Let’s get to the point because you’ve all been patient while I waited for my son to go to sleep on his 3rd birthday before sitting down long enough to actually blog.
From the same source that allowed me to be the first to bring you the news that the Brewers were talking contract with Francisco Rodriguez, comes this little nugget.
First, the quick disclaimer…
This happened. I am in no way saying that anything else happened yet. I’m not guaranteeing that it will lead anywhere at all. I’ll tell you what happened and where I think it could lead and why, but I am not saying that my source told me reasons around this rumor at all.
All that was passed along to me was, and I quote…
“Yankees inquired about Gonzalez.”
I asked which one and was told, “Alex”.
So there you have it. The Yankees, who aren’t expected to welcome Derek Jeter back to the lineup until around the All-Star break, are exploring at least one option to bolster their depth chart at the shortstop position.
If I were Brian Cashman, I certainly wouldn’t very happy with Jayson Nyx (misspelled on purpose) as my primary infield back up. Gonzalez has shown his newly-added defensive versatility as well which could be very enticing to Cashman as a cheap upgrade.
Be honest, at this point it probably wouldn’t cost a whole lot to acquire Gonzalez from the Brewers. He’s playing out of necessity more so than because he’s playing particularly well.
Still, even though an initial inquiry was made, this doesn’t feel like something that would happen until, at the absolute soonest, Jeff Bianchi or Aramis Ramirez was ready to come off of the disabled list.
I have no idea what Alex Gonzalez would fetch in return at this point, but that’s why I’m not working in a front office. Also, I have no concept of low-to-mid-level minor leaguers in the Yankees system.
That all being said, I have no knowledge of what if anything was said as a reply by the Brewers.
Still, I wanted to pass this along tonight. So, what do you think? Would you? Why wouldn’t you?
Recorded last night over dinner and during a fantasy baseball draft, my podcast partner Cary Kostka and I get you ready for Opening Day!
We discuss the 25-man roster projection, lineup for Opening Day, rotation, Kyle Lohse, Yuniesky Betancourt and more!
Click here to download the podcast: Brewer Nation Podcast – 2013 Opening Day Preparedness
The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired third baseman Stephen Parker from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for right-handed pitcher Darren Byrd.
Parker, 25, was selected by Oakland in the fifth round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of Brigham Young University. Over four minor-league seasons, he is a career .277 hitter with 43 HR and 262 RBI in 448 games. His best season came in 2010, when he batted .296 with 21 HR and 98 RBI in 139 games at Class-A Stockton and was a midseason and postseason California League All-Star.
Byrd, 26, spent three seasons in the Brewers’ farm system (2010-12) after signing as a minor-league free agent on June 28, 2010. He appeared in one game this spring before he was returned to minor-league camp on March 7.
So on Sunday evening a friend reached out to me to let me know that there was a nebulous trade idea being discussed concerning the Milwaukee Brewers.
I tweeted about it and that I was chasing said rumor so that you all would know that there might be something on the horizon…
I hate to do this to you all on a Sunday night, but a whisper was just sent my way. Chasing, but really feels unlikely.
— The Brewer Nation (@BrewerNation) January 21, 2013
…but also that it didn’t feel like anything was going to happen based on the little that I was told.
— The Brewer Nation (@BrewerNation) January 21, 2013
After vetting the information a bit more, I found different things that I had not been told and that changed the situation a little bit.
First, let me make one thing perfectly clear:
As it was explained to me, the Brewers said “no” to this trade idea by way of not even responding to it.
In other words, they weren’t even interested enough to start dialogue with the other team.
Again, there is to be no backlash on the Brewers if you don’t want them to consider moving the player who was targeted by the other team.
The Tampa Bay Rays put together a trade idea targeting Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks.
The specifics were still a bit fluid as additional names weren’t passed my way and there was more discussion about the amount of salary each team would be moving. The Rays were thought to be sending two MLB players and were looking to acquire Weeks, and two minor leaguers (one pitcher, one hitter).
One more time, no other names were officially included, and the inclusion of Weeks was only confirmed by that the Rays asked to review a copy of Weeks’ contract. Then they formulated a base offer which, I was told, the Brewers did not respond to.
Weeks would make a ton of sense for the Rays. He would fill their often poor second base position, provide offense at the top of their lineup in a group that might be light on power potential overall, and wouldn’t be around after a couple of years at a big dollar amount if they didn’t want him to be. It’s a cost-certain situation that the Rays would get into, and they love those.
So, fellow Brewers and Rickie Weeks fans, worry not at this time. Nothing doing as far as I was told.
That doesn’t means Weeks will never be moved. He could still end up as a Ray one day. We all know that Weeks is a Florida native and resident with ties to the community. For now just be aware that there is a front office out there who is know for taking reasoned, smart chances that wanted to bring Rickie Weeks in.
Other than that, have a great day and look forward to seeing Weeks and a vast majority of his Milwaukee Brewer teammates at Brewers On Deck this Sunday.
The Milwaukee Brewers acquired right-handed reliever Burke Badenhop today from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for outfielder Raul Mondesi Jr. The announcement was made by Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Melvin.
Badenhop, who turns 30 on February 8, went 3-2 with a 3.03 ERA in 66 relief appearances for the Rays in 2012. He posted a 1.42 ERA over his last 16 appearances (12.2ip, 2er) while holding opponents to a .229 batting average during that period. Badenhop owns a career record of 16-17 with a 4.08 ERA and 2 saves in 217 games, including 10 starts, with Miami (2008-11) and Tampa Bay (2012). He has pitched exclusively in relief for each of the last three seasons.
He relies primarily on two pitches, a sinker which tends to travel between 89 and 91 MPH and a slider which sits at or just above 80 though he’ll throw a standard fastball as well. Being 6’5″ (and listed at 220lbs, for what it’s worth), he gets on top of his sinker pretty well which gives it good movement and induces a majority of ground balls which is never a bad thing at Miller Park. His slider is his strikeout pitch for the handful he tallies.
His best asset on the mound would have to be his control. Badenhop allowed the fourth-fewest walks in baseball among pitchers with at least 60 IP last season.
Badenhop grew up in Ohio and calls himself a “midwest guy”. He was excited about coming to Milwaukee when reached for comment today saying that “It’s nice to be wanted. I’m very pleased.”
Eligible for arbitration, Badenhop made $1,075,000 in salary in 2012. With the move, the Brewers’ 40-man roster stands at 39.
Mondesi Jr., 20, was signed by Milwaukee as a non-drafted free agent on June 23, 2010. He batted .231 with 5 HR and 32 RBI in 68 games at Rookie Helena this season.
Today is 11 weeks, that’s 77 days away from the first batch of Pitchers and Catchers officially reporting to Maryvale for Milwaukee Brewers Spring Training on Tuesday, February 12, 2013.
The Hot Stove season is underway and I’ve done my best to pass along some information that I’ve learned over the past couple of weeks. Maybe some of it will pan out, maybe not, but I don’t write the blog and do everything that goes with it to keep information to myself.
I’ve been asked a bunch over the past few days why there hasn’t been a new Hot Stove Report column lately, or at least comments to the effect of “sure has been quiet”. I tried to head that off at the pass by saying in my last one that I was shocked that they were coming as often as they were, but that’s neither here nor there.
The answer to those inquiries is two-fold across baseball (three-fold in the case of the Brewers).
First, the long Thanksgiving weekend is notoriously slow for baseball activity. Even front offices need breaks and that’s a common time to slow things down. The holiday itself, travel, and spending time with family and friends often leads to a natural slow-down.
Second, the Winter Meetings are less than a week away. An incredible amount of discussing, bartering, speculating, scuttlebutting, rumor-mongering, and yes deal-making happens at the Winter Meetings. Groundwork often gets laid at various times throughout the early portion of the off-season and gets finalized during the Winter Meetings. They’ve become a destination for baseball fans and media types descend on them like a pack of scavengers who haven’t had a meal in three day’s time.
As for the Brewers specifically, the third factor contributing to a lull is that Doug Melvin and his family were overseas on vacation. Not much gets done when the man who pulls the trigger is out of the country. Melvin will be at the Winter Meetings no doubt ready to pursue some targets and possibly (hopefully?) get some ink drying.
But, as I said, there are reasons for a lack of activity which means that there are reasons for a lack of fresh Hot Stove content here on the blog. (Plus I took a vacation of my own over the Thanksgiving weekend.)
This all leads me to my final point to make today: I only post things as having happened if I’ve been told that they have happened. In other words, I don’t just make things up for the sake of posting something.
I haven’t posted a new Hot Stove Report in several days because I haven’t learned anything to pass along. The sources which I have gotten information from in the past (and will continue to utilize in the future) have always provided quality intel and there are proven examples of that information being accurate. It’s a simple reality that not everything pans out. If every idea that was ever mentioned by a baseball person was out there for public consumption, we’d cry uncle for information overload. A LOT of things get talked about that don’t go anywhere. That’s the nature of the business. It doesn’t make a rumor less true because the particular path led to nowhere.
That being said, I could fabricate something that makes a ton of sense and would be believable, but that would be doing myself as much of a disservice as all of you. I get no benefit for floating a rumor out that comes from nowhere. I’ll occasionally discuss an idea that I think makes sense but will always tell you first that it’s purely speculation and not based on any rumor, but that’s entirely separate from passing something along from a source.
Anyway, I hope you had a relaxing Thanksgiving weekend. I know many baseball people did. Accepting the calm can make appreciating the storm much easier. Speaking of which, this year’s Winter Meetings begin next week Monday in Nashville, Tennessee.
Batten down the hatches.
See Previous Hot Stove Reports:
Let me start this particular Hot Stove Report by saying that I don’t expect them to be occurring quite this often. Normally there’d still be a couple of weeks until a lot starts happening, but for a number of reasons conversations that would be taking place at the Winter Meetings, for example, have taken place earlier this year; well initial conversations anyway.
The first pair of Hot Stove Reports (an unintended “series” name, I guess) which I posted were about players who would be coming to Milwaukee had anything gotten farther along than it currently was at the time I learned of them. (Ricky Nolasco is said to be staying in Miami now while LaTroy Hawkins is still on vacation as of the time I’m writing this.) However, today’s report deals with a current member of the Brewers roster who would be on the move elsewhere.
Here’s what I know…
The Brewers were contacted about the availability of a particular player by a particular team (yes, I’ll name them in a couple of paragraphs) which makes sense for a few of reasons among which are:
- The player is blocked.
- The player is no longer “prospect” age.
- The player is out of options.
- The player has talent but hasn’t been able to realize it here. (“Change of scenery” candidate.)
- The player has some versatility, though that would need to be polished.
The team which did the calling matches up as a trade partner for this player for a handful of reasons which include:
- They could use a potential 1B/corner OF bat.
- They can make use of the Designated Hitter to get this player additional at-bats.
- The player and the team’s GM are familiar with each other.
- The team’s organizational depth is pitching which the Brewers need.
Have you guessed the sides yet?
They are none other than Mat Gamel and Jack Zduriencik’s Seattle Mariners.
Gamel, a 2005 draft pick of the Brewers while Zduriencik was Milwaukee’s Director of Scouting, has had a star-crossed career with the Milwaukee Brewers. He’s been hurt, he’s lied to the front office about being hurt, he’s been out of shape, he wasn’t properly committed to his craft by many accounts, but when he finally got an opportunity with a clear end goal things began to come together.
Tabbed as the Opening Day first baseman for 2012, Gamel appeared to have finally reached the end of a long road and the beginning of another. He hit okay to begin the year and was fielding his position capably when disaster struck him again. Chasing after a foul pop fly, Gamel tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, requiring surgery and resulting in an end to his season.
Normally, you’d think “Rehab, and get back in there next season”, especially given that the closest prospect with a chance to maybe take over at first base was still down in Double-A and hadn’t really gotten on many radars just yet. We know what happened though.
Corey Hart shifted to first, a move Hart previously was on record as saying he was against, and performed surprisingly well defensively while maintaining his usual offensive output. Manager Ron Roenicke said after the season that he preferred to keep Hart at first base full-time going forward. That presents a problem as Gamel has shown throughout his career that he needs consistent playing time in order to hit.
Enter the Mariners. Zduriencik knows Gamel. He was at the heart of picking Gamel in the amateur draft seven years ago. It makes sense that he could still believe in Gamel’s potential at the plate. It is also no secret that the Mariners lack impact bats in the upper levels of their farm system. They could do well with acquiring a guy who could contribute something right away who also is still pre-arbitration, therefore inexpensive, and with multiple years of team control. (Gamel is currently able to become a free agent following the 2017 season.)
And given the need of the Brewers in acquiring pitching, it could be a perfect match if it advances beyond where it stood over the weekend. Gamel needs a chance to play and the Brewers don’t have the opportunity any more to offer one to him.
That being said, the Brewers do need a capable left-handed power bat off the bench which Gamel certainly could be should they retain him. Roenicke would simply have to come up with a way to keep Gamel ready to contribute at the plate.
Thoughts? Would you be willing to move Mat Gamel if pitching was in the return?
See Previous Hot Stove Reports:
While we anxiously anticipate the announcements of the Most Valuable Players in the American and National Leagues to finish off “Awards Season”, it behooves me to mention that we are still in the early stages of “Hot Stove season” as well.
That being said, there has already been an extremely large trade executed between the Miami Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays. 12 players and cash involved along with a boatload of ill will for the Miami front office. I make mention of it not because I’m going to analyze it or anything but because of what it implies about some of the remaining pieces of the 2012 Marlins roster.
There’s been talk that Logan Morrison, despite his inexpensive contract, down offensive year, and the fact that he’s coming off of a season-ending injury is being actively shopped to other clubs. There’s also been talk that a third member of the Marlins’ rotation from last year could be moved in the right deal.
This is where the focus of this column lies.
The pitcher in question, Ricky Nolasco, was brought up on social media yesterday and spawned a brief discussion. OnMilwaukee.com’s Jim Owczarski saw that Nolasco could be moved and tweeted the following:
— Jim Owczarski (@JimOwczarski) November 14, 2012
He and I tweeted back and forth once or twice on the possibility and probability that Doug Melvin reached out to the Marlins regarding Nolasco. It’s no secret that the Brewers have the desire to add a veteran starting pitcher to their rotation. The production (4.48 ERA), declining strikeout rate (5.8 K/9 in 2012, third straight year in trending downward), and cost (owed $11.5MM for 2013) all factored in as reasons why I wouldn’t have wanted Melvin to reach out on Nolasco.
Well, I did some digging last night. What I learned was that there is believed to have been contact between Miami and Milwaukee recently, and that contact was regarding Nolasco, but…and here’s the fun stuff…it was the Marlins who did the reaching out.
Like I said, it’s no secret that the Brewers have a want. The Marlins realized it and made contact to see if Nolasco could be the answer which would sate Melvin’s desire. As much as I would support Nolasco if he were ever a Brewer, Doug Melvin is not a pawnbroker who you can get to give you something of value for your unwanted assets.
(Well, maybe he would add Nolasco in the right deal. I don’t know. I’d hope not, but never say never in MLB…except when it comes to Cy Young’s Wins record, apparently.)
That’s it though. No word on how those advances were received nor do I know if contact has been made beyond the initial one, but I’ve always said that I will pass along information as I learn it, so there you have it.
Doug Melvin, General Manager of our beloved Milwaukee Brewers, was on the radio this afternoon on AM 1250 WSSP in SE Wisconsin for a few minutes talking about his off-season plans.
Here is a transcript of the interview (which you can listen to by clicking here):
On speculation connecting the Brewers to certain players (i.e. Josh Hamilton, Zack Greinke):
“Well, I don’t think those are the names that were gonna be involved with. I think this is gonna be a year we’ll take a look at the free agent market, but more than likely I don’t anticipate us being actively involved in free agency. We may try to find different ways to improve our ball club. We do like the current club we have. We were 36-23 with the third best record in the National League after August 1st with some of the young pitchers we brought up. We do have most positional guys back so I wouldn’t get too excited about those kinds of names. I think a lot of it is speculation. It often makes sense. This is the time of year when those kind of things happen.”
On having young pitching after years of waiting for some and if he may have to trade some of it away to acquire a proven starter:
“We feel right now there’s probably a better chance we’re going to hold onto our young pitching. We saw Mike Fiers come up last year. He struggled a little bit later (in the year). We saw Mark Rogers and Wily Peralta both come up with the power arms they showed us in the past. We had Tyler Thornburg. We’ve got Hiram Burgos who’s going to be added to the roster, had a very good year. We’ve had Taylor Jungmann who’s probably going to be at Double-A. We’ve got John Hellweg who’s pitched very well in the Fall League and was just picked by the scouting bureau as the best player on that Phoenix ball club. So, we do have some depth with our pitching. Jimmy Nelson we like; we’re very high on him. Nick Bucci (too) so. We’ve got a chance to have, out of 10 starters in Double-A and Triple-A, we have a chance to have 8 to 9 of them they’re gonna be legitimate prospects we think will pitch in the big leagues. The big league pitchers? It’s time to give Wily Peralta, time to give Mark Rogers that opportunity.”
In discussing fan support following a rough first half and the resultant decisions surrounding trading away Zack Greinke:
“Who’s not to say that if we kept Zack Greinke that we might’ve got back in this thing. You have to make some tough decisions sometimes. When a shortstop was included in a deal for Zack, we just had to make the decision at that particular time. … It’s a credit to Ron, the coaches, the players that they didn’t give up and it’s something that we can learn that in baseball you can be six, seven, eight games out and that can be made up in two weeks time. So, it’s a lesson we all can learn that sometimes you gotta be a little bit patient. It is a long season.”
Asked if there is any way Zack Greinke can be back in a Brewers uniform:
“I don’t know. I’m sorry but I don’t think that’s gonna happen. As much as Zack liked it here and enjoyed it here, there’s a couple clubs that are gonna get heavily involved with him. He is no doubt the number one pitcher out there…from the starting pitching standpoint. I think he’s gonna do very well but I would expect that we may get a phone call from his agent but I think in the end it’s going to be difficult for Zack to come back here to Milwaukee under the amount of money he’s probably gonna be offered.”
Asked if he would like to add a veteran starting pitcher and if any free agents intrigue him:
“Yeah, there’s a few names out there. Obviously we’re gonna lose Marcum and we’re gonna lose Greinke so we’ve talked about adding a starting pitcher. We do have to add to our bullpen too. Edwin Jackson’s another name that’s been out there. I don’t know where he’s headed or what his thought process is. We do have an opportunity; we can go with the current guys we have. The tough part with that is that any kind of injury, then you really tap into not having the depth that’s needed over the course of 162 games. Going with the younger guys and Yovani, Marco Estrada, Mike Fiers, Rogers, Wily Peralta, Chris Narveson will be back and be healthy. The part of that is you really cross your fingers that everybody’s going to stay healthy and everybody’s gonna produce. So you would like to have a veteran that you could put out there in the rotation that could eat up a couple hundred innings, but you also want quality innings. In the past, we’ve had the Jeff Suppan, Randy Wolf. They both came in here when we didn’t have the younger pitching and they gave us innings and that but obviously you’d like to get the quality. Pitching takes a long time to develop.”
On Manny Parra and fans growing impatient:
“He’s on the roster now and we’ll wait and see. I can’t indicate at this time, but…there comes a time when changes of scenery do help players and that happens sometimes. That’s what we’ve talked about before and if you look at Manny’s numbers and break them down, the numbers are there. You’d like to see more consistent performance, so you know, there’s a possibility. Manny right now’s on our roster at this time and we’ll wait and see.”
On arbitration, bullpen changes:
“I think you’ll probably see three to four new faces out there. I think John Axford, Jim Henderson, I think Brandon Kintzler pitched well enough that he can step in and perform in one of those roles. We would like to maybe try to get a left-hander but we also want a left-hander of quality if we can otherwise we’ll just stay right-handed. But I can see where you could turn three or four names over in that bullpen. Also with the starting pitchers there’s going to be one of those guys that will lose out (on a rotation spot) and will probably go to the bullpen and be a long guy.”
On Axford sticking as closer in 2013:
“I’d like to think that John can. As I said in the press conference at the end of the year, he had two months where he had more than one blown Save. He does strike out people. His strike out rate is still one of the best in the game. His walk rate was too high this year and he needs to get that back down. I do like having a closer and a guy in the bullpen that’s gonna strike people out. I think that’s important. That’s why I like a closer that’s gonna get strikeouts so I lean a little bit towards (Axford) but they also have to reduce the walks. We’re confident, in John, the stuff is still there but gonna have to improve on his command and control.”
On how he feels about the hitters:
“We look at it and we feel pretty good about the ball club we put out positional-wise. Offensively, it’s a pretty good ball club. It fits both what Doug Melvin looks for and what Ron Roenicke looks for. I’m a home run and doubles guy and Ron likes the aggressive style. We fulfilled both those (philosophies) leading the leagues in home runs and also stolen bases we were first or second. We were very aggressive on the bases scoring runs, second in the league in sacrifice bunts. We scored runs in a lot of different ways. I do believe with our ballpark we’re always gonna be a team that’s gonna rely on the home runs just because of the facility we play in and that. But I’m pleased with the positional aspect of our game. I think I’m more than pleased in the fact that Maldonado coming on the scene we’re very set at catching. Having a young shortstop in Jean Segura, being young up the middle with catching, shortstop, Rickie bounced back, and then Carlos Gomez in center field. Carlos is a five-plus guy so we’ve gotta determine is Carlos is here over the long haul or is he here for (only) one more year.”
On Alex Gonzalez possibly returning:
“We’ve gotta make that decision yet. Alex is a free agent so he could test the market too. When it comes down to asking players, when you’re a free agent, he’s gonna want to know his playing time. How much time is he gonna play or do we view him as an extra guy and are we going with Segura. We have to answer that question. Jean is playing winter ball right now and is hitting almost .400 and he hit very well the month of September for us. We’re pretty high on (Segura) at this point. We can go with Jean Segura. We just want to make sure that is the right thing to do. Alex would love to return to us but it’s probably going to be about playing time. ‘Are we the right fit for him?’ And if you do bring Alex back, what impact does that have on Jean Segura? We haven’t made that final call yet. Right now we’re probably leaning toward Segura and just letting Jean do the job because we do think the resources are going to be needed for pitching.”
On Josh Hamilton again:
“No. There’s nothing going on. If he wants to sign that “Andre Dawson” contract…that $500 thousand contract that Andre Dawson did for the Cubs. I think it’s about time a player did that so I’m waiting for that one.”
On any off-season proclamation like he did in 2010 before acquiring Greinke and Marcum by stating he was going to go get some pitching:
“I don’t have any right now. I gotta go check the piggy bank.”
Alright, Brewer Nation. What do you think of what the GM had to say today?
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle exclusively (her word, not that I doubt her) was told about the return for Kottaras.
Here is what she wrote about the deal:
“The A’s have made a move to acquire Milwaukee backup catcher George Kottaras, two major-league sources confirmed, but the deal has not been announced.
According to multiple sources, the Brewers will receive right-handed reliever Fautino De Los Santos, who had a 4.21 ERA in 40 appearances with Oakland in 2011-12 and a 7.25 ERA with Triple-A Sacramento this year.
Kottaras, 29, was designated for assignment Thursday, but it’s unlikely he’d be able to join the club until Monday, one possible reason the news is not yet official.
It is unclear what the A’s plans are for Kottaras and the current catching duo of Kurt Suzuki and rookie Derek Norris, although initial indications were that Suzuki is not heading elsewhere before Tuesday’s trade deadline. That would point toward a possible demotion for Norris, giving Oakland two experienced catchers for the stretch run.
Norris has been starting two games to every one for Suzuki, roughly, but he did endure an 0-for-30 streak recently. He is 4-for-14 since then.
Kottaras is batting .209 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 58 games.”