In the time leading up to Wednesday night’s game against the Chicago White Sox at Miller Park, the Milwaukee Brewers alerted everyone that their posted lineup would be changing. Jean Segura, who had been set to play shortstop and lead off for Craig Counsell, would no longer be participating in that evening’s contest. The given reason was soreness in Segura’s pinky finger on his right hand.
Scorebook pages were swapped out or updated with the new player and the new batting order, but beyond that nobody gave it another thought, really. Well, until this morning anyway.
That’s when a pair of tweets hit the interwebz from the Brewers official account. The first alerted us that Segura’s finger soreness was being understandably caused by a fracture.
SS Jean Segura has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured right fifth (pinky) finger, retroactive to 5/13.
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) May 14, 2015
The second filled us in on how the Brewers would be managing the roster in light of the news.
INF Luis Sardiñas will be recalled from Triple-A @skysox tomorrow to take the spot of SS Jean Segura, who was placed on the DL.
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) May 14, 2015
While it’s obviously terrible news that “Seggy” will miss time, that he will is an unavoidable certainty. Therefore, let’s not dwell on that part of things. Instead, let’s focus on the latter half of this transaction news.
Luis Sardiñas, who will turn just 22 years old on Saturday, is a switch-hitting infielder who hails from Venezuela. He is the same switch-hitting Venezuelan infielder acquired from the Texas Rangers over the off-season in the Yovani Gallardo trade.
So far this season, Sardiñas has slashed .288/.324/.386 for Triple-A Colorado Springs. That includes seven doubles and three triples but no home runs. He’s struck out just 19 times in 141 plate appearances, but also walked but seven.
Defensively capable at shortstop, third, and second, Sardiñas is a true shortstop first and foremost. That’s been reflected in his defensive log with the Sky Sox inasmuch as he’s played in 31 games at shortstop with just one appearance at the keystone and zero at the hot corner.
Sardiñas made his Major League debut in 2014 for the Rangers, appearing out of necessity after that team suffered an ridiculous amount of injuries at the big league level. That’s how he gets his next opportunity as well, though his time was certainly coming at some point regardless of why.
It wouldn’t shock me if Sardiñas is given the opportunity to start some over the next two weeks. As mentioned, he’s a switch-hitter which gives Craig Counsell another player for whom he needn’t worry about late-game matchups.
All that said, let’s look at one more potentially impacted part of the Brewers organization by way of this promotion. The Sky Sox don’t exactly have another true shortstop on their roster. Donnie Murphy and Pete Orr could fill in (and maybe Chris Nelson too, though I don’t know if he’s played short and I don’t have time to check right now), but this seems like the right time to promote from within.
The Brewers are currently carrying two true shortstops at Double-A Biloxi in the persons of Yadiel Rivera and top prospect Orlando Arcia. They carry surprisingly similar stat lines to this point, for what it’s worth. Also, when a spot opened at Double-A last year, Rivera was promoted first. Granted he’s older (having turned just 23 in his own right on May 2nd) and has been a professional longer (by a year) than Arcia, but that doesn’t always amount to a hill of beans in the grand scheme.
Doug Melvin should use this opportunity to see what he’s got in one of these Double-A shortstops. I’d guess they’d opt to move Rivera first.
Either way, there exists a chance to make the most of this unfortunate situation. Sardiñas gets his call back to The Show and someone should, in my humble opinion, be given the chance to ply their trade just one step away from Milwaukee.
After Ron Roenicke was relieved of his managerial duties late Sunday evening by the Milwaukee Brewers — and once the requisite hot takes about whether the firing was the right move died down — chatter sparked up about who would replace the man who has been at the helm of this club since taking over prior to the 2011 season.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports was the first to go on record late last night, quoting a source who said that the new manager will be former Brewers player and of late member of Doug Melvin’s front office Craig Counsell. (For what it’s worth, I was able to independently confirm the same earlier Monday morning.)
Rosenthal wasn’t the first person to suggest that Counsell could be the choice. Speculation was running rampant on social media as everyone tried to determine who made the most sense. Names like Ron Gardenhire and even *shudder* Dusty Baker were offered as out-of-work managerial types who weren’t all that busy over the weekend. In the end, Counsell got the nod.
General Manager Doug Melvin told reporters last night that the decision to relieve Roenicke and go in another direction was made following the series loss in Cincinnati during the just completed road trip. It then took a couple of days to ask and subsequently negotiate a deal. Roenicke nor his coaches were informed of the decision until Sunday evening and while the rest of the coaching staff is being retained for the rest of the season (for now anyway), Roenicke’s firing could signal the beginning of much bigger changes on the horizon.
Counsell is another in a recent trend of hirings at the Major League level of former players who lack managerial experience. Mike Matheny has had the most success in St. Louis to this point but Brad Ausmus in Detroit and Robin Ventura with the White Sox, Walt Weiss in Colorado, Matt Williams with Washington. There are only 30 of these jobs, after all.
Counsell has signed a three-year contract to manager the Brewers.
Following is the official press release:
The Milwaukee Brewers have named Craig Counsell the 19th manager in franchise history, signing him to a three-year contract through the 2017 season. Counsell replaces Ron Roenicke, who was relieved of his duties last night. The announcement was made by President – Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin.
“Craig has many years of Major League playing experience, and his three-plus years of learning all aspects of baseball operations helps prepare him for this managerial position,” said Melvin. “There will be challenges, but Craig has never shied away from leadership responsibilities on the field as a player or in his most recent role. I believe his on-field success as a player and his awareness for preparation should resonate in the clubhouse. Growing up in Milwaukee, it is very important for him to bring a winning culture and team success to Brewers fans.”
Counsell, 44, joined the front office on January 17, 2012 as special assistant to the general manager. The former infielder enjoyed a 16-year Major League playing career, batting .255 with 42 HR, 390 RBI and 103 stolen bases in 1,624 games with Colorado (1995, ‘97), Florida (1997-99), Los Angeles (1999), Arizona (2000-03, 2005-06) and Milwaukee (2004, 2007-11). He was a member of World Series championship teams with Florida (1997) and Arizona (2001), and was named Most Valuable Player of the 2001 National League Championship Series.
“I am grateful and honored to have the opportunity to manage the team that I rooted for, played for and worked for in the front office,” said Counsell. “In the 10 years that I have been a member of the organization, I have grown to feel a great responsibility to baseball in the city of Milwaukee. This has been a difficult time for the Brewers, and we all share the responsibility. I understand the work ahead to be the team our fans deserve. We have challenges ahead of us and I look forward to working tirelessly to achieve our goals.”
Counsell, a 1988 graduate of Whitefish Bay High School and 1992 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, resides in Whitefish Bay with his wife, Michelle, their sons, Brady and Jack, and daughters, Finley and Rowan. His father, John, worked in the Brewers front office as director of the speakers bureau (1979-85) and director of community relations (1986-87).
The Brewers announced Tuesday morning that Scooter Gennett has been placed on the 15-day Disabled List (retroactive to Monday, April 20) due to the left hand laceration he suffered during a post-game shower in Pittsburgh on Sunday.
2B Scooter Gennetthas been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left hand laceration, retroactive to 4/20.
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) April 21, 2015
Taking his place on the active roster will be Elian Herrera. Herrera’s contract was purchased from the Triple-A Colorado Springs Sky Sox which gets him back on the 40-man roster. Herrera has been scorching hot for the Sky Sox after an impressive spring training…
— Mike Vassallo(@MikeVassallo13) April 21, 2015
To clear a spot on the 40-man, RHP Brandon Kintzler was designated for assignment. Kintzler was just activated off of Colorado Springs’ disabled list Tuesday morning after a reported fingernail avulsion.
RHP Brandon Kintzler has been reinstated from the DL in Colorado Springs.
— Brewers Player Dev (@BrewersPD) April 21, 2015
Jonathan Lucroy left Monday night’s game early a half-inning after taking a foul ball squarely off the toes of his left foot while catching. He finished the inning and flew out in his next at-bat but then was lifted in favor of Martin Maldonado. Lucroy limped out of the batter’s box and down the first base line on the play.
Following Monday’s game, the Brewers tweeted the following worst-case scenario news.
Catcher Jonathan Lucroywill be placed on the 15-day disabled list tomorrow with a fractured left toe. Catcher Juan Centenoto be recalled.
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) April 21, 2015
In the off-season, the Brewers claimed Juan Centeno off waivers from the New York Mets. Centeno is on the 40-man roster and will join the team in Milwaukee tomorrow.
Entering play Monday, Centeno was hitting a mere .192 in 27 plate appearances across seven games for the Triple-A Colorado Springs Sky Sox.
Centeno, 25, made his MLB debut back in 2013 for the Mets and has a career batting average of .225 in 14 games.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com broke the news via Twitter, so you know it’s good.
Francisco Rodriguez has agreed to a two-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers with a team option for a third year. (Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that Scott Boras agreed to a deal with Mark Attanasio, but that’s an argument for a different time.)
K-Rod has agreement with brewers 2-yr deal
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) February 26, 2015
k-rod will also have a team option for 3rd year on #brewers deal. $ not known.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) February 26, 2015
Rodriguez closed games for the Brewers last year, stepping in (after stepping on a cactus) for the injured Jim Henderson. He posted 44 saves and pitched mostly effectively, but he was hammered by the long ball at a frightening clip. He was a streaky performer, with his struggles coming in bunches for the most part (confirmation bias alert!), but still can be an effective pitcher. He needs to maintain his fastball command more consistently though to aid him in avoiding posting another career-worst home runs allowed total. For the record, it was 14 last year in just 68.0 innings pitched. That’s a 1.9 HR/9, math majors.
The ISO against his fastball in 2014 was .301. That’s terrifying. Still, Rodriguez did post a career best WHIP at 0.985 and struck out more than a batter an inning en route to a 3.04 ERA across 69 games.
But for this multi-year marriage to work out, the home run ball needs to exit from Rodriguez’s repertoire.
Tom Haudricourt tweeted full contract details.
When K-Rod deal with #Brewers is complete, he will get $3.5 M in ’15, $5.5 M in ’16 with $4 M deferred. Club option in ’17 for $6 M.
— Tom (@Haudricourt) February 27, 2015
The Milwaukee Brewers have signed free agent left-handed reliever Neal Cotts to a one-year contract. The announcement was made by President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin.
To make room for Cotts on the 40-man roster, the team designated infielder/outfielder Elian Herrera for assignment.
Cotts, 34, went 2-9 with a 4.32 ERA and 2 saves in a career-high 73 relief appearances last season with the Texas Rangers. He owns a career record of 20-24 with a 4.05 ERA and 4 saves in 415 games (5 starts) with the White Sox (2003-06), Cubs (2007-09) and Rangers (2013-14).
Over the past two seasons, he is holding opponents to a .223 batting average with 128 strikeouts in just 123.2 innings pitched.
Cotts enjoyed his best Major League season just two years ago as he went 8-3 with a 1.11 ERA and 1 save in 58 relief appearances with Texas. His ERA in 2013 was the second lowest in the Major Leagues among relievers and marked the lowest by a reliever in Rangers franchise history. His win total that season tied for the most among Major League relievers, and opponents batted just .180.
A member of the 2005 world champion Chicago White Sox, Cotts appeared in each game of the 2005 World Series (4 games), earning the
victory Game 2 against Houston.
Not one to break many free agent signings, Tom Haudricourt just tweeted the following…
A source has confirmed that #Brewers indeed do have an agreement with LHP Neal Cotts. Don’t have the details.
— Tom (@Haudricourt) January 30, 2015
Neal Cotts is a left-handed reliever, and has pitched parts of nine seasons in the big leagues for both Chicago teams and, most recently, the Texas Rangers. He missed significant time following Tommy John surgery in 2009 and four hip surgeries which started in 2010.
Cotts will be 35 by Opening Day. As recently as 2013, he pitched to a 1.11 ERA in 57.0 IP. He struck out 65 that year. Last year was harder for Cotts. In 66.2 IP, Cotts wound up with a 4.32 ERA in 73 (!) appearances. He struck out 63 but tripled his home runs allowed from two to six.
Cotts reportedly made $2.2 million in 2014. If he signs a major league deal, you’d have to think he would come in right around there, hopefully lighter given his most recent campaign.
Notably, Cotts struggled against left-handed hitters in 2014, allowing a slash of .270/.337/.438, but he’s carried a reverse platoon split overall in his career anyway.
Haudricourt and Ken Rosenthal are now concurring that Cotts has passed his physical with the Brewers and that a deal is done.
Rosenthal checks back in with the money.
Cottsdeal with #Brewers is one year, $3M.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 30, 2015
More than I would have liked to commit given the specifics, but not outlandish given the marketplace.
It us a major league deal which means that the Brewers will have to make a corresponding move to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.
ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick tweeted this a few minutes ago…
DontrelleWillis has agreed on a minor league deal with #brewers. Includes invite to big league camp.
— Jerry Crasnick(@jcrasnick) January 21, 2015
Willis, 33, hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2011 as a member of the Cincinnati Reds, though he has spent time in the minor leagues of the Orioles, Angels, and Giants over the past three years. He infamously lost his control at a relatively young age after being dynamic and electric early in his career with the Florida Marlins.
This brings the group of Brewers non-roster invitees up to six when camp opens in February.
As first reported by Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (and since confirmed by several respected writers), the Milwaukee Brewers are receiving three players in return for Yovani Gallardo who was traded to the Texas Rangers.
The three players are a shortstop, a relief pitcher and an 18-year-old starting pitching prospect.
The shortstop is 21-year-old Luis Sardiñas who was suggested by Ken Rosenthal as potentially being involved as the Rangers had offered the Venezuelan in other trade ideas this off-season. He’s a guy who some still regard highly (7th overall Rangers prospect according to Baseball America) while others (MLB Pipeline, unranked) don’t have him nearly as high anymore. He’s considered a true shortstop defensively which is never a bad thing to have in the system.
The relief pitcher is Corey Knebel, a 23-year-old former 1st round pick (2013, 39th overall) of the Detroit Tigers. Knebel made his MLB debut in May of 2014, appearing in a total of eight games for the Tigers. He was later traded to the Rangers in the Joakim Soria deal. Knebel was listed as the Rangers’ eighth-best prospect prior to the deal. Of Knebel’s abilities, the website says:
Knebel definitely has the weapons and competitive makeup with which to close games. His fastball ranges from 91-98 mph with tailing action, and he uses his height to throw it on a downhill plane. When he stays on top of his curveball, it can be just as nasty as his heater, arriving in the low 80s with sharp downward break.
There’s some funkiness to Knebel’s delivery, but it adds more deception than it detracts from his ability to throw strikes. He flashes a decent changeup, which had the Tigers initially considering trying him as a starter, but his future definitely is as a reliever.
Knebel is 6’3″, was a closer at the University of Texas, and quite clearly skyrocketed through the minors and into The Show. If healthy (he was shut down in August with a UCL injury), he joins a murky if somewhat crowded Brewers bullpen situation.
The youngster of the trio is Marcos Diplan, (20th Rangers prospect, MLBPipeline). He can reportedly touch 98 MPH and sits in the low 90s but has room to add power onto his young frame. Diplan was the consensus top pitcher in the 2013 international class coming out of the Dominican Republic, that coming from MLBPipeline.com.
All told, this is a quality return for the Brewers. There is no surefire superstar in the group, but for one guaranteed season of Gallardo, and a chance to sign him to an extension or at least extend a qualifying offer, this was probably about as strong a return as could have been hoped. Oh, and as I reported yesterday, the Brewers kicked in some money to Texas. Reports have it as $4 million. That could explain some of the delay as a dollar amount of that size would need approval from the commissioner’s office.
Both Sardinas and Knebel were on the Rangers 40-man roster. Gallardo leaving opens one spot.
***UPDATE: To clear the other needed spot, former organizational player of the year Hunter Morris was designated for assignment.***
As first pinpointed by FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi, the Brewers followed through on my report from early last week and are reportedly on the verge of trading away homegrown starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo to the Texas Rangers.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 18, 2015
Gallardo, as you may recall, became the Brewers’ career strikeout leader late in 2014 and was on pace to overtake several statistical categories in Brewers history in the near future. It now appears as though the man we call “Yo” will finish where he currently sits.
I’m writing to discuss why I think this trade went down, some of the logistics without yet knowing all the names involved for sure, as well as my generalized thoughts about trading Gallardo from a macro level.
First, the Brewers are basically maxed out on their payroll as the day begins. Principal owner Mark Attanasio has been flexible over the years in adding payroll in season when the chance to compete is there. Just look at 2014. He authorized acquiring Jonathan Broxton (the likely closer to begin 2015) and Gerardo Parra (a pricey current 4th outfielder) after all. But entering a season where they sit after avoiding arbitration with all three of their eligible players (~$97 million committed to 12 players per Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel beat writer Tom Haudricourt), it’s not that far of a stretch to understand why Attanasio might want to trim a little payroll fat. Gallardo is set to make $13 million in the final season of a six-year, $42.5 million contract he signed before the 2010 season. This is also pretty strong evidentiary support of the idea that the Brewers had no plans to offer Gallardo another long-term contract or even a qualifying offer after the season.
That’s just one of the logistical points of this situation. Another that I’ve been told is that the Brewers might not be moving all of Gallardo’s $13 million. There is chatter that they’ll be paying a portion of his deal. That’s normally done to offset the cost to the acquiring team, thereby increasing the return in quality and/or quantity of players.
But why now? Why move Gallardo at all? He was drafted by the Brewers, after all. I’ve heard all this and more since the trade rumor was first floated out. To those questions, I answer thusly.
Gallardo rebounded a bit in 2014 and actually had a better overall season than many give him credit for. He still struggled against St. Louis, had a poor May after an excellent April and limped through September when everything around the team seemed to be collapsing together, but his season was strong as a sum of its parts. Gallardo’s fastball came back to life and he posted a career-best BB/9 ratio of 2.5 overall. With a full season of control, Gallardo is more valuable to the Brewers to move now than he would be at any other point in 2015. And outside of the money issues, Gallardo is the most moveable piece among the pitchers. He’s the best combination of return, savings, and striking while the iron is hot on the team.
You aren’t moving the cheap Wily Peralta, Mike Fiers or Jimmy Nelson. Kyle Lohse is the oldest of the group and wouldn’t bring as much in return since there’s less projectability left on his arm than that of Gallardo. And after bringing in Matt Garza on an expensive deal, that’s not changing yet, plus the fact that Garza is already on pace to providing an extremely inexpensive contract option.
You also can’t let yourself worry about the fact that he was drafted and developed by the Brewers. So was Rickie Weeks. So was Prince Fielder. So was Corey Hart. There is a time for the vast majority of players in the era of free agency to move on from their original teams. If Gallardo isn’t in the long-term plan and he can bring you back someone who is, you move him. It can be a hard thing for a franchise like Milwaukee to do when homegrown talent under team control is a necessity to win, but when that talent prices themselves out of town decisions must be made regardless of the potential public relations hit. In a perfect world every Brewer is Robin Yount, but a perfect world this ain’t.
As for the return, well that just might be another column once we learn the particulars. Rosenthal speculates that Luis Sardiñas might be involved, but as of Sunday afternoon Gallardo hadn’t even been informed that he’d been traded. A principal agreement could be in place without all the details sorted out. I’m told that Gallardo’s agent leaked the report though so somebody knows something. Understandably, both front offices are upset as the track record exists for both to operate quietly.
In regards to the next step that so many people wanted to jump to on social media already, the agent for James Shields wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t reach out to the Brewers to discern their plan and see if his client might fit. After all, the talk for a bit now is how nobody is in on Shields at the number he wanted. Engaging the Brewers could get things a bit more towards where Shields would like them to be. Then again, the conspiracy theorists point to how shortly after the Gallardo news broke, the Nationals agreeing to a contract with free agent pitcher Max Scherzer came out. They are pointing to the coincidence to indicate that maybe the Brewers desiring to trade for Wisconsin-native starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann and needed to free up a rotation spot and some money to do it and that now that the Nationals feel confident in trading Zimmermann, they could fully engage on Scherzer. While that’s all plausible, it certainly feels like a couple of steps past where things stand as the sun comes up on Monday, January 19th.
Stay tuned. I have a feeling that things could get fun today.