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.
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.
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.
First, here’s how the official press release announcing the trade of Aaron Hill was written, in case you haven’t seen it.
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.
It’s here! With the draft come and gone I have once again put together a podcast for your listening pleasure.
I talk to two of the Brewers draft picks this year, a tradition I started several years ago at this point, as I had the chance to interview top pick Corey Ray and 6th rounder Payton Henry. You’ll also hear some audio from the Director of Amateur Scouting for the Brewers, Ray Montgomery, as well as MLB veteran Curtis Granderson who has been a mentor for Corey over the last couple of years.
I might post a follow-up interview that I wanted to conduct but haven’t yet had a chance to complete due to scheduling conflicts but I wanted to get this up for now without it just in case it never happens.
But for now, listen to this and let me know what you think.
Team Selects OF Corey Ray, 3B Lucas Erceg and C Mario Feliciano
MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Brewers made three selections during day one of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft. The team selected outfielder Corey Ray (University of Louisville), third baseman Lucas Erceg (Menlo College) and catcher Mario Feliciano (Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy) with the fifth, 46th and 75th picks, respectively. The announcements were made by Vice President of Amateur Scouting/Special Assistant to the General Manager Ray Montgomery.
Ray, a junior at the University of Louisville, batted .319 with 55 runs, 16 doubles, a triple, 15 home runs, 60 RBI, 44 stolen bases, a .396 OBP and a .562 slugging percentage this season. He was previously drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 33rd round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of Simeon Career Academy, but chose to enroll in college instead. The left-handed hitter is majoring in exercise science. He was scouted by area scout Jeff Simpson and regional supervisor Tim McIlvaine.
Erceg, 21, is a junior at Menlo College. He hit .308 (70-for-227) with 47 runs, 15 doubles, 20 home runs, 56 RBI with a .351 on-base percentage and a .639 slugging percentage in 56 games this season. He was scouted by area scout Joe Graham and regional supervisor Corey Rodriguez.
Feliciano, 17, is a senior at the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy. He was a 2016 Rawlings-Perfect Game 2nd Team All-American and was scouted by area scout Charlie Sullivan and national supervisor Doug Reynolds.
The Draft will resume tomorrow at 12 p.m. CT with rounds 3-10. Day three of the Draft will begin at 11 a.m. CT on Saturday with rounds 11-40.
What follows are the announced rosters for the parent club Milwaukee Brewers as well as each of the full-season minor-league affiliates of the same, broken down by position group.
MLB Parent Club (Twitter: @Brewers)
Manager: Craig Counsell
25 Total Players (excluding disabled list)
- Chase Anderson (Twitter: @ChaseAnderson57)
- Michael Blazek (@MichaelBlazek34)
- Blaine Boyer (@btboyer81)
- Chris Capuano
- Matt Garza (@Gdeuceswild)
- Jeremy Jeffress (@JMontana41)
- Taylor Jungmann
- Jimmy Nelson (@Jimmy_J_Nelson)
- Ariel Peña (@ArielBrewers)
- Wily Peralta (@WilyPeralta38)
- Tyler Thornburg (@TylerThornburg)
- Carlos Torres
- Chris Carter
- Scooter Gennett (@Sgennett2)
- Aaron Hill
- Yadiel Rivera (@YADIELRIVERA13)
- Jonathan Villar (@JRvillar6)
- Colin Walsh (@colinwalsh13)
- Ryan Braun
- Keon Broxton (@KeonDDBroxton)
- Ramon Flores (@ramonflores16)
- Kirk Nieuwenhuis
- Domingo Santana
Disabled List (5)
- Yhonathan Barrios – RP
- Zack Jones – RP – (@Jack_Zones04)
- Corey Knebel – RP – (@coreyknebel29)
- Rymer Liriano – OF
- Sean Nolin – RP – (@SeanNolin)
- Will Smith – RP – (@White_Willy13)
Class-AAA Affiliate (Twitter: @skysox)
Manager: Rick Sweet
28 Total Players
- Jacob Barnes (@j_barnes30)
- Hiram Burgos (@Burgos196)
- Tyler Cravy (@TylerJayCravy)
- Zach Davies (@ZDavies3)
- Tim Dillard (@DimTillard)
- David Goforth (@DavidGoforth7)
- Junior Guerra (@juni1685)
- Brooks Hall
- Mitch Lambson (@lambda3x)
- Jorge Lopez (@yabiee18)
- Damien Magnifico (@D_Magno32)
- Jim Miller
- Austin Ross (@AustinNorthRoss)
- Brent Suter (@bruter24)
- Orlando Arcia (@orlandoarcia9)
- Garin Cecchini (@GarinCecchini)
- Jake Elmore (@JElmo10)
- Will Middlebrooks (@middlebrooks)
- Hernan Perez
- Andy Wilkins
Class-AA Affiliate (Twitter: @BiloxiShuckers)
Manager: Mike Guerrero
28 Total Players
- Tristan Archer (@TRISTAN_archer)
- Jed Bradley (@Jed_Bradley)
- Jaye Chapman (@jchappy33)
- Drew Gagnon (@Dgags24)
- Josh Hader (@jhader17)
- Adrian Houser (@AdrianHouser12)
- Hobbs Johnson (@hojo31)
- Jorge Ortega (@jorge_ortega39)
- Stephen Peterson (@SPetey22)
- Javier Salas (@javisalas22)
- Daniel Tillman (@dtillman24)
- Martin Viramontes (@martilious19)
- Wei-Chung Wang (@LeftyWang51)
- Javier Betancourt (@javierelbetica)
- Garrett Cooper (@CoopaLoop1)
- Brandon Macias (@Cias12)
- Chris McFarland (@cmcfarland936)
- Nate Orf (@NateOrf4)
- Nick Ramirez (@N_Ram33)
- Nick Shaw (@NShaw3)
- Brett Phillips (@Brett_Phillips8)
- Victor Roache (@_Heavy28Hitter_)
- Tyrone Taylor (@tyrone_taylor15)
- Kyle Wren (@KwrenGT)
Class-A Advanced Affiliate (Twitter: @BCManatees)
Manager: Joe Ayrault
- Bubby Derby (@Bderby11)
- Kaleb Earls (@K_Earls32)
- Eric Hanhold
- Zach Hirsch (@zhirsch57)
- Brad Kuntz
- Kodi Medeiros (@kodi_medeiros)
- Jon Olczak (@JonOlczak3)
- Cody Ponce (@Cody_Ponce48)
- Junior Rincon
- Tyler Spurlin (@TyroneG4)
- Josh Uhen (@joshuhen)
- Angel Ventura
- Kender Villegas (@Kendervillegas5)
- Brandon Woodruff (@B_Woody24)
- Blake Allemand (@blake_allemand1)
- Taylor Brennan (@TaylorBrennan88)
- Jose Cuas (@Jcuas28)
- Dustin DeMuth (@_doubled16)
- George Iskenderian (@giskenderian7)
- Angel Ortega
Class-A Affiliate (Twitter: @TimberRattlers)
Manager: Matt Erickson
28 Total Players
- David Burkhalter (@dmburkhalter1)
- Miguel Diaz
- Marcos Diplan
- Jake Drosser (@J_Dross10)
- Nathan Griep (@GrimGrieper)
- Scott Grist (@ScottGrist36)
- Conor Harber (@charber11)
- David Lucroy (@The_Lukey_Poo)
- Drake Owenby (@Dddrrraaaakkeee)
- Freddy Peralta
- Jon Perrin (@jperrin46)
- Quintin Torres-Costa (@Qtorres_costa)
- Christian Trent (@Ctrent47)
- Jordan Yamamoto (@jyamaz21)
- Luis Aviles (@Jarhol99)
- Isan Diaz (@diazisan)
- Jake Gatewood (@Jake_Gatewood2)
- Sthervin Matos (@sthervin)
- Tucker Neuhaus (@Tucker_Neuhaus)
- Alan Sharkey (@A_SHARKEY)
57 Chase Anderson
54 Michael Blazek
48 Blaine Boyer*
39 Chris Capuano*
22 Matt Garza
21 Jeremy Jeffress
41 Taylor Jungmann
52 Jimmy Nelson
58 Ariel Peña
38 Wily Peralta
37 Tyler Thornburg
59 Carlos Torres
20 Jonathan Lucroy
12 Martin Maldonado
33 Chris Carter
2 Scooter Gennett
9 Aaron Hill
29 Yadiel Rivera
5 Jonathan Villar
7 Colin Walsh
8 Ryan Braun
23 Keon Broxton%
18 Ramon Flores%
10 Kirk Nieuwenhuis
16 Domingo Santana%
DISABLED LIST (6)
50 Yhonathan Barrios (right shoulder – 60-day)
75 Zack Jones (right shoulder – 15-day)
46 Corey Knebel (left oblique – 15-day)
79 OF Rymer Liriano (face – 60-day)
53 LHP Sean Nolin (left elbow – 60-day)
13 LHP Will Smith (right knee – 15-day)
30 Craig Counsell – Manager
11 Darnell Coles – Hitting Coach
36 Derek Johnson – Pitching Coach
40 Jason Lane – Coach
49 Pat Murphy – Bench Coach
6 Ed Sedar – Third Base Coach
31 Carlos Subero – First Base/Infield Coach
43 Lee Tunnell – Bullpen Coach
56 Joe Crawford – Coaching Assistant
55 Marcus Hanel – Bullpen Catcher
Through a series of tweets by beat writers Adam McCalvy (MLB.com), Tom Haudricourt & Todd Rosiak (Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel), several decisions which directly impact the 25-man roster of the Milwaukee Brewers were disseminated from Spring Training on Sunday morning.
With an opt-out decision looming today, first and foremost relief pitcher Blaine Boyer was told that he has made the 25-man roster. The move will eventually require a corresponding 40-man roster move as Boyer was in camp on a Minor League contract, but there are a handful of 60-day DL candidates so finding a spot (or two or three) won’t be difficult.
The other player who got the best news was OF/1B Ramon Flores who was also told he’ll make the 25-man roster. Flores was acquired this off-season in trade from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for infielder Luis Sardiñas in a swap of players who were likely to be waived by their original clubs. Flores had a strong Cactus League and also showed a little versatility in being able to potentially backup Chris Carter at first base.
As there are ultimately so few spots, many more players get the proverbial red ticket in their locker.
Among those informed that they’ll begin the regular season in the minors are catchers Josmil Pinto and Manny Piña who were told they’ll be in Triple-A. Catcher Adam Weisenburger will apparently join them, giving Colorado Springs a trio of backstops.
Will Middlebrooks was informed today that he’ll also be assigned to Triple-A after vying for a spot as a backup corner infielder. Once there he is expected to rotate at the corner infield positions with Andy Wilkins and Garin Cecchini.
Joining them in the high-altitude infield will be Jake Elmore who was hoping to make the big league team as a reserve but came up short.
In the outfield competition, Eric Young Jr. was told that he’ll also head to the Centennial State when camp breaks. He’ll be joined officially by Shane Peterson who, after passing through waivers earlier this winter, was also in camp on a minor-league deal.
And finally, one official optioning came down as reliever David Goforth was sent out. Even with all the injuries to the bullpen recently, Goforth having minor league options was likely a key factor as others in the running for just a couple of spots had less team control due to no options or contract opt-outs like Boyer.
All told, this leaves the following combination of players in camp:
- Yadiel Rivera, Rule 5 Colin Walsh, and non-roster invitee Hernan Perez are competing for what is likely two open infield jobs.
- Keon Broxton (options remaining), Kirk Nieuwenhuis (no options), and Alex Presley (NRI) competing for likely two backup outfield spots.
- Chris Capuano (opt-out), Franklin Morales (opt-out), Ariel Peña (no options), Tyler Cravy (options remaining) are in play for two bullpen jobs
These are the archived videos aired on MLB Network on March 4th as Greg Amsinger and Milwaukee’s all-time Saves leader Dan Plesac visited Brewers’ camp at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix, Arizona as a part of the Network’s “30 Clubs in 30 Days” series previewing the 2016 season.
GM David Stearns sits down with Amsinger & Plesac
Ryan Braun talks about his bounce back 2015 and looking ahead to 2016
Jimmy Nelson with Dan Plesac
Domingo Santana talks about his fresh start
Will Smith on the bullpen
Ryan Braun demos base running/stealing with Plesac
Chris Carter talks to Greg Amsinger
Lucroy talks 2016 with Amsinger
Matt Garza talks youth and rotation with Plesac
Counsell with Plesac
Brewers Prospects with Jonathan Mayo
Brewers Fan Vote
The lack of Monday columns this year has been disturbing. Think about it. I normally shout Mondays from the rooftops once this series begins because not only are we another day closer but the week counter always ticks down to a whole number.
We got a 63 (Junior Guerra) but 56 and 49 are coaches this year and 42 is retired throughout baseball…but you already know that. Finally next week Monday we’ll get to 35 and Shane Peterson and I’ll be able to properly acknowledge the week ticker.
Regardless, we’re now inside of six weeks until Opening Day and since we just took a three day break due to retired numbers and a coach and tomorrow is also a coach, I wanted to make sure we talked about…
(First, let’s say how great it is that Elmore tweeted this on his BBtJN profile day.)
This is normally the kind of profile I wouldn’t do for “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” for two major reasons. First, Jacob David Elmore isn’t exactly much of a prospect. He’s 28 years old and has spent parts of the last four seasons in the big leagues after debuting in August of 2012 for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was a 34th round pick in 2008 by the D’backs so even reaching the big leagues is an unlikely accomplishment in and of itself, but what I mean in saying he’s not a prospect is that he likely doesn’t have a significantly better future ahead of him.
Does that make sense? He’s not some 20-year-old with tools coming out of his ears and unrealized potential. It doesn’t mean he can’t be useful. It doesn’t mean he’ll get cut and retire. It just means that people normally don’t like to read about guys in his situation.
Part of that situation is the second reason I normally wouldn’t write about him, that being that he doesn’t really have much of a chance — barring a significant rash of injuries — to break camp with the big league club.
So why bother writing this? First, for the people like you who clicked to read it. Second, it’s simply that when telling the story of Jake Elmore’s baseball career, there are some fun and interesting things to tell.
As I mentioned above, Elmore was originally a 34th round draft pick. How many other draft picks in the last decade have reached The Show having been taken that late or later? I’d wait why you look it up because it’s not an incredibly long list but the point is that for every Kenny Rogers, Junior Spivey, Keith Hernandez, Mark Buehrle, or even the holy grail that is Mike Piazza, there are hundreds of players who never get a sniff. So that’s cool that Elmore not only broke through but has remained in consideration over the past four years.
Here’s another thing. Elmore has been in the big leagues with four different teams in those four years but was a part of seven organizations. He debuted with Arizona (1) in 2012 but was waived after the season. Houston (2) claimed him and he got back to the big leagues as an Astro in 2013. He was waived again following that season but picked up by the Chicago White Sox (3), for who he never played. The Oakland Athletics (4) purchased Elmore’s contract from the White Sox three months and a week after Chicago claimed him. Elmore played in 47 games for Oakland’s Triple-A affiliate before finding himself back on the waiver wire. This time it was Cincinnati (5) who was found claiming the well-traveled player. He played in 25 games for their Triple-A club before a September call-up brought him back to the dance.
That’s five teams. How do we get to the Brewers being number eight? Elmore was granted free agency on November 4, 2014 but signed back with Cincinnati the very next day…who promptly waived him. Two days after that the Pittsburgh Pirates (6) were awarded a claim but less then three months later Elmore was granted free agency again. A week blowing in the wind ended with a free agent contract on February 9, 2015 with the Tampa Bay Rays (7). Elmore found his way into 51 games for the Rays, making a career-high 158 trips to the plate.
Now granted, Elmore only slashed .206/.263/.284 in the big leagues last year but this is where the most fun part of Elmore’s back story comes to light as it’s what has kept him relevant at times throughout his career. He’s versatile.
You sometimes hear of a player’s defensive versatility and you think of a guy who can play second, third, and short. Or a corner infielder. Or someone who can line up in each outfield position. Or maybe even someone like Jonathan Lucroy or Buster Posey who spend some time at first base when they aren’t catching. Or how about Brewers cult favorite Brooks Kieschnick who played corner outfield, pinch-hit, and pitched in relief?
Jake Elmore is all of those people.
Seriously. He’s played all nine defensive positions, and designated hitter. And not just in the minors like Brewers prospect Nate Orf did for Brevard County (in one game, no less), but at the Major League level. He doesn’t hit as well as the guys who moonlight at a secondary position or keep their bats in the lineup by spelling everyone in the infield in a rotating manner, but Elmore truly does it all defensively.
Check out this breakdown of just his MLB fielding statistics.
I’m counting and that’s 10. Which is where his value lies for this club. I don’t expect Elmore — in big league camp on a minor-league contract — to head north to Milwaukee on April 4, but what I’m thinking he offers is absolute emergency coverage should something happen as well a good approach at the plate if not always good result.
Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said about him last year, “Jake is an interesting player. He gives you a good at bat and he can play everywhere.”
While “everywhere” will almost certainly mean “Colorado Springs” to begin the season, don’t be shocked to see Elmore find his way into a Brewers uniform at some point.
But also don’t be shocked to see him waived at the end of the season only to catch on with another new club. He’s already played all the positions. Maybe he can get to a majority of the teams.
Follow Jake on Twitter: @JElmo10
Catch up on BBtJN ’16: