Brewers outfielder Tyrone Taylor has a sprained elbow that will keep him out of action for the first two weeks of spring games, with Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel relaying word from manager Craig Counsell. There is no structural damage and Taylor will just need rest, though this will delay his ramp-up to readiness for the big league season.
Taylor has had a decent run with Milwaukee over the past couple of years, hitting 29 home runs and stealing nine bases in 213 games. His batting line over that 2021-2022 stretch was .239/.300/.448 for a wRC+ of 104. He also drew positive grades for his outfield defense, playing all three spots but primarily in center, leading to 3.4 fWAR in that time.
There’s still about five weeks until Opening Day, perhaps giving Taylor time to recover, though it will depend on how his elbow heals. If he needs to miss a bit of time, the club has a mix of outfielders that could step up. Christian Yelich and Jesse Winker seem likely to share the left field and designated hitter slots, with Garrett Mitchell perhaps getting an extended run of play in center. Right field could still go to Taylor if healthy, though the club also has Blake Perkins on the 40-man roster, as well as infielder/outfielders Brian Anderson, Mike Brosseau and Keston Hiura. In terms of non-roster options, Tyler Naquin just came aboard on a minor league deal, and there’s also prospects like Sal Frelick and Joey Wiemer.
Some other notes from Brewers camp…
- Left-hander Aaron Ashby has been sidelined by a shoulder injury that Counsell said would keep him out of action for “a couple of months.” The pitcher himself addressed the media yesterday, including Rosiak, and discussed the issue in more detail. “It’s a shoulder impingement, labral tear,” Ashby said. “That sounds really bad but everyone has these; it’s just kind of how it affects you. And in my throwing motion, it doesn’t feel great. It’s a really small tear. Then it’s the rehab process and retraining that muscle and working the proper way.” As for the timeline, “My hope is kind of middle of May,” he said. Over the past two years, he’s thrown 139 innings with a 4.47 ERA but stronger underlying metrics. His 9.7% walk rate is a bit high, but his 27.1% strikeout rate and 57.8% ground ball rate were both strong, leading to better marks from ERA estimators like a 3.95 FIP and 3.41 SIERA. Even without Ashby, the club projects to have six strong rotation options in Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, Freddy Peralta, Eric Lauer, Wade Miley and Adrian Houser. Ashby will have to work his way into that mix once he’s healthy, though it’s possible someone else in that group needs some time off by then.
- Shortstop Willy Adames has previously expressed his willingness to sign a long-term deal to stay with the Brewers, though he also noticed the big contracts that shortstops were able to secure this offseason. “When you see the guys, you know, getting paid, I mean, the group of guys that signed this offseason, they were elite guys and they set the bar for us, you know, the guys that are coming up,” he tells Rosiak. He goes on to say he’ll let his agency handle the business side of things while he focuses on baseball but adds that those other shortstops “really set the bar for the guys that are coming up.” Carlos Correa ultimately settled for a contract below expectations after he had two deals scuttled by concerns over his physical, but the other marquee shortstops did well for themselves this winter. Trea Turner got himself $300MM from the Phillies, Xander Bogaerts got $280MM from the Padres and Dansby Swanson secured $177MM from the Cubs. The 27-year-old Adames will make $8.7MM this year before a final arbitration season in 2024, after which he’s slated to hit the open market. His performance over those next two seasons will determine what kind of contract he could be looking at on the open market but he’s trending in a strong direction. He posted a career-high 4.7 fWAR last year in a season that included 31 home runs and strong grades for his glovework. Milwaukee fans would surely love to keep him around long-term but he seems well aware of the kind of contract that awaits him if he stays healthy and productive for a couple more years.