In case you missed the news yesterday, there was a free agent signing reported and quickly announced following the reveal of the 2016 MLB Hall of Fame class.
What follows is the official press release:
The Milwaukee Brewers have signed free agent first baseman Chris Carter to a one-year contract. To make room on the 40-man roster, the team designated catcher Josmil Pinto for assignment. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns.
“We are pleased to be able to add Chris to our organization,” said Stearns. “Over the past three seasons, Chris has proven to be one of the most consistent power threats in the game. We believe that his skills and experiences will complement our team well and provide additional production to our lineup.”
Carter, 29, has hit 90 home runs over the last three seasons (29, 37, 24), which ranks eighth in Major League Baseball. He started 112 games for the Astros this past season (105 G at 1B, 7 G at DH) and led the team in walks (57).
Carter was a key component in the Astros capturing an American League Wild Card spot in 2015 as he batted .353 (12-for-34) with 6 HR and 10 RBI over the team’s final 15 games, beginning September 18. Of anyone with at least 35 plate appearances during this stretch, Carter led the Major Leagues in OPS (1.376) and slugging percentage (.971) as the Astros edged the Angels by one game to earn a postseason berth.
Carter continued his hot hitting into the playoffs as he batted .294 (5-for-17, 3 BB) with 1 HR and 1 RBI. He started at first base in all six of Houston’s postseason games and fell a triple shy of the cycle in Game 3 of the American League Division Series vs. Kansas City (3-for-3, 2 R, 1 RBI).
Originally selected by the White Sox in the 15th round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, Carter is a career .217 hitter in the Major Leagues with 109 HR and 280 RBI in 528 games with Oakland (2010-12) and Houston (2013-15).
Now for my own commentary:
After trading both incumbent Adam Lind and his primary backup Jason Rogers in the month of December, the Brewers had a sizable hole at first base. Enter the large-framed Carter.
Carter packs a punch at the plate with his prodigious power potential. There exists no doubt to his ability to clear Major League fences…when he makes contact. What they didn’t, and shouldn’t, tell you in the press release is that Carter finished with a .199 batting average in 2015, even with that final two-week flurry. He also struck out 151 times in 391 AB. Carter once led the league with 212 strikeouts back in 2013.
It’s not all negative though. His on-base skills are existent as he still walked 57 times last year to finish with an on-base percentage over .300. It’s not great, but let me frame it for you. Despite a batting average between 50 and 60 points lower, over the last two seasons he still got on base at a better clip than, for example, Jean Segura (OBPs of .289 and .281, respectively, over those years) and Scooter Gennett (.294 OBP in 2015). But they don’t exactly have the power that Carter does.
And oh, that power!
90 home runs over the last three years (including a high of 37 in 2014) is what keeps Chris Carter in the big leagues. Sure, Minute Maid Park in Houston has the Crawford Boxes which help right-handed hitters, but as we all know Miller Park isn’t exactly a pitcher’s paradise.
He’s not considered a good defender, but neither was Adam Lind who turned in a good year with the glove in 2015. Perhaps there’s something to coaching up a bit on defense. At the very least Carter’s 6’5″ frame (and resultant wingspan) offers a big target for the other Brewers infielders to target on their assists.
Finally, it must be mentioned that Carter left the Astros by way of non-tender as this is his first off-season of arbitration eligibility. There obviously won’t be a hearing as he is signed to a $2.5 million deal for 2016 (with an additional $500 thousand in incentives), but he’s under team control for longer than just 2016. If he proves capable but not quite flippable, the Brewers could continue to hold onto him for the next couple of years. Then again if Carter has the bounce-back season he envisions, perhaps he’ll be under some other team’s control after a mid-season trade.
That’s the other benefit too many people are overlooking. Call it the “Billy Beane” if you want to. The Brewers’ chances of winning the World Series in 2016 are admittedly between slim and none. That said, if you get a short-term asset like a Carter to realize his full power potential before the July 31st trading deadline, he could prove a desirable asset to a contender at which point you could flip him for additional young talent to continue feeding the timeline of future contention.
As for the worst-case scenario? Carter’s batting average drops even lower, he strikes out even more, he still hits some #dingerz, and the Brewers non-tender him next off-season after spending a paltry sum for his services.
This is pretty much a can’t lose signing because even the worst-case scenario isn’t the end of the world. That’s part of the beauty of one-year deals.
I think the team will benefit from the presence of Chris Carter being on the field in Brewers blue this year. Where it goes from there remains to be seen but as fans let’s enjoy the power while we can and let GM David Stearns worry about the fallout down the road.
The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired outfielder Keon Broxton and right-handed pitcher Trey Supak from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for first baseman Jason Rogers. Broxton has been added to the 40-man roster, which remains at 37. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns.
“We are pleased to add Keon Broxton and Trey Supak to the organization,” said Stearns. “Keon is a young, athletic outfielder who will have the ability to impact our Major League team as soon as this season while Trey was a highly coveted high school pitcher from the 2014 draft who adds to our growing number of pitching prospects.”
Broxton, 25, split the 2015 season between Double-A Altoona (45 games) and Triple-A Indianapolis (88 games) and batted a combined .273 with 10 HR, 68 RBI and 39 stolen bases in 133 games. His 39 steals ranked second in the Pirates organization. He also made his Major League debut in 2015, appearing in seven games off the bench. Entering the season, Broxton was rated by Baseball America as the best defensive outfielder in the Pirates system.
Originally selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the third round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Broxton was traded to Pittsburgh on March 27, 2014. He owns a career batting average of .253 with 75 HR, 337 RBI and 150 stolen bases in 826 minor-league games. He has produced 20+ stolen bases in five of his seven professional seasons.
Supak, 19, was selected by Pittsburgh in Competitive Balance Round B of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. He spent his first two seasons at the Rookie level (Gulf Coast League Pirates and Bristol), going 2-5 with a 5.85 ERA in 16 games, including 14 starts.
Rogers, 27, was selected by Milwaukee in the 32nd round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. He made his Major League debut in 2014, appearing in eight games. He batted .296 with 4 HR and 16 RBI in 86 games during two stints with the Brewers in 2015. Rogers started 25 games this past season, making 22 starts at first base, two in left field and one at third base.
The Milwaukee Brewers selected four players in today’s Rule 5 Draft at the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tennessee. The team selected two players in the Major League phase. The Brewers did not lose a player in the Rule 5 Draft.
In addition, the team acquired 3B/OF Garin Cecchini from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for cash considerations. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns.
Cecchini, 24, spent most of the 2015 season at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he batted .213 with 7 HR and 28 RBI in 117 games. The left-handed batter spent time defensively in left field, first base and third base at Pawtucket. Cecchini, who made his Major League debut with Boston in 2014, appeared in two games with the Red Sox in 2015. He has batted .229 (8-for-35) with 1 HR and 4 RBI in 13 career Major League games, including seven starts at third base. Cecchini was designated for assignment by Boston on December 4, 2015.
Cecchini (pronounced “chick-KEE-nee”) was selected by the Red Sox in the fourth round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. Over five minor-league seasons, Cecchini owns a .279 batting average with 28 HR and 231 RBI in 510 games. He was an All-Star in each of his first three seasons in the minors (New York-Penn League with Class-A Lowell in 2011; South Atlantic League with Class-A Greenville in 2012 and Carolina League with Class-A Salem in 2013). He participated in the 2013 MLB All-Star Futures Game for the U.S. Team at Citi Field.
Second baseman Colin Walsh was selected in the first round (fifth overall) of the Major League phase off the Triple-A Nashville roster of the Oakland Athletics. Walsh, 26, batted .302 with 39 doubles, 13 HR, 49 RBI and 124 walks in 134 games at Double-A Midland in 2015. Walsh, a switch hitter, played at Stanford University and was originally selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 13th round of the 2010 First-Year Draft. He signed as a minor-league free agent with Oakland on April 10, 2014.
Right-handed pitcher Zack Jones was selected in the second round of the Major League phase off the Triple-A Rochester of the Minnesota Twins. Jones, 25, went 5-4 with a 4.18 ERA in 45 relief appearances between Class-A Fort Myers and Double-A Chattanooga this past season. Jones played at San Jose State and was originally drafted by Minnesota in the fourth round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.
Left-handed pitcher Mitch Lambson was selected in the first round of the Triple-A phase off the Double-A Mississippi roster of the Atlanta Braves. Lambson, 25, appeared with four teams between the Houston Astros organization and the Braves organization in 2015. He compiled a 3-2 record with a 2.35 ERA in 40 relief appearances between Double-A Corpus Christi, Triple-A Fresno, Triple-A Gwinnett and Double-A Mississippi in 2015. He was traded from the Astros to the Braves organization on July 6, 2015. In five minor-league seasons, Lambson owns a 20-14 record with a 2.72 ERA in 166 relief appearances. He was originally selected by the Astros in the 19th round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.
Right-handed pitcher Kender Villegas was selected in the second round of the Triple-A phase off the Double-A Springfield roster of the St. Louis Cardinals. Villegas, 22, appeared in 30 games (1 start) and compiled a 3-4 record with a 4.03 ERA across three levels in the Cardinals organization (Class-A Palm Beach, Class-A Peoria and Class-A State College in 2015). He was originally signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as a non-drafted free-agent on May 13, 2010.
The Brewers’ 40-man roster currently stands at 37 with the additions of Cecchini, Jones and Walsh.
The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired right-handed pitchers Daniel Missaki, Carlos Herrera and Freddy Peralta from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for first baseman Adam Lind. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns at Major League Baseball’s annual Winter Meetings in Nashville, TN.
“We are excited to add three young starting pitchers, all under 20 years old, to our minor-league system,” said Stearns. “All three possess quality arms with an advanced feel for the strike zone. We wish Adam well and appreciate his contributions to the 2015 Brewers.”
Missaki, 19, went 1-2 with a 3.41 ERA in six starts at Class-A Clinton in 2015. He walked only five batters in 34.1 innings pitched while producing 34 strikeouts. Opponents batted .244. His season was cut short as he underwent “Tommy John” surgery on his right elbow in May. Originally signed by Seattle as a non-drafted free agent on May 6, 2013, Missaki owns a career record of 7-6 with a 3.40 ERA in 24 games, including 20 starts, with opponents batting .236. He has recorded 111 strikeouts in just 106.0 innings pitched while issuing only 26 walks over his three seasons in the minor leagues.
Missaki, who was born in Japan before moving to Brazil as a young child, participated in the 2013 World Baseball Classic for Team Brazil, appearing in
one game (0.1ip on March 5 vs. China). At 16 years old, he was the youngest player in the tournament that year.
Herrera, 18, spent his first professional season in the Dominican Summer League and went 4-2 with a 3.26 ERA in 14 starts. He limited opponents to a .228 batting average with 13 walks and 73 strikeouts in 80.0 innings pitched. He posted a 1.85 ERA over his final five starts of the season, going 2-1. Herrera was signed by Seattle as a non-drafted free agent on July 21, 2014.
Peralta, 19, went 2-3 with a 4.11 ERA in 11 games (9 starts) with the Rookie Arizona Mariners in 2015. He walked only eight batters in 57.0 innings pitched while producing 67 strikeouts (second in the Arizona League). Opponents batted .242. Originally signed by Seattle as a non-drafted free agent on April 18, 2013, Peralta has gone 6-12 with a 3.58 ERA in 36 games (31 starts) over three minor-league seasons. He has held opponents to a .239 batting average with 47 walks and 158 strikeouts in 163.1 innings pitched.
Lind, 32, batted .277 with 20 HR and 87 RBI in 149 games during his only season with the Brewers. He made 135 starts (134g at 1B, 1g at DH). Lind was acquired by Milwaukee on November 1, 2014 in exchange for right-handed pitcher Marco Estrada. He is a career .274 hitter with 166 HR and 606 RBI in 1,102 games with Toronto (2006-14) and Milwaukee (2015).
The Milwaukee Brewers have announced the hiring of Carlos Subero as first base/infield coach and Jason Lane as coach. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns at Major League Baseball’s annual Winter Meetings in Nashville, TN. The now completed 2016 coaching staff includes Subero, Lane, Darnell Coles (hitting coach), Derek Johnson (pitching coach), Pat Murphy (bench coach), Ed Sedar (third base coach) and Lee Tunnell (bullpen coach). All but Coles, Sedar and Tunnell are new to the staff.
Subero, 43, joins the Major League coaching staff after spending the last two seasons as manager at the Double-A level in the Brewers organization. He guided the Biloxi Shuckers to a Southern League Championship Series appearance in 2015, a season after leading the Huntsville Stars to a postseason berth. The Shuckers were named 2015 Minor League Team of the Year by Baseball America.
Prior to joining the Brewers, Subero managed five seasons in the Dodgers organization at Class-A Inland Empire (2009), Double-A Chattanooga (2010-12) and Class-A Rancho Cucamonga (2013). He also managed in the White Sox organization at Double-A Birmingham in 2008.
Subero began his coaching career in the Rangers organization, which included two seasons as hitting coach with the Rookie Gulf Coast League Rangers (1999-2000) and seven as manager with the GCL Rangers (2001-02), Class-A Clinton (2003-05) and Class-A Bakersfield (2006-07). He owns a career managerial record of 949-973 (.494), including 78-59 (.569) at Biloxi this past season.
A former middle infielder, Subero played six seasons in the minor leagues for Kansas City (1991-94), Pittsburgh (1995) and Texas (1996).
Lane, who turns 39 on December 22, completed 17-year professional playing career in 2015, including seven seasons in the Major Leagues with Houston (2002-07) and San Diego (2007, 2014). The former outfielder was converted into a pitcher in 2012 and made his only Major League pitching appearances with the Padres in 2014, going 0-1 with a 0.87 ERA in three games, including one start (10.1ip, 7h, 1r, 1er, 0bb, 6k). He spent the 2015 season at Triple-A El Paso (San Diego) and went 10-10 with a 5.71 ERA in 28 starts.
Lane was a career .241 hitter in the Major Leagues with 61 HR and 189 RBI in 500 games. His best season came in 2005 as he batted .267 with 26 HR
and 78 RBI in 145 games for the National League champion Astros.
The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired outfielder Ramon Flores (added to the 40-man roster) from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for infielder Luis Sardiñas. The 40-man roster remains at 35. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns.
Flores, 23, made his Major League debut this season, appearing in 12 games during three stints with the Yankees (5/30-6/10, 6/21-6/23 and 7/3-7/8). He was traded to Seattle on July 30, along with RHP Jose Ramirez, in exchange for infielder/outfielder Dustin Ackley. Following the trade, Flores was assigned to Triple-A Tacoma, where he batted .423 (22-for-52) with 2 HR and 7 RBI in 14 games before a right leg injury ended his season on August 14. He also batted .286 with 7 HR and 34 RBI in 73 games at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees) in 2015.
Flores, a native of Barinas, Venezuela, was originally signed by the Yankees at the age of 16 as a non-drafted free agent on July 4, 2008. He is a career .275 hitter in the minor leagues with 45 HR and 267 RBI in 675 games (2009-15).
Sardiñas, 22, batted .196 with 0 HR and 4 RBI in 36 games during two stints with Milwaukee this season (5/15-6/8 and 9/8-end). He was acquired by the Brewers from Texas, along with RHP Corey Knebel and RHP Marcos Diplan, in exchange for right-handed pitcher Yovani Gallardo and cash considerations on last January 19.
The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired infielder Jonathan Villar (added to the 40-man roster) from the Houston Astros in exchange for right-handed pitcher Cy Sneed.The 40-man roster stands at 35. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns.
Villar, 24, has had Major League stints with Houston over each of the last three seasons (2013-15), batting .236 with 10 HR, 46 RBI and 42 stolen bases in 198 games. He started 163 games for the Astros (153g at SS, 8g at 3B, 2g in LF). Villar posted his highest career batting average in 2015 as he hit .284 with 2 HR and 11 RBI in 53 games. He started 28 games for the A.L. Wild Card winners (18g at SS, 8g at 3B, 2g in LF).
Villar, a native of La Vega in the Dominican Republic, was originally signed by Philadelphia as a non-drafted free agent on May 20, 2008. He was traded to Houston, along with outfielder Anthony Gose and left-handed pitcher J.A. Happ, in exchange for right-handed pitcher Roy Oswalt and cash on July 29, 2010. He made his Major League debut on July 22, 2013 with the Astros and was the team’s Opening Day starting shortstop in 2014.
Sneed, 23, was selected by Milwaukee in the third round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. He went 6-13 with a 3.30 ERA in 37 games (30 starts) over two seasons in the Brewers organization (2014-15). Sneed was 0-2 with a 5.92 ERA in 11 games (6 starts) at Rookie Helena in 2014 and split the 2015 season at Class-A Wisconsin (15g/13gs) and Class-A Brevard County (11gs), going 6-11 with a 2.58 ERA in 26 games (24 starts).