Brewers Unveil “Give Back Game”

OFFICIAL RELEASE

At a press conference held at Miller Park this morning, the Milwaukee Brewers announced plans for the “Give Back Game,” an event that is a major philanthropic endeavor to raise proceeds for great causes. With the Give Back Game, nearly all proceeds from ticket sales from the Brewers final home game on Sunday, September 25 against the Cincinnati Reds will be donated to charity.

Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger along with members from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, Make-A-Wish Wisconsin, The MACC Fund and the Wisconsin Humane Society were on hand to announce the details.
 
“Dating back to his first year of ownership of the Brewers, Mark Attanasio has always done something special for the final home game each year, an initiative to show his appreciation to our fans and the community,” Schlesinger said. “We wanted to do something at another level this year, and out of that came the idea of the Give Back Game. It’s not just a gift to the fans, it’s an opportunity to raise significant funding for these four great partners.”
 
Here’s how it works…
 
Starting immediately, fans can purchase tickets in person at the Miller Park box office, via phone (414-902-4000) or online by going to brewers.com/giveback. At the time of purchase, fans will be asked to choose between one of four charities for their donation to benefit:

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee
  • Make-A-Wish Wisconsin
  • The MACC Fund
  • Wisconsin Humane Society.

 
Fans will be able to choose a ticket for $10, and can elect to contribute more in increments of $5 up to $50. (For donations of greater than $50, fans may call 414-902-4000.)
 
Tickets will be made available by level and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, beginning with Field Level, then on to Loge Level, Club Level and finally the Terrace Level. Fans can get the best seats in the house for a great price, all while helping local causes.
 
A portion of every presold ticket will also be donated to a general fund that will be split between the four participating charities. Season Seat Holders may contact their representative to specify which charity they would like their donation to go to.
 
After all of the fan donations have been made, the Brewers will contribute an additional $50,000 to the charity that generates the most donations. Regardless of the results, each charity will automatically receive a donation of $20,000 from the Brewers. Every ticket sold after today will result in those additional proceeds being added on top of that $20,000.
 
To help the cause, several Milwaukee Brewers players have teamed up with the four charities to help promote the game. Each player will use their social media platforms tweeting with the hashtag #GiveBackGame to promote not just the entire initiative, but also their specific charity’s involvement. Keon Broxton/Boys & Girls Clubs, Corey Knebel/Make-A-Wish, Tyler Thornburg/MACC Fund and Scooter Gennett/Wisconsin Humane Society.
 
In addition, media partners in the community have stepped up to help promote the effort, with each cause backed by a different media group. “Teammates” include The MACC Fund/620 WTMJ, 94-5 KTI Country and TODAY’S TMJ4; Make-A-Wish Wisconsin/FM106.1, V100.7, 97.3 NOW, 95.7 Big FM, News/Talk 1130 WISN and Big 920 Sports; Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee/FOX Sports Wisconsin; and Wisconsin Humane Society/WKLH, WHQG, WJMR and WNRG.

What’s In a Name?

“Hey, what about Braun?”

If you’re a fan of movies, music, or even sports talk radio, chances are you like someone whose given name you don’t know. People use names publicly that aren’t on their tax forms, in part to maintain a shred of privacy (however fleeting) but also because a name chosen can be just plain cooler for the industry they’re in.

Some stage names are chosen simply. (Tom Cruise? Cruise is his middle name. His legal last name is Mapother.)

Some have little if anything to do with their real name. (Jay-Z is Shawn Carter, for instance.)

For those of you in the Milwaukee market as I am, well let’s just say that Michaels is as much Bill’s last name as it is Shawn’s.

Ah yes. Shawn Michaels — given name Michael Shawn Hickenbottom — is a retired professional wrestler who flipped his first and middle name (and added an s) to get something a bit better. Also there happened to be a pretty famous Michael already and individuality in that game is important as well.

Professional wrestling, or rather “sports entertainment” if you prefer, has a long history of athletes using fake names. Back in the 1960s though it was important that fans not be able to find your home when you were a loathed “bad guy” who would receive death threats and have everything from insults to beer cans hurled at you.

“Adam…isn’t this the Brewer Nation blog? Why are you talking about this?”

If that’s running through your head, let me cut to the chase.

Friday night at Miller Park the Brewers took on the Pittsburgh Pirates. They lost but that’s beside this point. During the game a celebrity guest was in the house. He was visiting family in Wisconsin for a couple of days and decided to catch a game at Miller Park. As a Brewers fan, it just made sense.

But there was another reason for his visit, and that was to meet his namesake. The WWE Superstar’s name is Adam Scherr, but you’ve probably never heard that name before. It’s his stage name that you’ll know if you’ve watched any WWE programming over the last few months. That stage name comes, in part, courtesy of a certain former NL MVP.

Seriously. As the man tells it, it was late in the day where a hard deadline existed. They had to pick a stage name by the end of that day. No exceptions. All the options they were given to discuss fell flat. Nothing had the right hook to it. As he and those helping him decide were sitting around, they had SportsCenter on in the background. Baseball highlights were happening and Ryan Braun was on the TV.

“Hey, what about Braun?”

That simple question, along with a slight modification to the character’s last name, is how WWE Superstar Braun Strowman came to be.

If you don’t know Strowman, he’s significantly larger than Ryan. Listed at 6’8″ and 385 pounds, Braun Strowman is a real monster in the ring as a member of the Wyatt Family.

“I’ll take the over, ” said Ryan Braun when asked about his meeting with his namesake. “That’s one of the largest human beings I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Strowman’s physical stature matches that of Braun’s play on the field. Both are doing big things at age 32 (Strowman is Ryan’s senior by about two months) and while Ryan is long established as elite in his sport at this age, Strowman is still an up and comer in his.

So, “What’s in a name?” A tie that binds perhaps as Ryan thought it was very cool that Strowman found inspiration in him.

After all, it’s not a bad thing to have a guy like Braun Strowman in your corner. I mean, just look at him.

BraunMeetsBraun

Braun Strowman meets his namesake Ryan Braun after a game at Miller Park on August 26, 2016. – Credit: Mike Vassallo

Monday Musing: 100 Game Starting Pitchers

With apologies and a shout out to Kyle Lobner‘s long-running “Thursday Thinker” series over at SBNation’s Brew Crew Ball, I decided to create a Sporcle quiz based on something to do with the Milwaukee Brewers.

That’s because I was recently reminded that earlier this season a Brewers starting pitcher achieved a significant round number.

That pitcher is Wily Peralta. That round number is games started (by a pitcher) in Milwaukee Brewers franchise history.

Peralta became the 21st pitcher to start at least 100 games for this franchise which seemed like a relatively small amount given that one needs roughly 3.5 healthy seasons to accomplish it. I was intrigued as to how it compared to the rest of the active franchises in baseball so I spent some time looking that up. More on that in a future column, but for the sake of some fun let’s see how strong your trivia muscles are feeling this morning.

http://www.sporcle.com/framed/?v=6&pm&gid=e7606bc17eb&fid=57bb426e287e7&width=580

If the embedded quiz doesn’t work (since this is my first time trying to do one), or if you just prefer to, click here to play the quiz on Sporcle.

Roster Moves Made In Advance of Weekend Series

A handful of roster moves were made by the Brewers in advance of their Friday night series opener in Seattle against the Mariners.

Outfielder Domingo Santana — limited by injuries most of the year and officially injured since June 9 — was reinstated from the 15-day Disabled List. Santana is coming off of his second rehab assignment after his first attempt was cut short upon a recurrence of elbow soreness.

Brewers manager Craig Counsell had said that Santana required between 20 and 30 plate appearances to really gauge where Santana was physically and to get him used to seeing live pitching again. Santana accomplished that between Class-A and Class-AAA, finishing his rehab assignment with a three-hit, two-walk night at the plate which included two doubles, two runs scored, and five runs batted in.

To clear space on the 25-man roster for Santana’s return, right-handed pitcher Damien Magnifico was down optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs. The hard-throwing reliever was a bit erratic during his first big league call-up but fell victim to injuries to others as much as anything else. The Brewers played in a doubleheader on Tuesday in Chicago, the second game of which saw starting pitcher Chase Anderson leave early after being struck by his eleventh pitch when Kris Bryant returned it to sender at 107 miles per hour off the bat. The bullpen, having already covered a short start in the day game of the split card, were nearly maxed out. Anderson evaded serious injury and should be available out of the bullpen this weekend on his throw day as he looks to avoid the DL altogether.

That doubleheader necessitated a spot starter Friday night in Seattle. With the injured Junior Guerra not quite ready to return from his own DL stint, the Brewers decided to purchase the contract of left-handed pitcher Brent Suter.

Suter, who turns 27 in 10 days, has pitched for Colorado Springs all season. He has posted a 3.50 ERA in 110.2 innings pitched across 26 total appearances, 15 of which have been starts. Suter is a zone pounder who allows his defense to work. This is evidenced by his modest strikeout total (75) but even more so by his miniscule 14 walks allowed.

In order to purchase Suter’s contract, a spot on the 40-man roster was needed. With the return of Santana, the spot was freed up by designating the no-longer-needed and ultimately ineffective Ramon Flores. Flores, coincidentally, acquired over this past off-season from the Seattle Mariners, was given plenty of opportunities in the wake of injuries to Santana and Ryan Braun but ultimately couldn’t seize the chance and establish himself as a part of the future. It was a failed experiment but a worthwhile one by a transitioning team which the Brewers certainly are.

Santana joins Suter by starting tonight’s game, with Santana reclaiming his familiar right field defensive assignment.

NOTABLE
When the game officially begins, Suter will end a run of 474 consecutive games wherein the Brewers would send a right-handed pitcher to take the ball first. That’s the second-longest streak in Major League Baseball history behind only a stretch by the Dodgers from September 25, 1992 through July 12, 1997.

Robin Yount’s Memorabilia Up For Auction

YountCollection

I was contacted on August 1st by SCP Auctions as to whether or not I would help them promote the existence of an auction of personal memorabilia of Brewers legend Robin Yount.

Being my favorite player, I was intrigued of course. The auction is live now and has to be seen to be believed.

This is something to at least check out whether you have the means to participate in the auction or not.

What follows is the press release I was provided.

BASEBALL HALL OF FAMER ROBIN YOUNT’S MEMORABILIA

COLLECTION HIGHLIGHTS SCP AUCTIONS’ 2016 MID-SUMMER CLASSIC

The two-time American League MVP’s awards, milestone baseballs and major league mementos go live on August 3 at scpauctions.com

 Laguna Niguel, Calif. (August 1, 2016) – SCP Auctions is extremely proud to announce that it has acquired the personal memorabilia collection of Milwaukee Brewers great Robin Yount. The Hall of Famer’s coveted lineup of baseball heirlooms and mementos encompasses more than 70 lots and will hit the online auction block on Wednesday, August 3, at www.scpauctions.com. It features Yount’s most prominent items including his Sept. 9, 1992, “3,000th Hit” bat and baseball, his 1976, ’82 and ‘90 Milwaukee Brewers game-worn jerseys, and his autographed 1982 American League Player of the Year Award presented by The Sporting News. In addition, there are several signed, game-used baseballs chronicling milestone hits during the course of his stellar 20-year career with the Brewers.

“We are extremely honored to conduct this auction,” said SCP Auctions President David Kohler. “Robin was obviously an incredible baseball player whose many accolades will no doubt excite collectors worldwide who are interested in acquiring a piece of his sought-after memorabilia.”

Drafted by the Brewers third overall in 1973, Yount – who was nicknamed “The Kid” – made his MLB debut for Milwaukee in 1974 at the young age of 18 and quickly became the Brewers’ starting shortstop. With almost two full seasons as a regular before he turned 20, he broke Mel Ott’s longstanding record for most MLB games played as a teenager with 243. He won his first A.L. MVP as a shortstop in 1982 after hitting .331 with 29 home runs and 114 runs batted in before switching to center field where he captured his second league MVP award in 1989 after batting .318 with 21 home runs and 102 RBI. As the owner of 3,142 career hits, Yount had his fair share of diamond successes including a very memorable run to the World Series with the Brew Crew in 1982. Despite losing the Fall Classic four games to three to the N.L. Champion St. Louis Cardinals, Yount batted a phenomenal .414 that included 12 hits, six RBI and an off-the-wall slugging percentage of .621. He was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999, in his first year of eligibility.

Bidding is open to registered bidders only at www.scpauctions.com beginning Wednesday, August 3 and closing on Saturday, August 20. For more information on how to participate, please call 949-831-3700.

So definitely feel encouraged to check it out. I know I will be.

Yount3000HitBallSportingNewROY

Official Trade Deadline Press Releases

Chronologically, in case you missed them, here are the official press releases sent out today by the Brewers regarding the two trades they made involving Will Smith, Jonathan Lucroy, and Jeremy Jeffress.

First, the trade that sent Smith to the San Francisco Giants.


BREWERS ACQUIRE PITCHING PROSPECT PHIL BICKFORD AND CATCHER ANDREW SUSAC FROM GIANTS

Left-Handed Pitcher Will Smith Headed to San Francisco

MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired right-handed pitcher Phil Bickford and catcher Andrew Susac from the San Francisco Giants in exchange for left-handed pitcher Will Smith. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns.

Bickford, 21, was selected by San Francisco in the first round (18th overall) of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft. He entered the 2016 season ranked by Baseball America as the third-best prospect in the Giants organization. He is currently ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the top prospect in their organization (65th overall in baseball), and appeared in this year’s All-Star Futures Game in San Diego.

Bickford this season went a combined 5-6 with a 2.71 ERA in 17 starts between Class-A Augusta (11 GS, 3-4, 2.70 ERA) and Class-A San Jose (6 GS, 2-2, 2.73 ERA). He has held opponents to a .208 batting average (70-for-336, 5 HR) with 105 strikeouts in 93.0 innings pitched. He made his professional debut last season, going 0-1 with a 2.01 ERA in 10 starts with the Rookie Arizona Giants. He produced 32 strikeouts in just 22.1 innings pitched as he held opponents to a .169 batting average (13-for-77, 0 HR).

Susac, 26, was batting .273 (57-for-209) with 8 HR and 36 RBI in 58 games at Triple-A Sacramento this season. He has Major League experience with the Giants, batting .240 (53-for-221) with 6 HR and 33 RBI in 87 games from 2014-15. Selected by San Francisco in the second round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, Susac was a member of the 2014 world champion Giants.

Smith, 27, was acquired by Milwaukee from Kansas City on December 5, 2013 in exchange for outfielder Norichika Aoki. He went 9-8 with a 3.28 ERA and 1 save in 181 relief appearances as a Brewer, including 1-3 with a 3.68 ERA in 27 outings this season.


 

And the trade with Texas…

BREWERS ACQUIRE TWO HIGHLY-TOUTED PROSPECTS FROM THE RANGERS

Catcher Jonathan Lucroy and Right-Handed Pitcher Jeremy Jeffress Headed to Texas

MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired outfielder Lewis Brinson, right-handed pitcher Luis Ortiz and a player to be named from the Texas Rangers in exchange for catcherJonathan Lucroy and right-handed pitcher Jeremy Jeffress. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns.

“While it is extremely difficult to part with players the caliber of Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress, we are excited to add more young and talented players to the organization as we continue to build toward future winning seasons in Milwaukee,” said Stearns.

Stearns added, “We would like to thank Jonathan for his seven years of not only All-Star play on the field, but for the leadership and dedication that he and his wife, Sarah, displayed throughout the community. We also would like to thank Jeremy for his contributions to the Brewers, particularly his admirable work as a first-time closer this season.”

Brinson, 22, entered the 2016 season ranked by both Baseball America and MLBPipeline.com as the second-best prospect in the Rangers organization. He is currently ranked 30th and 21st, respectively, in all of baseball by those outlets.

Brinson was selected by Texas in the first round (29th overall) of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. He batted .237 (72-for-304) with 11 HR, 40 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 77 games at Double-A Frisco this season.

Ortiz, 20, entered the 2016 season ranked by Baseball America as the fourth-best prospect in the Rangers organization. He entered this season ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the fifth-best prospect in their organization and currently ranks third. He is currently ranked 74th and 63rd, respectively, in all of baseball by those outlets.

Ortiz was selected by Texas in the first round (30th overall) of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. He went 4-6 with 3.48 ERA in 16 games (14 starts) between Class-A High Desert (7g, 6gs, 3-2, 2.60era) and Double-A Frisco (9g, 8gs, 1-4, 4.08era).

Lucroy, 30, batted .284 with 79 HR and 387 RBI in 805 games during seven seasons with the Brewers (2010-16), including .299 (101-for-338) with 13 HR and 50 RBI in 95 games this season. The two-time All-Star (2014 and 2016) was selected by Milwaukee in the third round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.

Jeffress, 28, returned to the Brewers in 2014 and has gone 8-3 with a 2.36 ERA and 27 saves (all this season) in 148 relief appearances during that stretch. He was originally selected by Milwaukee in the first round (16th overall) of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

Top 30 MLB Pipeline Brewers Prospects Pre- And Post-Refresh

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For the sake of comparison, here are the side-by-side pre- and post-refresh Top 30 Brewers prospect rankings as rated by MLBPipeline.com.

2015 2016
1. Orlando Arcia 1. Orlando Arcia
2. Brett Phillips 2. Corey Ray
3. Jorge Lopez 3. Josh Hader
4. Josh Hader 4. Trent Clark
5. Trent Clark 5. Brett Phillips
6. Gilbert Lara 6. Gilbert Lara
7. Kodi Medeiros 7. Isan Diaz
8. Cody Ponce 8. Cody Ponce
9. Devin Williams 9. Marcos Diplan
10. Jacob Nottingham 10. Kodi Medeiros
11. Isan Diaz 11. Jorge Lopez
12. Tyrone Taylor 12. Jacob Nottingham
13. Clint Coulter 13. Monte Harrison
14. Demi Orimoloye 14. Lucas Erceg
15. Monte Harrison 15. Devin Williams
16. Nathan Kirby 16. Corbin Burnes
17. Adrian Houser 17. Miguel Diaz
18. Michael Reed 18. Freddy Peralta
19. Marcos Diplan 19. Nathan Kirby
20. Wendell Rijo 20. Demi Orimoloye
21. Bubby Derby 21. Jake Gatewood
22. Taylor Williams 22. Brandon Woodruff
23. Jake Gatewood 23. Tyrone Taylor
24. Rymer Liriano 24. Michael Reed
25. Victor Roache 25. Mario Feliciano
26. Freddy Peralta 26. Chad McClanahan
27. Miguel Diaz 27. Braden Webb
28. Damien Magnifico 28. Wendell Rijo
29. Brandon Woodruff 29. Clint Coulter
30. Trey Supak 30. Taylor Williams

Five Milwaukee Brewers prospects also made the refreshed Top 100 prospects over all.

  • Orlando Arcia (#13)
  • Corey Ray (#37)
  • Josh Hader (#45)
  • Trent Clark (#76)
  • Brett Phillips (#78)

The names who fell off the Top 30: Adrian Houser, Bubba Derby, Rymer Liriano, Victor Roache, Damien Magnifico, Trey Supak.

There was some shuffling of the other 24 names, but six members of the 2016 draft class made the Top 30 so six guys had to be dropped below #30.

Why Yan Gomes’ Shoulder Injury Might Just Matter to the Brewers

Here’s a snippet of what I originally wrote for Today’s Knuckleball. Find the full article here: http://www.todaysknuckleball.com/around-the-diamonds/yan-gomes-injury-could-impact-lucroy-and-the-rangers/


The seemingly seized Jonathan Lucroy trade market might have gotten some grease from an unlikely source yesterday.

Cleveland’s starting backstop, Yan Gomes, separated his shoulder on Sunday in a tumble at first base. It’s a potentially season-ending injury, one that could quickly see his front office searching for a fill-in if not a straight upgrade.

After all, while Gomes is a terrific defender (receiving, game-calling, throwing, blocking) his offense this season has left much to be desired. Gomes has a .165/.198/.313 slash line in 262 plate appearances.

Let the record once again reflect that this is a position player. By the somewhat simple and somewhat flawed OPS statistic, Gomes (.511) is behind such notable sluggers as Madison Bumgarner, Jason Hammel, Jake Arrieta, Patrick Corbin, Zack Greinke, Adam Wainwright, Francisco Liriano, Joe Ross, Noah Syndergaard, Carlos Martinez, Robbie Ray, Jose Fernandez, Gerrit Cole…

That list is conspicuous in that it contains all starting pitchers. And with the plaudits heaped on the relative offensive prowess of Bumgarner, Syndergaard, and Corbin, the platitudes which can be assigned to that of Gomes are stark in their divergence.

Cleveland enters the day at 54-37 which not only positions them with the best winning percentage (.593) in the American League, but is also good for a 6.5 game lead in the its Central Division. They aren’t desperate — they’ll tell you as much if you ask them — but whether they actually think they’re best served by hoping Roberto Perez will be able to fill in for Gomes is something they would understandably keep closer to their collective vest


Again, view the full article here: http://www.todaysknuckleball.com/around-the-diamonds/yan-gomes-injury-could-impact-lucroy-and-the-rangers/

 

Brewers Claim Scahill

ScahillSkySox.jpg

The Milwaukee Brewers just announced that they have been awarded a waiver claim on right-handed relief pitcher Rob Scahill, late of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.

Scahill, 29, has made 28 combined appearances during the 2016 regular seasons of the Pirates (15 games) and their Triple-A affiliate the Indianapolis Indians (13). He’s combined to post a 4.19 ERA in 34.1 IP. (That’s a 4.00 ERA in 18.0 Triple-A innings and a 4.41 ERA in 16.1 IP in MLB this year, for the record.)

Following a 147 ERA+ (100 is league average) in 2015 where Scahill allowed just nine earned runs in 30.2 MLB innings across 28 games, the Illinois-native is somewhat ironically producing some better peripherals but with a much higher resultant ERA his ERA+ in 2016 is just 95. Not bad but certainly not as good.

One could likely assume that the Brewers’ pro scouting department sees some rebound capability in Scahill based on these statistical comparisons.

  • 2015: 4.50 FIP | 2016: 3.85 FIP
  • ’15: 4.7 BB/9 | ’16: 3.3 BB/9
  • ’15: 7.0 K/9 | ’16: 7.2 K/9
  • ’15: 1.50 K/BB | ’16: 2.17 K/9
  • ’15: .309 BAbip | ’16: .347 BAbip

So like I said, good peripherals, better than 2015, but lesser results to this point. About the only thing working against Scahill is line drive percentage (up to 32% from 24%) which does explain some of the other results, but that could be correctable.

Along with the announcement of the claim — which once again fills the Brewers’ 40-man roster — is the news that Scahill was immediately optioned down to Triple-A Colorado Springs. Scahill is also no stranger to that rare air having pitches in the Rockies organization for six seasons after being drafted by them in the 8th round in 2009. Scahill pitched parts of three minor-league seasons for the Sky Sox.

More Thoughts on the Aftermath of Hill Shipping Up to Boston

First, here’s how the official press release announcing the trade of Aaron Hill was written, in case you haven’t seen it.

OFFICIAL RELEASE

The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired right-handed pitcher Aaron Wilkerson and second baseman Wendell Rijo from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for infielder Aaron Hill and cash. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns.

“In Aaron Wilkerson, we are adding a starting pitcher who has had tremendous success in the minor leagues and could be an asset to the Major League team in the near future,” said Stearns. “Wendell Rijo adds even more young talent and strength up the middle to our organization.”

Wilkerson, 27, had been pitching this season at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he was 4-2 with a 2.44 ERA in 9 games (8 starts). He was holding International League opponents to a .223 batting average (41-for-184, 5hr) with 54 strikeouts in just 48.0 innings pitched. He also pitched at Double-A Portland this season, going 2-1 with a 1.83 ERA in 8 starts. While at Portland, he held Eastern League opponents to a .175 batting average (28-for-160, 2hr) with 48 strikeouts in just 44.1 innings pitched.

Wilkerson, who was signed by Boston as a non-drafted free agent on July 18, 2014, owns an impressive career minor-league record of 22-7 with a 2.52 ERA in 54 games (44 starts). He has produced 293 strikeouts in just 279.0 innings pitched.

Prior to joining the Red Sox organization, the product of Cumberland University (TN), pitched the 2013 season for three independent league teams: Fort Worth – United League Baseball; Florence – Frontier League and Grand Prairie – American Association.

Rijo, 20, began the 2016 season at Double-A Portland, where he appeared in 51 games. He was transferred to Class-A Salem in late June and appeared in 11 games there prior to today’s trade.

Born in La Romana in the Dominican Republic, Rijo was signed by Boston as an international free agent on July 6, 2012. He owns a career batting average of .250 with 16 HR, 129 RBI and 50 stolen bases in 333 minor-league games (2012-2016). Following last season, he was ranked as the 15th-best prospect in the Red Sox organization and 19th-best prospect in the Carolina League by Baseball America.

Hill, 34, was acquired by Milwaukee last January 30 from Arizona, along with right-handed pitcher Chase Anderson, shortstop Isan Diaz and cash, in exchange for shortstop Jean Segura and right-handed pitcher Tyler Wagner. He batted .283 (72-for-254) with 8 HR and 29 RBI in 78 games with the Brewers, making 71 starts (55g at 3B, 16g at 2B).

“Along with his statistical contributions, we thank Aaron for his veteran leadership and versatility during his time as a Brewer,” said Stearns.

For my thoughts on the trade both from the viewpoint of the Red Sox as well as the Brewers, check out my article over at Today’s Knuckleball by clicking here.

What I didn’t say there because it really didn’t fit is how this move is just the first salvo in what should be an incredibly busy month for David Stearns and company.

They have a plethora of movable assets and of those many that teams should desire to varying degrees. He even has assets that he’ll get calls on but shouldn’t move as they have a chance to be key parts of the future contender.

Here’s a quick list (alphabetical by last name) with a blurb as to why each could be moved. Oh, and let me say here that I’m not including Braun because I don’t believe he’ll be moved and I don’t feel like writing up a section about why Stearns would move him.

  • Blaine Boyer
    • Why you would move him: Really playing well (outside of San Francisco) and has shown the ability handle higher-leverage innings. Wasn’t expected to give you much when signing as a non-roster invitee to Spring Training so anything you could get in trade is a bonus from that aspect. All relief pitchers, middle relievers chief among them, are volatile meaning capitalizing on their value when you can should be considered. Plus, Boyer turns 35 next week so you can’t count on him as a part of the future here in Milwaukee.
    • Why you wouldn’t: I guess you wouldn’t if no one asked you to. Really, in Boyer’s case where he was a flier on a team looking for roleplayer bullpen arms Boyer has positioned himself to potentially be of value to a contender who isn’t getting enough mileage out of their current group (like the Cubs, for instance). There are a bunch of teams who could use an arm like Boyer’s.
  • Chris Carter
    • Why you would move him: Having a good bounce-back year as he desired when signing here, has shown he can play everyday defense at 1B. Would be more expensive next year (though under team control for a time yet) and could cool off limiting trade value in the off-season or next year.
    • Why you wouldn’t: He’s still quite inexpensive for the level of production he’s giving even with the 2nd year of arbitration eligibility looming (using this year’s one-year price as the starting point should temper the bottom line) and while there are some intriguing first basemen in the system, no one is exactly busting down the door to take the job in 2017. Carter could be move next July the same as this July plus most contenders who would covet the kind of power Carter would add to a lineup have solutions at first base already so the return might not enough during the year when the trade partner pool is limited.
  • Matt Garza
    • Why you would move him: He hasn’t performed particularly well over the last year and a half when healthy enough to pitch. He still has talent though and a change of scenery and pitching philosophy (despite there being a new pitching coach with Milwaukee this year) could benefit him. Garza is a competitor in the truest sense of the word and might subconsciously lock in if pitching in games that mean more. The main reason though is that despite his veteran leadership, the Brewers have been amassing a handful of knocking-on-the-door starting pitchers would need to be given big league chances (in some cases second chances) before 2018. Moving Garza frees up a spot for that to happen. The pool of available starting pitching isn’t exactly a robust one this year either so that could lead someone to giving Garza a shot like James Shields to the White Sox.
    • Why you wouldn’t: If Stearns couldn’t get what he considers to be fair value, then you can give Garza more time this season to prove what he still has left in the tank. He’s a guy who is tradeable come August so you don’t have to force the issue this month.
  • Junior Guerra
    • Why you would: He’s come out of seemingly nowhere to be the most consistently good starting pitcher the Brewers have run out there this season and, again in a down market for starting pitching, that could translate to serious value if someone is willing to strike while the iron is hot.
    • Why you wouldn’t: If the Brewers think he’s really for real then three years of league minimum-ish salaries and up to six years of team control mean you could conceivably control all of Guerra’s remaining effectiveness. Even if he’s never more than a mid-rotation guy, this season is proof positive that even that role can be a challenging one to fill.
  • Jonathan Lucroy
    • Why you would: He’s cheap, plays a premium position at a very high level, and could fetch the club a drool-worthy return in prospects.
    • Why not: He’s cheap, plays a premium position at a very high level, and you could still trade him in the off-season if you aren’t going to extend him.
  • Kirk Nieuwenhuis
    • Why you would: He’s not exactly a long-term solution, especially when you have guys like Maverick Phillips on the way. He’s arbitration-eligible for the first time this coming off-season.
    • Why not: He knows how to succeed at the big league level, especially defensively, and his role in mentoring a guy like Phillips (and to a lesser degree guys like Ramon Flores and Domingo Santana) is a valuable job. Plus he’s still under team control for three seasons if you want him
  • Carlos Torres
    • Why you would: See many of the reasons listed for Boyer. Torres is a quality enough arm to be valuable, quality enough to have played for the NL Champion Mets last year.
    • Why not: Again, no real reason not to if you can get something of value. Let Torres play for a contender if there’s one who wants him and get something back that can help the future.

For another group of players, the write-ups would look extremely similar. You would trade them because they have value and performing well right now but you wouldn’t because they’re young enough with some ceiling still to reach (to varying degrees), and controllable/cost-effective that they could still be a part of the next contending roster. This group includes: Jacob Barnes, Michael Blazek, Jeremy Jeffress, Jimmy Nelson, Will Smith, Tyler Thornburg, and Jonathan Villar. That said, the return on packages containing those players or even straight-up on some of them would be intriguing.

I know I’ve only been going through names on the 25-man roster right now, but let me make one other point.

Anybody can be had for the right price and that’s what makes Stearns a good General Manager. He’s willing to listen — even on someone he 99% would never move. Look, I want Orlando Arcia to be the shortstop here in Milwaukee for the next decade-plus. That said, if the Angels were to extend Mike Trout for the next decade and offer him to Milwaukee straight up for Arcia (while paying 90% of Trout’s contract themselves), you shouldn’t and wouldn’t say no.

That example is wildly inequitable but I use it to illustrate that yes, even Orlando Arcia is tradeable under the right circumstances.

All this said, I expect a handful of players to probably be wearing other uniforms by August 1st. I also expect that anyone who leaves will do so to the betterment of the long-term goal which is to bring sustainable success to the home clubhouse at Miller Park.

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