Brewers Make Trio of Roster Moves, Promote Conrad, Release Braddock

The Milwaukee Brewers today made a trio of roster moves. I’ll list them each and explain their immediate and potential long-term impact both from a player and a team standpoint.

Mat Gamel placed on 15-Day Disabled List

Mat Gamel suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while chasing after a foul ball during Tuesday night’s game in Petco Park against the San Diego Padres.

As a result, Gamel was placed on the 15-day DL in order to open a spot for his replacement on the 25-man roster (more on that in a minute).

Immediate Impact: Gamel needs surgery to repair the injury and will likely miss the remainder of the 2012 season. An ACL tear isn’t necessarily a year-long (or more) rehabilitation for a baseball player like it is for a football player. In fact, on the Brewers right now is an example of a player who was able to return in just under 5 months.

Yovani Gallardo was injured in a collision at first base on May 1, 2008 and came back at the tail end of September, and even started a game in the playoffs that year. It is possible.

Long-Term Impact: This injury comes at the worst possible point for Mat Gamel. He finally was making something of his chance to play everyday this season.

Unfortunately, playing the game hard sometimes has consequences which Gamel must now deal with. Normally a top prospect type getting his first real chance at filling an everyday role would get that same chance the following year after an injury like this. Gamel’s case is unique in that he is a few year’s older than a top prospect normally is when getting that first real chance.

In my humble opinion, Gamel’s age won’t make a difference despite many already claiming that it will, nor should it make a difference.

Gamel will be right back in the mix for the everyday first baseman’s job when camp opens in Maryvale Baseball Park next February. He’ll have to play his way to keep the job (like anybody else), but to think that he’ll be out before camp even gets going is a bit ridiculous, from where I’m typing.

The contract of Brooks Conrad was purchased from the Triple-A Nashville Sounds, Conrad added to the 25-man roster

With Gamel’s injury comes an opportunity for someone to join the 25-man roster. That someone was veteran infielder Brooks Conrad.

Conrad was in big league camp with the Brewers after signing a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training. He performed well enough offensively but struggled in the field and was the last position player cut at the end of Spring Training when paring the roster down to 25 men.

Immediate Impact: Conrad was placed with the Triple-A Nashville Sounds and suffered an early shoulder injury while diving into a base. He recovered from that injury and was hitting .400 (20-for-50) with 10 extra-base hits including five home runs. In just 15 games, Conrad had driven in 13 on a club that was struggling for offense as a whole.

Long-Term Impact: After making a tough decision at the end of Spring Training, Brewer manager Ron Roenicke now gets both of the men he had to choose between. This situation could end up being a long-term one if either Travis Ishikawa or the switch-hitting Brooks Conrad take the opportunity and run with it.

It seems like it will be a platoon situation for now with Ishikawa getting the majority of the starts not only because he hits left-handed but because he is exponentially the better fielding first baseman. Conrad does switch-hit and is better as a right-handed hitter facing left-handed pitching.

If this situation doesn’t work and the offense suffers too much as a result, there are a couple of other options. Corey Hart could play some first base down the line and minor-leaguer Taylor Green has already started at first base for the Sounds after Conrad’s call-up.

But for now, it appears as though it’ll be an Ishikawa/Conrad platoon for the time being.

Zach Braddock was unconditionally released by the Brewers

In order to get Brooks Conrad available to be added to the 25-man roster, he first needed to be added to the 40-man roster. Many of us assumed that since Mat Gamel would be out long-term (60 days without breaking a sweat), that Gamel would simply be added to the 60-day disabled list which temporarily removes him from the 40-man roster.

This was not the case.

In a bit of a surprise, General Manager Doug Melvin decided that it was time for once-promising left-handed pitcher Zach Braddock to search out a change of scenery in an attempt to continue his career.

Immediate Impact: Well, for Braddock the immediate impact is that he needs to find another team to offer his services to. He’s had several personal problems from a sleep disorder which landed him on the disabled list to rumored bouts with anxiety and even worse issues. For his sake, I sincerely hope that Braddock gets whatever medical and/or personal help he needs. He has a bag full of talent if he can ever harness it again.

For the organization, this really has no immediate impact. Braddock was taking up a valuable 40-man roster spot while providing absolutely no return this year. Not only was he not ready to contribute at the big-league level, he was on Nashville’s restricted list and wasn’t even with the team. He didn’t throw an inning for the Sounds all year.

It’s a sad situation from a humanity perspective, but when talking purely from a business and baseball standpoint, the 40-man roster spot that Braddock was, in all fairness, wasting became too valuable.

Long-Term Impact: Should Braddock find his control, command, and stuff again down the road, then this may end up looking like a bit of a loss for the club. Braddock not only has a live arm when he’s right, including plenty of velocity, but the arm that he pitches with is his left arm. Guys like that continue to find jobs in baseball until they can’t go anymore…and then they still get another job after that if they want one.

Melvin has been a little gun shy about jettisoning LHPs recently after being burned when Jorge De La Rosa actually turned into something later in his career. As a result, Melvin has continued to give Manny Parra multiple chances and everyone figured that the same would be done for Braddock.

Apparently enough was enough though and Melvin felt it was finally an appropriate time to make the move that he made.

So there you go! Just a little recap of today’s moves with some opinion thrown in for flavor.

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