Archive for the ‘ Transactions ’ Category

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

pagnozzi

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.

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

Roster Shuffle 2: Electric Boogaloo

JeremyJeffress

In the sequel to the pre-All-Star break roster shuffle, the Milwaukee Brewers today announced that they have made a move in an attempt to bolster the big league bullpen.

The move required both a 25-man roster spot as well as a 40-man roster spot. To facilitate those moves, RHP Rob Wooten was optioned to Triple-A Nashville (25-man) and rehabbing right-hander Jim Henderson was placed on the 60-day disabled list (40-man).

All this was done so that the Brewers could select the contract of RHP Jeremy Jeffress.

Jeffress was made headlines more than once in Milwaukee. He was a part of the package of prospects sent to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for Zack Greinke. Earlier this season, he chose to re-sign with the Brewers organization after being designated for assignment by the Toronto Blue Jays and electing free agency after clearing waivers. He also was almost out of baseball completely during his first turn in Milwaukee’s system as he was suspended more than once for marijuana use. By multiple accounts, he’s clear of that recreational drug use though, but is now back on a 40-man roster anyway.

Much more importantly than his off-the-field history is his on-the-field production so far in 2014. In other words, there’s a much better reason that he was added to the 40-man roster this time around.

While pitching for Nashville this season, the former first-round draft pick of the Brewers (16th overall in 2006) has posted the following line:

30 G, 1.51 ERA, 41.2 IP, 0 HR, 45 K, 18 BB, 1.224 WHIP

That’s good for a 9.7 K/9 and a 2.50 K/BB, but it’s also worth noting that he’s been even better recently. Jeffress hasn’t given up a run since June 23rd, a span of nine appearances. He’s only given up two runs in his last 15 games and just three total in his last 24 trips to the mound.

Jeffress has always brought the gas on his fastball, but it will be his ability to command his breaking ball that will translate to big league success. He’s shown the other sought-after ability to miss bats at multiple levels as well, something which would serve him and his new team very well moving forward for the balance of 2014.

As for the others involved, Wooten hasn’t been bad and will likely be back up in September if not sooner. In fact, by effectiveness, Brandon Kintzler may have been a better candidate to go down, but Wooten’s option year is already burned and that likely played a part in the decision.

For Jim Henderson, this must be seen as a referendum on where he’s at physically. Recent reports show him lagging behind the needed 97 MPH on his fastball. I haven’t seen any recent accounts of his slider command nor how his “work-in-progress” change up have fared since he got back on the mound, but without the heat I’m not sure the other pitches matter a lot. The timing doesn’t make much difference on his being moved to the 60-day DL though (he’s already spent more than 60 days on the DL having been placed on it on May 2nd), so maybe everything is progressing fine, but you normally wouldn’t make the move with a guy set to return any time soon.

Time will tell, I suppose.

Roster News: Brewers Play Recall, Reassign, DL Shuffle

JimmyNelson

GUESS WHO’S BACK — BACK AGAIN?

While I was eating supper with my parents who are in from out of town, the Milwaukee Brewers made official was has been danced around and toward for some time now.

Jimmy Nelson has been recalled from the minor leagues.

He’ll start on Saturday against St. Louis at Miller Park, his first home start of 2014. With the gap in the National League’s Central Division at 2.0 games (as of publishing on Thursday, July 10) the Brewers brass must have felt that rolling the dice with Marco Estrada against a Cardinal team he’s historically struggled against wasn’t what is best for the business of winning baseball games.

Nelson comes with plenty of acclaim and hope, and hopefully plenty of aplomb as he’ll be thrown right into the thick of a divisional race that is as tight as it’s been in roughly three months.

Around making one spot start — for Yovani Gallardo who sprained his ankle — Nelson has spent his season with the Class-AAA Nashville Sounds. In a nutshell, Nelson was the top vote-getter for the Triple-A All-Star Game and was going to start the same for his Pacific Coast League squad. To go a little deeper, here’s Nelson’s season line at Nashville:

10-2, 1.46 ERA, 111.0 IP, 70 H, 23 R (18 ER),  3 HR, 114:32 K:BB, 0.919 WHIP, .179/.247/.245 slash line against

Some ratios: 0.2 HR/9, 9.2 K/9, 3.56 K/BB

And some more advanced stats: 2.47 FIP, 2.84 SIERA, 57.3% GB%

In summary, Nelson has been a dominant force in Triple-A this season and is clearly ready to try the next level. But let’s be fair to him. He should not be seen as a savior or the next coming. He’s got the goods to compete, and will likely struggle from time to time as he adjusts to the best hitters in the world, but as he showed in that spot start against the Marlins, he has the chance to compete. That’s something that the team hasn’t always gotten out of Marco Estrada, whose spot in the rotation Nelson will be taking.

estradaarby

ESTRADA LEASES A SPOT IN THE BULLPEN

Speaking of Estrada, of the 4.96 ERA, 5.71 FIP, and MLB-worst 27 home runs allowed, he will be contributing to the team from the bullpen for the foreseeable future.

Estrada should be somewhat useful if he’s able to embrace the role and get all the way back to his strike-throwing, command-heavy ways. Working against him are his splits in the first inning of his appearances so far this season. In his first inning of work in 2014, Estrada sports a 6.00 ERA, having allowed 12 ER in 18.0 IP. Seven of his 27 home runs allowed have come within the first three outs of his appearances and opponents are slugging .653 in the same. And for the sake of full disclosure, Estrada hasn’t walked a batter yet this year in his first innings of work.

But those numbers are why I’ve been a little confused when so many people have touted Estrada for a bullpen job. It doesn’t seem nearly as cut and dried as many say that Estrada will be “so much better” as a reliever.

Time will tell.

WeiChungWang

WANG INJURED, TRULY AND HONESTLY

The other thing time will tell is just how long Wei-Chung Wang will be on the disabled list. That’s right, conspiracy theorists: The Brewers placed Wang on the 15-day Disabled List with left shoulder tightness.

In all seriousness, I don’t believe that the team has made up this injury. Rule V Draft choices are closely monitored so that teams cannot simply stash them on the DL with false injuries.

But that’s beside the point of this article. The point of this article requires me to tell you that they opened up the spot on the 25-man roster to recall Nelson by placing Wang on the DL.

So, there you have it, Brewer Nation.

  • Nelson up and into the rotation
  • Estrada moved into the bullpen
  • Wang placed on the disabled list

Thoughts? Let’s hear ‘em.

Comment here or respond via social media.

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Brewers Announce All Three “Day 1″ Picks As Signed

The Milwaukee Brewers today announced the signings of the team’s first three selections in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, including LHP Kodi Medeiros (First-Round selection, 12th overall), SS Jacob Gatewood (Competitive Balance Round A selection, 41st overall) and OF Monte Harrison (Second-Round selection, 50th overall).
 
In addition, the Brewers also signed C Matt Martin (27th round) from Wake Forest University and LHP Carlos Leal (34th round) from Delta State University.  The Brewers have now signed each of their first eight draft selections and 22 overall draft picks from the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. 

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Medeiros, a native of Hilo, Hawaii, went 7-1 with a 0.97 ERA in eight games as a senior at Waiakea (HI) High School.  He struck out 83 batters compared to 17 walks and allowed just 14 hits in 43.1 innings pitched this past season.  As a sophomore, Medeiros helped lead the Waiakea Warriors to their first-ever state championship.  The 6-foot-2, 195 pound left-handed pitcher was selected for the Perfect Game All-American Classic.  He is the highest-drafted player to be selected out of high school from Hawaii. Medeiros, 18, had a scholarship offer to Pepperdine University.

GatewoodSigning
Gatewood, 18, batted .389 (44-for-113) with nine doubles, five home runs and 28 RBI as a senior at Clovis (CA) High School. The 6-foot-4, 180 pound shortstop won the junior portion of Major League’s Home Run Derby at the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field.  A month later, he won the Baseball Factory Home Run Derby at the Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley Field.  Gatewood had a commitment to the University of Southern California.

MonteHarrison
Harrison, 18, batted .429 (36-for-84) with 11 doubles, two home runs, 33 RBI and 24 stolen bases during his senior season at Lee’s Summit (MO) West High School.  Harrison was a 2013 Underclass First Team selection and a 2014 First Team All-American.  A multi-sport athlete, he had a scholarship offer to play baseball and football (as a wide receiver) at the University of Nebraska.  His older brother, Shaquille, plays basketball at the University of Tulsa.

Brewer Nation Podcast – 2014 Draft Special!

The whole thing is finally ready to go!

In this edition of the Brewer Nation podcast we interview Nick Faleris of Baseball Prospectus, and Brewers 2014 draft picks Greg McCall and Kaleb Earls. We then talk roster crunch in our Brewer Nation Roundtable with co-hosts Adam and Cary along with special guest Jeff Miller as well as discussion about the soon-to-be-unveiled Brewers Wall of Honor.

There’s a lot of fun information in here. For example, did you know that the Brewers may have actually saved money on 2nd round pick Monte Harrison? Find out what I mean at the 6 minute mark.

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