games last year and tallied 71 plate appearances with a .212/.235/.273 slash, the Brewers have instead relied upon other options in utility infield capacities. In addition to the acquisition of Travis Shaw and the emergence of Orlando Arcia, veteran Eric Sogard has provided significant value in a utility role. Last year’s primary shortstop, Jonathan Villar, has also been on hand all season and bounced around the diamond, as has fellow utilityman Hernan Perez.

    Beyond the new-look infield mix in Milwaukee, Rivera simply hasn’t performed in the minors this season. Despite playing in a very hitter-friendly Colorado Springs/Pacific Coast League environment, he’s posted a meek .218/.282/.314 batting line through 414 plate appearances in Triple-A this year. Those struggles aren’t exactly new for Rivera, who has enjoyed some success in Double-A but has yet to thrive at the top minor league level.

    Wilkerson doesn’t rank among the Brewers’ top 30 prospects — not surprising for a player that is 28 years old — but has enjoyed a terrific season with Milwaukee’s Double-A club. Through 142 1/3 innings, the former unsigned draft pick and indy ball discovery has pitched to a 3.16 ERA with 9.0 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and a 36.2 percent ground-ball rate. Wilkerson’s first appearance with the Brewers will be his Major League debut — no small feat for a player that spent two seasons on the independent circuit before even getting a look in Lo-A ball with the Red Sox at the age of 25.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[2018 Vesting Options Update]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102765 2017-09-14T17:10:09Z 2017-09-14T17:10:09Z We previously checked in on the vesting option scenarios playing out around the game. In the interim, though, we learned of a previously unreported clause and also gathered quite a bit more information about which options will and will not vest.

    Here’s where things stand with just two weeks to go:

    Already Vested

    • Greg Holland: It didn’t take long for the Rockies closer to finish thirty games, which triggered a clause that turned his $10MM mutual option into a $15MM player option. All indications are that Holland will spurn that payday (and the qualifying offer that will surely follow in close succession) to test the open market, but it affords him injury protection the rest of the way. Holland has already earned $9MM in bonus money. With six more games finished over the final two weeks of the season, he’d tack on another $2MM.
    • Gio Gonzalez: After topping 180 frames in his most recent start, Gonzalez is now under contract for 2018 at $12MM. While he has hit a bit of a wall of late, that still looks like quite an appealing price for a pitcher that has worked to a 2.68 ERA on the year.

    Open Questions

    • Ian Kinsler: It was learned recently that Kinsler’s 2018 option actually has a somewhat convoluted vesting provision. He’s guaranteed to earn $11MM upon reaching 600 plate appearances. And if he takes home another Gold Glove award, he’ll earn another $1MM in 2018. The option is going to be picked up regardless, but the 35-year-old can make things official if he strides to the plate 49 more times between now and the end of the season. He’ll likely get there if he plays more or less every day over the next two weeks.

    Will Not Vest

    • Ricky Nolasco: It’s still theoretically possible that Nolasco can reach the 202 1/3 innings he needs to transform a $13MM club option into a player option, but with over forty to go that’s just not happening as a practical matter. Instead, he’ll likely receive a $1MM buyout on the option.
    • Matt Cain: Cain is even more certain to receive a buyout; he’ll get a cool $7.5MM when the Giants say no to the alternative of paying $14MM more to keep him for another season. The veteran has compiled 119 1/3 innings of 5.66 ERA ball to this point, far shy of the volume or quality needed for that option to come into play. (It would have vested at 200 frames.)
    • Hisashi Iwakuma: Though he needed only 125 innings for his $15MM vesting provision to be triggered, Iwakuma has managed just 31 to date and is still on the DL. Instead, the M’s will likely pay him a $1MM buyout rather than picking up his option at $10MM.
    • Andre Ethier: Though he made it back from the DL, it was far too late for Ethier to lay claim to a $17.5MM salary for 2017. Since it’s impossible for him to make it to 550 plate appearances, he’ll instead receive a $2.5MM buyout when the Dodgers all but certainly decline the club option.
    • Matt Garza: Garza will be controllable via a $5MM club option. He was not able to reach 110 total starts from 2014-17, so his option did not vest at $13MM. But he also did not miss 130 or more days of action on the DL this year, so he avoided a provision that would’ve left the Brewers with a $1MM option for 2018.
    • J.J. Hardy: Also now back from the DL, Hardy returned far too late to reach the 600 plate appearances he’d have needed for a $14MM club option to become guaranteed. Instead, he’s destined to receive a $2MM buyout from the O’s this fall.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[2017 Rule 5 Roundup]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102751 2017-09-14T16:14:45Z 2017-09-14T14:15:17Z With just a few weeks left in the season, we have a pretty clear idea of which Rule 5 draft picks will stick with their drafting teams. At this point, having already carried the player this far and with expanded rosters easing any pressures, teams are quite likely to stay the course. Here’s how this season’s Rule 5 group has shaken out thus far:

    Keepers

    It isn’t official yet, but these

    • Miguel Diaz, RHP, kept by Padres (via Twins) from Brewers: As part of the Pads’ unusually bold Rule 5 strategy, the club kept three youngsters this year. Diaz, 22, has managed only a 6.21 ERA with a 31:22 K/BB ratio over 37 2/3 innings. But he is showing a 96 mph heater and will remain with the organization, quite likely heading back to the minors next season to continue his development.
    • Luis Torrens, C, kept by Padres (via Reds) from Yankees: The youthful backstop — he’s just 21 — has struggled badly on offense in limited action. Through 133 plate appearances, he’s slashing just.169/.246/.212 — with just four extra-base hits, none of them home runs.
    • Allen Cordoba, INF, kept by Padres from Cardinals: And then there’s Cordoba, who’s also just 21 years of age. He faded after a hot start at the plate, but on the whole his output — a .209/.284/.304 batting line and four home runs over 215 plate appearances — is fairly impressive given that he had never before played above Rookie ball.
    • Dylan Covey, RHP, kept by White Sox from Athletics: Technically, owing to a DL stint, Covey has only compiled 83 of the minimum 90 days of active roster time required to be kept. But he’s going to make it there before the season is up, meaning that the Sox will be able to hold onto his rights and option him back to the minors in 2018. Covey, 26, has struggled to a 7.90 ERA with 4.9 K/9 against 4.4 BB/9 over 54 2/3 innings, allowing 18 long balls in that span.
    • Stuart Turner, C, kept by Reds from Twins: Turner has seen minimal action, appearing in just 33 games and taking only 77 trips to the plate. And he’s hitting just .141/.184/.268 in that sporadic action. Clearly, though, the Reds have seen enough to believe he’s worth the trouble to hang onto.

    Still In Limbo

    • Kevin Gadea, RHP, selected by Rays from Mariners: Gadea has not pitched at any level this year owing to an elbow injury. He’ll remain with the Tampa Bay organization for the time being, but will still need to be carried on the 40-man roster over the offseason and then on the active roster for at least ninety days for his rights to permanently transfer.
    • Armando Rivero, RHP, selected by Braves from Cubs: It’s the exact same situation for Rivero as for Gadea, though he has had shoulder problems.
    • Josh Rutledge, INF, selected by Red Sox from Rockies: This was not your typical Rule 5 move. Boston snagged the veteran infielder after he signed a minors deal with Colorado. He ended up seeing minimal MLB time owing to injuries and his season ended recently with hip surgery. Rutledge is eligible for arbitration this fall and isn’t likely to be kept on the 40-man roster regardless.
    • Anthony Santander, OF, selected by Orioles from Indians: Since he only made it off of the DL late in the summer, Santander can accrue only 45 days on the active roster. If Baltimore wants to keep him, then, it’ll need to put him on the Opening Day roster next year. Santander has seen minimal playing time thus far, recording two hits in twelve trips to the plate, though he put up impressive numbers on his rehab assignment.

    Kept By Other Means

    • Daniel Stumpf, LHP, signed with Tigers after electing free agency upon return to Royals: This is another unusual situation. As a previous Rule 5 returnee, Stumpf was eligible to elect free agency upon being returned to his original organization. That’s just what happened when Detroit sent him back to Kansas City; the southpaw then turned around and re-signed a MLB deal with the Tigers. He has ended up turning in a rather productive year, posting 32 1/3 innings of 2.78 ERA ball with 8.6 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 at the major-league level and showing even more impressive numbers during his time at Triple-A.

    Already Returned

    • Tyler Jones, RHP, returned to Yankees by Diamondbacks: Jones has thrown rather well at Triple-A since going back to the New York organization, posting 10.7 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9 in 63 2/3 innings, though he has also allowed 4.38 earned per nine.
    • Caleb Smith, LHP, returned to Yankees by Brewers: Smith ended up earning a 40-man roster spot and spending some time in the majors after showing quite well as a starter in the minors. But he has been knocked around in his 18 2/3 MLB frames on the year.
    • Justin Haley, RHP, returned to Red Sox by Twins (via Angels): The 26-year-old didn’t stick with Minnesota, allowing a dozen earned runs in 18 innings before being returned to Boston. But he has thrown well since landing back at Triple-A Pawtucket, posting a 2.66 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 44 innings over seven starts.
    • Tyler Webb, LHP, returned to Yankees by Pirates: Webb also gained a 40-man spot with the Yankees after showing some intriguing K/BB numbers at Triple-A. He was ultimately dealt to the Brewers.
    • Aneury Tavarez, OF, returned to Red Sox by Orioles: Tavarez played his way back up to Triple-A upon his return to his former organization, but has hit just .244/.292/.400 in 145 plate appearances there.
    • Glenn Sparkman, RHP, returned to Royals by Blue Jays: Sparkman was bombed in his one MLB appearance and has been limited to just 30 1/3 minor-league frames due to injury.
    • Hoby Milner, LHP, returned to Phillies by Indians: Another player who has risen to the majors with the organization that originally let them leave via the Rule 5, Milner has turned in 24 1/3 frames of 1.85 ERA ball in Philadelphia. Of course, he has also managed just 15 strikeouts against ten walks in that span.
    • Mike Hauschild, RHP, returned to Astros by Rangers: The 27-year-old righty struggled badly in his eight MLB frames. Upon returning to the rotation for Houston’s top affiliate, Hauschild has uncharacteristically struggled with free passes (5.3 per nine).
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Nunez, Nelson, Delgado, Kela, Capps, Rasmussen]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102698 2017-09-13T01:40:10Z 2017-09-13T01:40:10Z Red Sox utilityman Eduardo Nunez feels he has dodged a bullet with his right knee injury, as Evan Drellich of CSSNE.com reports on Twitter. Nunez sprained his posterior cruciate ligament, but he says he anticipates returning before the year is up. That said, he’ll understandably also take his time to ensure he makes it back to full health. While Boston hasn’t yet nailed down a postseason spot, it is in excellent position and (at this point, at least) doesn’t seem in need of rushing back an important player.

    Here’s the latest on some other health issues from around the game:

    • The Brewers are still waiting to learn more on the status of key righty Jimmy Nelson, as Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports on Twitter. He received a second opinion on his shoulder injury today, though the outcome isn’t yet known. Nelson is expected to miss the rest of the season regardless, but the precise course of treatment hasn’t been determined.
    • Diamondbacks righty Randall Delgado is indeed dealing with a flexor strain, Jack Magruder of Fan Rag tweets. That initial diagnosis has now been confirmed; while that seemingly takes some worst-case scenarios out of play, he’s already slated to miss the remainder of the year. Delgado had thrown 62 2/3 frames of 3.59 ERA ball, posting 8.6 K/9 and an uncharacteristically low 2.0 BB/9, before going down. That should set him up for a decent raise on his $1.775MM salary for his final year of arbitration, though the price will still likely be low enough for Arizona to pick up the tab unless there’s real concern he won’t bounce back.
    • The Rangers announced that they’ve activated righty Keone Kela from the DL. The 24-year-old has been dealing with a shoulder injury, but could represent a nice boon to the club’s relief corps if he can get back in the swing of things late this year. Kela had pitched to a 2.36 ERA over 34 1/3 innings before hitting the DL.
    • Padres righty Carter Capps has been diagnosed with a blood clot, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports (Twitter links). He’s heading to the 60-day DL, ending his season and allowing the club to select the contract of Cory Mazzoni. The broader outlook for Capps isn’t clear. San Diego will have to decide whether to tender him a contract this winter. He hasn’t been all that inspiring thus far since returning from Tommy John surgery, allowing nine earned runs with a 7:2 K/BB ratio in 12 1/3 innings while averaging just 93.2 mph with his fastball (over five mph off of his most recent readings from 2015). That said, Capps will likely command only around $1MM; the club could at least take him into camp and cut bait before that full amount is guaranteed if he can’t turn the corner.
    • Recent Rays draft pick Drew Rasmussen has undergone his second Tommy John procedure, Danny Moran of the Oregonian reports on Twitter. Rasmussen, an Oregon State hurler, went to Tampa Bay with the 31st overall pick in this summer’s draft but did not sign with the team. The Rays evidently found some reason to be concerned with the medicals from the talented youngster, who had returned from his first TJ procedure only months before the draft.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mets Acquire Eric Hanhold To Complete Neil Walker Trade]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102649 2017-09-12T16:47:25Z 2017-09-12T16:35:30Z The Mets announced that they’ve acquired minor league right-hander Eric Hanhold from the Brewers as the player to be named later in the August trade that sent second baseman Neil Walker to Milwaukee.

    The 23-year-old Hanhold, Milwaukee’s fifth-round selection out of the University of Florida in 2015, spent the 2017 campaign pitching for the Brewers’ Class-A Advanced affiliate. In 30 appearances (three starts, 27 out of the bullpen), he totaled 64 innings with a 3.94 ERA, 8.4 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and a whopping 58.6 percent ground-ball rate. Hanhold didn’t rank among the top 30 prospects in a deep Brewers farm system (per MLB.com), but Baseball America wrote at the time of the draft that he featured a 90-94 mph heater that could touch 95 with downhill plane and heavy sink (subscription required and recommended). His go-to breaking pitch is a slider, per that report, though he also broke into pro ball utilizing a changeup as a third pitch.

    Hanhold continues a trend for the Mets, who have turned a number of veteran free agent on expiring contracts to a crop of fairly hard-throwing relief prospects that are reasonably close to Major League readiness. Right-handers Jamie Callahan and Jacob Rhame, acquired in the respective Addison Reed and Curtis Granderson trades, have already been added to the big league roster. In addition to Hanhold, Callahan and Rhame, the Mets have added minor league relievers Drew Smith, Stephen Nogosek, Gerson Bautista and Ryder Ryan in trades of Walker, Granderson, Reed, Lucas Duda and Jay Bruce.

    To this point, the trade has paid dividends for the Brewers, as Walker has .268/.388/.465 with three home runs and five doubles through his first 85 plate appearances in a Milwaukee uniform.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[NL Notes: Brewers, Acuna, Braves, Ruiz, Marte]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102508 2017-09-10T20:26:38Z 2017-09-10T20:26:38Z The Brewers began the season with just about the lowest payroll in baseball, which makes the team’s charge into playoff contention all the more surprising, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes.  Despite spending far less on players than the other contenders, the Brew Crew entered today three games out of both a wild card spot and first place in the NL Central.  Here’s the latest from around the National League.

    • Braves youngster Ronald Acuna blossomed into one of the game’s best prospects this season, and Baseball America’s Kyle Glaser (subscription required) outlines how Atlanta was able to sign the talented and surprisingly unheralded outfielder in 2014 for a mere $100K bonus.  Interestingly, Acuna said that he was expecting to sign with the Royals before the Braves upped their offer to that $100K, and thus Acuna simply went with the highest bidder.
    • Rio Ruiz is hitting well in September and hoping to work himself into the third base picture for the Braves next season, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes.  The rookie still has just a .604 OPS over 119 total plate appearances this year, largely due to a nasty slump that led to his demotion earlier in the season, though Ruiz feels he has improved his work both at the plate and especially in the field.  Third base stands out as a clear area of need for the Braves in 2018, though it remains to be seen if the team will make a veteran acquisition or if they’ll stick to the rebuilding plan and continue giving playing time to Ruiz, Johan Camargo or other internal options.
    • Starling Marte talks to ESPN.com’s Marly Rivera (also, here is the link to the interview in its original Spanish) about his life, career and how he is trying to come back from the 80-game PED suspension that marred both his season and his reputation.  The Pirates outfielder said he still doesn’t know how nandrolone got into his system, though ultimately, “it was my mistake” for not being careful about everything he ingested.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Jimmy Nelson Out For Season]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102433 2017-09-10T00:32:31Z 2017-09-10T00:32:18Z 7:32pm: If Nelson does require surgery, the procedure he’d undergo carries a success rate of better than 90 percent, Rosiak tweets.

    12:46pm: The Brewers announced that Jimmy Nelson will miss the rest of the season with a right rotator cuff strain and a partial anterior labrum tear. General manager David Stearns said Saturday that it’s unclear whether Nelson will require surgery, according to Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (on Twitter).

    The premature end to Nelson’s year is a devastating development for the 73-68 Brewers, who trail the NL Central-leading Cubs by four games and sit three games back of the Rockies for the league’s last wild-card spot. The Brewers are currently in the midst of a three-game series against the Cubs and took the opener on Friday, 2-0, behind Nelson. The 28-year-old tossed five innings of four-hit, two-walk ball and added seven strikeouts, and he threw one of those frames with a labrum tear, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com tweets. Nelson suffered the injury on the base paths after hitting a fifth-inning single.

    Like his team, Nelson has been a surprising success story this season. The emergent ace posted spectacular numbers across 175 1/3 innings and currently ranks fourth among major league starters in fWAR (4.9), ninth in strikeouts per nine innings (10.21), 10th in groundball rate (50.3 percent) and 15th in ERA (3.49). While Nelson’s brilliant work this year came at a near-minimum salary, his price tag will rise in the offseason. Nelson will take his first trip through arbitration, where the ERA, innings, strikeouts and 12-6 record he logged in 2017 should each help his cause.

    As for the Nelson-less Brewers, they’ll likely look to their minor league system for down-the-stretch rotation help, Stearns announced (via McCalvy, on Twitter). Candidates to come up include Triple-A right-hander Taylor Jungmann and Double-A righty Aaron Wilkerson, per McCalvy.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Brewers Outright Aaron Brooks]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102366 2017-09-09T02:17:42Z 2017-09-09T02:15:48Z
  • The Brewers outrighted right-hander Aaron Brooks to Triple-A, per a club announcement. He had been designated recently. Teams are obviously intrigued by his arm, as he has bounced around on waivers in recent years. But Brooks just hasn’t performed this year at Triple-A, where he owns a 6.12 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 — as well as 29 home runs allowed — over 145 2/3 innings.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Brewers Designate Aaron Brooks, Select Quintin Berry]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102161 2017-09-05T15:47:16Z 2017-09-05T15:47:16Z The Brewers have designated righty Aaron Brooks for assignment, per a club announcement. His 40-man spot will go to outfielder Quintin Berry, whose contract was selected.

    Brooks, 27, was claimed off waivers recently from the Cubs. He has not pitched in the majors since brief showings with the Royals and Athletics in 2014 and 2015. Over 145 2/3 Triple-A innings in 2017, Brooks has been tagged for 29 long balls and 192 hits and carries a 6.12 ERA with 6.6 K/9 against 1.8 BB/9.

    In Berry, the Brewers will be adding a notable speed-and-defense option to their bench down the stretch. The 32-year-old has played little this year in the minors and last cracked the majors briefly in 2015. But he’s a popular late-season roster addition and has appeared in the postseason previously (in 2012 with the Tigers and in 2013 with the Red Sox).

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Emerging Young Starters Key For Brewers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=101996 2017-09-03T03:27:56Z 2017-09-03T03:27:56Z The Padres fired hitting coach Alan Zinter on Friday, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets. Zinter lasted less than two seasons in the position, having taken the job in November 2015. The Padres’ offense ranked toward the bottom of the majors during Zinter’s run, but he didn’t exactly have a world of proven talent at his disposal. Manager Andy Green explained to Lin that he’s seeking a “different voice” for the role. Meanwhile, GM A.J. Preller told AJ Cassavell of MLB.com that the Padres will begin searching for a successor immediately, but he indicated there’s no rush to hire a replacement (Twitter link).

    Here’s more from the National League:

    • The Brewers’ rotation was rife with question marks entering the season, but it now appears the surprise contenders have at least three legitimate building blocks in Jimmy Nelson, Chase Anderson and Zach Davies, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel observes. The emergence of that cost-controlled trio has been especially important to a team that’s not able to spend big on free agents, and Haudricourt points out that the Brewers may even have a couple more promising young starters on hand (Brandon Woodruff and Josh Hader). It’s possible they’ll go into 2018 with those five comprising their rotation, Haudricourt notes.
    • Rockies outfielder David Dahl is resigned to the fact that he won’t be able to contribute this year, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes. Dahl hasn’t appeared in a major league game this season, and he hasn’t played in a minor league contest since July 31, thanks to the rib injury he suffered during spring training. Now, Dahl doesn’t expect to swing a bat again until December, according to Saunders. “The thing I really need is rest, to let it heal completely, because every time I would start swinging, I would start feeling it again,” said the 23-year-old Dahl, who excited the Rockies last season with a .315/.359/.500 batting line in a 237-plate appearance rookie campaign.
    • A partial UCL tear in Wei-Yin Chen’s left elbow has kept him from taking the mound since May 1, but he’ll return to the Marlins in the coming days, Tim Healey of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. While Chen will finish 2017 as a reliever, the Marlins expect to slot him back into their rotation next season. After this fall’s World Series, Chen will be able to opt out of the remaining three years and $52MM left on the five-year, $80MM contract he signed with the Fish in January 2016. That’s obviously not going to happen, though, as the ex-Oriole has struggled with injuries and turned in mediocre results during his two years in Miami.
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    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Ryan Braun Happy To Still Be With Brewers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=101425 2017-08-28T00:56:02Z 2017-08-27T22:54:12Z
  • Ryan Braun remains as the last key veteran from the Brewers’ 2014 club who’s still with the team as it makes another run at contention in 2017, and he’s happy to still be in Milwaukee, he tells MLB.com’s Tracy Ringolsby. Rumors about being traded to the Dodgers last winter makes Braun feel especially grateful, he says. “Last year, obviously, I was close to getting traded,” says Braun. “When it didn’t happen, obviously, it makes me that much more appreciative of however much time I do end up spending here.” Braun adds that it isn’t lost on him that after him, the position player who has been with the Brewers the longest is Domingo Santana, who first suited up with Milwaukee a little over two years ago this week.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Brewers Minor League Julio Mendez In Critical But Stable Condition]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=101393 2017-08-27T17:14:52Z 2017-08-27T17:14:52Z Brewers minor league infielder Julio Mendez suffered a cardiac event after being hit by a pitch during a rookie-level game Saturday in Tempe, Ariz., the team announced (Twitter link via Adam McCalvy of MLB.com). The 20-year-old Mendez is currently in critical but stable condition at a Tempe hospital. “All of our thoughts and prayers are with Julio and his family,” Brewers general manager David Stearns said in a statement. “We will provide updates as soon as we know more.”

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Brewers Unsure Of What They Have In Jonathan Villar]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=101354 2017-08-27T02:23:14Z 2017-08-27T02:23:14Z
  • Infielder Jonathan Villar looked like a long-term core piece for the Brewers last year when he slashed .285/.369/.457 with 19 home runs and stole a major league-high 62 bases as a shortstop/third baseman. That performance was good enough for the Brewers to offer Villar $23MM on an extension in the offseason. Villar rejected the Brewers’ proposal, though, and has taken major steps backward this season as a second baseman, having hit .227/.283/.348 with nine homers and 23 steals over 393 PAs. Now, thanks to his sharp decline from 2016 to ’17, the Brewers are unsure of what they have in the 26-year-old Villar, per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Haudricourt wonders if the Brewers will commit to Villar at the keystone again next year or look elsewhere, as they did when they acquired free agent-to-be Neil Walker from the Mets a couple weeks ago. General manager David Stearns hasn’t made any decisions yet for 2018, but he admits there’s uncertainty regarding Villar. “How do you judge him?” Stearns said. “I think it’s the right question. I just don’t have a good answer for you.”
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rangers Acquire Paolo Espino, Designate Tanner Scheppers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=101343 2017-08-26T23:21:44Z 2017-08-26T23:05:43Z The Rangers have acquired right-hander Paolo Espino from the Brewers for cash considerations and designated fellow righty Tanner Scheppers for assignment, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets. Espino will report to Triple-A with his new organization.

    The Brewers designated Espino on Wednesday after the 30-year-old had a difficult 17 2/3-inning major league debut with the club this season. Across six appearances and two starts, Espino logged a 6.11 ERA with 6.62 K/9 against 4.08 BB/9. He has been better this year at Triple-A (4.52 ERA, 8.68 K/9, 1.67 BB/9 in 75 2/3 frames) and has generally fared well at that level since ascending to it in 2010. He’s now in his fourth organization since the Indians chose him in the 10th round of the 2006 draft.

    Scheppers, also 30, is certainly the more proven major leaguer of the two, but his career has gone off the rails thanks in part to a spate of injuries over the past several seasons. At his best, the 2009 first-round pick was a key member of the Rangers’ bullpen in 2013, after which Texas attempted to turn him into a starter. The hard-throwing Scheppers took the ball for the Rangers to open the 2014 season, but he only totaled four starts in eight appearances that year and posted a 9.00 ERA in 23 innings. He hasn’t worked extensively in the majors since recording a 5.63 ERA and a 5.4 BB/9 in 38 1/3 relief innings in 2015. Scheppers’ struggles have continued this season with Triple-A Round Rock, where he has registered a 5.05 ERA despite passable strikeout and walk numbers (6.8 K/9 and 2.72 BB/9) through 46 1/3 frames.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Brewers Designate Paolo Espino]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=101045 2017-08-23T15:13:06Z 2017-08-23T15:13:06Z The Brewers have designated righty Paolo Espino for assignment, per a club announcement. His roster spot was needed to make way for fellow right-hander Aaron Brooks, who was claimed off waivers.

    Espino debuted in the majors this year for Milwaukee at thirty years of age. He made two starts and four relief appearances, but was tagged for a dozen earned runs in his 17 2/3 frames. Espino surrendered five long balls and eight walks while picking up 13 strikeouts.

    It took quite some time for Espino to receive a call-up despite carrying a 3.76 ERA in over five hundred Triple-A innings. While he has a broad arsenal of pitches and has long demonstrated excellent control in the upper minors, Espino works at under 90 mph with his fastball and doesn’t miss many bats.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Brewers Claim Aaron Brooks From Cubs]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=101005 2017-08-23T01:16:00Z 2017-08-23T01:16:00Z The Brewers have claimed right-hander Aaron Brooks off outright waivers from the Cubs, MLBTR has learned (Twitter links). He’ll join Milwaukee’s Triple-A affiliate for the time being. Brooks was designated for assignment over the weekend when the Cubs picked up Rene Rivera from the Mets.

    A hip injury cost Brooks the majority of the 2016 season, and he’s struggled with Triple-A Iowa thus far in 2017. Through 138 innings there, Brooks has posted a 6.20 earned run average, though his 6.9 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, 48.7 percent ground-ball rate and 4.29 xFIP all offer a bit more cause for optimism than his bottom-line run prevention numbers. Brooks had a solid year in 2015 with the Triple-A affiliates of the Royals and Athletics, pitching to a 3.56 ERA with 7.8 K/9 against 1.6 BB/9. With rosters set to expand in September, it’s possible that Brooks’ residence on the 40-man roster could lead to a September look audition with the Brewers.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Pina Proving To Be Excellent Under-The-Radar Acquisition]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=100887 2017-08-21T16:56:16Z 2017-08-21T16:56:16Z
  • The catcher position has been an unexpected strength for the Brewers in 2017, writes Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Following last summer’s trade of Jonathan Lucroy and the offseason trade of Martin Maldonado, Milwaukee entered the year with the unheralded trio of Manny Pina, Jett Bandy and Andrew Susac competing for playing time. An injury to Susac almost immediately took him out of the picture, and Bandy faded after a hot start. Pina, though, has continued to produce on both sides of the ball, and his .285/.328/.451 batting line places him among the game’s most productive backstops. The 30-year-old was acquired with little fanfare, coming over from the Tigers as a player to be named later in the Dec. 2015 Francisco Rodriguez trade, but he’s become an invaluable asset for the Brewers.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Brewers Activate Chase Anderson]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=100788 2017-08-20T17:01:04Z 2017-08-20T17:01:04Z A late-season reinforcement is on the way for the Brewers, who will see right-hander Chase Anderson return to their rotation Sunday in Colorado. Rookie left-hander Brandon Woodruff is headed back to Triple-A in a corresponding move. An oblique injury has kept Anderson from the mound since the end of June, before which he turned in 90 1/3 innings of 2.89 ERA ball, with 8.47 K/9 against 2.69 BB/9. The Brewers were two games over .500 at the time of Anderson’s DL placement and are now four above, sitting at 64-60 and two back of the NL Central-leading Cubs. If the 29-year-old Anderson’s breakout continues down the stretch, he could end up as a key figure in a tight division race.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[MLBTR Mailbag: Lowrie, Bruce, Giants, Controllable Starters]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=100678 2017-08-19T14:50:12Z 2017-08-19T13:24:38Z Thanks as always for your questions! If yours wasn’t selected this week, you can always pose it in one of our weekly chats: Steve Adams at 2pm CST on Tuesdays, Jason Martinez at 6:30pm CST on Wednesdays, and yours truly at 2pm CST on Thursdays.

    Here are this week’s questions and answers:

    Why is it so hard for the A’s to move Jed Lowrie? — Rene H.

    Well, there has been a bit of a game of musical chairs in the second/third base market. The Red Sox went with Eduardo Nunez. The Nationals grabbed Howie Kendrick, who can also play outfield. The Brewers ended up with Neil Walker in August. Those deals filled some of the main needs out there, though there are at least a few teams that could still make a move. The Angels stand out; the Indians have looked in this area; and the Blue Jays could be a dark horse if they make a run.

    But let’s suppose a few organizations are indeed still poking around on Lowrie. Those same teams will also have other options to consider. Ian Kinsler is now off the market after his waiver claim was revoked by the Tigers. But Brandon Phillips and Zack Cozart are both pending free agents who could move. Yangervis Solarte may not clear waivers, but could be claimed and pursued. And Asdrubal Cabrera also represents a possibility.

    Cabrera, like Lowrie, comes with a club option for 2018. In Lowrie’s case, it’s just a $6MM cost to keep him (against a $1MM buyout). He has surely played well enough to make that a decent asset to move over the winter. And perhaps Oakland isn’t all that anxious to press Franklin Barreto into everyday duty in the majors just yet. After all, he’s only 21, didn’t hit much in his brief debut, and has encountered a rising strikeout rate at Triple-A. Lowrie could help stabilize the infield the rest of the way or even in 2018, or he could still be flipped if a decent offer comes along.

    How do you guys see the [free-agent] market for Jay Bruce developing? I have a hard time believing that a 30/31-year-old who has six seasons where he OPSed over .800 would have trouble locking down a fourth year at a $13MM AAV. — Alex W.

    As Alex helpfully pointed out in his email, there are indeed quite a few corner outfielders that have landed free-agent contracts in that range. Recent deals that could work as comparables run from Nick Markakis (4/$44MM) and Josh Reddick (4/$52MM) up to Nick Swisher (4/$56MM) and Curtis Granderson (4/$60MM). Bruce is a plausible candidate to land in that general realm.

    I do think Bruce is flying under the radar a bit, given the obvious appeal of his quality offensive output this year — .267/.334/.541 with 32 homers. It doesn’t hurt that he has turned things on thus far since going to the Indians, has finally reversed the abysmal defensive metrics, and is regarded as a top-shelf professional. The two lost seasons of 2014 and 2015 are hard to ignore entirely, and he has never hit lefties nearly so much as righties, but he has returned to his prior trajectory since and has been average at the plate when facing southpaws this season. Plus, there won’t be any draft compensation to contend with.

    But where exactly he falls, and whether he gets a fourth year or instead takes a higher AAV over three, will depend upon market forces. J.D. Martinez and Justin Upton (if he opts out) would be the two top corner outfielders, but both are righty bats that would require very significant contracts. Granderson and Melky Cabrera will present alternatives for teams seeking lefty pop, but neither has quite Bruce’s present power and both are much older. All things considered, Bruce should be fairly well positioned.

    I’m wondering if the Giants’ plan to re-tool, rather than rebuild, has a reasonable chance of success. Does SF have only two or three spots, like one outfielder and two pitchers, that will make the difference in being competitive? Or will the re-tooling need to involve more spots on the roster, like two outfielders, maybe an infielder (third base), and three or four pitchers? And are there players available in free-agency for them to do that? — Tim D.

    Let’s start with the presumption that Johnny Cueto opts into the remainder of his deal. That would fill one of the rotation slots but also keeps a lot of cash on the books — over $150MM total already for 2018, with more than $100MM promised in each of the next two seasons. And the club will also have to consider what it’ll cost to keep Madison Bumgarner around past 2019.

    Looking over the roster — see the current depth chart here — the Giants will face questions in a variety of areas. Third base is unresolved, the team needs at least one starting outfielder (a center-field-capable player would perhaps be preferred, bumping Denard Span to left), and several bench/platoon roles are open to question. The team will likely at least look into adding a starter, though it could choose instead to go with Matt Moore along with Ty Blach or another less-established pitcher to line up behind Cueto, Bumgarner, and Jeff Samardzija. Bullpens can always be improved, though the Giants can hope for a bounceback from Mark Melancon and continued performance from reclamation hit Sam Dyson in the late innings.

    On the whole, then, perhaps a more dramatic roster overhaul isn’t really needed. Assuming the club is willing to spend up to, but not past, the $180MM-ish payroll it carried entering the current season, that leaves some room to add. But the long-term commitments and 2017 downturns certainly also speak in favor of exercising some caution. I’d expect a focus on striking shorter-term deals with veterans.

    Possibilities at third could include Pablo Sandoval, Todd Frazier, and Yunel Escobar, or the Giants could go bigger and chase the still-youthful Mike Moustakas. In the outfield, Lorenzo Cain would be the top center-field target, though he’ll be entering his age-32 season and won’t be cheap. There are some interesting alternatives, including Carlos Gomez, Jon Jay, and Jarrod Dyson. It’s also possible the Giants could chase Bruce or another corner piece while adding a player like Austin Jackson to platoon with Span in center. And as ever, there are lots of different pitchers available at different price points should they look to add there.

    Ultimately, there ought to be decent value available in the price range the Giants will be shopping. Whether that’ll work out or not … well, that’s dependent upon quite a few other factors and is tough to predict at this point.

    Which young, controllable starters (like Chris Archer, for example) will potentially be available via trade this upcoming offseason? –Matt H.

    Archer is certainly a good example of a guy who could be available and who’ll be asked about quite a lot. Depending upon how things end up for the Rays this year — currently, it’s not trending in the right direction — they may be more or less inclined to undertake a more dramatic move such as dealing the staff ace.

    Generally, though, I’d expect the pickings to be slim. Several teams that sit in the bottom of the standings and have young arms don’t seem likely to move them. For instance, I don’t really expect the Mets (Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, etc.), Blue Jays (Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez), or Phillies (Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez) to be looking to deal young starters.

    There are a few other names to watch, though. Michael Fulmer of the Tigers would figure to draw some of the most fervent interest, and Detroit has to be thinking creatively entering an offseason full of questions. The Pirates could decide that now’s the time to move Gerrit Cole, though he’ll only have two years of control remaining so may not really meet the parameters. Julio Teheran of the Braves will surely again be a topic of speculation, at least, and the Marlins will have to consider cashing in Dan Straily.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 8/17/17]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=100535 2017-08-17T13:18:23Z 2017-08-17T13:18:23Z Here are Thursday’s minor moves from around the game…

    • The Brewers announced last night that right-hander Michael Blazek has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Colorado Springs. Milwaukee designated the 28-year-old for assignment on Sunday, though he hasn’t been with the big league club since allowing six home runs in an eight-run shellacking at the hands of the Nationals back on July 27. Blazek was a quality member of the Brewers’ bullpen in 2015 but has struggled to a 6.12 ERA and averaged 2.34 HR/9 in 50 Major League innings since that time. On a more positive note, the righty has managed a 3.73 ERA with 7.0 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 0.62 HR/9 and a 48.7 percent ground-ball rate through 72 1/3 innings while pitching in an extremely hitter-friendly environment (Colorado Springs, Pacific Coast League) in Triple-A this year.
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    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Brewers Acquire Neil Walker]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=100092 2017-08-15T19:15:12Z 2017-08-15T19:15:43Z AUGUST 15: Milwaukee took on $3MM of Walker’s salary, per an Associated Press report (via USA Today). New York sent just under $1.7MM in the deal to cover the rest of the obligation.

    AUGUST 12: The Brewers have acquired second baseman Neil Walker and cash from the Mets for a player to be named later, according to announcements from both teams. Walker has nearly $5MM remaining on his contract, but it’s unclear how much the Mets will pay. The 31-year-old cleared waivers last week and was therefore eligible to be traded to any club.

    Neil Walker

    There might have been more buzz about Walker at the July trade deadline had he not just recently come back from a six-week stint on the DL with a partial hamstring tear. The Yankees reportedly had a deal in place to acquire Walker then, but it fell apart for medical reasons. Walker hit poorly in the week immediately following his return, but has had success lately, batting 7-for-18 in his past five games.

    Injury aside, Walker is having a fairly typical season in 2017, batting .264/.339/.442 with his set of unspectacular but well-rounded offensive skills. He’s graded as approximately average defensively thus far this year, with UZR marking him as a bit better than most and DRS indicating he’s a bit worse. He’s making $17.2MM after accepting the Mets’ qualifying offer last winter and is eligible for free agency at season’s end.

    Walker bolsters a Brewers infield that currently features Eric Sogard at second base. Sogard has batted a robust .283/.392/.405 this season, although that sort of offensive production is atypical for him, and he’s hit .108/.214/.108 in 43 plate appearances while battling injury over the past month. Another Brewers second baseman, Jonathan Villar, is in the midst of a disappointing .222/.281/.346 season after a 2016 breakout. The Brewers’ offense as a whole has been one of baseball’s worst since the start of the second half, with their 91 runs in that span placing ahead of only the Rays. That span has roughly corresponded to the team’s recent slide in the standings — the Brewers are 9-18 since the All-Star break. The team had apparently targeted second base as a potential area they might upgrade, with previous reports connecting them to Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler.

    With Walker gone, the Mets will surely continue to give rookie Amed Rosario the bulk of the playing time at shortstop. Some combination of Asdrubal Cabrera and Wilmer Flores will likely man second and third.

    FanRag’s Jon Heyman first tweeted that the teams had agreed to a Walker trade. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal was first to report that a deal was close (on Twitter). Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted that New York would include cash in the trade. Mike Puma of the New York Post noted (via Twitter) that the Mets would receive a player to be named later. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On The Neil Walker Trade]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=100197 2017-08-13T18:34:40Z 2017-08-13T18:34:40Z
  • The Brewers acquired Neil Walker as a second base upgrade, though GM David Stearns told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (Twitter links) and other reporters that the team sees him as a “multi-positional” player who can handle spot duty at first or third base if necessary.  The vast majority of Walker’s career has been played at the keystone, though he does have a bit of experience (17 career games at third, three games at first) at the other two positions, with five of those games coming this season with the Mets.  Walker, in fact, is making his Brewers debut today at third base, filling in for Travis Shaw, who is sore after twice fouling balls off his lower right leg.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Brewers Place Brent Suter On 10-Day DL, Designate Michael Blazek]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=100202 2017-08-13T17:02:18Z 2017-08-13T16:13:51Z The Brewers have placed left-hander Brent Suter on the 10-day DL with a left rotator cuff strain and designated right-hander Michael Blazek for assignment, as per a team announcement.

    [Updated Brewers depth chart at Roster Resource]

    Suter’s injury could very well explain his lack of effectiveness over his last three starts (13 ER in 14 1/3 innings), though the southpaw has provided the Brew Crew with solid overall results as both a reliever and starter this season.  Suter has a 3.79 ERA, 2.72 K/BB rate and 7.4 K/9 over 59 1/3 IP, starting nine of his 16 appearances.  Prior to this ugly three-start stretch, Suter had been on fire, with a 1.50 ERA over his previous five starts and 30 innings pitched.

    It isn’t yet known who will step into Suter’s rotation spot.  Junior Guerra is probably the likeliest candidate, though the righty has struggled with both injuries and ineffectiveness in the wake of his breakout 2016 year and is currently at Triple-A.  Paolo Espino and Wily Peralta are also options in the minors, though these two have also not provided good results at the big league level this season.

    This is the second time Blazek has entered DFA limbo this season, as Milwaukee designated the right-hander in April and then outrighted him to Triple-A.  A big contributor out of the Brewers’ bullpen in 2015, Blazek struggled last season and has been hit hard in limited action this year, allowing six homers in just 8 2/3 IP en route to an 8.31 ERA.  Blazek’s numbers at the Triple-A level have been solid, however, so he’s likely to continue on as organizational relief depth.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mariners Sign Jeanmar Gomez To Minor League Deal]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=100146 2017-08-13T01:54:15Z 2017-08-13T01:54:15Z The Mariners have signed reliever Jeanmar Gomez to a minor league contract, as Triple-A Tacoma broadcaster Mike Curto reports that the Rainiers added the right-hander to their roster on Saturday (Twitter link). Gomez opted out of his minors pact with the Brewers on Monday, according to KKTV 11 in Colorado Springs.

    The 29-year-old Gomez signed with the Brewers less than a month ago, on July 15, and performed well with their Colorado Springs-based Triple-A affiliate. Gomez totaled 8 1/3 innings with the club and allowed two earned runs on seven hits and a walk, with seven strikeouts. He wasn’t nearly as effective at the major league level this year with the Phillies, who released him June 24. Philadelphia parted with Gomez after he turned in a 7.25 ERA across 22 1/3 innings and experienced a dip in his already low velocity, though he did post career-best strikeout and walk numbers (8.46 K/9 and 2.82 BB/9) and a 50.7 percent ground-ball rate.

    If Gomez ultimately gets to Seattle, it’ll be his fourth major league club since he debuted with the Indians in 2010. Gomez was at his best with the Pirates from 2013-15, when he combined for 3.28 ERA and a 51.5 percent grounder rate in 142 2/3 innings. Last season, Gomez’s first in Philadelphia, he served as the team’s closer and continued to eat innings (68 2/3) and induce grounders (52 percent). Gomez fell out of favor, though, with an 8.33 ERA during the season’s second half. Overall, he registered a 4.85 ERA and 37 saves, earning him $4.2MM in his final year of arbitration eligibility.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Brewers Could Have Gotten Sonny Gray Without Trading Lewis Brinson]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=100122 2017-08-12T23:38:20Z 2017-08-12T23:36:11Z
  • Contrary to a report last month, the Brewers’ unwillingness to part with high-end outfield prospect Lewis Brinson did not kill their chances of landing righty Sonny Gray from the Athletics, according to Rosenthal. The A’s would have accepted a package of other prospects from the Brewers’ talented farm system, relays Rosenthal, but the two sides still couldn’t work out a deal leading up to July 31. Oakland ultimately sent Gray to the Yankees for a trio of prospects on deadline day, officially ending any chance of the Brewers acquiring him.

    [SOURCE LINK]
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Brewers Searching For Offensive Help]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=99940 2017-08-11T13:51:34Z 2017-08-11T13:51:34Z The Brewers have gone a horrid 9-17 since the All-Star break, yet they’re still only two games behind the Cubs for the National League Central lead. As such, general manager David Stearns remains on the hunt for potential upgrades, writes Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. The Brewers “are constantly monitoring the waiver wire,” revealed Stearns, who’s optimistic that he’ll be able to add outside help in the coming weeks. “I wouldn’t put it as a definite, but I certainly think it is a possibility that between now and the end of August we are able to pull something off,” he said. Milwaukee is specifically looking to breathe life into its sputtering offense, according to McCalvy, which aligns with their reported interest in Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler. The veteran might not even make it to the Brewers via waivers, though, and McCalvy relays that the team has failed in its attempts to add players via claims this month. When the Brewers have claimed players, clubs ahead of them in the waiver pecking order have either beaten them to the punch or the players’ teams pulled them back.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tigers Place Ian Kinsler On Revocable Trade Waivers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=99810 2017-08-09T21:46:33Z 2017-08-09T21:46:33Z Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler is on revocable trade waivers, per MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal (Twitter links). As we’ve emphasized with recent reports of players going on August waivers, the fact that Kinsler is on waivers at all isn’t all that noteworthy. Most players, after all, will be on revocable waivers this month.

    What is noteworthy about Rosenthal’s report, though, is that it gives a timetable for when a fairly plausible August trade candidate will either be claimed or pulled back off waivers (thus removing his trade candidacy). In this case, the waiver period is up at noon CST tomorrow. Any team that is awarded the claim would then have another two days to work out a trade; if no deal is made, the Tigers could pull him back or allow him to depart without compensation.

    According to Rosenthal, the Brewers still have interest in acquiring Kinsler, though he’d have to approve a trade to Milwaukee — a team that is on his partial no-trade clause. It’s not yet known if Kinsler will even make it to the Brewers on the waiver wire — every American League team and all N.L. clubs with worse records will have higher priority — nor is it known if the Brewers would definitively place a claim. In the event that Milwaukee did successfully claim him, however, the no-trade clause would add another wrinkle to the already-difficult task the two teams would face simply to agree on an exchange. (For what it’s worth, he has indicated a general willingness to accept a deal, though there were prior indications he’d only approve one if an extension could be arranged as part of the swap.)

    Kinsler would represent an upgrade for Milwaukee, with Jonathan Villar and Eric Sogard failing to produce with any consistency. But it’s not entirely clear just how much the team would be willing to pay in salary and prospects. Kinsler is earning $11MM this year, around $3MM of which is still due. He’s also controllable via club option for 2018 at a reasonable $12MM. (Note: some sources have the option priced at $10MM, but the majority place it at the slightly higher rate; see, e.g., here.) There’s a hefty $5MM buyout, but that won’t likely come into play. As regards the Brewers, Kinsler’s salary would represent a fairly big chunk of change for an organization that has opened each of the past two seasons with just over $60MM on the books, though Milwaukee has plenty of spending capacity available and would surely like the idea of landing a veteran without a long-term commitment.

    Of course, the ability to control a solid veteran player for a solid price on a one-year term will boost Kinsler’s appeal to many other clubs that might consider a claim. Second base hasn’t been an area of much demand, but perhaps there are a few other clubs that could consider pursuing a move. The Angels stand out as a conceivable possibility, as they could use the help at second, are still in contention, and have targeted short-term veterans in recent years as a way to remain competitive while trying not to clog future balance sheets.

    Milwaukee and others will surely have their limits in valuing Kinsler. He’s already 35 years old and has managed only a .245/.324/.388 slash on the year, swatting ten home runs after a surprising 2016 campaign in which he launched 28 and carried an atypically robust .196 isolated slugging mark. But he’s easily worth his salary and looks to be an appealing asset for 2018. Despite the currently subpar batting line, Kinsler is avoiding strikeouts as well as ever and is drawing more walks than usual. A boost in his current .259 BABIP would likely bring him back to being at least a league-average hitter — indeed, he has never ended a regular season with a wRC below the league mean. And Kinsler still grades as a premium defender, making him a high-quality regular even if his batting productivity erodes somewhat.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Stearns On Relatively Quiet Deadline]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=99680 2017-08-07T19:02:25Z 2017-08-07T19:02:25Z
  • Brewers general manager David Stearns spoke at length with Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel about his team’s decision not to part with significant long-term pieces for big-name upgrades prior to the non-waiver deadline. As Stearns explains, there was simply a group of players — both on the Major League roster and in the minors — that the Brewers weren’t willing to discuss in trades, barring the emergence of an unexpected trade candidate on the market. Stearns rejected the narrative that the Cubs’ acquisition of Jose Quintana galvanized the clubhouse and sparked a winning streak. “I think the Cubs’ recent run has more to do with the overall quality of their roster than one individual player,” said the GM. Haudricourt’s column is rife with lengthy quotes from Stearns on his thoughts leading up to the deadline and into August trading season, so readers should definitely check it out in its entirety.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Brewers Release Tom Wilhelmsen]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=99563 2017-08-06T02:54:19Z 2017-08-06T02:54:19Z The Brewers announced that they’ve released right-handed reliever Tom Wilhelmsen, who signed a minor league contract with the team on June 20.

    This was the second stint with the Brewers for the 33-year-old Wilhelmsen, whom they selected in the seventh round of the 2002 draft. Wilmhelmsen has never cracked the majors with the Brewers, though, and struggled mightily with their Triple-A affiliate in Colorado Springs this year. Across 13 innings, Wilhelmsen recorded a 13.15 ERA with 7.62 K/9 and 4.85 BB/9.

    Formerly the Mariners’ closer, Wilhelmsen signed a minors deal with the Diamondbacks over the winter after dividing 2016 between Seattle and Texas. Wilhelmsen made Arizona’s season-opening roster, but he underwhelmed over the first few months of the campaign, leading the team to designate him for assignment in early June. While Wilhemsen showed off a 95 mph fastball and posted a 49.4 percent ground-ball rate in 26 1/3 innings with the D-backs, he combined a 4.44 ERA with unappealing strikeout and walk rates (5.81 K/9, 4.1 BB/9).

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Jett Bandy Suffers Fractured Rib]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=99433 2017-08-04T04:39:24Z 2017-08-04T04:35:07Z
  • The Brewers may not be able to count on catcher Jett Bandy down the stretch. As Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal tweets, the 27-year-old has been diagnosed with a fractured rib. It is not immediately clear how much time he’ll miss, though anything but a fairly rapid return could spell the end of his season. With Stephen Vogt also out, Andrew Susac is the only healthy 40-man alternative to join Manny Pina on the MLB roster. But Susac himself only just made it back from injury woes, and it’s possible Milwaukee could end up checking into the market for alternatives.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Brewers Outright Wily Peralta, Kirk Nieuwenhuis]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=99406 2017-08-03T18:51:11Z 2017-08-03T18:51:11Z The Brewers announced today that right-hander Wily Peralta and outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis have both cleared waivers and been sent outright to Triple-A Colorado Springs.

    The 28-year-old Peralta was designated for assignment on Saturday, and Milwaukee was apparently unable to find a taker for him in any trade talks that may have occurred. No team felt comfortable claiming the remaining $1.4MM on his $4.275MM salary, either, so Peralta will return to the Brewers’ Triple-A affiliate.

    While the fact that Peralta has more than three years of Major League service time allows him to refuse the outright assignment, the fact that he has fewer than five years of service also means that he would forfeit that remaining $1.4MM in order to hit the free-agent market. Peralta will earn that $1.4MM through season’s end whether he’s on the 40-man roster or not, but if he isn’t on the 40-man at the end of the year, he’ll have the right to elect free agency.

    It’s been a tough year for Milwaukee’s former Opening Day starter. Peralta posted a 6.08 ERA with a 32-to-17 K/BB ratio through eight starts this season before losing his spot in the rotation and heading to the bullpen. While his strikeout rate and velocity ticked up working in relief, his walk rate also ballooned. Ultimately, Peralta surrendered 23 earned runs on 28 hits and 15 walks in just 17 1/3 frames out of the Brewer bullpen.

    As for Nieuwenhuis, the veteran outfielder spent most of the 2016 campaign on the Brewers’ big league roster but has just 16 games and 31 plate appearances to his credit thus far in 2017. He’s hit just .115/.268/.269 in that time, though he’s a career .221/.311/.384 hitter in parts of six big league seasons. He’s in a similar situation to Peralta in that he agreed to a split deal this past winter that reportedly pays him $900K in the Majors and $257K in the minors (each pro-rated). He’d have forfeited the remainder of that contract had he gone the free-agent route.

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