Archive for the ‘ Transactions ’ Category

2014 Milwaukee Brewers Opening Day Roster

Here is the breakdown of the Opening Day 25-man roster.

PITCHERS (12)
59 Zach Duke* – LHP
41 Marco Estrada – RHP
49 Yovani Gallardo – RHP
22 Matt Garza – RHP
29 Jim Henderson – RHP
53 Brandon Kintzler – RHP
26 Kyle Lohse – RHP
38 Wily Peralta – RHP
57 Francisco Rodriguez – RHP
13 Will Smith – LHP
30 Tyler Thornburg – RHP
51 Wei-Chung Wang – LHP

CATCHERS (2)
20 Jonathan Lucroy
12 Martin Maldonado

INFIELDERS (7)
14 Jeff Bianchi
2 Scooter Gennett
24 Lyle Overbay
16 Aramis Ramirez
7 Mark Reynolds
9 Jean Segura
23 Rickie Weeks

OUTFIELDERS (4)
8 Ryan Braun
18 Khris Davis
27 Carlos Gomez
1 Logan Schafer

DISABLED LIST (1)
32 Tom Gorzelanny LHP (left shoulder)

STAFF
10 Ron Roenicke – Manager
33 Mike Guerrero – Coach
35 Garth Iorg – 1B Coach
39 Rick Kranitz – Pitching Coach
36 Jerry Narron – Bench Coach
37 Johnny Narron – Hitting Coach
6 Ed Sedar – 3B Coach
31 John Shelby – Outfield Coach
43 Lee Tunnell – Bullpen Coach
56 Joe Crawford – Coaching Assistant
55 Marcus Hanel – Bullpen Catcher

Brewers Announcement Clarifies First Base Situation

ReynoldsOverbay

On the heels of yesterday’s revelation that Juan Francisco’s locker at Maryvale Baseball Park was empty, the Brewers announced this morning that Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay have been informed that they have made the 25-man roster.

Both men were signed to minor-league deals (with invitations to Major League camp) in the off-season and given the opportunity to compete for what was basically an open position in first base.

Francisco put in a lot of time at first for Milwaukee in 2013, a season which saw a historically poor combined statistical performance. He was learning first base on the fly last year which showed in his lackluster defense. He also struck out at an alarming rate, which caused the Brewers to suggest a change to his batting mechanics, something that was showing improvement over winter ball and so far this spring.

For his part, Francisco hit well this spring — .346/.500/.731 with 8 BB, 9 K in 26 AB, displaying his known power and increased patience albeit while still striking out. There wasn’t much else that he could have done make the roster. It was his track record over parts of five seasons in the big leagues that truly worked against him in the end.

Overbay, 37, hit very poorly this spring — .114/.279/.114 with 8 BB, 15 K in 35 AB — but his bat wasn’t why he was signed in the first place. Long regarded as an above average defender at first base, Overbay gives the Brewers a level of certainty that they at  no time had in 2013. Even more than Reynolds who is a natural third baseman but who has played his fair share of first over the last few seasons, Overbay is a true first baseman who can still pick it. His 6’2″ frame adds to his ability to stretch for balls and he’s maintained much of his defensive value.

For the record, Overbay did hit okay against just right-handed pitching in 2013. But he absolutely shouldn’t ever start against a left-handed pitcher. Manager Ron Roenicke should be monitoring the opposing probable starters when determining appropriate days to move Reynolds off of first either to spell Aramis Ramirez at third or just to give Reynolds himself a day off.

As for Francisco’s future? Nothing was announced officially by the team but he won’t be with the team. Whether the specific language is DFA so they have the chance to trade him or simple release waivers, there is the three day window in which other teams have a chance to claim the high-potential, low-results slugger.

Reynolds will be the primary starting first baseman, with Overbay providing relief. Reynolds doesn’t own much of a career platoon split at all. I’ll get more into that tomorrow though as it’ll be Reynolds’ turn in “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” then.

For now, congratulations to Reynolds and Overbay. Let’s hope it’s the right combination for success on the field.

Let’s also hope that losing Francisco doesn’t come back to haunt Milwaukee.

UPDATE: Click for the original JSOnline article for the following quotes from Ron Roenicke regarding the decision. The JSOnline blog post was written by Todd Rosiak.

“We’re going with two guys that their track record is what we’re looking at,” said manager Ron Roenicke. “We feel we have better defense that way. I’ve been frustrated a little bit with the way we’re playing our defense, as has Doug (Melvin).

“We really feel like we’re going to pitch well this season. And because of that, we feel like we need to play good defense. When they talk about your defense being strong up the middle, we think we should be.

“I know how important it is at first base, to make plays there and pick up your pitching staff. That’s kind of what we’ve done. Reynolds is the versatile guy that Francisco was with first and third, and they’re kind of the same guy as power numbers and strikeouts.”

“Spring training is to get in shape. Spring training is not to see who you think should be on the team. If you did that, there would be some weird stuff happening every year,” he said. “Any of these guys, the veterans, could walk in and hit .200. Does that mean you don’t keep them on the team?

“Spring training is not on numbers. It isn’t. That’s the misleading thing that people don’t understand. The people that I look up to in this game always say, ‘Do not be misled by spring training,’ and it’s the truth.

“There is that occasion when you have two guys coming in and you’re not familiar with them and then you may make a decision on spring training.”

“Juan, he has improved. We all saw it,” Roenicke said. “Is some of it because he was coming out of winter ball? I don’t want to downplay what Juan did here because Juan did everything he could to help himself make this team. But the skill set, we feel, of the other two really fits better with what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Brewers Pick Up Roenicke’s 2015 Option

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The Milwaukee Brewers have exercised the 2015 club option on manager Ron Roenicke. The announcement was made by President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin.

“In picking up the option for 2015, it shows our confidence in having Ron lead this team on the field,” said Melvin.  “Last season was a difficult one, and Ron provided critical leadership with confidence and assurance that the Brewers can get back to the postseason.”

Roenicke, 57, is 253-233 (.521) in three seasons with the Brewers, including a National League Central championship in 2011, his first year as a Major League manager. The Brewers amassed 96 victories in 2011, establishing a single-season franchise record. The team has posted a winning record in two of Roenicke’s three seasons as manager.

Roenicke was named the 18th manager in franchise history on November 4, 2010, replacing Ken Macha. He signed a contract extension through the 2014 season with a club option for 2015 on May 8, 2012.

OFFICIAL RELEASE: Hank Headed North

“HANK” THE BALLPARK PUP ADDED TO MILWAUKEE ROSTER; SET FOR TRAVEL TO WISCONSIN ON SUNDAY

Mayor Barrett and County Executive Abele to be Among Welcoming Party as the Pop Culture “Icon” Travels by Southwest Airlines Charter to his new Home in Wisconsin

Less than one month ago, he was wandering the streets of Phoenix. Now, he’s officially a Milwaukee Brewer.

It was announced today that Hank, “The Ballpark Pup,” will make the move north to Milwaukee this Sunday on a Southwest Airlines Charter flight, joining Brewers executives, sponsors and family members on the flight to Mitchell International Airport.

Dignitaries expected to be on hand for Hank’s airport arrival include Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

From sun to snow, the next chapter of the pop culture icon begins this week.

“There are so many people who have been part of the ‘Hank story;’ fans, players and coaches, front office staff, media, and all of those in his circle of caregivers,” said Brewers President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin. “We’re grateful to have an opportunity to make Hank a permanent member of the Brewers family, but even more important, we’re thrilled that he is going to a great family that will ensure that he is loved and comfortable in his new Wisconsin home.”

Watch Hank learn that he made the team: http://m.mlb.com/video/v31519717/hank-the-dog-makes-the-team. A downloadable version of this without music and with more interview and B-Roll clips will be available for broadcast television use through the Brewers daily FTP highlight posting.

Hank first appeared at camp on February 17, the day of the first workout for pitchers and catchers, and he immediately captured the hearts of everyone at Maryvale Baseball Park, as well as pet-lovers across the world. Stories on Hank appeared everywhere from the London Daily Mail to PEOPLE Magazine, and nearly every major national news and talk show across the United States. The interest in Milwaukee has surged, with “Hank Updates” appearing nearly every day in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other media outlets.

“We want to thank all of those who have made the effort to give Hank the care he needed down here in Arizona, as the top priority has always been to put his health and happiness first,” said Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger. “In addition to this being a captivating story, our goal has been to shed more light on the issue of stray and homeless pets, a problem that is not unique to just Arizona and Wisconsin.”

The Brewers have worked closely with the Arizona and Wisconsin Humane Societies since the day that Hank first wandered into camp, and their staff provided counsel on how best to care for Hank’s basic needs as he adjusted to his new surroundings.

Hank made frequent appearances at Spring Training games in a concourse booth, where fans lined up for an opportunity to have their photo taken with Hank in exchange for a voluntary donation to the Humane Society. Through these and other opportunities, Hank has already helped raise thousands of dollars to support the cause.

“We are excited to welcome Hank as an official Milwaukee Brewer,” said Wisconsin Humane Society President & CEO Anne Reed. “We are so grateful for the amazing care he has received, and for the way the players and the Brewers organization have used Hank’s story to highlight the needs of homeless animals like him.  More than 10,000 animals were adopted from the Wisconsin Humane Society in 2013 and it is that incredible support which makes Southeastern Wisconsin such a kind and compassionate place for animals like Hank. We know he’ll love Milwaukee!”

As for Hank’s new home, he has been permanently adopted by the family of a Milwaukee Brewers executive. To date, the Brewers alone have received more than 1,000 offers from others to adopt Hank and provide him with a stable “forever home.” The offers have come from players, staff and countless fans and team corporate and philanthropic partners.

Fans can keep up with the latest news on Hank and tweet their welcome messages to the ballpark pup using the #BallparkPup hashtag.

Hot Stove Report: Melvin Gets His Coveted Veteran Reliever

The Milwaukee Brewers signed free agent right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez to a one-year contract today.

The announcement was made by President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin.

Rodriguez, 32, is 41-36 with a 2.70 ERA and 304 saves in 730 relief appearances with LA of Anaheim (2002-08), New York-NL (2009-11), Milwaukee (2011-13) and Baltimore (2013). His 304 career saves are tied for 21st on the all-time Major League list (with Jeff Montgomery). His 62 saves with the Angels in 2008 are a Major League single-season record.   Rodriguez is 7-8 with a 3.15 ERA and 13 saves in 134 games as a Brewer.

He was originally acquired by Milwaukee from New York-NL on July 12, 2011, along with cash, in exchange for two players to be named (pitchers Daniel Herrera and Adrian Rosario). He was traded by Milwaukee to Baltimore last season on July 23 in exchange for third baseman Nicky Delmonico.

To make room for Rodriguez on the 40-man roster, the Brewers designated right-handed pitcher Donovan Hand for assignment.

News and Notes: Brewers Sign Infielder, Garza Contract Breakdown

Just catching up on a couple of recent news items that I haven’t been able to get on the blog yet what with Brewers On Deck over the weekend and “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” now underway as well.

Brewers Sign Orr

PeteOrr

First, it was announced on Monday that the Brewers have signed minor-league free agent Pete Orr to an appropriate minor-league contract.

Orr, 34, is a veteran of 14 professional seasons including parts of eight seasons in the big leagues. He brings a solid glove, some positional versatility (there’s that word again), and a mental attitude that can be lacking at times from a locker room.

The Brewers will be Orr’s fourth franchise following stops in Atlanta (who signed him as an amateur free agent in 1999), Washington, and most recently Philadelphia. Orr plays primarily second base with some third base defensively, but he saw time as recently as last season in the outfield and has played shortstop along the way in his career a time or two (though not at the MLB level since eight games back in 2008).

This isn’t a “blow the doors off” type of move, but a solid, reliable, veteran defender like Peterson Thomas Gordon Orr continues to find a job because there is value in what he brings to the ballpark in his toolbox. He won’t make the 25-man roster out of the gates at the end of Spring Training, but he’ll work hard every day and be ready in the event that the Brewers need his particular set of skills.

Orr bats left-handed and is listed at 6’1″ tall, weighing 195 pounds. And did I mention he’s Canadian? Because of course he is. To that end, he has played for Team Canada in every World Baseball Classic tournament that has been held (2006, 2009, 2013).

Garza’s Contract Broken Down

MattGarza

Thanks first to Joel Sherman, Twitter found out about the contract breakdown of the free agent deal Matt Garza signed with the Brewers over the weekend. It’s fairly standard for the first four years, but it then becomes quite brilliant in regards to the 5th-year option which was worked into the pact.

First, the 2014-2017 years: Garza is guaranteed a $12.5 million salary each season. Of that, $2 million is deferred (interest free) each year respectively into seasons 2018-2021. Garza has the opportunity to make up to $1 million each season in immediate incentives as well. There are two incentives that he can hit each of which trigger their own $500k bonus. The first incentive is 190.0 innings pitched. The second incentive is making 30 starts. Those are reachable incentives if Garza is healthy. They even allow for the leveraging of one standard trip to the disabled list each year in which Garza could potentially miss three big league starts. To make both incentives together, Garza needs to average 6.1 IP over 30 starts. Again, doable.

Now then, the 2018 option is dependent on a multitude of factors both over the four guaranteed years of the contract and also specifics related to the 2017 season. The option can be worth up to $13 million if it vests. If it does not vest, there would be one of two different team options that would be put in place instead. They are, respectively, a $5 million team option or a $1 million team option. I’ll explain them all in the following sections.

Here are the requirements Garza must satifsy for the 2018 option to vest at a value of $13 million. And keep in mind that he must satisfy all requirements.

  • He must make 110 total regular season starts in the Major Leagues between the beginning of the 2014 season and the end of the 2017 season.
  • He must pitch at least 115.0 innings during the 2017 regular season.
  • He must not finish the 2017 regular season on the disabled list.

So there, again, you can see that if Garza is healthy and contributing over the life of his contract, his option will vest and he’ll get his fifth guaranteed year. That would be when he is 34 years old. He would be paid $15 million in 2018 in this scenario. That includes the $13 million in value from the vested option and the first $2 million in deferral payments.

Should Garza fail to meet any one of those three requirements, there is a team option that replaces the vesting option. That option would be valued at $5 million (and although there is usually a buyout amount including, that wasn’t reported that I saw). However, should Garza spend 130 days or more on the disabled list during any single season (which is 180 days long), not only would be certainly not satisfy the vesting option requirements, but the team option that replaces the vesting option in that scenario is a mere $1 million in value.

It’s a smart way to hedge against the possibility of injury with a pitcher who has had some health issues during his career. For example, should Garza suffer an injury which carries with it significant rehab time (torn shoulder capsule, labrum tear, Tommy John surgery, Achilles rupture, etc), then the Brewers maintain the leverage of getting four healthy seasons out of this contract. And if Garza is healthy for the first four years and earns the vesting option, then the Brewers will have gotten those four years of production up front with the opportunity for a fifth.

Hopefully that isn’t too complex to understand, but even if it is I think it explains the delay from when I first reported that they were nearing an agreement last week Thursday to when the contract was announced and subsequently officially approved the following Sunday.

Official Release: #Brewers Sign Matt Garza

Free Agent Agrees to Four-Year Deal  

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The Milwaukee Brewers signed free agent right-handed starter Matt Garza to a four-year contract with a vesting option for the 2018 season today. The announcement was made by President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin.

“Matt is an established top-of-the-rotation pitcher who provides our staff with experience and quality depth,” said Melvin.

Garza, 30, is 67-67 with a 3.84 ERA in 194 games (191 starts) during eight Major League seasons with Minnesota (2006-07), Tampa Bay (2008-10), Chicago-NL (2011-13) and Texas (2013). After missing nearly the first two months of 2013 due to injury (side/back), he returned to post a 10-6 record with a 3.82 ERA in 24 starts between the Cubs (11gs) and Rangers (13gs) last season.

Garza was named 2008 American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player (2gs, 2-0, 1.38 ERA vs. Boston) and threw the first no-hitter in Tampa Bay Rays history on July 26, 2010 vs. Detroit. He is 2-1 with a 3.48 ERA in five career postseason starts (31ip, 12er).

Garza will wear uniform number 22. Outfielder Logan Schafer, who previously wore the number, will now wear number 1.

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.

Hot Stove Report: Brewers Add to First Baseman Stable

Effectively on the heels of the Mark Reynolds signing, the Milwaukee Brewers announced Monday that they have signed another option for a growing competition for the job of “First Baseman” in 2014.

Much like the nWo in the defunct World Championship Wrestling, the Brewers’ faction of first basemen continues to rapidly expand. Joining the men already in the employ of Mark Attanasio et al (Juan Francisco, Sean Halton, Taylor Green, Hunter Morris, Jason Rogers, Mark Reynolds) will be another new face but also a familiar one.

The Brewers have signed their all-time franchise single-season doubles leader, and the man traded away to make room for some guy name Prince following the 2005 seasons: Lyle Overbay.

LyleOverbayOverbay played in 142 games in 2013 for the New York Yankees where he posted a slash line of .240/.295/.393 primarily at first base. While those numbers no longer excite on their own, Overbay is a left-handed bat which helps balance and could offer a more consistent if less spectacular platoon partner with a righty (a la Reynolds) than would Francisco. Overbay also is still plus defender even at the advanced age of 37 (which he’ll turn on the 28th of this month).

Doug Melvin has said that they’re expecting an open competition at first base when the team reports to Maryvale Baseball Park next month. Overbay, whom the Brewers missed out on signing last year after expressing interest following the loss of Hart and again with Gamel, took the Brewers up on their offer of a reunion this year.

We’ll see what he’s got back in the Cactus League.

Arbitration Avoided, Brewers Settle Early With Both

EstradaFranciscoArby

Arbitration season in Major League Baseball officially began this week with the eligible players filing for the same back on Tuesday. In all, 146 players filed for arbitration. With 30 MLB clubs, that works out to an average of nearly five players per team. Following a trade and some other transactions, the Brewers came in beneath the average with just two players: pitcher Marco Estrada and corner infielder Juan Francisco.

Following Tuesday’s filing deadline was a deadline of Friday at noon CT before official figures would need to be exchanged between Estrada, Francisco and the Brewers.

It was reported earlier this week that the Brewers were optimistic about avoiding the exchange of salary amounts. To do that meant agreeing on at least a one-year contract with both Estrada and Francisco before noon Friday.

That work got done and it was formally announced just after noon that both deals were signed.

Joel Sherman tweeted the following contract figures for both players.

Marco Estrada: $3.325 million base salary with $100 thousand in available bonuses based on innings pitched.

Juan Francisco: $1.35 million base.

Tom Haudricourt then added information about Francisco saying that he too had available incentives, but didn’t specify for what nor how lucrative they are.

 

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