Archive for the ‘ Rumors ’ Category

Brewers Reportedly Exercise Contract Option

Gallardo esta ganador!!! (Brewers 5, Giants 4)

According to Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors.com, the Milwaukee Brewers exercised their 2015 contract option on starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo.

The option, worth $13 million, had a buyout of a mere $600 thousand, but it was universally agreed that the Brewers would not be able to find similar production on the free agent market for that kind of cost.

Gallardo’s strikeout numbers have dropped the last couple of years, but he’s remained a relatively consistent performer by many other metrics including FIP, WHIP, innings pitched, home run rate, and more. The senior member of Milwaukee’s rotation also posted the best full-season ERA of his career at 3.51, over half a run lower than 2013. Gallardo also posted his lowest BB/9 (2.5) at the MLB level.

The Brewers now appear to have four of their five rotation spots secured for 2015 in Gallardo, Matt Garza, Kyle Lohse, and Wily Peralta. Jimmy Nelson and Mike Fiers would seem to be in line to compete for the fifth job and almost certainly other options will be considered come camp. But if everyone stays healthy, four jobs appear set.

There is also the matter of the holes on the team, most notably at first base where both Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay are free agents. Overbay, who said on MLB Network radio that he’s leaning toward retirement, isn’t likely to return. Neither, it would seem, is Mark Reynolds who played quality defense but was either hitting home runs in bunches or hitting nothing at all. If the Brewers decided that there is value in moving an affordable asset to shore up a bigger hole, it’s conceivable that the Brewers could install Fiers and Nelson in their rotation or return to Marco Estrada who is arbitration eligible.

The point is that by picking up Gallardo’s contract option, the Brewers will be picking up other options as well, metaphorically speaking.

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.

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.

BREAKING TRADE NEWS: Brewers Send Prospects Haniger, Banda to Diamondbacks

GerardoParra

The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired outfielder Gerardo Parra from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for a pair of minor-league prospects; outfielder Mitch Haniger and left-handed pitcher Anthony Banda.

Parra is expected to join the team tomorrow in St. Louis.

The announcement was made by President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin. “The addition of Parra gives us a veteran player who helps to balance our lineup and also brings Gold Glove defense,” said Melvin. Parra, 27, is batting .259 with 6 HR and 30 RBI in 104 games this season. He has made 98 starts (96g in RF, 2g in CF).

Signing as a non-drafted free agent on 8/30/04, Parra had spent his entire professional career in the Diamondbacks organization. He is a career .274 hitter with 39 HR and 250 RBI in 787 Major League games (2009-14). Known for his exceptional defense, Parra has won National League Gold Glove Awards in left field (2011) and right field (2013). Entering today, his 62 outfield assists since 2009 were tied for second (with two others) in the Major Leagues, trailing only the Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista (63).

To make room for Parra on the 25-man roster, outfielder Logan Schafer will be optioned to Triple-A Nashville. To make room on the 40-man roster, pitcher Tyler Thornburg was moved to the 60-day disabled list.

Haniger, 24, was selected by the Brewers in the supplemental first round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. He batted .255 with 10 HR and 34 RBI in 67 games at Double-A Huntsville this season.

Banda, 20, was selected by the Brewers in the 10th round of the 2012 draft. He was 6-6 with a 3.66 ERA and 2 saves in 20 games (14 starts) at Class-A Wisconsin this season.

From MLB's Twitter feed

From MLB’s Twitter feed

Rumors: What I Was Told About Brewers’ Interest in David Price, and When I Heard It

DavidPrice

There’s been a lot of talk today regarding the Brewers involvement in left-handed starting pitcher, the true ace of the Tampa Bay Rays, David Price. I’ve been sitting on a rumor for over three weeks now and may as well talk about it now since it’s the hot topic of the day.

Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com kicked things off by resurrecting the ghosts of CC Sabathia and, to a different degree, Zack Greinke in pointing out that the Brewers have made runs to the playoffs after acquiring ace pitchers. Sabathia, of course, was the 2008 in-season addition who carried the Brewers to the playoffs along with Ben Sheets.

Rosenthal and Morosi comment that the Brewers were “putting their ‘foot in the water’” on Price and that the results of Rays vs Brewers over the next few days could directly influence Price’s future, both in terms of whether and, if so, where he’ll be dealt. Well, what I was told is that three weeks ago, Melvin supposedly offered a package to the Rays that featured Jimmy Nelson as the centerpiece. I don’t know who else was discussed along with Nelson, but I was told that any package offered for discussion was a “non-starter”, at least at the time. What that means is that it simply wasn’t enough of a return for Tampa to consider. It lead to a report that the Brewers were viewed as “out” on Price at the time.

As teams have gotten back into the race, or fallen out of it, trade partners also fluctuate. Perhaps the Rays are more willing to deal with the Brewers now, and perhaps that’s because Melvin is willing to part with different pieces now than he was before. That, I don’t know. But I was told three weeks ago that Andrew Friedman and the Rays’ front office are valuing near-MLB prospects more than “high-ceiling, but further away from contributing types. Again, they may not have seen what they wanted to in that realm and are now willing to consider those “further away” prospects, but I’m not privy to any more recent discussions…at least not yet.

So, yes, the Brewers expressed interest. And while things may have changed in the last 22 days, initial information indicated that Melvin and company didn’t have the right package to pull off the major coup this time around.

And while I don’t expect anything to happen, it sure would be fun if they figured out a way to sweeten their offer.

Breaking News: Jungmann Promoted, Nelson Scratched, Gallardo To Miss Start?

JimmyNelson

There’s been some “confluence of events” news breaking on Twitter over the past few minutes.

First:

That’s big news in and of itself for the former 12th overall pick. But then it was coupled with more…

Second:

And given what we know about Yovani Gallardo’s ankle and the likelihood that he’ll miss (at least) one start — his next is scheduled for Sunday in Miami — it sure makes sense that Jungmann will be starting for Nelson tonight for the Triple-A Nashville Sounds so that Nelson can make his season debut for the Brewers on Sunday.

Nelson has dominated Triple-A hitters this season, to the tune of a 5-1 record, 1.71 ERA in 58.0 IP, 58 K, and a 57.4% ground ball rate. He’s allowed just 17 walks and 37 hits which gives him a 0.97 WHIP. And while his BABIP against is .245, that’s supported by a 12.8% line drive rate, a 2.41 FIP and a 2.94 SIERA.

This could be just a single spot start, but also a good look at a key piece of the Milwaukee Brewers future rotation.

The only question surrounding the situation is who goes out to bring Nelson up. We’ll find that out either after the game tomorrow or on Sunday morning.

Updated Details on Carlos Gomez’s Suspension Appeal Hearing

GomezSafeAtThird

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news.

Despite a report earlier today that said the appeal of Carlos Gomez‘s suspension would be heard on Monday, May 5th, in actuality…

So yeah, basically all that other stuff I said at that link up there? Forget it.

Here’s the new basic fallout surrounding the Gomez appeal.

  • Gomez will have his appeal heard during the day on Friday, May 9th
  • Any suspension that remains (and it’ll be at least one game, and likely two) will likely begin being served immediately after the hearing.
  • That would mean that Gomez would not play on Friday, May 9th against the New York Yankees.
  • …and he could still miss the entire series against the visiting Bronx Bombers.

As for the roster situation, the need to get Logan Schafer back isn’t as immediate as it previously seemed. He’s still reportedly “on track” to return Saturday in Cincinnati, but it needn’t be at the expense of Ryan Braun taking a trip to the disabled list yet. Braun still has until that first game in the Yankees series to get healthy enough to play before Carlos Gomez will be lost and the Brewers could be back down to just two healthy true outfielders as they were Thursday night against the Reds.

Assuming everybody else stays at least as healthy as they are right now, then Schafer and left fielder Khris Davis will be starting once Gomez is suspended. If Braun still isn’t ready to play, then one would think that Caleb Gindl would be there to fill in.

Even if Gindl is optioned back down to Nashville tomorrow, he’d be eligible to return if Braun does ultimately wind up on the disabled list. Normally, for those not aware, you must spend a minimum of 10 days back down in the minors from when you are optioned before you’re able to be called back up. The exception is when said optioned player is recalled as an injury replacement.

Therefore, fellow Brewers fans, it’s best not to let the situation worry you and instead just react to whatever ends up happening. After all, this could be put to bed on Saturday if they simply keep Gindl and put Braun on the DL in order to reinstate Schafer.

The bigger worry is just how many games Gomez ultimately serves of a three-game suspension levied as punishment for the Easter Sunday skirmish.

Though, if Gomez gets all three and Braun is placed on the DL (retroactive to Sunday, April 27), then they could both miss the entirety of the series against the Yankees.

And that certainly wouldn’t impact the Brewers chances in a positive way.

Player News: Never Stop Getting Better

The Milwaukee Brewers entered play on Saturday, April 19th with the best record in Major League Baseball. There are some inconsistencies at times, but for the most part the team is playing well.

There have been a couple of roster moves, one based on injury and one based on paternity, but stability has also been a calling card so far during this young season.

It’d be easy to rest on those laurels, but the Brewers are continually looking for ways to get better — either on the 25-man roster or in the minors.

JEFFRESS RETURNS

The Brewers recently signed back free agent RHP Jeremy Jeffress, who was their 1st round draft pick in 2006. Jeffress had some issues with drug suspensions (for marijuana) and if he’s caught one more time he receives a lifetime ban from MLB. That’s certainly a risk, however one that the Brewers have deemed worth taking as the 26-year-old still has a big fastball and late-inning relief potential. Jeffress would likely have been with the Brewers for his entire career if not for his being a part of the package sent to the Kansas City Royals in return for Zack Greinke prior to the 2011 season.

Jeffress was signed to a minor-league contract.

TOMMY JOEL

The Brewers also were confirmed to have attended the workout for free agent relief pitcher Joel Hanrahan, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. He could be ready to sign soon and if he regains the form he had in the years prior to injuring his UCL, he could be a major addition at the right time.

Hanrahan, 32, recorded 76 saves between 2011-2012 as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He could absolutely upgrade one of the bullpen spots were he to be added to the Brewers.

As always, breaking news hits Twitter first so follow me at @BrewerNation for the quickest announcements and then return to this space for expanded analysis and commentary.

2014 Milwaukee Brewers 25-Man Roster Projection

Milwaukee Brewers

We’re on the precipice of Opening Day, but there are still some decisions awaiting the front office staff of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Most pressing, if not most important, is how they will construct the 25-man roster to begin the 2014 regular season. In this, they’ve got some options.

Let’s assume a couple of things off the top here. First, a standard 13 hitter, 12 pitcher roster split. Second, that we’re all aware that things will change throughout the season and plenty of the players who don’t make the Opening Day roster will don a Brewers uniform at some point in 2014.

I’ll lay out the different roster groupings and then explain what went into my decisions thereafter. Cool?

With that, to the list!

Starting Pitchers (5)

  • Yovani Gallardo
  • Kyle Lohse
  • Marco Estrada
  • Matt Garza
  • Wily Peralta

I did my best educated guess at the order here too. It was announced that Gallardo has Opening Day honors and that Lohse will follow in Game 2. It was also hinted that Garza could pitch the opener in Boston, but that isn’t for sure yet…at least not publicly. Couple that with how well Estrada has pitched and he’s the superior choice against Atlanta in Game 3 than is Peralta.

The wrinkle here is that the Brewers have the opportunity to start the season with four starters because of the off-days scheduled. They don’t need a fifth starting pitcher until mid-April. If they do that, Peralta would start with Nashville to stay on rotation.

Relief Pitchers (7)

(with one more starting on DL)

  • Jim Henderson
  • Francisco Rodriguez
  • Will Smith*
  • Brandon Kintzler
  • Wei-Chung Wang*
  • Rob Wooten
  • Alfredo Figaro (Alternative: Tyler Thornburg)
  • Tom Gorzelanny* (DL)

Henderson is the incumbent closer. Rodriguez was brought in on a MLB deal and has the longest track record out of any of the options. Smith has been great this spring after being acquired in trade. Kintzler was very good last year and has a spot locked up. Wang makes it in part because of how well he’s thrown but also because of the Rule V circumstances. Wooten pitched well enough in his time last year that he gets one of my “open” jobs. He’s certainly in a fungible position, though, as he’s got minor league options remaining.

For the final active spot, I’m going with Alfredo Figaro. I know that Tyler Thornburg is under consideration for that job, but I think that they’ll realize that he’s more valuable staying stretched out at Nashville in order to cover the inevitable first injury to the starting rotation than he is in pitching at best every other day in Milwaukee as the long man. Figaro filled the long relief role admirably last year as his stuff played up out of the bullpen.

Wooten, Figaro, and Thornburg all have at least one minor league option remaining so there’s no real consideration of roster depth when making any decisions concering the three. And I think we’ll be seeing all of them pitch at Miller Park in 2014 at one point or another.

As for non-roster invitee Zach Duke, I think that the Brewers have liked what they’ve seen but with Wang making good (so far), there really isn’t room for Duke to begin the season. The veteran lefty is on a minor-league deal, so most likely he’ll simply be assigned to Nashville to start.

Catchers (2)

  • Jonathan Lucroy
  • Martin Maldonado

They’re the only two on the 40-man and that’s because they’re the two best in the organization. Nothing more needs to be said here.

Infielders (7)

  • Mark Reynolds
  • Rickie Weeks
  • Jean Segura
  • Aramis Ramirez
  • Juan Francisco** (Alternative: Lyle Overbay)
  • Scooter Gennett**
  • Jeff Bianchi (Alternative: Elian Herrera)

Reynolds was signed to a minor-league deal for roster considerations at the time. He’s got a job. Weeks is the longest-tenured player in the organization right now and isn’t moveable (yet). Segura and Ramirez are obvious inclusions. Gennett comes along if they go with two second basemen, which has been the hottest talk of late.

Despite all the talk to the contrary lately, I still think that if they must choose between them, Francisco’s potential, relative youth, power, and increased patience this spring outweight Overbay’s veteran savvy, locker room presence, and far superior defense. That said, I can absolutely see a scenario in which they trade Francisco for an asset and keep Overbay. Maybe I’m projecting Francisco simply out of hope.

The other hotly contested job has been the utility infielder role. Jeff Bianchi filled the role last year with middling success. The biggest challenger to Bianchi’s incumbency has been the 40-man rostered Elian Herrera, who was claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers over the winter. They’ve both hit, they both have defensive versatility. The differences that matter: Bianchi is a better defender at shortstop. Herrera is a much more natural outfielder (which is big when you’ve only got four rostered). Herrera is a switch hitter. Bianchi is out of options; Herrera has one remaining. It is that last point that I think will be the deciding factor. Herrera will start at Nashville and would absolutley be the first man called upon should an injury befall any infielder on the big league roster.

For the record: Should they decide that they can forego two second basemen to start the year to even the roster out a bit a more, I think Herrera would make the club over a fifth true outfielder.

Outfielders (4)

  • Khris Davis
  • Carlos Gomez
  • Ryan Braun
  • Logan Schafer**

Another easy prediction. Schafer could see some time starting in left field, but as the only man on the projected roster that can backup centerfield, he’ll likely be providing coverage from the bench more often than not.

* - Throws left-handed
** - Bats left-handed
---

So there you have it.

I welcome feedback and want to hear your opinions. Do you agree? Disagree? Think I’m overlooking an important detail or better player? Look down there…a “Comments” section.

Hot Stove Report: What’s Holding Up Garza’s Contract?

MattGarza

We all know the timeline by now.

The news broke that Matt Garza and the Brewers were nearing agreement on a deal. It was reported that the contract, one for $52 million over four years, was agreed to in principle with physical examination pending.

Then the delays started happening and the Brewers commented publicly about being in negotiations with Garza but denying that a deal was agreed to.

The speculation began whether it could be related to Garza’s injury history and therefore the medical review that pesky physical. Gord Ash inadvertantly added to that conspiracy theory when he declined comment about whether the delay was related to that physical.

Then we thought perhaps the physical was just delayed and Garza hadn’t taken it yet. But then the reports about how he had indeed taken it came out along with assurances that the delay wasn’t medically related.

The only other thing I could think of was that it then had something to do with the contract language so I reached out to a source who confirmed that it was at least part of the situation if it wasn’t all of the snag.

The issue, according to a source, is that the Brewers and Garza are haggling over the distribution of the contract. In other words, how much is paid in which seasons.

They agree on the length and overall value (which they met in the middle on, I’m also told, as the Brewers originally hoped to pay 4yr/$48MM and Garza wanted 4yr/$56MM), but they haven’t yet come to an accord on how the money will be paid out.

Garza is asking for a mostly even average value (which precisely would be $13 million per year) and the Brewers are looking to backload the deal somewhat in order to pay more of it when it’s more affordable. That of course being when the contracts of highly-compensated players like Rickie Weeks and Aramis Ramirez should be off the books.

This hang up in negotiations was described to me as “overcome-able” but deals have also fallen apart over less so nothing is official until the contract is formally announced.

Assuming that this is actually at least part of the issue, I’ll be paying attention to which side “won” though once the year-by-year breakdown of the contract is revealed.

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