After a couple of days of speculation, it appears as though the rumored trade of Adam Lind that began bubbling publicly on Day 1 of the Winter Meetings might finally come to a head on Day 3 of the same.
The original tweet by FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal back on Monday said this:
And after not quite 36 hours, Rosenthal’s colleague tweeted this pair of Lind updates in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
As for what the Brewers could be getting in return? Obviously nothing is done yet, and this is pure speculation, but the name D.J. Peterson was mentioned by several people back on Monday as a piece that could make sense in a deal for Lind. After all, we are keenly aware of the Brewers deficiency in corner infield prospects. I’m of the belief that Peterson certainly wouldn’t be enough by himself, if he’s involved at all.
David Stearns told beat writers in Nashville at the Winter Meetings that he wasn’t prone to deals at 1 or 2 a.m. but hopefully we’ll get at least an update on this situation once the sun rises over Music City.
The deadline for protecting players from Rule 5 Draft eligibility by way of adding them to the 40-man roster is Friday, November 20. Brewers GM David Stearns told reporters on Thursday that he was still considering who to protect. This post is to call out the list of those who require protection and to give my opinions on who they need to add.
After acquiring Jonathan Villar from the Houston Astros via trade on Thursday, the 40-man roster stood at 35 and therefore has five open spots.
This is a slimmed down list as upkept by Jim Goulart over at Brewerfan.net. (View his original and the discussion thread here.)
Current AAA Players —
Current AA Players —
SS Orlando Arcia
RHP Jacob Barnes
C Parker Berberet
LHP Jed Bradley
RHP Drew Gagnon
RHP Brooks Hall
3B Brandon Macias
RHP Damien Magnifico
RHP Jorge Ortega
1B Nick Ramirez
OF Victor Roache
2B Nick Shaw
RHP Martin Viramontes
C Adam Weisenburger
Current A-Level (or below) players —
RHP Yomelbin Almonte
3B Taylor Brennan
UT Francisco Castillo
RHP Zach Cooper
C Paul Eshleman
RHP Preston Gainey
RHP Milton Gomez
C Dustin Houle
OF Anderson Jesus
3B/OF Sthervin Matos
2B Chris McFarland
C Natanael Mejia
C Rafael Neda
LHP Luis Ortega
1B Juan Ortiz
OF Jose Pena
IF/OF Yerison Pena
LHP Stephen Peterson
RHP Junior Rincon
RHP Gian Rizzo
OF Elvis Rubio
RHP Orlando Torrez
RHP Angel Ventura
*italics indicates players who are Rule 5 eligible for the first time
First and foremost, there is no easier choice for Rule 5 protection this year than SS Orlando Arcia. Widely considered the Brewers best prospect, it would be foolish to not protect the young man. That gives us four spots to play with.
The Brewers don’t announce at which level they protect players, but there is a 38-man Triple-A reserve roster for any unprotected players. The names on that list are the ones eligible for selection in the MLB portion of the Rule 5 Draft. Any player selected during the MLB portion of the draft must be kept on the selecting team’s 25-man roster for minimum time constraints the next MLB season or be offered back to said player’s original ballclub.
A recent example of how that works is Wei-Chung Wang back in 2014. The Pirates protected Wang on the Triple-A reserve roster despite his never having pitched above High-A ball. The Brewers dealt with his obvious lack of experience that season for the ability to continue his development in the minor leagues the following year. Now, most players taken are much closer to MLB-ready and can somewhat hold their own. Wang was an exception to that side of the coin.
Let’s get back to the topic at hand though and discuss which players I think the Brewers need to protect for fear of losing their talents.
I’ve already mentioned Arcia. I look next to the Arizona Fall League, a sort of finishing school for prospects on the cusp. Damien Magnifico has flourished in that league and needs protection, in my opinion. Relief pitchers tend to be the most easily plucked since it’s easier to “hide” them if they are struggling to adjust. I think what he’s shown this entire regular season as a reliever for Double-A Biloxi coupled with his strong AFL play has garnered him attention to the point where he’d end up elsewhere if the Brewers left him unprotected.
Next, despite his early career struggles making consistent contact, I think that power is such a premium skill these days that outfielder Victor Roache could get protected. The Brewers invested highly in him following a broken wrist suffered in college and I think they owe it to themselves to see if Roache’s gains at the plate in 2015 are long-term gains. Granted, Stearns wasn’t around back then so he may evaluate Roache differently, and the Brewers do have a lot of outfield prospects coming, but there is at least room for Roache now. That said, a jump from Double-A to MLB, even as a bench bat with pop — might be analyzed as too great to think that anyone would take the risk. I’d rather not take the chance, but I’m not a part of Stearns’ front office.
Back to the pitching side of things, there are a quartet of names that I think warrant consideration. That said, given my earlier choices I’m limited to picking just two more if all things remain the same. The players are Jacob Barnes, Jorge Ortega, Brent Suter, and Wei-Chung Wang.
Wang and Suter are left-handed and it’s been quite some time since the Brewers developed a southpaw, especially into the rotation. Wang has already been invested in, but again that’s by the previous regime. That said, he absolutely took off mid-season following being designated for assignment. If the Brewers feel the turnaround is permanent, they’d need to protect him.
Suter worked his way from Double-A into the Triple-A rotation by season’s end, really putting together a nice season. He’s getting older as far as prospects go, and he isn’t a fireballer by any means, but we’ve seen how long it can take some left-handers to really realize their potential. Suter appears to be getting there.
Barnes is another Arizona Fall League participant this year and he’s put together a nice short season there to follow up a solid campaign with Double-A Biloxi in 2015. In eight AFL games (as of this writing) Barnes hasn’t allowed a run on just six hits and three walks (against 17 strikeouts) in 11.2 innings pitched, all in relief. It’s exactly the type of stint that makes the minor league talent evaluators happy but potentially nervous with the Rule 5 Draft coming up.
Finally, with Ortega you have a pitcher who shot from High-A Brevard County all the way up to a spot start at Triple-A Colorado Springs during the season. He was great in both spots and pitching so well that he was officially added to Biloxi’s playoff roster. He made all those moves based in large part on his command and control. Get this stat: Ortega has pitched 439.0 professional innings in the regular season over five years. He has walked just 55 batters, one intentionally. That’s outstanding. A jump all the way from, virtually, High-A ball to the majors might seem too daunting for a team to risk a Rule 5 pick, but there is certainly precedent and if you don’t walk batters then you might be able to find quick success at any level. There are enough rebuilding teams that one of them might be quite happy to pluck Ortega for their system.
There are a couple of other names (Nick Ramirez, Brooks Hall are examples) that I could see Stearns wanting to protect if he evaluates them highly enough, but it feels like the six guys I listed are the core pool this year.
Let me begin my synopsis by saying that I have a feeling Stearns is going to take advantage of all his currently open spots. It feels like he’s got other moves in the works that will free up additional 40-man roster space yet this winter so there’s little reason not to protect as many worthy assets as possible right now.
Without the knowledge of anything coming in the future, I think protecting Arcia and Magnifico happen in every scenario. Of the five players I mentioned outside of them for the three remaining spots I think I’d roll the dice by not protecting Roache and not protecting Suter (I guess?). I think Wang should be protected given his rebound. I think Barnes is going to be a big-league reliever and would rather that be in Milwaukee. I think Ortega is intriguing enough that someonen would pop him if unprotected.
I like Suter and even though he’s left-handed, I think the Brewers would be taking a calculated risk that pays off. With Roache, it’s partially about his strikeout rate (which many teams seem to mind less and less) and his contact rate in general, and partially that they really do have several outfielders in the pipeline who they also believe in who will warrant protection soon too.
I could easily see them protecting Suter and Roache and exposing Barnes (again) and Ortega too. I really don’t know with those four. All of them could go either way and I think there’s justification. Stearns could also have evaluated Wang and not think he’s worth protecting at this time.
We’ll find out on Friday.
If you follow my timeline on Twitter (@BrewerNation), you are probably already aware of the following information. In fact, I’ll lay out the principal statements to this point by way of linking my tweets. That way, I’ll be able to simply supplement them.
Note the date. Manager Craig Counsell has said similarly themed words in the weeks since. Counsell also more recently reiterated that “the latest” they need a fifth starter would be in Cincinnati. That led me to believe that perhaps they’d call on someone earlier than the last possible day (Saturday, September 5) to join the rotation.
Counsell was asked before Sunday’s game whether he was willing to say who would be coming up and when they would arrive as far as September call-ups are concerned.
I did a little counting and realized that if the Brewers wanted Davies for a start this week, something would need to happen.
Then last night, I caught wind that Jorge Ortega was headed from High-A Brevard County to Triple-A Colorado Springs.
It stands to reason that Ortega was going up to Triple-A because a spot was opening. And nobody would be going up from Double-A Biloxi because of the moratorium on moving players away from that playoff-bound squad until said playoff run was concluded.
Then in a moment of connecting the dots, I tweeted the following about how perhaps 9/5 wasn’t the target date for a rotation addition after all.
And finally from this morning, what looks to be the account of Davies’ old high school coach tweeted this…
It certainly does appear as though things are lining up.
So to answer the question in the title? Yup.
Here are the latest two trades breaking this morning:
(with a hat tip to Lookout Landing who heard of the discussions yesterday)
Nothing announced yet on that one.
The other deal, as first reported…
…has been announced.
So after we got done talking to Carlos Gomez, Doug Melvin, and Craig Counsell all about the Gomez-to-Mets trade that got called off last night, and sitting at Miller Park preparing to watch Gomez man centerfield at least one more time, word is breaking that he’s been traded after all.
But not to the Mets. Melvin said earlier this afternoon that he doesn’t see any trades happening with the Mets anytime soon.
So where is he headed?
And the return?
Hey Ken, you got anything on the return?
But what about potential medical issues?
Friends, when it comes to Scott Boras clients, Jon Heyman is
seldom never wrong.
Sandy Alderson, who is the General Manager of the New York Mets, told reporters following their game tonight that Carlos Gomez is not now and will not by Friday be a New York Metropolitan.
This is too convoluted to put together after midnight now, but here’s the short version of all the reports:
- The deal (Gomez to NYM, Zack Wheeler & Wilmer Flores to MIL) was agreed to, pending physicals.
- Gomez was informed while on the Brewers charter flight back to Milwaukee from San Francisco by manager Craig Counsell that a deal was in place, pending medicals, once the news was breaking on Twitter.
- Flores was informed at some point during Wednesday evening’s game but remained in the game, an uncommon practice for a player in an agreed upon trade.
- Word started coming out that the hold up was pending review of medical reports.
- After the game, Alderson met with the media at CitiField to tell them that there was no trade for Gomez. Media talked to Flores who said he was told that there was no trade after all.
- Assumptions were apparently made that it was Wheeler’s post-Tommy John surgery medicals that were the issue and that the Brewers backed out of the deal.
- Reports then started to come out (likely leaked by the Mets) that they bailed on the deal over concerns about Gomez’s hip.
- Those concerns were characterized as slight. Also, that they shouldn’t have nixed the deal.
- Scott Boras (Gomez’s agent) was quoted that Gomez has no hip issue, never has, and anyone claiming otherwise is being untruthful.
Got all that? Good. I’m going to sleep at some point.
According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, free agent relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez won’t be a free agent much longer.
Spencer tweeted out the following blurb Thursday morning.
K-Rod not coming to #marlins. Has agreed to go elsewhere.
— clarkspencer (@clarkspencer) February 26, 2015
With the word that Rodriguez isn’t headed to Miami, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports checked in on whether the Blue Jays were the team who had successfully wooed the man they call K-Rod.
it is not jays for krod. for closer, still plan to go with cecil ot other in-house and save $ remaining.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) February 26, 2015
So combine those reports with what FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal revealed the other day…
Sources: #Brewers owner Mark Attanasio talking with K-Rod’s agent, Scott Boras, about signing the free-agent reliever.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 23, 2015
…and it certainly seems as though the Brewers could be reconciling with their most recent closer.
Not one to break many free agent signings, Tom Haudricourt just tweeted the following…
A source has confirmed that #Brewers indeed do have an agreement with LHP Neal Cotts. Don’t have the details.
— Tom (@Haudricourt) January 30, 2015
Neal Cotts is a left-handed reliever, and has pitched parts of nine seasons in the big leagues for both Chicago teams and, most recently, the Texas Rangers. He missed significant time following Tommy John surgery in 2009 and four hip surgeries which started in 2010.
Cotts will be 35 by Opening Day. As recently as 2013, he pitched to a 1.11 ERA in 57.0 IP. He struck out 65 that year. Last year was harder for Cotts. In 66.2 IP, Cotts wound up with a 4.32 ERA in 73 (!) appearances. He struck out 63 but tripled his home runs allowed from two to six.
Cotts reportedly made $2.2 million in 2014. If he signs a major league deal, you’d have to think he would come in right around there, hopefully lighter given his most recent campaign.
Notably, Cotts struggled against left-handed hitters in 2014, allowing a slash of .270/.337/.438, but he’s carried a reverse platoon split overall in his career anyway.
Haudricourt and Ken Rosenthal are now concurring that Cotts has passed his physical with the Brewers and that a deal is done.
Rosenthal checks back in with the money.
Cottsdeal with #Brewers is one year, $3M.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 30, 2015
More than I would have liked to commit given the specifics, but not outlandish given the marketplace.
It us a major league deal which means that the Brewers will have to make a corresponding move to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.
According to a tweet that came in just after midnight CT on Friday morning, the Brewers are in “serious discussions” to acquire Jonathan Papelbon from the Philadelphia Phillies.
Sources: Milwaukee in serious discussions with Phillies to acquire Jonathan Papelbon. Unclear if Brewers are on Papelbon’s no-trade list.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 23, 2015
The Phillies have been selling off several of their high-priced veterans, and Papelbon fits that M.O. The 6’4″ veteran closer is set to make $13 million in 2015 and has a vesting option for 2016 as a part of his contract as well. The Brewers did just save ~$9 million when they traded Yovani Gallardo, so conventional logic would seem to infer that the Phillies might be paying a portion of Papelbon’s contract in any deal.
The now 34-year-old Papelbon saved 39 games for a Phillies team that only won 79 all season. He pitched to a 2.04 ERA in 66.1 IP. He struck out 63 batters and walked just 15. In stark contrast to the outgoing Brewers closer of 2014, Francisco Rodriguez, Papelbon gave up only two (2) home runs last year. His FIP (2.53) and WHIP (0.905) are encouraging peripherals as well.
Papelbon does have a 17-team no-trade list, but it’s unknown whether the Brewers are on the list.
An acquisition of Papelbon would certainly satisfy Doug Melvin’s oft-stated desire to have multiple guys in the his bullpen who have experience closing games. In fact, Papelbon was a rumored target for the Brewers last season before they ultimately acquired Jonathan Broxton from the Cincinnati Reds. At the time, the idea of Papelbon in Milwaukee was panned due to the financial commitment due him. For the record, his 2016 option (also at $13 million) vests if Papelbon finishes 48 games in 2015 as that would bring his two-year total up to 100.
As often happens when one baseball writer breaks news, others react to it by checking in with their own sources and then share what they’ve learned. So far today, that role has been filled by FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal and ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 23, 2015
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 23, 2015
To this point, none of those things have occurred. But deal certainly not out of question, given #Phillies’ motivation to move Papelbon.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 23, 2015
Source: Papelbonlikely would require team on no-trade list to guarantee $13M vesting option for ’16. Opt will vest if he finishes 48 games
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 23, 2015
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 23, 2015
So all that seems to counter, to a degree, what Jeff Passan originally reported. However, Jayson Stark then chimed in.
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) January 23, 2015
Just to clarify, Papelbon would waive no-trade & accept deal to #Brewers but would want option guaranteed if teams agree how to split the $
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) January 23, 2015
As first pinpointed by FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi, the Brewers followed through on my report from early last week and are reportedly on the verge of trading away homegrown starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo to the Texas Rangers.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 18, 2015
Gallardo, as you may recall, became the Brewers’ career strikeout leader late in 2014 and was on pace to overtake several statistical categories in Brewers history in the near future. It now appears as though the man we call “Yo” will finish where he currently sits.
I’m writing to discuss why I think this trade went down, some of the logistics without yet knowing all the names involved for sure, as well as my generalized thoughts about trading Gallardo from a macro level.
First, the Brewers are basically maxed out on their payroll as the day begins. Principal owner Mark Attanasio has been flexible over the years in adding payroll in season when the chance to compete is there. Just look at 2014. He authorized acquiring Jonathan Broxton (the likely closer to begin 2015) and Gerardo Parra (a pricey current 4th outfielder) after all. But entering a season where they sit after avoiding arbitration with all three of their eligible players (~$97 million committed to 12 players per Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel beat writer Tom Haudricourt), it’s not that far of a stretch to understand why Attanasio might want to trim a little payroll fat. Gallardo is set to make $13 million in the final season of a six-year, $42.5 million contract he signed before the 2010 season. This is also pretty strong evidentiary support of the idea that the Brewers had no plans to offer Gallardo another long-term contract or even a qualifying offer after the season.
That’s just one of the logistical points of this situation. Another that I’ve been told is that the Brewers might not be moving all of Gallardo’s $13 million. There is chatter that they’ll be paying a portion of his deal. That’s normally done to offset the cost to the acquiring team, thereby increasing the return in quality and/or quantity of players.
But why now? Why move Gallardo at all? He was drafted by the Brewers, after all. I’ve heard all this and more since the trade rumor was first floated out. To those questions, I answer thusly.
Gallardo rebounded a bit in 2014 and actually had a better overall season than many give him credit for. He still struggled against St. Louis, had a poor May after an excellent April and limped through September when everything around the team seemed to be collapsing together, but his season was strong as a sum of its parts. Gallardo’s fastball came back to life and he posted a career-best BB/9 ratio of 2.5 overall. With a full season of control, Gallardo is more valuable to the Brewers to move now than he would be at any other point in 2015. And outside of the money issues, Gallardo is the most moveable piece among the pitchers. He’s the best combination of return, savings, and striking while the iron is hot on the team.
You aren’t moving the cheap Wily Peralta, Mike Fiers or Jimmy Nelson. Kyle Lohse is the oldest of the group and wouldn’t bring as much in return since there’s less projectability left on his arm than that of Gallardo. And after bringing in Matt Garza on an expensive deal, that’s not changing yet, plus the fact that Garza is already on pace to providing an extremely inexpensive contract option.
You also can’t let yourself worry about the fact that he was drafted and developed by the Brewers. So was Rickie Weeks. So was Prince Fielder. So was Corey Hart. There is a time for the vast majority of players in the era of free agency to move on from their original teams. If Gallardo isn’t in the long-term plan and he can bring you back someone who is, you move him. It can be a hard thing for a franchise like Milwaukee to do when homegrown talent under team control is a necessity to win, but when that talent prices themselves out of town decisions must be made regardless of the potential public relations hit. In a perfect world every Brewer is Robin Yount, but a perfect world this ain’t.
As for the return, well that just might be another column once we learn the particulars. Rosenthal speculates that Luis Sardiñas might be involved, but as of Sunday afternoon Gallardo hadn’t even been informed that he’d been traded. A principal agreement could be in place without all the details sorted out. I’m told that Gallardo’s agent leaked the report though so somebody knows something. Understandably, both front offices are upset as the track record exists for both to operate quietly.
In regards to the next step that so many people wanted to jump to on social media already, the agent for James Shields wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t reach out to the Brewers to discern their plan and see if his client might fit. After all, the talk for a bit now is how nobody is in on Shields at the number he wanted. Engaging the Brewers could get things a bit more towards where Shields would like them to be. Then again, the conspiracy theorists point to how shortly after the Gallardo news broke, the Nationals agreeing to a contract with free agent pitcher Max Scherzer came out. They are pointing to the coincidence to indicate that maybe the Brewers desiring to trade for Wisconsin-native starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann and needed to free up a rotation spot and some money to do it and that now that the Nationals feel confident in trading Zimmermann, they could fully engage on Scherzer. While that’s all plausible, it certainly feels like a couple of steps past where things stand as the sun comes up on Monday, January 19th.
Stay tuned. I have a feeling that things could get fun today.