Results tagged ‘ Blake Lalli ’

This Week in Brewers Transactions (9/30-10/4)

MatGamel

It’s been just four business days since the Milwaukee Brewers played their final game of the 2013 Major League Baseball regular season. A number of transactions — both at the 40-man roster level and elsewhere in the organization — have happened so far this week, so here’s a full “recappening” to make sure you’re up to speed.

I include my tweets about the bullet items to illustrate that the best way to get this information quickly is to just follow me on Twitter (@BrewerNation).

During the week of September 12-18:

  • RHP Arcenio Leon was signed to a 2014 MiLB contract (but it would be announced officially by the team finally on 10/1).

Tuesday, October 1

  • RHP Austin Blaski (21st round draft pick in 2012) retired from professional baseball. Blaski was a 2013 All-Star for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers before an arm injury cost him the rest of his season. He had surgery and retired, no doubt, as a result.
  • The Brewers announced the minor league resigning of several players to 2014 contracts
    • The aforementioned Arcenio Leon.
    • C/3B Robinzon Diaz
    • SS Hector Gomez
    • INF Eugenio Velez
  • OF Eric Patterson was released.

  Wednesday, October 2

    • LHP Chris Narveson elected minor league free agency
  • C/1B Blake Lalli (who was DFA’d more than two weeks prior) elected minor league free agency

 

  • RHP Dylan Brock (34th round draft pick in 2013) was suspended 50 games for violating the MiLB drug policy.

 

 

 

Thursday, October 3

  • 1B Mat Gamel was lost on waivers to the Chicago Cubs. Gamel was waived to open up a spot on the swollen 40-man roster. (The Brewers have until five days after the World Series to reinstate any players not currently counted against that roster due to 60-day DL designation, suspension, etc.)
  • INF Taylor Green was reinstated from the 60-day Disabled List.
  • Green, OF Josh Prince, and RHP Nick Bucci were outrighted to Triple-A Nashville.

Friday, October 4

  • (THIS SPACE WILL BE UPDATED WITH ANY TRANSACTIONS SHOULD THEY OCCUR ON FRIDAY)

A couple of notes about the transactions this week:

  • The removal of Prince and Bucci from the 40-man roster opens two spots on it. It currently stands at 38.
    • The Brewers have at minimum two players to add back in Rickie Weeks and Ryan Braun.
    • Two spots should open when Michael Gonzalez and Yuniesky Betancourt declare free agency following the World Series.
    • There will be some names requiring protection from the Rule V Draft that will be added as the weeks progress as well.
  • Nick Bucci’s removal from the 40-man roster shouldn’t come as a big surprise. He was only added after last season following a breakout campaign. A shoulder injury cost him almost the entirety of 2013 (he got into one game and recorded two outs) and position him for a good amount of work. It’s significant that he was outrighted to Nashville despite never having pitched above High-A. That means that though he will be exposed to the Rule V Draft in December, any team selecting him would need to add him to their MLB roster and keep him there the entire 2014 season. That’s quite frankly unlikely to happen.

Something To Look Forward To: September Call-ups

image

Can you believe that we’re sitting here on August 1st already? The season is two-thirds gone (wait…weren’t we just entering the “second half” two weeks ago? I keed, I keed.) and despite the Brewers lack of success in posting W’s it still seems to be flying by.

About that light Wins column though, that and plenty of other things have been more than enough to make some of the staunchest Brewers supporters yearn for fake football games to get underway. (Yes, a four-game preseason is second only to the Pro Bowl in pointlessness.)

This post, however, is intended as the start of a series of items about which Brewers fans and baseball-first fans can still anticipate and appreciate.

Today we sit on August 1, exactly one month away from the first topic that brought this series into my mind: September call-ups.

A little explanation for more casual readers first. On any given day (except for scheduled doubleheaders) a team’s Major League or “active” roster can have a maximum of 25 players available on it. They can be any combination of positions or any other way you choose to categorize the members. Now normally those up-to-15 players are assigned to various minor league affiliates of a parent club to play games daily. (I’m not going to get into ways that players don’t count against the 40-man limit or option years in this space.)

However, a codicil kicks in on September 1 whereas any player on the 40-man roster can be active for a Major League game. This period of time, give or take one month calendar month, is utilized in a handful of ways. Contending teams can bring up a couple of specialists to bolster their team. Maybe a pinch-runner or an extra lefty for the bullpen as two examples.

For teams like Milwaukee this season, however, the time is often used to get some players a little exposure to big league life, games, clubhouse, travel, etc and to see how they stack up in games against MLB-quality opponents. Many a player has made his debut in “the show” during September.

So, back to this season. How does this affect the Brewers? Well, plenty of players have already made their MLB debuts for Milwaukee already this season. Any of those could come back up to finish out the season. There are a number of others who haven’t yet debuted and also a couple of players (like the recently added Rob Wooten, and non-debuted Kyle Heckathorn) who the Brewers need to decide whether to protect from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft. They could add someone to the roster for September to help them arrive at a decision.

Here are some names in groups with a little extra commentary…

Healthy players currently in the minors but who have spent time with Milwaukee this season:

Josh Prince, Sean Halton, Johnny Hellweg, Hiram Burgos, Blake Lalli

Healthy players on 40-man who haven’t yet been up this season:

Jesus Sanchez, Michael Olmsted, Ariel Peña, Santo Manzanillo

The Brewers have one spot currently open on the 40-man but could easily open another by moving Mike Fiers to the 60-day DL, for example. The Brewers may also have their hand forced on one spot should Mark Rogers return to health before season’s end.

The point being: Doug Melvin has some room to maneuver and get glimpses. That is something to look forward to. After all, given the results this season it’s all about the future at this point.

Brewers Make Decision, Option Hitter

lalli

Following Wednesday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Milwaukee Brewers formally announced a trio of roster moves.

First, it was stated again that Francisco Rodriguez would have his contract selected before tomorrow’s game. This move required two additional moves to open a spot on both the 40-man and 25-man rosters.

Taylor Green, who will miss the entire season following hip surgery, was transferred to the 60-day disabled list from the 15-day DL. This opened a spot on the 40-man.

As for the 25-man spot, C/1B Blake Lalli was optioned down to the Nashville Sounds. He’ll have a chance to play regularly and hopefully heat his bat back up.

Rodriguez will join a well-used but mostly effective bullpen to provide another arm to hopefully collect outs.

During his 30-day evaluation window, Rodriguez pitched in four games – two each for High-A Brevard County and Triple-A Nashville – where he combined to post a line of:

4.0 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 3 BB, 7 K

The work against Triple-A hitters was against mostly guys with big league experience, for what it’s worth.

Regardless though, after a tumultuous exit from Milwaukee, K-Rod is back. How he’ll be welcomed depends in no small part on how he pitches.

Narveson to DL, Position Player Coming Tomorrow…But Who?

It was announced just after today’s win over the Chicago Cubs that LHP Chris Narveson was placed on the 15-day Disabled List with a sprain of the middle finger on his left (throwing) hand.

After retweeting my announcement of the status change, Narveson added a little bit more…

Then, in the post-game media availability, manager Ron Roenicke stated that it would be a position player to replace Narveson on the active roster but that the specific player in question would be announced at a later time.

Naturally, the gears began to grind in the Brewer Nation thinkspace as people tried to come up with the name of who will be on their way to join the parent club in Chicago for Game 2 against the Cubs on Tuesday.

Here are some possible candidates, listed in alphabetical order by last name, with reasons for and against them getting the call.

Scooter Gennett

  • Pros
    • On the 40-man roster
    • Infielder
    • Hitting just under .500 on the young season
    • Left-handed hitter
    • Could option back to minors later
  • Cons
    • Limited to second base defensively
    • Not a power bat off the bench
    • Basically no time above Double-A
    • Would only play off the bench

Caleb Gindl

  • Pros
    • On the 40-man roster
    • Left-handed hitter
    • Some pop in a pinch-hitting role
    • Could option back to minors later
    • Seasoned minor leaguer
  • Cons
    • Corner outfielder defensively
    • Off to a very slow start offensively
    • Would only play off the bench

Blake Lalli

  • Pros
    • Plays some first base (an area of need)
    • Plays catcher allowing for additional flexibility and allows Roenicke to play Maldonado at 1B more
    • Left-handed hitter
    • Cup of coffee in the big leagues (with the Cubs in 2012)
  • Cons
    • Not on the 40-man roster
    • No minor league options

Hunter Morris

  • Pros
    • True first baseman
      • Allowing for Alex Gonzalez or Yuniesky Betancourt to start at 3B assuming Jean Segura is healthy
    • Had breakout season in 2012
    • Defensively sound though not spectacular
    • Left-handed hitter
      • Would help add a touch more balance to the Brewers every day lineup
    • Would likely become the starter at first base
    • Has played a little third base in his pro career
  • Cons
    • Not on 40-man roster
    • Has only played a handful of games above Double-A

So, who got the call?

lalli

Blake Lalli, who nearly made the 25-man roster out of spring training in the first place, had his contract selected the Brewers following Nashville’s 1-0 victory on Monday evening.

This will give Ron Roenicke some flexibility to utilize Martin Maldonado as he chooses, including playing him more at first base like I reported was part of the plan back in Spring Training before Alex Gonzalez took to the position so easily.

Lalli will wear uniform number 50 and will join the team tomorrow in Chicago.

Congrats and welcome back to the Show!

The move required a corresponding 40-man roster transaction to clear a spot. To that end, Corey Hart was transferred to the 60-day DL. A source told me back on Opening Day a week ago that Hart’s projected return date had been pushed back to June 1st anyway, so this move makes perfect sense in that regard.

The move is retroactive to March 31st (the earliest is can be) so Hart is now eligible to be activated off the disabled list on May 30th.

Latest Brewer Nation Podcast Available for Download!

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

Preview of Brewer Nation T-Shirts...

Brewers Almost Down to 25

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers made a handful of additional roster moves in anticipation of paring the list down to 25 men to start the regular season on Monday, April 1st.

Here are the moves:

  • Donnie Murphy exercised an “out” in his contract after learning he would not be making the 25-man roster and was released.
  • Jeff Bianchi was officially placed on the 15-day DL today with left hip bursitis. Bianchi also dealt with a groin injury this spring which caused him to miss the World Baseball Classic. He was to play for Team Italy. Bianchi’s placement is retroactive to 3/22 (the earliest date you can backdate an injury to this year).
  • Corey Hart was officially placed on the 15-day DL today as well, also retroactive to 3/22. Given the original estimate of recovery, the Brewers could have freed up a 40-man roster spot by having Hart start the season on the 60-day DL, but opted to go with the 15-day DL instead which probably means that they are optimistic of a return to the big league lineup prior to May 21st (which is 60 days after March 22nd).

The Brewers have only three more roster decisions to announce, but that won’t come until the team is back in Milwaukee this weekend for exhibition games against the Chicago White Sox.

Still to be decided are:

  • Will the Brewers will begin the season with 13 pitchers? If so, it’s likely that an extra starter will be kept while Kyle Lohse ramps up.
  • Who wins the final two spots in the bullpen? Brandon Kintzler is a lock in my opinion, but technically I suppose there are two spots for him, Alfredo Figaro, and Donovan Hand.
  • Who wins the final bench spot (unless there are two)? With Yuniesky Betancourt, Logan Schafer, and Martin Maldonado locked in, if the team carries only 12 hitters that leaves one spot for either (in my opinion) Blake Lalli or Khris Davis. If the team only carries 12 pitchers, I think they both make it.

To hear who I think will make the team and win those battles, check out the latest podcast which should be posted tonight at some point.

If The Season Started Tomorrow…

It’s the final day of 2012.

This was a year which saw the Milwaukee Brewers attempt (unsuccessfully) to defend a division championship for the first time since 1983. It was the first time that the Brewers featured their very own defending league Most Valuable Player since 1990. They entered the season with an intact rotation which used the fewest different arms (6) to make all 162 starts. Arguably the league’s most fearsome bullpen back-end was returning as well with only a couple of key veterans taking jobs elsewhere. And sure, Prince Fielder followed the money to Detroit but this was going to be Mat Gamel’s breakout year and Aramis Ramirez would pick up most of the slack…at least once May rolled around, he would.

Alas, we all know how things turned out in 2012 so I shan’t recap the trials, tribulations, trade, and triumphs that resulted in 83 victories a year after winning a franchise-record 96 games.

No, for this column we look forward. We look forward to 2013. We look forward to P&C. We look much too far forward to Opening Day with this set of projections.

If the season started tomorrow, the following things would be true:

  • I’d be extremely happy that I wouldn’t have to still be counting down to Opening Day (91 days as of this writing).
  • I’d be extremely cold while tailgating outside of Miller Park for a few hours on my wife’s birthday.
  • I’d have failed miserably in posting my season preview “Brewers By the Jersey Numbers” articles.

But really, I’m posting today to take a look at how the current roster stacks up and what I think a 25-man roster would look like when the games started counting.

dougmelvinI gotta tell you all that I would normally not make this projection for quite some time but with Doug Melvin’s declaration that they were “coming to the end” of acquiring free agents (or however he exactly worded it), chances are the majority of options at the team’s disposal today are going to be the same options they are presented with in 43 days when Pitchers and Catchers officially report.

Of course, and it should go without needing to be said, a ton can change between now and then anyway despite appearances. Somebody could be traded. Somebody could be signed as a veteran backup where currently only inexperience resides. Somebody could injure themselves in a pickup basketball game. Et cetera. But if we accounted for every “if” that we could, nobody would ever project anything. That’s simply not much fun.

Assuming everyone is through rehab successfully, here is how my 25-man roster would look if the season started tomorrow. (Players listed alphabetically within their position group.)

Starting Pitchers (5)

  • Marco Estrada
  • Mike Fiers
  • Yovani Gallardo
  • Chris Narveson*
  • Mark Rogers

Gallardo

I know what you’re thinking. “Free Wily Peralta!” I agree that he’s likely one of the best five options available to fill a spot in the rotation but based on the necessary evil of depth maintenance and with respect to the rules on minor league options, this just feels like the rotation that will head north from Arizona. Gallardo is a lock. Estrada was mentioned more than once this off-season as having an advantage in the competition. (He also isn’t hurt by the fact that his manager really likes his pitching.) Fiers did more than enough throughout most the season to be given a shot from the get. After adding two left-handed relievers to the bullpen, sticking Narveson in there doesn’t make sense anymore (if it ever did). Rogers is out of options and I really want to see him get a shot to contribute as a starting pitcher. He won’t make it through waivers to Nashville. Peralta has options remaining and that’s what this should come down to. Don’t doubt for a minute though that if Fiers struggles for a few starts early and it appears that the end of 2012 was due to being “figured out” more so than simply fatigue, he’ll be optioned down to Nashville in favor of the young Dominican.

Tyler Thornburg will get a look this spring but I feel like they don’t want to mess with him as a reliever this year at all. They’ll give him a full season starting in Triple-A. Hopefully with the regular and steady work he was used to, he’ll be able to avoid the arm fatigue that slowed his development in 2012. Hiram Burgos, just added to the 40-man roster, should also pitch in games in big league camp to start the spring, but after skyrocketing through the system this year, he’ll be in Nashville’s rotation when camp breaks.

Relief Pitchers (7)

  • John Axford (Closer)
  • Burke Badenhop
  • Mike Gonzalez*
  • Tom Gorzelanny*
  • Jim Henderson
  • Brandon Kintzler
  • Michael Olmsted

axfordaction

One open spot for competition. Many feel that the aforementioned Peralta should be in the rotation and that either Narveson or Rogers will become the default long reliever as a effect. For me, the final spot in the ‘pen will come down to one of the recent high-ceiling additions which Melvin and his staff have picked up this off-season. If I had my druthers, Michael Olmsted gets first crack at it. Spring Training performance might dictate that he isn’t ready for the jump over Triple-A, and this might be specifically adjusted in March, but based on minor league numbers, projectability, and stuff, Olmsted appears to be at the top of the influx of opportunity-seekers. Olmsted is already on the 40-man roster too, something that would come into play should someone like a Jairo Asencio continue to impress.

Last year’s swingman Josh Stinson has an option remaining so he’ll head to the minors. Likewise Miguel De Los Santos. One other note, as of this posting the Mike Gonzalez deal still hadn’t been made official. When it is, someone must come off the 40-man roster. I think that will be Fautino De Los Santos. So, if he’s even still with the organization, he’ll be tucked away in the minors to begin the year.

Catchers (2)

  • Jonathan Lucroy
  • Martin Maldonado

lucroy-bunting

Need there be a lengthy explanation? How’s this: no other catchers on the 40-man; these two played very well all year (when healthy); next best options coming to camp are Blake Lalli and Dayton Buller. Next!

Infielders (7)

  • Jeff Bianchi
  • Mat Gamel**
  • Corey Hart
  • Donnie Murphy
  • Aramis Ramirez
  • Jean Segura
  • Rickie Weeks

segura

A “traditional” roster usually consists of six infielders and five outfielders. I’ve split this roster differently for a couple of reasons though. First, Mat Gamel and Jeff Bianchi are both out of minor league options. Bianchi performed okay last year in his first big league action, but really what the Brewers will be holding onto is depth at shortstop. Sure, they wouldn’t have to add Donnie Murphy to the 40-man roster at all and could just stash him in the minors to begin the year but he is the superior defender to Bianchi and can more capably cover defensively at the hot corner. Furthermore, the team has made no secret of the designs to have Gamel play in the corner outfield spots this spring along with Corey Hart’s obvious ability to fill in should an emergency arise.

Taylor Green will once again be the victim of circumstance, but he is more valuable to the organization playing everyday anyway even if that’s at Nashville. He can stay ready at the plate and be called upon if an injury creates a need.

Outfielders (4)

  • Norichika Aoki**
  • Ryan Braun
  • Carlos Gomez
  • Logan Schafer**

braunaction

To elaborate a bit on my point from above, Logan Schafer can play all three defensive outfield positions very well. He can take over for any of the regulars when they need a day off and can be utilized in double-switches late in games. It’d be the same way that the Brewers played the majority of 2012 defensively once Hart moved to first base. Assuming that day’s starting outfield was Braun-Gomez-Aoki, Nyjer Morgan was the only “true” outfielder remaining on the roster. Schafer can do more than Morgan could defensively and still brings at least as much at the plate from the same left side.

For the record, if the Brewers did decide to carry five outfielders, I’d guess that Murphy would begin the season in the minors for depth and the extra outfielder would be Caleb Gindl. This seven IFs and four OFs configuration can work, though, with the proper personnel. The Brewers would have that group in 2013 should they choose to go that route. I would.

Opening Day Lineup

  1. Rickie Weeks
  2. Norichika Aoki
  3. Ryan Braun
  4. Aramis Ramirez
  5. Corey Hart
  6. Jonathan Lucroy
  7. Carlos Gomez
  8. Jean Segura
  9. Yovani Gallardo

On Opening Day I foresee manager Ron Roenicke looking to do a couple of things with his lineup. I think he’d like to have Weeks back up near the top and despite how Aoki performed so well while leading off in 2012 I think he’ll play the same card he did once he moved Weeks down the lineup last year to justify the order I have listed. You may recall that on days when Carlos Gomez started in center, Aoki batted second because Aoki handled the bat better to move the leadoff hitter over should he reach base. When Morgan started in center Roenicke felt that Aoki’s patience resulted in a better chance to get on base for the rest of the lineup. As we know, despite typically low batting averages, Weeks gets on base. His .350 career OBP is 99 points higher than his career batting average and only .005 lower than what Aoki did in his rookie season. What’s more, despite the struggles Weeks had for a majority of 2012, he still managed to walk 74 times (and reached based 13 more times after being hit by a pitch).

That being the situation near the top, I think it affords Roenicke the opportunity to begin with Gomez further down the order where he won’t hurt the Brewers early on in the season should he regress from last year’s breakout. If Gomez proves that 2012 is the baseline going forward then Roenicke will have a good problem with which to deal.

Segura is still young, still growing into his skills and performed well enough in the oft-dreaded “spot before the pitcher” that he could flourish there to begin the year. His winter league numbers are also encouraging regardless of the competition level. If he can develop more patience, he’ll be contributing plenty out of the 8th spot all season.

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

So that’s how I see things shaking out if the season started tomorrow.

And you?

Brewers Ink Veteran Infielder

donniemurphyThe Brewers have signed infielder Donnie Murphy to a minor-league contract with an invitation to Major League camp in Spring Training.

Murphy, who turns 30 in March, batted .216/.281/.379 with 3 HR and 12 RBI in 52 games with the Miami Marlins in 2012. He was a member of their organization over the past three seasons. Murphy made his big league debut in 2004 as a member of the Kansas City Royals. Murphy has played in the Majors as a member of the Royals (’04-’05), Oakland Athletics (’07-’08) and Marlins (’10-’12). He also spent the entirely of 2009 in the Baltimore Orioles organization at the Triple-A level.

He’s a utility infielder by trade, rostered for versatility and his glove, certainly never displaying  much of a bat during his career. His career minor league slash line is .279/.347/.461 after all, so he’s never been expected to hit a whole lot. Throughout his MLB service time, Murphy has made 70 appearances at shortstop, 66 at third base, 63 at second base and even one start in left field (for Oakland in 2008). He made 17 starts at third base, eight at second base and one at shortstop in 2012 for the Marlins.

When reached for comment by Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel, Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said that Murphy was the first of a group of utility infielders under review who accepted Milwaukee’s offer.

If nothing else, this signing is of a baseball veteran to challenge for the backup shortstop role on the 25-man roster. It’s a spot that needs to be filled on every team so why not import some competition for Jeff Bianchi.

The Brewers now have seven official non-roster invitees to Major League camp in Spring Training.

Here they are listed alphabetically by surname:

  • RHP Jairo Asencio
  • C Dayton Buller
  • RHP Darren Byrd
  • INF Hector Gomez*
  • C Blake Lalli
  • INF Donnie Murphy
  • LHP Travis Webb

* Hector Gomez was injured while playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic. He is expected to miss a significant portion of the 2013 regular season.

Milwaukee Brewers Uniform Number History: #50

Wondering who wore a certain uniform number all-time for the Milwaukee Brewers?

The Brewer Nation has got you covered. If you found this list on its own, head back here for the full repository after checking out this one.

#50

Pete Vuckovich (’81-’86)
Matt Maysey (’93)
Steve Sparks (’95-’96)
Greg Martinez (’98)
Robinson Cancel (’99-’00)
Bob Scanlan (’00)
Jesse Levis (’01)
Everett Stull (’02)
Matt Kinney (’03-’04)
Travis Phelps (’04)
Jared Fernandez (’06)
Chris Spurling (’06-’07)
Julian Tavarez (’08)
Angel Salome (’08)
Jorge Julio (’09)
Claudio Vargas (’09)
Kameron Loe (’10-’12)
Blake Lalli (’13)
Mike Fiers (’14-Current)

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