Archive for the ‘ Players ’ Category

Brewers Extend Two Player Development Contracts

The Brewers announced today a pair of PDC extensions. They’ve extended their relationships with their Double-A and High-A affiliates.

Still no word on Triple-A Nashville. (***UPDATE*** Nashville informed the Brewers earlier today that they would not be signing back as the Triple-A affiliate of the Brewers. ***END OF UPDATE***)

What follows is the official press release from the Brewers

The Milwaukee Brewers have announced a four-year player development contract extension with Double-A Biloxi of the Southern League through the 2018 season and a two-year PDC extension with Class-A Brevard County of the Florida State League through the 2016 season. The announcements were made by Brewers President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin.

“We are excited to extend our contracts with Biloxi and Brevard County,” said Melvin. “We look forward to working with Ken Young and his ownership group as the team relocates from Huntsville to Biloxi and into a new ballpark. The top-notch facilities will give our players the necessary tools to further develop into Major Leaguers.”

The Brewers were affiliated with the Huntsville Stars since the 1999 season. Earlier this year, a Biloxi ownership group led by Ken Young purchased the Stars. Construction of a new ballpark in Biloxi, Mississippi is underway for the 2015 season.

“We’re looking forward to bringing baseball to Biloxi and are eager for this new chapter,” said Biloxi General Manager Buck Rogers. “The Brewers are a class act organization and we can’t wait to get started in our new ballpark.”

The Brevard County Manatees recently completed their 10th season as an affiliate of the Brewers, which began with the 2005 season. The Manatees play their home games at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Florida. They are owned and operated by Central Florida Baseball Group, LLC.

“The Manatees are thrilled to continue the great working relationship with the Milwaukee Brewers,” said Central Florida Baseball Group Chairman Dr. Tom Winters. “The entire organization is first class.”

Player Reaction to the Unexpected Passing of Bruce Seid

I’ve never really done this kind of post, but with the outpouring of support and condolences on Twitter already this morning, I felt my small attempt to illustrate what Bruce Seid meant to so many people’s dreams could be cathartic in a way.

First, here’s the story I promised to share on Twitter this morning.

First a little background so you can understand it better. I had reached out through the Brewers to see if Bruce would be willing to give a few minutes of his time to my podcast following the 2014 draft. I figured, he couldn’t say yes if I never asked — right? So I asked.  He was more than willing to do so and we worked out a time to make it happen. The team then felt it would be better if Bruce used that time to instead appear on the radio station and specific afternoon show with which I do twice weekly appearances as a Brewers Insider. I set that up with the show’s producer and they had me email a couple of questions that they could ask Bruce on the air since I didn’t personally get to talk to him. I did, they asked, he responded, I thought it was cool but also that it would probably be the end of my interaction with the situation.

So anyway, shortly after his turn on The Big 920/1070 radio network, I happened to be physically passing by Bruce in what amounts to a hallway. I obviously recognized him from a number of different things from over the years. I offered a simple “Hey, Bruce” as he walked by with his head down on his phone. He sort of half-glanced up and gave me a “Hey, bud!” I figured that was going to be it. I continued down my path. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw his body turn and then heard him re-engage me. He put his phone in his pocket, introduced himself (which I found oddly humbling) and asked me how I was doing that day. I introduced myself by name only and thanked him for taking the time to appear on the show and that I appreciated his insight. I never brought up The Brewer Nation or anything of the work I put in because I couldn’t see it being recognized, let alone truly mattering.

As Bruce and I shook hands again at the end of our brief exchange of pleasantries, he turned to leave but stopped after a brief quarter-turn. He looked me in the eye and said “Wait. You’re the Brewer Nation guy, aren’t you?” I confirmed as much. He said “You’re doing good work there. We appreciate you. Keep it up.”

The mere acknowledgement of this man, this integral part of the Brewers front office machine, was thoroughly unexpected. That he brought it up to me was downright improbable. And then a confirmation of awareness of what it was AND kind words about the content? Unpossible.

I know this can be taken as an indulgent recounting of something that’s fairly insignificant to you, but I share it to highlight the fact that Bruce Seid was everything that everyone is telling you and I don’t doubt for a second any of what you’re about to read from the players he impacted.

He was a great man who affected the lives of countless individuals. There’s a quote that says “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” From what you’ll see below, truly a small sampling I’m sure, Bruce Seid was impactful.

Rest in peace.

Roster News: We Wish Them Well In Their Future Endeavors

Today the Brewers confirmed the call-ups of the three playersreported yesterday afternoon. In that linked piece, I mentioned that the resultant fallout to open up the necessary pair of 40-man roster spots could be interesting. Looks like I was right again.

The additions of two players who earned spots comes at the expense of two who had previously done the same.

caleb gindlDesignated For Assignment was Caleb Gindl. Should he clear waivers, it’s a virtual certainty that Gindl would choose to leave the Brewers organization. He has talent but was never afforded a consistent opportunity to showcase himself at the game’s highest level. And since his last chance, he’s been passed on the organizational depth chart by Khris Davis and bumped further down with the acquisition of Gerardo Parra who should return for 2015.

Gindl can be traded during the DFA period as well, but cannot technically refuse an outright assignment to Nashville as he has not been removed from a 40-man roster before in his professional career.

In my opinion, there’s a spot for Gindl on a Major League roster somewhere, but in Milwaukee it just came down to a matter of available space. There just wasn’t enough.

burgosThe other player lost, in his case to outright release, was right-handed pitcher Hiram Burgos. The professional story of Burgos is one to behold, as he pitched his way from High-A ball to being on alert as the “next-guy-if-we-need-someone-in-September” all in just 2012. I’ve chronicled that on the blog before, if you’re interested in reading about it.

Burgos pitched well in 2013 winter ball, but after a rough start to his season as lead dog in the Triple-A affiliate Nashville Sounds rotation, Burgos underwent a “clean up” procedure on his throwing shoulder on June 19th. His season was done, and now we know so was his tenure in the Milwaukee Brewers organization.

Bottom line: The Brewers needed two spots and guys have been removed off of 40-man Rosters for lesser reasons than “too much depth at one position” and “growing injury history”. That doesn’t make it less impactful to the lives of the men and families behind the names on a transaction page, but at the end of the day it’s a business.

To Caleb Gindl and Hiram Burgos, two players that have always been gracious where I’m concerned, I wish them the absolute best in continuing their careers outside the Brewers’ organization.

Second Round of September Call-Ups Coming

Following their first round of call-ups yesterday, I just heard from a reliable source that the Brewers will call up at least three more players following today’s game now that Nashville’s season has concluded.

Joining the Brewers in the clubhouse tomorrow will be:

  • Jason Rogers
  • Hector Gomez
  • Matt Clark

Rogers, the Brewers’ reigning MiLB Player of the Year, has been playing mostly third base this season in the minor league system. He’s been on an absolute tear of late, finishing his minor-league season on an eight-game hitting streak that included a pair of home runs.

For as hot as Rogers has been at the plate, nobody holds a candle to the lefty clubber Matt Clark. Acquired after Hunter Morris went down with a long-term injury this season (he’s been back and playing), Clark has demolished the Pacific Coast League. In 53 games with the Sounds, Clark is slashing .313/.371/.605 and has hit 16 home runs, all in just 195 at-bats. Of those 16 home runs, a cool 12 have come in the just-completed month of August.

Gomez is primarily a shortstop, and could have been a minor league free agent following this season had the Brewers not added him to the 40-man roster. He was also announced as a participant in the upcoming edition of the Arizona Fall League on behalf of the Brewers so it was widely thought that he would have to be added to the 40-man roster at some point. Gomez played in two MLB games back in 2011 as a Colorado Rockies player, but hasn’t been back since.

As for Rogers and Clark, their first games in a Brewers uniform will be their first games at the highest level of professional baseball.

Congratulations to all three players on strong seasons. They’ve earned these promotions.

Gomez and Clark will require 40-man roster moves. The Brewers could move *UPDATE* Johnny Hellweg (not Tyler Thornburg who is already there) to the 60-day DL easily enough. The other move could be simple, or a bit more interesting depending on how the Brewers choose to go.

Brewers Make First Group of September Call-Ups

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The Milwaukee Brewers have made what is at least their first round of September call-ups prior to Monday’s game in Chicago.

As I first told you on Twitter just before 10pm on Sunday night:

I went on to mention how much sense it makes to have a third catcher in the month of September. Just think back to how the Brewers utilized Yorvit Torrealba, and you’ll get the idea.

In order to clear a 40-man roster spot, which I mentioned they’d need, the Brewers moved infielder Jeff Bianchi to the 60-day Disabled List.

The only other true September call-up at this point is outfielder Logan Schafer, likely recalled a day earlier than he would have been due to the uncertainty surrounding the injured wrist of Carlos Gomez. Gomez said he felt a pop in his left wrist while swinging during an at-bat in the top of the third inning on Sunday afternoon in San Francisco. He was pulled from the game after awkwardly finishing his at-bat with a bad swing.

To Schafer’s part, he’s had a whole lot full of better looking swings since getting back in a groove due to his regular playing time with Nashville. When he was demoted following the acquisition of Gerardo Parra, Schafer went back to a .236/.349/.375 slash line in Triple-A. All he’s done is get hits in 19 out of his 23 games (including eight multi-hit affairs) and raised his slash line to .273/.356/.461 which is not an insignificant increase. Schafer still brings his glove with him which he might need early.

As for the other additions made official on Monday, while Jimmy Nelson is technically a September call-up (he was only officially with the Brevard County Manatees on paper while awaiting his scheduled MLB start Monday afternoon), the Brewers otherwise activated both Matt Garza and Wei-Chung Wang off of the 15-day Disabled List.

Garza is scheduled to rejoin the Brewers starting rotation on Wednesday in Chicago. He has been out since being pulled during a brilliant start against the St. Louis Cardinals back  on August 3rd after straining his left oblique. The Cardinals came back to steal that one from the Brewers prompting Garza to say that they “dodged a bullet.” Hopefully it doesn’t take Garza long to round back into that same form. The Brewers are going to need him.

The Brewers probably won’t need much from Wei-Chung Wang though. Wang has been stretching out during his rehab assignment, most recently completing the longest outing (7.2 IP) of his professional career with the Brevard County Manatees. In it, he tied a career-high with eight strikeouts, something he hadn’t done since his first appearance in 2013 in the Pirates’ system. It will be good experience for Wang to be around a pennant push, though I wouldn’t expect him to pitch maybe at all in September. They’ve got more than enough arms to cover themselves and Ron Roenicke rightfully won’t exactly trust Wang with every pitch being so crucial over the next 28 days.

The other new face in the Brewer locker room on Monday is expected to be relief pitcher Jonathan Broxton whom the Brewers officially acquired from the Cincinnati Reds just after noon on Sunday. For more on that deal, check my write-up here as well as my short interview with Broxton’s agent.

Five Minutes With Jonathan Broxton’s Agent, BB Abbott

I wanted to give you a little something extra today as it relates to the newest Milwaukee Brewers, Jonathan Broxton, so I reached out to his agent, BB Abbott, for a couple of quick questions to gauge how the big right-hander has taken to the news.

BB Abbott with client Chipper Jones

The first thing I asked Mr. Abbott was when they learned about the waiver claim and that the trade had been agreed to. Abbott told me that they “just found out today” when the Reds “brought Jonathan into the office and told him about 1:30 (eastern time).”

I then asked about how Broxton was taking to the news of being traded at all, and specifically to Milwaukee given their position relative to Cincinnati’s. Abbott said that Broxton was “surprised to get traded in the middle of a long-term deal”, mentioning how a player kind of puts down roots in those kinds of situations. But as it set in, Abbott said that Broxton “has realized it’ll be a good spot for him.” He said that Broxton is understandably “excited” to be joining a pennant race and “respects the organization” a great deal given their history on the field over the years.

Finally, I asked Abbott about 2015 and whether that was a thought yet for Broxton. Abbott admitted that being in the closer’s mix makes sense but assured me that Broxton’s “focus is to [join the team] and help the Brewers in any way that they want.” Abbott also stated that Broxton “certainly hasn’t looked past this year and helping the [Brewers].”

BB Abbott is a licensed athlete agent and MLBPA certified baseball agent living in Tampa, FL. He works for Jet Sports Management. He also represents a pair of Brewers prospects, pitcher David Goforth and 2012 Organizational Minor League Player of the Year, Hunter Morris.

Roster News: Brewers Bolster Bullpen By Bringing In Broxton

Brox

Because sometimes you just can’t help yourself.

The official release reads like this:

SAN FRANCISCO – The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired right-handed reliever Jonathan Broxton from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for two players to be named. Broxton, who is eligible for the Brewers’ postseason roster, will join the team tomorrow in Chicago. The announcement was made by President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin.

Broxton, 30, is 4-2 with a 1.86 ERA and 7 saves in 51 appearances this season. Opponents are batting just .190 (32-for-168, 3hr). He has pitched for Los Angeles (2005-11), Kansas City (2012) and Cincinnati (2012-14) during his 10-year career, going 35-29 with a 3.05 ERA and 118 saves in 531 appearances, all in relief.

Even as far back as July, Doug Melvin wasn’t shy about his desire to obtain another bullpen pitcher, preferably one:

  • with closing experience
  • who throws right-handed
  • has some giddy up on his fastball

So how did this come about? The Reds posted Broxton to revocable waivers and the Brewers put in the winning claim. They had until 1:00pm ET today to work out a trade. They did so and the deal was announced by the Brewers at 12:46pm CT. Typically with players to be named later, the two teams agree upon a list of players who are eligible to be chosen to complete the trade and the acquiring team is given some time to scout them and make their decisions. Sometimes the players are already agreed to but need to be called “to be named later” for various reasons. In this case, it appears to be one of both as Reds GM Walt Jocketty has told reporters that the teams have agreed to one player and have a list for choosing the other. Regardless, a pair of prospects will be headed to the Reds by the end of September. The price won’t be super cheap because Broxton is under contract already for 2015, and there’s value in cost certainty. More on that later.

In trading for Broxton, the Brewers are adding a missing element to their 2014 bullpen. They have lacked an experienced, power righty to match up late in games, probably slot in as the primary set up man, and provide additional confidence for manager Ron Roenicke on days where Francisco Rodriguez can’t or shouldn’t be used in save situations. You can see Broxton’s stats above, and they certainly look quite desirable for a team in the Brewers’ situation.

As several of you decided was worth pointing out on Twitter, this trade doesn’t help the lineup or bench. With comments from “tell him to bring a bat” to “this is no help…he can’t hit”, once again people have decided to miss the forest for the trees. Just because Broxton can’t help the Brewers at the plate doesn’t mean that it’s a deal that shouldn’t have been made. It’s still a big immediate help for the Brewers.

Anyway, welcome to “later”. Broxton’s arm will help in 2014 but he’s also under contract for 2015 and as I said right away on Twitter, he’ll be in the mix come February to close for the Brewers in 2015. He’s owed $9 million in 2015, which is a lot but not undoable, as well as a $9 million mutual option for 2016 with a $2 million buyout. So, the Brewers will be paying Broxton some quality coin over a minimum of the next 15 months or so, but it could certainly be worth it if all goes according to plan.

Report: Brewers Win Waiver Claim on First Baseman, Cannot Work Out Trade

JM

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported this morning that the Milwaukee Brewers were awarded a waiver claim earlier this week but were unable to work out a trade with the posting team. As such, the player was pulled back from waivers and will not be headed to Milwaukee for the balance of the season.

The player in question is Colorado Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau, he of the National League-leading .317 batting average and good defense.

Morneau, who took a relatively inexpensive deal in Colorado during the off-season, has been very good for the Rockies in 2014 when he’s been healthy. He dealt with a bit of a neck injury around the non-waiver trading deadline, for example.

Unfortunately, in some ways, the Brewers were not able to work out a trade with Colorado to acquire Morneau. The Rockies’ front office has had astronomical asking prices for most of their players this season once they decided to sell. And they wouldn’t move some pieces that made little sense to hang on to (i.e. LaTroy Hawkins). Morneau doesn’t fit the latter. He’s under contract for 2015 at only $6.75 million with a mutual option for 2016 at just $9 million as well. He’s an affordable piece, even for a second-division club like the Rockies. In other words, he’s quite sensible to keep. As for the asking price, while we don’t know exactly what the Brewers offered, we do know that it was a package of players and that Colorado declined it and simply pulled Morneau back.

Morneau would have been a nice upgrade despite Lyle Overbay’s recent successes at the plate. Morneau plays good defense, crushes right-handed pitching, and isn’t terrible against southpaws. He’s not a Coors Field product either. He’s hit for a slightly higher average on the road in 2014, with matching slugging percentages of .500 both at home and away. He also possesses great career numbers at Miller Park. He doesn’t have the power of Mark Reynolds, but that .500 SLG as of press time amidst an overall slash line of .317/.360/.500, is nothing to sneeze at.

But we don’t need to worry about why Morneau would have been a good fit on the field. We also don’t need to worry about the specific pieces that were in the package offered.

As I told one of my radio stations when we recorded my segment about 10 minutes after the news broke (you can hear it today at 3:30pm in Wausau on ESPN Radio, by the by), while Morneau makes sense on paper, the Brewers’ best offer wasn’t deemed to be enough by Colorado. That’s what matters to me because Doug Melvin was willing to go to a point but not past it to somewhat improve a position. Colorado has every right to ask for the moon, but Melvin has a good track record of knowing what’s a fair return. If he didn’t think that the juice was worth the squeeze, then it probably wasn’t. It’s not ALL about 2014. It unfortunately never can be. And Melvin is right far more often than he isn’t when it comes to matters of roster decisions.

Let’s just hope it wouldn’t have made the difference.

Brewers Will Send Taylor, Ramirez, others to 2014 Arizona Fall League

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30 groups of prospects, six teams, ~5.5 weeks. This is the Arizona Fall League.

As a premier showcase for talent on the cusp of breaking through to the upper levels of the minors and ultimately The Show, the Arizona Fall League plays host to some of baseball’s best and brightest of who you’ve likely never heard. This year the AFL runs from October 7 through the league championship game on November 15. The annual All-Star Game, appropriately dubbed the “Fall Stars Game” will be held on November 1.

Brewers prospects will be a part of a different, yet somewhat familiar, team this year. After competing last year as a part of the Saguaros of Surprise, the Brewers will be returning to the monicker under which they played in 2012, that of the Desert Dogs. In 2012, the Desert Dogs were referred to as the Phoenix Desert Dogs. In 2014, however, they’re known as the Glendale Desert Dogs. They play their home games at Camelback Ranch, which is the Spring Training home of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox.

Farmhands from the Dodgers, White Sox, Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers will work alongside those of the Brewers as members of the Desert Dogs.

gddlogos

banner courtesy of CamelbackRanchBaseball.com

The Brewers originally were set to send six players to Surprise in 2013. They were pitchers David Goforth, Taylor Jungmann, and Kevin Shackelford, infielder Jason Rogers, outfielder Mitch Haniger, and catcher Adam Weisenburger. For 2014, Milwaukee will be sending ### players (and pitching coach Chris Hook) to Glendale. By position, here are those players and some supplemental information:

Pitchers

  • Brooks Hall – RHP – (Highest Minor League level played at in 2014: Double-A)
  • Ariel Peña – RHP – (Triple-A) (***9/3 UPDATE*** Peña was announced as no longer participating on September 3.)
  • Mike Strong – LHP – Twitter: @Strong_Mike1188 (***9/7 UPDATE*** Strong was announced as a participant.)
  • Tyler Wagner – RHP – Twitter: @_TylerWagner_ (Class-A Advanced)
  • Wei-Chung Wang – LHP – Twitter: @LeftyWang51 (MLB – As a Rule 5 pick)

Infielders

  • Nick Ramirez – 1B – Twitter: @N_Ramirez33 – (Highest Minor League level played at in 2014: Double-A)
  • Hector Gomez – SS – (Triple-A)

Outfielders (Brewers’ Priority Position)

  • Tyrone Taylor – Twitter: @Ty_roneTaylor – (Highest Minor League level played at in 2014: Class A-Advanced)
    • Taylor is currently ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the Brewers’ Top Prospect

Catchers

  • Shawn Zarraga – (Highest Minor League level played at in 2014: Triple-A)

Scooter Gennett Free Autograph Signing

Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Scooter Gennett will appear at the Miller Park Brewers Team Store by Majestic for an autograph signing on Tuesday, August 19 from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.

Autographs will be free, and the first 250 people in line will receive a wristband guaranteeing a signature. If time allows, additional fans will be accommodated until 1:30 p.m.

Fans will be allowed to enter through the Miller Park Hot Corner entrance at 9 a.m., and autographs will be first come, first served. There is a limit of one autograph per person and no photos will be permitted in order to accommodate as many fans as possible.

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