Milwaukee Brewers – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-09-19T00:38:04Z WordPress Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Brewers, San Antonio Missions Announce Triple-A Affiliate Agreement]]> 2018-09-18T16:49:21Z 2018-09-18T16:19:38Z In something of a surprise move, the Brewers and San Antonio Missions have announced today that they’ve line up on a two-year player development contract. This will be the first year that the Missions will function as a Triple-A club after the Colorado Springs SkySox decided to move their operations there.

Ultimately, then, the Brewers will have the opportunity to tap into a big new market while continuing to work with the same minor-league outfit that had hosted their highest-level affiliate in Colorado. While the San Antonio organization’s ballpark is still in need of some upgrades, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel tweets that there are plans in place to get the stadium up to full speed.

This news brings the affiliation matching dance down to just two teams on either side. Among major-league clubs, the Rangers will now place their top affiliate outside of Texas, while the Nationals are also still without a mate. Those two organizations will surely prefer Nashville — which lies just under 700 miles between both Arlington, TX and Washington, DC — to far-off Fresno, California.

How’d we get to this point? Nashville, of course, had been the site of the Brewers’ Triple-A club for some time before the minor-league outfit terminated the relationship. With an appealing setup, including a new park, the Sounds ended up lining up with the Athletics. But now the Oakland club is going to Las Vegas, which had been abandoned by the Mets when they bought the Nats’ former Syracuse affiliate. As for Fresno, its relationship with the Astros ended when the Houston club saw a chance to link up with former Rangers’ affiliate Round Rock.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Five Teams Set For Potential Triple-A Affiliate Changes]]> 2018-09-17T14:16:54Z 2018-09-17T14:16:13Z The majority of clubs throughout Major League Baseball have already announced that they’ve renewed their player development contracts with their Triple-A affiliates, but there are still five clubs that don’t have a clear plan in place just yet. Notably, the Astros and the Fresno Grizzles announced yesterday that they will not be renewing their partnership. As’s Brian McTaggart writes, that should pave the way for the ’Stros to land in Round Rock (where they previously had their Triple-A club for a decade). Astros president of business operations Reid Ryan said a return to Round Rock is “at the top of our list,” McTaggart notes, adding that the Ryan family owns the Round Rock Express.

That move, of course, would leave the Rangers searching for a new affiliate, though Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News wrote over the weekend that the Rangers could well end up in San Antonio, where a Triple-A franchise will be added as Colorado Springs loses its Triple-A designation (a move that’ll leave the Brewers, currently in Colorado Springs, looking for a new home as well). As Fraley explores, the facilities to which the Rangers could relocate in San Antonio are currently lacking, which could potentially prove detrimental in pursuing minor league free agents. However, sticking in Texas would come with greater marketing opportunities and a preexisting fan base from which to draw.

The Brewers, Nationals and Athletics are the three other clubs that are yet undecided on next year’s affiliations. The Nats will be seeking a new partner following the post-2017 announcement that the Mets had purchased the Syracuse Chiefs (securing a much-needed geographic upgrade over their current home in Las Vegas). The Athletics, in similar fashion, would reap significant geographic benefits by moving from their current home in Nashville to either Fresno or Las Vegas.

Betsy Helfand of the Las Vegas Journal-Review notes that the Nationals have expressed interest in moving to Nashville, while Bryant-Jon Anteola of the Fresno Bee suggests that the A’s would likely have their pick between Fresno and Las Vegas, as both would prefer to partner with the Athletics for geographic reasons, giving Oakland the advantage. That’ll present the A’s with the decision of whether to play in California or move to a newly constructed facility Vegas and seems likely to leave the Brewers with an even larger gap between their big league club and their top minor league affiliate, though they’ll be moving into improved facilities either way.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[NL Notes: Harper, D-Backs, Buchholz, Senzel, DeGrom]]> 2018-09-14T05:31:33Z 2018-09-14T05:31:33Z As ever, there’s plenty of water-cooler chatter about the eventual destination of Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, who — had you not heard? — is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. Particularly for fans of a Nats organization that is just weeks away from wrapping up a brutally disappointing campaign, it’s a subject of much attention. So eyebrows were raised recently at comments from Harper and, especially, club president of baseball ops/GM Mike Rizzo that could be interpreted as hinting at a reunion. In an appearance on MLB Network (Twitter link), Harper at least acknowledged a reunion is possible, saying that “it’s going to be an exciting future for the Nationals, and we’ll see if I’m in those plans.” Innocuous enough, to be sure, but perhaps the line could be interpreted as a wink toward contract talks. As for Rizzo, Chris Lingebach of 106.7 The Fan rounded things up. Those interested in parsing the words fully should click the link, but the key phrase at issue from Rizzo is his statement that he “won’t discuss [negotiations with Harper’s camp] until there’s something to announce.” Did the tight-lipped, hard-nosed GM tip his hand? It’s at most an arguable point.

From this vantage point, there’s enough here to make you think, but hardly a clear indication as to how Harper’s fascinating free agency will turn out. Here’s the latest from the National League:

  • The Diamondbacks had held a strong position in the postseason race for much of the season, but as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes, they’re now left hoping for a memorable late-season comeback to get in. “[B]reakdowns occurring in every facet of their game,” Piecoro writes, have spurred a ghastly 4-16 run that has reversed the team’s fortunes. Unfortunately, odds are that the Arizona club will head back to the drawing board at season’s end — while watching two significant players (A.J. Pollock and lefty Patrick Corbin) hit the open market. Still, it’s notable that the club has largely followed up on its successful 2017 campaign, as the thought in some quarters entering the year was that there wasn’t really enough talent to keep pace.
  • As is also covered in the above-linked piece, the D-Backs suffered an unwelcome blow in advance of tonight’s loss when they were forced to scratch righty Clay Buchholz. The veteran hurler has been an immense asset for Arizona, throwing 98 1/3 innings of 2.01 ERA ball since joining the club in mid-season as a minor-league signee. He’s now headed to Phoenix for testing, though the hope still seems to be that he’ll return this year. Regardless, it’s unfortunate news for the team but even more disappointing for the 34-year-old, who has dealt with plenty of health problems of late and will be reentering the open market at season’s end.
  • It has long been wondered what the Reds Baseball America points outwill do when they are ready to call up top prospect Nick Senzel, who’s blocked at his natural position of third base. We may be seeing the hints of an answer; as , Senzel is listed as an outfielder in the organization’s instructional league roster. That hardly guarantees anything, of course, but it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see Senzel — who’s opportunity for a late-2018 callup was taken by a finger injury — come into camp in 2019 looking to crack the roster in the corner outfield. Just how it’ll all play out, though, remains to be seen.
  • Speaking of top prospects … among his many notes today, Jon Heyman of Fancred writes that the Mets took a targeted approach to discussions with other teams regarding ace righty Jacob deGrom. As Heyman puts it, the New York organization “focused” on the handful of clubs it deemed to have assets worth haggling over. When those teams weren’t willing to give up their best young assets, talks sputtered. Heyman cites “the Blue Jays, Braves, Padres, Yankees, and perhaps to a lesser extent the Brewers” as clubs that were engaged. But the ultra-premium prospects and young MLB players in those organizations simply weren’t on offer. It’s hard to argue with the Mets’ rationale; deGrom reached a new level this season, after all, and certainly shouldn’t be parted with by a major-market club for less than a compelling return.
Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Jimmy Nelson's Recovery]]> 2018-09-09T01:15:01Z 2018-09-09T01:15:01Z
  • As Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel points out, it was a year ago Saturday that the Brewers lost budding No. 1 starter Jimmy Nelson to a major right shoulder injury – one that will end up shelving him for all of this season. Brewers general manager David Stearns offered an encouraging update Saturday on Nelson on the first anniversary of his injury, saying that “Jimmy is nearing a really positive phase of his rehab here.” However, while Nelson will continue working toward an early 2019 return over the next several months, Stearns isn’t certain if he’ll be ready to slot into the Brewers’ season-opening rotation. As a result, the club will “continue to have contingency plans.” To the credit of the Stearns-led Brewers, they’ve found a way to overcome Nelson’s absence this year en route to an 80-62 record and a 1 1/2-game lead on the NL’s top wild-card spot.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Heyman On Brewers' August Offer For Reds' Matt Harvey]]> 2018-09-08T21:59:48Z 2018-09-08T21:59:48Z Even though the Reds are out of contention and right-hander Matt Harvey is a pending free agent, the club opted against trading him to the NL Central rival Brewers before last month’s waiver deadline. Milwaukee won the claim for Harvey, but it turns out the Brewers only offered “Triple-A non-prospects” for the 29-year-old, Jon Heyman of Fancred hears. Considering that, not to mention Reds owner Bob Castellini’s reported affinity for Harvey, Cincinnati kept the ex-Met and will likely try to prevent him from leaving via free agency. Pitching will be an area of focus in general for the Reds during the offseason, per Heyman, who adds they may also be on the lookout for one or two outfielders.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Athletics Acquire Aaron Brooks, Designate Danny Coulombe]]> 2018-09-03T19:33:02Z 2018-09-03T19:16:50Z The Athletics have acquired right-hander Aaron Brooks from the Brewers for cash considerations, Robert Murray of The Athletic tweets. In a corresponding move, the A’s designated left-hander Danny Coulombe, per a team announcement.

    This deal continues a busy few days for Brooks, whom the Brewers selected from the minors Aug. 30 and then designated the next day. The 28-year-old didn’t throw a pitch for the Brewers, and he hasn’t taken a major league mound since 2015 – part of which he spent with the Athletics. Brooks tossed 51 innings of 6.71 ERA ball with Oakland that year after it acquired him (and Sean Manaea) from the Royals in a trade for Ben Zobrist.

    More recently, Brooks did solid work with the Brewers’ Triple-A affiliate in 2018. Despite having to pitch in hitter-friendly Colorado Springs, Brooks managed a 3.35 ERA/4.14 FIP with 6.7 K/9, 2.54 BB/9 and a 55.1 percent groundball rate over 99 1/3 innings (26 appearances, 15 starts).

    Coulombe, who has been with the Athletics since they acquired him from the Dodgers in 2015, has been fairly effective in the majors. Over 143 1/3 career innings, including 139 with the A’s, Coulombe has held same-handed hitters to a .234/.304/.327 batting line and pitched to a 4.27 ERA/4.09 FIP, also notching 8.41 K/9, 3.83 BB/9 and an excellent 56.8 percent groundball rate. But major league lefties have teed off on Coulombe this season, as the the 28-year-old has yielded a .317/.364/.512 line in 23 2/3 frames. Coulombe has also registered a subpar 4.56 ERA/5.10 FIP and a 4.18 BB/9, though he has averaged nearly 10 strikeouts per nine and recorded a 51.7 percent grounder rate.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Brewers Were Runners-Up For Miles Mikolas Last Winter]]> 2018-09-02T18:57:10Z 2018-09-02T18:57:10Z
  • The Brewers finished second to the NL Central rival Cardinals in the race to sign then-free agent Miles Mikolas last winter, Heyman reports. A former Ranger and Padre, Mikolas returned stateside after a couple seasons in Japan, joining the Cardinals on a two-year, $15.5MM guarantee. That contract has been a steal for St. Louis, which has seen the 30-year-old Mikolas turn in 167 innings of 2.96 ERA/3.43 FIP ball this season.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Brewers Recall Two, Outright Nick Franklin]]> 2018-09-02T20:03:21Z 2018-09-02T16:46:59Z The Brewers announced that they’ve recalled a pair of pitchers – right-handers Zach Davies and Corey Knebel – and reinstated infielder/outfielder Nick Franklin from the 60-day disabled list. The team subsequently outrighted Franklin to Triple-A Colorado Springs.

    Davies, whom the Brewers recalled from Single-A Wisconsin, is back after missing upward of three months with shoulder problems. The 25-year-old hasn’t taken a major league mound since May 29, which was both his eighth appearance and eighth start of the season. Davies opened the year in rough fashion when he was healthy, as he notched a 5.23 ERA/5.29 FIP across 43 innings. Going back to his major league debut in 2015, all 75 of Davies’ appearances have been starts, but it’s unclear whether he’ll finish the year in Milwaukee’s rotation. The club just did acquire the more established Gio Gonzalez, after all, and it has four other set starters in Jhoulys Chacin, Chase Anderson, Junior Guerra and Wade Miley.

    Knebel’s absence from the Brewers was much shorter than Davies’, as the team optioned the former to Colorado Springs on Aug. 23. On the surface, it was a surprising demotion for Knebel – who was a lights-out closer in 2017 – but the 26-year-old has taken multiple steps backward this season. While Knebel’s still bringing high-90s heat, he has only managed a 5.08 ERA/4.28 FIP through 39 major league innings in 2018. Knebel has seen his strikeout and swinging-strike rates drop since 2017, while his home run-to-fly ball percentage has skyrocketed.

    Franklin, an offseason minor league signing, only totaled two PAs with the Brewers this season. The 27-year-old suffered a quad injury May 8, the same day the Brewers selected his contract from Colorado Springs, and he hasn’t played since. Franklin was formerly a well-regarded prospect with the Mariners, who chose him 27th in the 2009 draft, but he hasn’t experienced much success since debuting in the majors in 2013. Because Franklin has already been outrighted in the past, he’ll be able to choose whether to reject the Brewers’ assignment in favor of free agency.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Brewers Release Eric Sogard]]> 2018-09-02T02:46:31Z 2018-09-02T02:46:31Z
  • The Brewers have released infielder Eric Sogard for the second time this season. Milwaukee parted with Sogard on July 12, only to re-sign him to a minor league deal two weeks later. The 32-year-old hasn’t produced at either the Triple-A level or in the majors this year, however, after offering respectable production in 2017 with the Brewers.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[September Call-Ups: 9/1/18]]> 2018-09-01T22:38:55Z 2018-09-01T21:24:34Z A few call-ups were announced yesterday, but we’re likely to see far more prospect promotions and even contract selections take place today as rosters expand. We’ll use this post to keep track of those moves…

    • The Marlins selected the contract of righty starter Jeff Brigham today; he’ll be among those playing in the majors for the first time ever. Brigham’s solid 3.44 ERA in Triple-A this season is muddied a bit by his 4.45 FIP, but he’s maintained solid ratios. Brigham’s 8.25 K/9 and brilliant 2.24 BB/9 give him a solid 3.69 K/BB ratio that probably looks quite nice to a Marlins club that’s hurting for serviceable major league starters. Miami has also recalled right-handers Sandy Alcantara and Nick Wittgren along with catcher Chad Wallach.
    • The Athletics selected several contracts today, including that of catching prospect Beau Taylor. The lefty-hitting backstop has never played in the majors, but he’s done well for himself at the Triple-A level this season by drawing walks in 14% of his plate appearances while hitting .248. He’s even chipped in a pair of stolen bases. The biggest knock on Taylor is his lack of power; the 28-year-old owns a sub-.100 ISO and has never hit more than eight homers in a given season. Other contracts selected by the Astros today include those of lefty Dean Kiekhefer and righties Chris Hatcher and Liam Hendriks. The A’s recalled lefty Daniel Coulombe and shortstop Franklin Barreto as well.  
    • The Indians selected the contract of right-hander Jon Edwards today, who hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since 2015. The 30-year-old Edwards has done well for himself in the Tribe’s minor league system in 2018, though, racking up 56 strikeouts in just 39 1/3 innings while pitching to a 3.64 ERA. Though he’s exhibited extreme control issues in the past, his 2.70 BB/9 in 30 innings with Triple-A Columbus suggests there’s a possibility he’s put those problems behind him. The Tribe promoted catcher Eric Haase to the majors alongside him.


    • The Mariners have selected the contract of Justin Grimm among their September moves, whom they signed to a minor league contract on July 25th. Grimm’s been plagued by shoulder and back issues all season and struggled to a cataclysmic 13.50 ERA in 12 2/3 innings for the Royals earlier this season, which led to his release early on in the summer. With the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate, though, he’s put up a pristine 1.64 ERA and an even more impressive 13.91 K/9 mark. In addition to Grimm, Seattle also selected the contract of Kristopher Negron, and recalled right-handers Chasen Bradford and Ryan Cook, lefty James Pazos, catcher David Freitas.
    • The Nationals have selected the contract of right-hander Austen Williams, who’ll be getting his first MLB cup of coffee this September. He’s been quite impressive in the upper minors this season, including a 0.55 ERA in 16 1/3 innings at the Triple-A level. That’s backed up by excellent peripherals, including 20 strikeouts against just four walks. Williams had pitched exclusively as a starter until this season, and it appears a transition to a relief role has catapulted him to a status as an incredibly intriguing talent. The Nats also recalled catcher Pedro Severino to fill in while Wieters is dealing with a hip/groin injury (per Jamal Collier of
    • The White Sox promoted Caleb Frare to get his first taste of the bigs; as James Fegan of The Athletic points out, he needed to be added to the 40-man roster in order to be protected from the coming winter’s Rule 5 Draft. They’ve good reason to do so, as the lefty reliever has thrived with the organization ever since being acquired from the Yankees a month ago in exchange for $1.5MM in international bonus pool funds. He’s put up fantastic numbers in 12 2/3 innings at Triple-A Charlotte, including a 0.71 ERA and 13.50 K/9. Aaron Bummer will join him as the other White Sox player to receive a September promotion so far.
    • The Royals have selected the contract of catcher Meibrys Viloria to account for the hole left by Drew Butera, who was traded to the Rockies yesterday. Fascinatingly, Kansas City decided to promote the 21-year-old Columbia native even though he’s never played above the High-A level. He’s done just fine there, though, batting .260/.342/.360 in 407 plate appearances over the course of 2018. Viriola is expected to maje his MLB debut as early as this week while mainstay catcher Salvador Perez deals with a sprained thumb.
    • After a short stay in the minors, righty reliever Ray Black is back up with the Giants. He’s had a poor showing in the majors so far, allowing ten earned runs in 15 1/3 innings. He did manage to strike out 22 batters in that span, though, and owns a 2.11 FIP in 25 2/3 innings at Triple-A this season. His blistering 16.13 K/9 at that level perhaps speaks to his potential even more.
    • The Cardinals recalled catcher Carson Kelly today, who’s widely considered to be the club’s catcher of the future once Yadier Molina’s contract is complete. However, he’s yet to prove his worth at the major-league level, as evidenced by his .150/.216/.187 batting line across 118 MLB plate appearances. The Redbirds have also called up lefty Tyler Webb and righty Daniel Poncedeleon.
    • The Phillies have opted to recall outfielder Aaron Altherr, who’d largely been a fixture in the club’s major-league outfield for the past two seasons prior to a late-July demotion. While his 13.3% walk rate so far this season was downright fantastic, that was about the only aspect of Altherr’s performance to be happy about; he was striking out at a 32.7% clip while hitting just .171 and slugging just .305. Philadelphia also added outfielder Dylan Cozens and righty reliever Yacksel Rios to their active roster.
    • The Yankees are set to give right-hander Stephen Tarpley his first taste of major-league action after selecting his contract earlier today. Tarpley is quite an interesting arm-he’s been utilized as a multi-inning reliever at two levels of the minors this year, and to great effect. Most recently, he’s pitched to a 2.65 ERA and 10.06 K/9 across 17 appearances spanning 34 innings at Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre. Infielder Tyler Wade and right-hander Luis Cessa will also join the MLB club as rosters expand.
    • The Mets will give righty Eric Hanhold his first taste of major-league action, MLBTR has learned. Acquired in the 2017 trade that sent Neil Walker to the Brewers, Hanhold has apparently been quite unlucky to own his 7.11 ERA at Triple-A this season. Rather, his 3.43 FIP in 19 innings at that level produces some level of optimism that he can serve as a quality reliever in the majors. A .429 BABIP and 2.86 K/BB ratio further strengthen that case.
    • The Reds are set to give shortstop prospect Blake Trahan a September call-up, as C. Trent Rosencrans of The Athletic was among those to tweet. Trahan came to the Reds by way of the club’s third-round draft pick back in 2015. He did not rank amongst MLB Pipeline’s top 30 Reds prospects in the publication’s most recent rankings, though Fangraphs ranks him 24th in that regard thanks to a 55 speed tool and a 60-grade arm. He’s also likely to be a league-average shortstop. That’s about all there is to like about Trahan at present, as he’s only hit .245/.327/.302 at the minors’ highest level.
    • The Reds have also recalled Lucas Sims, who arrived in Cincinnati just prior to the non-waiver trade deadline as part of the package in exchange for sending Adam Duvall to Atlanta. Sims owns a 5.96 ERA and 7.15 K/9 in a Braves uniform, but his minors track record indicates he might have better days yet to come; the righty has managed to strike out at least ten batters per nine innings at every level of the minors post-Rookie ball, and has a sub-4.00 MiLB ERA in each of the past two seasons.
    • The Twins will promote right-hander Zach Littell, according to Darren Wolfson of KSTP. Littell has but 3 1/3 innings of MLB experience, during which time he allowed seven earned runs with one strikeout en route to a demotion. His 3.57 ERA at Triple-A this season is far more palatable, albeit unspectacular.
    • The Twins also announced that they’ve selected the contract of left-hander Andrew Vasquez, who’ll be receiving his first cup of coffee after pitching to a sub-1.50 ERA out of minor-league bullpens across the past three seasons combined. They’ve also selected catcher Chris Gimenez in addition to recalling outfielder Johnny Field and right-hander Tyler Duffey.
    • The Red Sox have officially recalled five players, including first base/outfield type Sam Travis. After serving as a somewhat serviceable piece in 2017 (.263/.325/.342 batting line), Travis has struggled in limited major-league action this year to the tune of a 45 wRC+ and -0.1 fWAR. Boston has also promoted left-handers Bobby Poyner and Robby Scott, as well as right-hander William Cuevas and infielder Tzu-Wei Lin.
    • The Tigers have recalled right-hander Sandy Baez from Double-A Erie, per a club announcement. Baez made his major-league debut back on June 4th, entering the game in relief during a double-header. He didn’t allow any runs in 4 1/3 innings, though he did walk three batters in that appearance. Aside from that, Baez has never pitched above Double-A, and owns a troublesome 5.64 ERA there on the 2018 season, in part due to command issues.
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[August 31st Trade Deadline Recap]]> 2018-09-01T16:35:07Z 2018-09-01T15:42:28Z A flurry of activity came yesterday in advance of the deadline to acquire postseason-eligible players via trade. In case you weren’t able to keep track of it all, here’s a roundup of the swaps made by MLB organizations on August 31st, 2018, sorted by the team on the acquiring end of the major-leaguer involved.

    AL West

    AL Central

    • The Indians acquired Josh Donaldson from the Blue Jays. Toronto will send $2.7MM to Cleveland as well, and they’ll get back a player to be named later, the quality of which will be dependent upon how Donaldson’s health situation progresses.

    AL East

    • The Yankees took Adeiny Hechavarria off the Pirates’ hands in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations. It’s not yet known how much cash the Bucs will chip in to help pay the ~$1MM still owed to Hechavarria.
    • The Yankees also pried Andrew McCutchen from the Giants. San Francisco gets infield prospect Abiatal Avelino and right-handed pitching prospect Juan De Paula.

    NL West

    NL Central

    NL East

    • (No trades)
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Call-Ups: White Sox, Rays, Brewers]]> 2018-09-01T14:36:59Z 2018-09-01T14:29:24Z In an announcement that comes as a surprise to no one, Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports tweets that the White Sox will not call up top prospect Eloy Jimenez this September. By suppressing Jimenez’ service time until the third week of April 2019, the rebuilding South Siders can gain another year of team control over the power prodigy. Jimenez has dominated the minor leagues ever since joining the White Sox organization as part of a cross-town swap with the Cubs for left-hander Jose Quintana; the outfielder has hit at least .300 and slugged at least .550 at every level since that trade. At Triple-A, he’s managed an outstanding .368/.409/.618 batting line with a minuscule 12.7% strikeout rate.

    Instead of giving Jimenez a September look, the club opted to call up right-hander Ian Hamilton in the wake of the trade that sent Xavier Cedeno to the Brewers, (h/t Scott Merkin of Merkin labels Hamilton as the club’s “closer of the future”; perhaps a fair designation considering he’s pitched to a 1.71 ERA at Triple-A this year with an eye-popping 7.00 K/BB ratio. Hamilton fired a perfect inning last night in his MLB debut.

    A couple of other call-ups in the wake of last night’s trades and impending roster expansions…

    • The Rays selected the contract of catcher Adam Moore last night and added him to the MLB team, thus filling out their 40-man roster. The 34-year-old Moore cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Durham just a month ago after seeing his first major-league action since 2016. The veteran has also played for the Indians, Padres, Royals and Mariners throughout the course of his ten-year MLB career, but owns a lifetime batting average south of the Mendoza line and has only managed a 45 wRC+.
    • The Brewers are calling up catcher Jacob Nottingham, Robert Murray of The Athletic tweets. He’s ranked as the club’s ninth-best prospect by MLB Pipeline, owing to his power upside that hasn’t yet appeared at the major-league level. He has accrued just a single extra-base hit (a double) at the MLB level, but he managed to post a .281/.347/.528 batting line with ten homers in 196 appearances at the Triple-A level this season.
    • In addition to Nottingham, the Brew Crew will bring back another familiar face in the form of outfielder Domingo Santana (also per Murray). Santana enjoyed a breakout season last year, hitting .278/.371/.505 with 30 homers. However, an unsightly 29.3% strikeout rate and seemingly unsustainable .363 BABIP pointed to the likelihood of regression, which hit him hard this season as he saw his power disappear almost completely en route to a 78 wRC+. That led to a summer demotion, and while Santana’s power hasn’t entirely returned, he’s managed 8 homers in 227 Triple-A plate appearances. His walk rate in the minors (15.9%) is also nearly double what it was in the majors this season (8.5%).
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Brewers Designate Aaron Brooks, Jake Thompson]]> 2018-09-01T04:19:09Z 2018-09-01T04:12:55Z The Brewers announced tonight that they have designated right-handed pitchers Aaron Brooks and Jake Thompson. Their roster spots went to just-acquired veterans Gio Gonzalez and Curtis Granderson.

    Neither of these hurlers has thrown a pitch in the majors for the Brewers. Brooks had just been called up but did not get into a game. He last threw in the bigs in 2015. Thus far in 2018, Brooks has posted a 3.35 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 over 99 1/3 innings.

    Thompson, meanwhile, had recently been claimed off waivers from the Phillies after struggling in his first thirty games of MLB action over the past three seasons. He had turned in five useful relief appearances since reporting to Colorado Springs, but only owns a cumulative 4.30 ERA and 55:29 K/BB ratio in his 52 1/3 total Triple-A innings this year.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Brewers Acquire Gio Gonzalez]]> 2018-09-01T02:56:37Z 2018-09-01T02:56:53Z The Brewers have reached agreement on a trade with the Nationals to acquire lefty Gio Gonzalez, per a club announcement. $250K of international bonus capacity is also heading to the Brewers, who’ll send minor-leaguers KJ Harrison and Gilbert Lara to D.C. So far as is known at this point, the Brewers will take over all of Gonzalez’s salary despite the fact that he cleared waivers.

    Gonzalez, who’ll soon turn 33, will be a free agent at season’s end after wrapping up a long-term deal that he signed with the Nats not long after being acquired before the 2012 season. He will wrap up his tenure with the club after nearly seven mostly excellent seasons. Gonzalez will appear in a Brewers uniform in Nationals Park tomorrow, though he won’t pitch in this series.

    With a hefty $12MM contract, just under $2MM of which remains to be paid, Gonzalez had cleared revocable trade waivers earlier in the month. He got off to a strong start to the season but had encountered some struggles of late. Through 145 2/3 innings, he carries a 4.57 ERA — the same mark he posted in 2016, the only season since 2010 in which he has finished with more than 3.79 earned runs per nine on his record.

    Unfortunately for the Nats, the club never really got off the ground this year and has been forced to dump some pending free agents this summer. While Gonzalez came into the month of August with a 3.78 ERA, he has coughed up 26 earned runs in his last 31 1/3 innings. Though he has turned in two excellent outings in that span of six starts, the run of difficulties clearly left the Nats convinced not to make him a qualifying offer at season’s end — and also reduced the team’s potential trade return.

    Gonzalez no longer operates in the 94 mph range with his fastball, but in many other ways looks to be much the same pitcher he has been the past several years. He’s carrying a 9.2% swinging-strike rate that sits just under his career average. And he has continued to make start after start; since fully establishing himself in the majors in 2010, he has only once made less than 31 starts in a given season (2014, when he took the ball 27 times).

    Of course, despite turning in 201 innings of 2.96 ERA ball last year, Gonzalez has clearly been in decline. He has been much more prone to the long ball of late after notably suppressing dingers for most of his career. As his velocity fell off a table before the 2017 season, ERA estimators have found increasing cause for worry in his peripherals. After posting a career-low 3.43 SIERA in 2014, for instance Gonzalez has turned in successive marks of 3.77, 3.96, 4.41, and 4.75.

    While it would be optimistic to hope for Gonzalez to regain the magic of 2017, the Brewers can still probably expect he’ll give the club some good innings down the stretch. Perhaps the jolt of a return to a postseason race will help, and Gonzalez certainly has every incentive to show well in advance of his first trip onto the open market. While the long-awaited rotation boost may not be quite as significant as some fans might have hoped for, the acquisition ought to add depth to the club’s pitching staff and help the effort to reach and advance in the postseason.

    On the D.C. side of this swap, it’s obviously not how the club wanted things to end. But they’ll get some compensation for the veteran lefty. Harrison, 22, has lined up behind the plate and at first base while also seeing action as a DH. A third-round pick in 2017, he has shown plenty of pop, but also struck out in 147 of his 466 trips to the plate this year. Astute readers will recall that Lara commanded a big bonus as an amateur player. Now twenty years of age, the infielder has not developed as hoped, with a marginal .237/.274/.324 slash as a professional.

    Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported the deal (Twitter link). Kyle Lobner of the Frosty Mug suggested the involvement of Harrison and Lara, on Twitter, with Jon Heyman of Fancred (via Twitter) reporting they were indeed involved. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported the bonus amount on Twitter.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Brewers Acquire Curtis Granderson]]> 2018-09-01T03:57:36Z 2018-09-01T02:45:07Z The Blue Jays have officially struck a deal that will send veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson to the Brewers. Outfield prospect Demi Orimoloye will go to the Jays, who will cover some of the remainder of Granderson’s $5MM salary.

    Granderson, who had cleared trade waivers earlier this month, becomes the third player acquired by the Milwaukee organization today, joining left-handed pitchers Gio Gonzalez and Xavier Cedeno. Multiple 40-man roster moves will still be required to accommodate the two most recent additions, who’ll help the club hold onto Wild Card position and try to chase down the division-leading Cubs.

    Adding the 37-year-old Granderson will give the Brewers another bench bat to work with. He has been used almost exclusively against right-handed pitching this year, and for good reason. In 322 plate appearances with the platoon advantage, he’s slashing .250/.345/.443 with 11 home runs. In limited action against lefties, Granderson carries only a .518 OPS.

    The Brewers will surely continue to put Granderson in the game only in advantageous situations. With fellow slugger Eric Thames also available, the club now has a pair of lefty power bats to spell outfielder Ryan Braun and first baseman Jesus Aguilar and/or to utilize in pinch-hitting situations.

    Granderson, who also traded last August, featured at the #2 spot on our most recent list of the top 20 August trade candidates. That assessment was based upon his above-noted niche as well as his oft-lauded clubhouse presence, which made Granderson an obvious target for teams in need of infusing a lefty bat and some veteran gravitas.

    The 21-year-old Orimoloye, a native of Nigeria who was drafted out of Canada, was selected by the Brewers in the fourth round of the 2015 draft. He earned his way to the High-A level after a solid run to open the year at Class A, but has struggled since. In 277 plate appearances with the Carolina Mudcats this season, he owns a .236/.303/.368 slash with seven home runs and seven steals in a dozen attempts.

    Shi Davidi of reported that Granderson was on the move (via Twitter) and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic said he was going to the Brewers (via Twitter). Ben Nicholson-Smith of tweeted that money was changing hands.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.