I was just alerted to something on Twitter which led me to pursue a lead. That led to awareness that the Milwaukee Brewers have traded Norichika Aoki to the Kansas City Royals for left-handed pitcher Will Smith.
Smith, 24, worked almost exclusively out of the bullpen for the Royals in 2013 appearing in 19 contests with just one start. He started just 10 of his 28 appearances for the Omaha Storm Chasers (the Royals’ Triple-A affiliate) in 2013 as well. Smith, 6’5″ 250 lbs, throws from the left-side and will at worst fill a need that Doug Melvin made no secret about wanting to take care of. That need being another left-handed relief pitcher to compliment Tom Gorzelanny in Ron Roenicke’s bullpen. But, as Doug Melvin told reporters shortly after the trade was announced, Will Smith will be coming to Maryvale on February 15th as a starting pitcher.
Aoki will be missed. He provided a quality lead-off hitter and mostly capable defense primarily in right field as a Brewer.
The trade opens up the roster to further bring along the possible move of Ryan Braun to right field so that Milwaukee can get their young, left-field-only slugger Khris Davis into the everyday lineup.
Following now is the official release from the Brewers…
BREWERS TRADE OUTFIELDER NORICHIKA AOKI TO KANSAS CITY
Acquire Left-Handed Pitcher Will Smith
MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired left-handed pitcher Will Smith from Kansas City in exchange for outfielder
Norichika Aoki. The announcement was made by President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin.
“Will Smith is someone we have liked for a couple of years now,” said Melvin. “We had the chance to acquire a 24-year-old big physical left-hander who we feel can be a part of our staff. We could not walk away from the opportunity.”
Smith was acquired by the Royals via trade from the Angels on July 22, 2010. He was originally selected by the Angels in the seventh round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. Smith has spent parts of the last two seasons in the Major Leagues with Kansas City, going 8-10 with a 4.76 ERA in 35 games (17 starts). He has gone 6-10 with a 5.48 ERA as a starter (93.2ip, 57er) and 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in relief (29.1ip, 8er).
Smith went 2-1 with a 3.24 ERA in 19 games (1 start) during seven stints with the Royals this season (4/21, 4/28, 6/25-7/8, 8/4-8/6, 8/10-8/12, 8/16-8/20 and 8/25-end). He held opponents to a .202 batting average with 43 strikeouts in just 33.1 innings. Smith made his Major League debut in 2012 with the Royals, going 6-9 with a 5.32 ERA in 16 starts.
Aoki, who turns 32 on January 5, batted .287 with 18 HR, 87 RBI and 50 stolen bases in 306 games during his two seasons with the Brewers.
He signed with Milwaukee on January 17, 2012 after his negotiating rights were awarded to the team by the Tokyo Yakult Swallows of the Japanese Central League on December 19, 2011.
“Nori is a true professional and performed very well as a member of the Brewers,” said Melvin. “This was a tough call because of what he brought to our organization on the field and in the clubhouse.”
On Wednesday it was announced that the Milwaukee Brewers had signed a pair of free agents to minor league contracts. Those contracts include invitations to big league camp at Maryvale come February, officially labeling both new additions as “non-roster invitees” or NRIs.
The two players involved are catcher Matt Pagnozzi, late of the Houston Astros system, and utility infielder Irving Falu, most recently of the Kansas City Royals organization.
Full write ups of their pasts will come during the 2014 edition of “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers”, but for now let’s go ahead and give you a little taste.
Matthew Thomas Pagnozzi (hey kids, he’s on Twitter! @MattPagnozzi) is a 31-year-old veteran of 11 seasons in professional baseball. He’s been employed by six different organizations including five in the last three years. Pagnozzi doesn’t hit much but has a solid reputation as a defensive-minded catcher. The Brewers could use a quality receiver to work with the next wave of prospects at Triple-A Nashville. Barring injury, that’s Pagnozzi’s likely destination when camp breaks at the end of March.
Irving Falu (Twitter: @irvingfalu) is a native of Puerto Rico who was first drafted in 2001 by the San Diego Padres and then again in 2003 by the Royals. He is 30 years old and as the polar opposite of Pagnozzi has only known one organization. In a beautiful irony that Brewers fans can appreciate, Falu made his MLB debut in 2012 after injury sidelined Yuniesky Betancourt. Perhaps Falu can permanently replace Betancourt in the Brewers organization going forward. Forever. And ever.
Both of these players will be heavily involved in Spring Training. Pagnozzi as a top MiLB catcher and Falu as a switch-hitting infielder who can back up at second base, third base and shortstop.
As reported earlier today on Twitter…
Corey Hart has been medically cleared.
— The Brewer Nation (@BrewerNation) December 3, 2013
What this means for Corey Hart the professional baseball player is that teams can feel more confident than they have up to this point in offering him a contract. What it means for Corey Hart the man is that he’ll have some decisions to make.
A source tells me that in addition to the contract that the Brewers have been preparing to offer on which I reported a month ago, at least four other teams have been working on offers. It doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll get all of them in his hands but that so many teams are considering him leads me to a thought.
More on that in a moment. First the teams: Blue Jays, Mets, Yankees, and the Orioles.
Nobody is expected to go crazy at this point in what they might offer Hart, but with these teams in the mix along with other destinations that certainly make sense at least on paper, it could be enough that Hart could conceivably turn this into a more lucrative situation than first suggested by yours truly and other smarter folks. That was a low-base, one-year contract with incentives that could turn the contract into slightly below market value.
So here’s what I’m thinking. I wonder if the Brewers will end up needing to offer Hart a one-year contract at relatively the same terms as above but with a vesting option for a second year at full market value that becomes a mutual option should it fail to vest. Something along those lines would likely be able to trump simple one-year offers unless Hart only wants to play 2014 under contract in order to hit full free agency next off-season.
Then again, that assumes that nobody goes two guaranteed years from the jump.
Regardless as to the ultimate offer from Milwaukee to Hart, it appears as though he is the Brewers’ main priority right now. They have made no other moves and although Doug Melvin historically works slowly at this time of year, it’ll be worth watching to see how quickly they might move on the former All-Star now that he’s medically cleared for all baseball activities.
First and foremost, I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!
I’m always open to answering questions directly on Twitter, Facebook, or via email. When someone takes the time to seek out my opinion, they deserve a response…even if I don’t know. But, in a way to give thanks to my followers and friends I put out a call for questions so I could answer them here on the blog. This not only will hopefully advertise that I’m always willing to chat Brewers, but it’s also a little tip of the cap to give members of the Brewer Nation some pub too along with giving longer-form responses than Twitter allows.
If I don’t answer your question here (or some similar variation of it), I will respond to you via the social media forum you posed it in.
— Packman (@Packman1265) November 29, 2013
Over the past few seasons, the Brewers have emphasized competing now over planning for the long-term future. Bringing in veteran free agents, trading top prospects for rental pitchers, eschewing development for experience in many cases. This past season was ultimately an exception but more due to circumstance than design. The Brewers were structured to compete in 2013 and it was a long run of unfortunate events that wound up costing them a shot at a wild card berth.
Now, all that said, to the question: The Brewers appear like they’re preparing to take one final shot with this core group of big leaguers. They may resign Corey Hart on a one-year deal. They may give Rickie Weeks one more chance to sink or swim in 2014. They’ll give it a go for April, and probably May. If they’re in it, this is their “near future” chance. They don’t have a ready replacement at third base when Aramis Ramirez likely departs after 2014. They are light in impact prospects to fill any position over the next couple of seasons. Should the Brewers fail in 2014 (and even if they play well, they need a lot of other teams to falter), they’re next likeliest window is at least a couple of years down the road.
@BrewerNation How should the Brewers pitch to Kottaras?
— Jαmie Krueger (@jamielkrueger) November 29, 2013
Four outside and take your base. (Editor’s note…which is also me: Kottaras was recently acquired by the Chicago Cubs.)
@BrewerNation Would Aoki have more value as a trade chip, or a 4th OF/Lefty bat off the bench?
— Aaron McCabe (@acmccabe) November 29, 2013
This would be assuming the Brewers would move Ryan Braun to right field and start Khris Davis on a regular basis in left. If that’s the case, Norichika Aoki would be very valuable as a pinch-hitter, especially when you simply need a ball put in play. He is capable of defending at all three defensive positions as well.
However, the Brewers already have a much better defender to back up all three spots in Logan Schafer and as a fifth outfielder, Caleb Gindl has shown a little bit of pop. Couple that he’s ultimately expendable with his extremely affordable 2014 contract, and Aoki could fetch the Brewers a decent return despite turning 32 before the season. In my opinion, the better value is in moving him.
@BrewerNation Is anyone on the management or coaching side of the organization on the hot seat this year? Melvin, Ash, Roeneke?
— Dylan Wendt (@BeerBratBrewers) November 29, 2013
If there was to be a change during or after the 2014 season (because they would have made changes by now if they were going to before it), it would likely be a second-tier change like a coach or some scouts. It can’t be ignored though that Mark Attanasio inherited Doug Melvin when his group bought the team and the principal owner went directly against the suggestion of his GM when he made the call to sign Kyle Lohse. It didn’t feel all season like it was the beginning of any dissension, but ultimately you never know.
@BrewerNation what do you see as a viable first base solution if Hart is not resigned?
— Earl Barker (@ebarker111) November 29, 2013
First of all, I don’t see them not resigning Hart. He wants to be here and I given the injury risk I can’t see someone else giving him a ton of guaranteed money instead of the kind of “modest base salary with a lot of incentives” contract I reported that the Brewers were preparing a couple of weeks ago.
If that somehow falls apart though and Hart plays elsewhere in 2014 I think the Brewers would be best served committing to someone capable of handling the position for the entire season. No converting shortstops or relying on the Yuniesky Betancourts of the league. I also think that Hunter Morris would benefit from a bit more time in Nashville before getting the full-time gig in Milwaukee. If the Brewers want to compete though, they can’t afford a offensive black hole like in 2013 or even to platoon the position.
@BrewerNation Even though he’s against it, would moving Braun back to 3B make sense to make room for Davis with Ramirez possibly gone?
— Jake Smith (@jksmth) November 29, 2013
No. If a player is against something like that, especially when those adverse feelings come from experience, it’s likely to be a bad situation. Ryan Braun was terrible defensively at third base, so much so that it almost cost him the 2007 NL Rookie of the Year Award. In 2015, when Ramirez is likely gone, hopefully someone will have stepped up to fill the void at third base, be that Taylor Green or maybe as a bridge to one of the low-level minor leaguers with a high ceiling, or otherwise.
@BrewerNation will scooter gennett be the opening day starting second baseman, if so where does rickie weeks end up.
— Matt (@mje_96) November 29, 2013
In his season-ending press conference, Doug Melvin mentioned specifically that Gennett probably had a leg up in the second baseman’s competition entering 2014. It will be a closely monitored situation all spring training long. So many variables are at work. Gennett played solid defense and hit right-handed pitchers very well, two shortcomings of Weeks’ game at this point. Gennett also couldn’t hit southpaws to save his life, or possibly his job as an everyday option. Then again, Weeks is coming off of a serious leg injury (and successful surgical repair) and his ability to play everyday will be scrutinized as well. A platoon feels like a viable option as we stand today on the last day of November, but Weeks is a veteran who gets out of slumps in the batter’s box. The team could also benefit from Weeks regaining some trade value if they do decide to go with Gennett, which could lead to early at-bats for Weeks.
Should Gennett win the outright starting job for one reason or another early enough in camp, expect Weeks to be featured often in Cactus League play in an effort to get him moved elsewhere. The Rays had interest a year ago around this time and the Royals at least were reportedly sniffing around before the trading deadline. There could be options, but it takes two to tango, as they say.
@BrewerNation if you were GM, would you deal Braun for lottery tickets? Or try to win now while he’s still in his prime?
— Will Hsu (@wphsu) November 29, 2013
There’s no way I’d try to trade Braun right now. I wouldn’t be able to get proper return on the value because he’s seen as somewhat of an unknown right now. Teams think he’ll perform when on the field but the question is how healthy he’ll be able to stay. Even if I were going to look to trade Braun at some point in his contract, it couldn’t be until he has a typical 2014 season and I’d be able to ask for and get a package of high-ceiling, can’t-miss, solid-gold prospects.
@BrewerNation I would like to see the crew get a lefty starter. Anyone available?
— Tom Neises (@NeisesTom) November 29, 2013
Several available, but how good do you want that starter to be? Free agent Chris Narveson is drawing some interest after pitching well in the Caribbean this off-season. He’s certainly familiar with the organization and they with him. But some of the other names available aren’t exactly exciting given their circumstances. You’d be looking at a fifth starter with most of the arms out there and is that worth denying the youth a chance?
And now from Facebook:
“Steven Linkins: Any idea how big a player the brewers plan to be in free agency? they don’t have many holes but it would sure be nice to have a contender again”
Doug Melvin is taking things slowly this off-season as he tends to do. Despite a flurry of activity elsewhere in the league, the Brewers are biding their time while they wait for Corey Hart to receive his medical clearance, expected to come on December 3rd. He is their primary target this winter. Should that fall through, the Brewers would have a need at first base and at least some money to spend.
“Carlo Marinello: Do you think the rumor of Aoki being traded and Braun playing RF is a high probability?”
I think the latter half of that is likely. The only reason it wouldn’t happen is if Braun is completely uncomfortable and they want to make sure he can focus on his offense in 2014. Whether Aoki gets traded or falls into a platoon of sorts in left field with Khris Davis will depend on how strong the offers are which Melvin will certainly field between now and March 31st.
“Ryan Hewitt: If Aoki isn’t traded, do you think he would be okay with being a 4th OF?”
Any competitive athlete wants to be on the field as much as possible but Aoki has proven to be a quality teammate in every respect. He didn’t join the Brewers in 2012 as a starter and if he fell into a platoon or fourth outfielder role to begin 2014, I’m sure he’d continue to play hard to earn his playing time back.
“John Suess: why not Braun at first; you have three other qualified outfielders ready now (plus others in the minors). Braun has played infield and he can also then sub in the outfield. I’d never get rid of Aoki – he does too many things right.”
Braun is an above average outfielder, one who gives you an advantage offensively as well. There’s no reason to force him to first base at this point of his career. He may well one day be better off there but for now he can run, defend, and still hit well above average as an outfielder. His bat doesn’t profile with as much premium at first base either.
“Scott Underwood: Are the Brewers better off resigning Corey Hart or moving on?”
Much better off resigning him. He’s the best bat available at first base on the market that doesn’t come with the loss of a draft pick, he’ll come much cheaper for 2014 than they will anyway, they don’t have a ready option in-house, and if he fails they can justifiably move on in 2015.
“Robert Boese: Any Chances Of The Brewers Changing Logo Or Uniforms For Next Year?”
Other Than What Seems To Be A Special “Japanese” Uniform Day Coming The Weekend Of The Aoki Bobblehead, They’re Sticking And Staying With What They’ve Currently Got.
“T.m. Ryan III: You may know the answer any reason why #17 hasnt been retired or ever used since Gumby had it. If memory serves me correctly hes the last to have it”
The Brewers have only retired five numbers in franchise history, and all of the players for whom they’ve done so are members of the Hall of Fame. They haven’t issued #17 since Jim Gantner last wore it in 1992, true, likely out of respect for what he meant to the franchise. It’s more of a “soft” retirement if anything.
“Adam Mrozek: Are the Brewers really shopping Ryan Braun? If so, my Brewer cap is getting burned.”
Your cap is safe. Braun is not being shopped.
“David Hannes: Could Rickie Weeks or Aramis Ramirez play first base this year?”
Ramirez would be well-served to move to first base if he wants to extend his career much longer, but this doesn’t seem to be the season for it. He’ll rightfully want to enter his what could be his final free agency as a third baseman.
Weeks has hard hands, is a small target, isn’t particularly flexible to stretch for balls, and wouldn’t make much of a first baseman…especially if his offensive woes continue.
“Terry Fraser: Are the Brewer looking at Garrett Jones? Perfect bench player for us- power off the bench, plays 1B, LF, RF, lefty bat vs closers.”
Jones is certainly versatile and would be a welcomed addition to the bench in Milwaukee, in my opinion, at the right price. However, other teams that could use his skills will be able to offer him much more than the Brewers would (or really should). Sean Halton can provide similar defensive coverage and some of the offensive ability for a fraction of Jones’ cost. Taylor Green covers you at even more spots than Halton does and also hits left-handed.
Robinson Cano. Short of that, would Hart and O’Flaherty work?
So that wraps it up for the first edition of Brewer Nation Q&A. I hope you enjoyed the format and will participate in the future if you didn’t this time.
As always, I’m available on social media for questions as I stated earlier. Find the links at the top.
Do you have a follow up question or something else you’d like to know? Disagree with my answers? There’s a wonderful comments section right here on the blog. Put it to work!
As promised, here is the transcript of today’s Ryan Braun audio.
I’ve paraphrased most of the questions, but Braun’s answers are verbatim (except for some removal of unnecessary “I mean”, “you know”, “um” words). I’ll try to find time to fully transcribe the questions later but wanted to get this posted.
If you’d rather hear Braun say these words, I refer to you this post with the audio: Ryan Braun Spoke to Media at Miller Park
The first question was basically asking why Braun lied, and Braun used his response to it as sort of an opening remark.
“I got into a lot of details at that point and I’m not really gonna go into any further details. I’m deeply remorseful for what happened. I wish that I had the ability to go back, change things and do things a lot differently but unfortunatley I can’t do that. All I can do is move on, try to do everything in my power to earn back people’s trust and respect and support. I don’t anticipate being able to earn back everybody’s support but I certainly intend to do everything in my power to do that and I won’t stop trying.”
What do you have to say to the little leaguers who really have worshipped the ground that you walk on?
“I’ve always been incredibly appreciative of everybody’s support. I made a mistake, a huge mistake, a mistake that has obviously been extremely difficult to deal with and will continue to be difficult to deal with. And all I can say is in making mistakes, as I’ve stated previously we all deal with adversity, we all deal with challenges in life, and any challenge you face you have an opportunity to view either as an obstacle or as an opportunity to grow from, to learn from, to help other people avoid making that same mistake. And that’s what I intend to do.”
Bigger sin: Doing the PEDs or lying about it later?
“As I stated, I think the goal for me is just being able to move forward. I’m not really going to get into too many specifics about what happened other than saying that I’m extremely remorseful. I wish that I could go back and change things but I don’t have that opportunity to do that. So, I’m just going to do everything in my power to move forward.”
Have you apologized to Dino Laurenzi or made any payments to him?
“I have not made any payments to him. I’ve had some really productive and positive conversations with him. The Laurenzi family was actually gracious and kind enough to have my fiancee Larisa and I over to their house for dinner last night and we had some really good conversation. We’ve made amends and I think we’re both excited to be able to move forward and put this behind us.”
Have you said any words to Bud Selig?
“I did. I wrote Bud a letter but other than that I’m not really going to get into too many specifics.”
Knowing that you got away with a PED positive test, what possessed you to go to Maryvale that day and say all of those things you said? Lie so much and then throw Dino Laurenzi under the bus as well. What possessed you to do that?
“I’m not really, again, going to get into too many specifics. I wish that I hadn’t done the press conference. It was a big mistake. I deeply regret having done it and a lot of the things that I said that day. But again, all I can do is move forward and in an effort to do that I’m not going to get into too many specifics. I really don’t think that it does anything too positive or productive for me, for the team, for the game of baseball or anybody else. And in an effort to move forward I’m not going to discuss that stuff any further.”
What do expect as the fans’ response on Opening Day?
“Everywhere I’ve been, people have been incredibly supportive and I’m extremely appreciative of that. I don’t really know what to expect but, again, everybody’s been extremely supportive and I really appreciate that.”
Why wait so long to talk?
“I’ve actually been in town a few times. I don’t do the Twitter or Facebook or any of that stuff to alert everybody that I’m here. I think today was just kind of an opportunity that obviously we understood there would be some media here so I wanted the opportunity to speak to you guys. It wasn’t about waiting or anything like that. Like I said, I’ve been here a few times. This was just the first time that everybody’s been aware I was here.”
Other players talked right away, you took off and your teammates all had to answer for you, why?
“I think because it was an ongoing investigation I wasn’t really allowed to say very much at that time. And basically based on what I had learned from both MLB and the MLBPA it wasn’t in anybody’s best interest for me to make any statements at that time.”
Any positive in this?
“I think there’s something positive that can come from everything. I think at all times I always try to see the good in everything. Things aren’t always good but I do see the good in everything. And it’s an opportunity for me to use my experience and mistakes that I’ve made to help other people avoid making the same mistakes. I certainly have plans to do everything in my power to turn this bad situation into a good thing, into a positive, and to help other people along the way avoid making these mistakes.”
All-Star Game in future?
“I really haven’t thought about that kind of stuff. My goal is always to go and be the best player that I can be. I’m not motivated by individual accolades. I certainly intend to go out there and be the same player I’ve been. Hopefully I continue to get better and if that opportunity presents itself it’d be great but I guess my whole focus is just on doing everything I can to come back next year and be a great player.”
Will you ever make the Hall of Fame?
“I haven’t even thought that far ahead and I think it’s almost disrespectful to even discuss the Hall of Fame. I’ve only played in the league for less than seven years. At some point down the line we could have that conversation but I don’t think we even should have that conversation now.”
What was the injury you took the products for?
“Again, I’m not going to get into the specifics and continue to go backward. I’m moving forward and not going to get into too many of the specifics about that.”
Don’t you owe it to us to get into some specifics?
“I completely understand, respect where you guys are coming from and the fact that a part of your job is to ask those questions, but I hope that you guys can also understand and respect the fact that in an effort to move forward I’m just not going to continue to discuss that stuff.”
What do you make of the response of other MLB players and Aaron Rodgers?
“I actually haven’t really read, paid attention, or watched anything, but I understand people being disappointed, people being upset, people reacting emotionally. I don’t fault anybody for being upset. Again, I don’t know specifically what many people said but I don’t fault anybody for being upset or being disappointed.”
How is your relationship with Rodgers?
“I’m not going to get into our specific relationship other than to say that he’d been a great friend of mine for a long time. He’s a great person. I hope that he gets back on the field soon and can help those guys win some games.”
Will you be able to play at same level as before your suspension?
“Yeah, I think I’ll be better. I should be better.”
What about 2011 MVP? Do you think this revelation invalidates that award?
“Like I said, I’m just continuing to move forward. I think that’s all I can do. I’m not going go back and continue to discuss the things that have happened in the past. I feel like, in an effort to do that, I’m not going to discuss that stuff.”
Brewers gave you huge contract in part on being face of franchise, are you willing to reopen your contract and renegotiate at a lower pay since your value as poster boy has been diminished?
“The Brewers have been incredibly supportive, the entire organization, my teammates, everybody’s been incredibly supportive. I can’t think Mark Attanasio enough for his support. I fully intend to do everything in my power to be the best player and person that I can be moving forward.”
Is the drug testing policy still “fatally flawed” as you claimed in February of last year?
“Like I said, I greatly regret having done that press conference at all and my opinion on a lot of those things has definitely changed.”
Is that your biggest regret? What do you regret the most?
“Obviously the whole thing is a huge regret. It was a huge mistake. I wish that I hadn’t done it. I wish I could go back and do a lot of things different. I don’t think I can specifically pinpoint one thing that I regret more than anything else. I regret all of it. I wish I could go back and change it, but like I said, I can’t do that.”
Did you get enough support from the Players’ Association?
“Yeah, the Player’s Association was definitely very supportive.”
How has this affeced your reputation/stature within the game?
“I don’t think about those things. I really don’t. I’m getting married here really soon. My focus is on that and doing everything I can to come back next year and be the best player I can be.”
You don’t care about what people think?
“I always care what people think but I only have control over so many things. So I focus on the things that I can control. And that’s continuing to try to be the best person I can be, the best player I can be, and put myself in the best position to come back next year and have a great year.”
Following recent trade rumors, would you welcome a fresh start somewhere else? Or do you want to play here?
“No, I absolutely want to stay here. I made the long-term committment because the city’s been amazing to me, the fans have been amazing to me, the organization’s been incredibly supportive of me and I fully intend to stay here. Obviously it’s flattering that people would be interested. I actually had lunch with Doug Melvin, Ron, and Mark Attanasio last week. I’ve seen Mark a lot and I don’t think there’s any truth to those rumors, but my goal and my intention is certainly to stay here.”
What would you say to Robin Yount?
“Robin and I have had a great relationship. I enjoy our conversations with him, and I don’t think that our relationship would change much.”
Apologized to Yount?
“I look forward to seeing him. I’ll definitely see him in Spring Training. I think he’s out in Arizona quite often. I look forward to having an opportunity to have some conversations with him.”
Hard to watch games while suspended? How many games did you watch?
“It was extremely difficult, extremely challenging, and it wasn’t something I enjoyed in any way. I didn’t watch many games. I kind of paid attention to what was going on but aside from that I didn’t really watch many games.”
What do you think your relationship with teammates will be like?
“I think it’ll be great. I’ve been back here a couple times after the suspension. Everybody was incredibly supportive and I don’t anticipate any issues there.”
Experienced hostile reactions in 2012. Will next year be worse than 2012 around the league? What about here in Milwaukee?
“I don’t think about things like that. I don’t really have any expectations. I have dealt with it in the past and I’ll just do the best I can to continue to be the best player that I can be. I think we all deal with adversity, we all deal with distractions, there’s always something going on and my focus will be on being the best player I can be.”
Can you tell us more about Laurenzi dinner?
“I’m not going to really get into too many details other than to say that it was an incredible experience, extremely gracious and kind of them. They’re really special people and I appreciate them giving me the opportunity to go to their house and to have a conversation in person.”
This was with Dino himself and not his dad?
Did meeting with him make you feel worse about Feb ’12 comments?
“Yeah. I wish I could change it. I wish I never had said anything about him. I wish I knew more at the time that I had said what I said, but he was really a special person. His family is really a special group of people.”
What would you say to fans, especially kids?
“I’ve always been incredibly appreciative of everybody’s support. I would say I made a mistake, a huge mistake, and that all I can intend to do is try to find some positives to come from a difficult situation.”
Thoughts on Alex Rodriguez?
“I try to stay away from all of that stuff. I don’t really know the specifics of what’s going with him so I don’t think it’s fair for me to comment on a situation I don’t know too much about.”
Thoughts on the closing of his restaurants, business relationships, etc?
“Obviously there was a lot of fallout from everything that I’ve been through. I have a really good relationship with the SURG group, with Omar and Mikey. They’re great guys. Our relationship won’t be changed but obviously in light of everything that occurred there was definitely some fallout.”
What would you say to kids about cheating to get ahead?
“I hope that people can recognize what I’ve been through and not want to go through that same experience. It’s been a lot. It’s been really difficult. It’s been really challenging. I would never wish this situation upon anybody and I hope that people can view my situation as a learning experience and something they should try to avoid.”
If you hit next season, people will say you’re still on PEDs. What do you say to doubters who say your ability is all chemicals?
“Again, I focus on the things that I can control. I’m going to continue to try to be the best person I can be, the best player I can be. I fully intend to be at least as good as I’ve been to this point in my career. Hopefully I continue to get better, but I only focus on the things that I can control. I can’t control what people say or think. This is my fault. I’ve taken full responsibility for my actions. I’ve put myself in this position. People have the opportunity say whatever they want but I’ll just focus on the things I can control.”
Anything to say to fans?
“As I said earlier, I have been incredibly appreciative of everybody’s support. The fans have been unbelievably supportive of me and I fully intend to do everything in my power to earn back their trust, their respect, their support. I don’t think I’ll earn back that from every fan but I fully intend to try.”
How stressful has all this been on Larisa (Braun’s fiancée)?
“I think my relationships with all my friends and family have actually gotten stronger. I don’t think that it’s been overly stressful (on us). Dealing with the wedding has been far more stressful than dealing with this situation.”
When is the wedding?
“Soon, real soon.”
Thoughts on today’s Hunger Task Force event?
“It’s great. Obviously the Hunger Task Force does some amazing things in this state and I’m happy to be able to do my small part to contribute. It’s an incredible time for all of us to be thankful and appreciative of everything we have as Thanksgiving approaches, so: happy to be here.”
What do you think about potentially playing right field?
“Possibly. We’ve discussed it. I’m not opposed to it. I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen but it’s definitely a possibility. 100%, I’ll play wherever they want except third base. That didn’t go well. But I’ll do whatever we want. It’s not something set in stone but it’s something we’ve discussed.”
Ryan Braun made himself available to media today at a Hunger Task Force charity event outside Miller Park. He was asked a flurry of pointed and direct questions, nary a softball among them.
Hear his comments for yourself right here:
I’ll be transcribing the dialogue later today if you prefer to read.
The Milwaukee Brewers announced a short while ago that they have acquired 20-year-old left-handed pitching prospect Luis Ortega from the Boston Red Sox. In return, the Red Sox acquired right-handed reliever Burke Badenhop.
Badenhop was 2-3 with a 3.47 ERA and a Save in 63 appearances out of Milwaukee’s bullpen in 2013. It was Badenhop’s lone season as a Brewer, having been acquired on December 1st of last year.
Luís David Ortega, 5’10″ 155 lb, signed as an international free agent with the Boston back in 2011 and has pitched the past two seasons in their system. Originally from the Dominican Republic, Ortega pitched in the Dominican Summer League as a 19-year-old before pitching for Boston’s Gulf Coast League rookie ball affiliate in 2012. In total, he’s appearaed in 25 games as a professional, including 13 starts in 2011 and just one start in 2012 to go along with 11 relief appearances. He’s logged 96.0 innings pitched with a combined ERA of 2.25.
Ortega could begin the 2013 season with Class-A Wisconsin if he has a good spring, but certainly he’ll be stateside. Whether he works as a starter or reliever will be something most likely decided upon soon so off-season workouts can be adjusted as necessary.
Clearly the Brewers have confidence in some of their young middle relief pitchers who debuted last season in order to surrender a Major League veteran. Also a factor is that Badenhop was arbitration eligible. Bottom line, if you can get the same job done for cheaper, it just makes sense to do it that way.
With Badenhop’s depature, the Brewers’ 40-man roster stands at 39.
Today is the deadline to add players to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from the annual Rule V Draft.
That draft takes place at the Winter Meetings and was originally implemented with the idea of getting players an opportunity that they might otherwise not receive. The basics that one needs to know are that if a player is selected by another club, that player must be rostered at the MLB level for the entirety of the next season and be “active” for at least 90 days. Otherwise the player must be offered back to his original organization.
From there, it gets a little more complicated including upfront cost, roster construction, option years, salary differential, etc. The point though is that eligible players who would be of interest to other clubs need to be protected from the draft. The only way to do that is to add the player to the 40-man roster.
Not every minor leaguer is eligible though. To be eligible for the Rule V Draft a player must have played in professional (affiliated) baseball for at least four full seasons if he was signed at age 19 or older, and five full seasons if signed at 18 or younger.
The Brewers have several eligible players this year who warranted consideration for protection, but at most four open roster spots with which to protect. Last year they protected more than that and possibly adding Corey Hart add a free agent would mean someone previously protected may eventually wind up back off the roster the end. Furthermore, the group of eligible players in full could make up their own 40-man roster still have two on the outside looking in.
But those most likely seriously considered include Hunter Morris, Jason Rogers, Brooks Hall, Kyle Heckathorn, Kevin Shackelford, and Tyler Cravy.
Any of those aren’t added today are certainly names to look for on December 15th as teams make selections in the Rule V Draft. Others could be lost as well, especially if they’re able to be taken in the minor league portions of the draft like Eric Farris last year.
I have learned that the Brewers officials have had their discussions and made their arguments as to why each player should be protected. The final decision is, as it should be, now in general manager Doug Melvin’s hands.
We’ll have coverage for you whenever official word comes down. Decisions are due to the league office before the end of the day, or 11pm CST.
***BREAKING: A source informed me that Jason Rogers will be added to the 40-man roster today.***
***BREAKING PART TWO: A source confirmed that Hunter Morris will also be added to the 40-man roster, as widely expected.***
The Milwaukee Brewers will host the 33rd Annual Clubhouse Sale on Friday, December 6 and Saturday, December 7 from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. at Miller Park. The sale, which will take place in the visiting clubhouse, will feature savings up to 75% on sale merchandise items.
Fans can save on Brewers apparel, souvenirs and specialty items as well as rare, game-used merchandise, including jerseys and bats. Brewers sales representatives will also be available to handle requests for Holiday 4-Packs.
Every customer who makes a purchase will receive a free Brewers bobblehead bundle, while supplies last. Additionally, a “more-you-spend-the-more-you-save” coupon will be offered. Coupons of 10%/20%/30% off will be offered to the Brewers Team Store by Majestic for those spending $100/$200/$300 at the Clubhouse Sale.
Shoppers can access the Clubhouse Sale by entering Miller Park at the Hot Corner entrance near the Brewers Team Store by Majestic and following the posted directions to the visiting clubhouse. Cash and credit cards will be accepted (no personal checks). Admission and parking is free.
In addition, the Brewers Team Store by Majestic will also feature a variety of activities during both days of the Clubhouse Sale. Eight prize drawings will be held at the team store on both days. Prizes will include $250 shopping sprees and special Authentic Collection packages at the Brewers Team Store by Majestic. Children can have their photo taken with the Klement’s Famous Racing Sausages™ on December 6 from 10 a.m. – noon and with Santa on December 7 from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the Brewers Team Store by Majestic. Fans should bring their own cameras and the photos will be free of charge with any purchase.
The Brewers Team Store by Majestic at Miller Park is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. For more information, contact the team store at (414) 902-4750.
The National League Most Valuable Player voting results were revealed just now, live, on MLB Network.
Pirates centerfielder Andrew McCutchen was the winner, and deservedly so, but he plays for Pittsburgh.
The top three finishers (or “finalists” as they’re ridiculously called) were announced last week as (in alphabetical order by last name): Paul Goldschmidt, Andrew McCutchen, and Yadier Molina. Full results below.
This is a Milwaukee Brewers blog and, as such, let’s talk about who was honored with votes by the 30 members of the Baseball Writers Association of America who work in cities that are home to one of the NL ballclubs. That’s two voters per city, in case you didn’t know. This is the first time in quite a while (20 years, in fact) that the National League had only 15 teams and therefore only 30 voters.
Ballots allow for the inclusion of 10 names per voter. Votes are then tabulated and scored on a tiered value system where first place votes are worth 14 points with the rest following a reverse order from 9-1 respectively.
So, to brass tax.
With a total score of 43, Milwaukee Brewers centerfielder and 2013 NL Gold Glove award winner Carlos Gomez finished 9th overall in the National League.
Gomez received a total of 15 votes. Here’s how the individual votes breakdown:
1st Place Votes: 0 - 0 points
2nd Place Votes: 0 – 0 points
3rd: 0 – o points
4th: 0 – 0 points
5th: 1 – 6 points (Bill Brink – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
6th: 0 - 0 points
7th: 3 – 12 points
8th: 6 – 18 points
9th: 2 – 4 points
10th: 3 – 3 points
For the record, Milwaukee’s own Todd Rosiak and Tom Haudricourt voted the following ballots:
Rosiak: McCutchen, Goldschmidt, Carpenter, Molina, Freeman, Votto, Kershaw, Kimbrel, Bruce, Gomez
Haudricourt: McCutchen, Carpenter, Molina, Freeman, Goldschmidt, Bruce, Votto, Gonzalez, Kimbrel, Werth
Full results, voting breakdown, and voter’s ballots are available at the BBWAA’s official website page: http://bbwaa.com/13-nl-mvp/