BREWERS SIGN FREE AGENT FIRST BASEMAN/OUTFIELDER ERIC THAMES
Lefty Slugger Batted .348 With 124 HR and 379 RBI Over Three Seasons in KoreaOfficial Release
The Milwaukee Brewers have signed free agent first baseman/outfielder Eric Thames (pronounced thaymz) to a three-year contract with a club option for 2020. He will wear uniform #7 and be introduced to the media today at Miller Park at 10 a.m. CT. To make room on the 40-man roster, the team designated first baseman Chris Carter for assignment. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns.
“Eric brings to the organization a left-handed power bat that is a good fit for our lineup,” said Stearns. “His ability to play first base along with both corner outfield positions adds versatility to the roster. Eric has been extremely impressive over his last three seasons in Korea, and we look forward to his return to the Major Leagues in 2017.”
Thames, who turned 30 on November 10, spent the last three seasons playing for the NC Dinos of the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO), where he batted .348 with 124 HR, 379 RBI and 64 stolen bases in 388 games. He batted .317 with 40 HR, 118 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 121 games this season.
Thames was named KBO Most Valuable Player in 2015 as he produced the first 40/40 season in league history and won the batting title, hitting .381 with 47 HR, 140 RBI and 40 stolen bases in 142 games. He owns a career 1.171 OPS in Korea.
Selected by the Blue Jays in the seventh round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, Thames has batted .250 with 21 HR and 62 RBI in 181 Major League games with Toronto (2011-12) and Seattle (2012). The Santa Clara native attended Pepperdine University and was originally selected by the Yankees in the 39th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft (did not sign).
Carter, 29, batted .222 with 41 HR and 94 RBI in 160 games during his only season with Milwaukee. He is eligible for arbitration.
Uecker Magic 8-Ball Headlines Five All-Fan Giveaways; Two All-Kid Giveaways Introduced;
Eight Additional Giveaways on Tap for First 20,000 Fans
The Milwaukee Brewers today announced a variety of promotional items for the 2017 season, including five All-Fan Giveaways, two All-Kid Giveaways and eight additional promotions for the first 20,000 fans in attendance. The schedule is highlighted by three Bobbleheads, a Bob Uecker Magic 8-Ball, a replica batting practice pullover and much more.
The Brewers will continue to offer “Free-Shirt Fridays” for the first 20,000 fans, marking the fourth straight season of the popular giveaway. Five different T-shirts will be given away throughout the season, including one per month on select Friday home games from April through August. The designs include a long sleeve T-shirt on April 28, a ¾ sleeve T-shirt on May 26, a fan design T-shirt on June 16 (more details to be announced), a replica jersey on July 14 and a performance T-shirt on August 11.
The All-Fan Giveaways begin with a Jonathan Villar Bobblehead on April 23 when the Brewers host the St. Louis Cardinals. The Bobblehead features Villar as the stolen base champion after he led the Major Leagues with 62 stolen bases in 2016. Villar became the third player in franchise history to lead the majors in stolen bases, joining Tommy Harper (73 in 1969) and Scott Podsednik (70 in 2004). The Bobblehead comes complete with a counter to tally up the steals for the Brewers infielder.
On April 30, all kids will receive an Orlando Arcia face portrait wristband. This is the first of two All-Kid Giveaways scheduled in 2017 with kids ages 14 and under eligible for the giveaways.
Eight giveaways are designated for the first 20,000 fans in attendance (including the five Free-Shirt Fridays). The first of these will come on Mother’s Day, May 14, as the first 20,000 fans will receive a Brewers wristlet.
All fans in attendance for the May 28 game will receive a Robin Yount Motorcycle Bobblehead. Yount, an avid motorcyclist, is depicted on the Bobblehead with the memorable image of him riding around the County Stadium warning track following the 1982 World Series celebration.
On June 4, the first 20,000 fans will receive a replica batting practice pullover as the Brewers host the Los Angeles Dodgers. Two weeks later on Father’s Day, the first 20,000 fans at the June 18 game against the San Diego Padres will receive a Brewers golf umbrella.
The third All-Fan Giveaway will be distributed on July 2 when the Brewers host the Miami Marlins on Zach Davies Bobblehead Day. In his first full Major League season in 2016, Davies led the team with 11 wins, which ranked tied for second among Major League rookies.
On July 16, all fans will receive a 1982 American League Championship replica ring in commemoration of the 35th Anniversary of the Brewers’ pennant-winning season.
Fans won’t want to miss the game on Sunday, August 13 against the Cincinnati Reds as all fans in attendance will receive a Bob Uecker Magic 8-Ball. This giveaway is a nod to Uecker’s #8 jersey, which he wore with the Milwaukee Braves from 1962-63, and will feature a variety of famous “Ueckerisms” from “Mr. Baseball.” The item is modeled after the classic toy, but with a Brewers and Uecker twist.
The second All-Kid Giveaway is set for September 3 against the Washington Nationals. All kids will receive a Velcro Toss and Catch Game with the paddle in the shape of the Brewers “ball-in-glove” logo.
The complete promotional schedule for the 2017 season will be announced at a later date. For more information about the 2017 giveaway schedule and information on various ticket plans, fans are encouraged to visit Brewers.com/giveaways.
In a press conference held this morning, the Milwaukee Brewers unveiled plans for a complete transformation of the food and beverage hospitality experience at Miller Park. The project will be the single largest upgrade to Miller Park by the club in every measure, from scope to financial investment, since the facility opened in 2001. The announcement was made by Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger.
The new food and beverage program is inspired by the Brewers organizational mantra to “cherish our fans,” and promises to enhance Miller Park’s status as baseball’s top entertainment destination.
“Our promise to the fans is that we will further enhance what we believe is a best-in-class entertainment experience at Miller Park, and we know that the food and beverage program is central to this,” Schlesinger said. “We are going to completely transform the food and beverage experience for 2017 throughout Miller Park, from new concession stands and bars to reimagined offerings that reflect the traditions of Wisconsin and elevate the program to an even higher level of quality.”
Schlesinger was joined in speaking at today’s press conference by John Sergi, Co-Founder and Principal at Howard & Sergi, a consultancy that focuses on the F&B hospitality experience at sports venues; and Joe Sorge, President of Hospitality Democracy, a local company that owns and operates a number of highly-acclaimed Milwaukee restaurants. The Brewers have partnered with Howard & Sergi and Hospitality Democracy, as well as concessionaire Delaware North, to reimagine everything connected to the food and beverage experience at Miller Park.
The project will be funded entirely by Brewers ownership and Delaware North.
The initiative will feature a comprehensive rebuild of Miller Park’s food and beverage infrastructure. It will encompass an architectural redesign throughout the ballpark, including a total of 11 concession stands in the brand new “First Base Ward” and “Third Base Ward” on the Field Level and two brand-new Field Level full-service bars with a variety of MillerCoors offerings and views of the field. The construction and rebranding of new stands, which will span all seating levels of the ballpark, will leverage the rich architectural history of Milwaukee. The project will install state-of-the-art equipment in the permanent concession stands and portable locations to enhance the quality of the offerings, as well as offer 33% more points of sale for faster service.
Another exciting element of the redesign is the “Local Brews” Bar on the right field side of the Loge Level. This new gathering spot will feature an expanded beer program with 30 taps serving craft beers from across Wisconsin for fans to enjoy.
For the concession menu, the Brewers will draw on Milwaukee’s rich food traditions and burgeoning restaurant scene to expand beyond the typical ballpark fare. Hospitality Democracy is a key part of the Milwaukee dining scene; the restaurant group features many popular brands such as AJ Bombers Hamburgers, Smoke Shack Barbeque, Zaffiro’s Pizza and Holey Moley Coffee and Doughnuts. Fans will not only be able to enjoy items from these restaurants at Miller Park, they will also experience offerings that the project team collectively worked to identify with feedback from fans. Many of those items will have ties to Wisconsin culinary tradition and include Mac and Cheese, Frozen Custard, Cheese Curds, plus Tacos and a new line of All-Natural Klement’s Sausages only available at Miller Park. These items will have expanded distribution from locations on all seating levels of Miller Park.
The press conference was completed today with a ceremonial demolition of one of Miller Park’s original concession stands, and construction on the redevelopment will begin immediately.
Uihlein-Wilson Architects is serving as the project architect and Hunzinger Construction is general contractor.
Fans looking for more information about the exciting changes coming to Miller Park can visit brewers.com/concessions.
The Milwaukee Brewers have announced a two-year player development contract with the Carolina Mudcats of the Class-A Carolina League. The new contract will run through the 2018 season. The announcement was made jointly by Brewers General Manager David Stearns and Mudcats President and Majority Owner Steve Bryant.
“The Brewers are excited to announce a partnership with Steve Bryant and the Carolina Mudcats,” said Stearns. “The organization is committed to developing young talent and we strongly believe that the Mudcats will help us achieve that goal. We look forward to working with our new partner in the Carolina League.”
The Mudcats are a member of the Carolina League’s Southern division. The team plays their home games at Five County Stadium in Zebulon, North Carolina.
“Having met with the Brewers, and in looking at their system, we are confident that we are getting an organization that is loaded with young, talented prospects that we feel will enhance our program” said Bryant. “We are very impressed with the Brewers in that they share with us a desire to develop young talent at the Minor League level.”
This is the first time that the Brewers will have an affiliate in the Carolina League.
Brandon Woodruff and Isan Diaz Named Recipients of the Robin Yount Performance Pitcher and Player of the Year Awards, Respectively
MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Brewers have announced the recipients of the 2016 Robin Yount Performance Awards, presented annually to the organization’s top Minor League performers. Right-handed pitcher Brandon Woodruff was named Brewers Minor League Pitcher of the Year, and infielder Isan Diaz was named Brewers Minor League Player of the Year. Woodruff began the season with Class-A Brevard County and finished with Double-A Biloxi. Diaz spent the entire year with Class-A Wisconsin.
“Brandon and Isan have made significant strides this season which resulted in outstanding results on the field, and we’re very pleased to recognize their hard work with this honor,” said Brewers Farm Director Tom Flanagan. “Their success is not only a credit to their efforts and dedication, but to the coaches and peers who helped them along the way. We congratulate both Brandon and Isan and look forward to their continued growth and development.”
Woodruff went 14-9 with a 2.68 ERA (158ip, 47er) in 28 starts combined between Class-A Brevard County of the Florida State League and Double-A Biloxi of the Southern League. The 23-year-old struck out 173 batters, which not only led the Brewers farm system, but all of Minor League Baseball. Joining the Shuckers on May 16, Woodruff led the Southern League in WHIP (1.04), opposing batting average (.211), highest strikeout rate per nine innings pitched (9.82), fewest base runners per nine innings pitched (9.66) and was among the leaders in ERA (3rd, 3.01) and strikeouts (4th, 124). He led the organization in starts and innings pitched, which were career-highs as well.
The Brewers 11th-round selection in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of Mississippi State University, Woodruff was a midseason All-Star in the Florida State League and was named Southern League Player of the Week in back-to-back weeks during the 2016 season (July 11-17 and July 18-24). In addition, Woodruff was awarded Brewers Minor League Pitcher of the Month honors after going 3-1 with a 0.29 ERA (30.2ip, 1er), 5 walks and 42 strikeouts in July. Woodruff was signed by scout Scott Nichols.
Diaz finished his first season in the Brewers organization batting .264/.358/.469 with 34 doubles, 5 triples, 20 home runs, 75 RBI, 72 walks and 11 steals. The 20-year-old led the organization in games (135), doubles, home runs, and RBI and was second in hits (134) and walks. Diaz hit .232/.309/.370 in 67 games in the first half, before batting .296/.404/.569 in the second half. He led the Midwest League in games, home runs, extra-base hits (59), total bases (238) and was among the leaders in walks (2nd), slugging percentage (4th) and RBI (T4th). The middle-infielder set new career-highs in almost every hitting category.
The 20-year-old Diaz was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks along with RHP Chase Anderson and INF Aaron Hill in exchange for SS Jean Segura and RHP Tyler Wagner on January 30. He was named a midseason and postseason Midwest League All-Star at shortstop and was honored with the League’s Player of the Week award for July 18-24. In addition, Diaz was selected as the Brewers June Minor League Player of the Month after batting .316/.393/.579 with 14 runs, 10 doubles, 5 homers, 20 RBI, 14 walks and 3 steals in that span. Diaz was signed by scout Mike Serbalik of the Diamondbacks, who has since joined the Brewers organization.
The Brewers farm system was recently named the top-ranked system among all 30 Major League clubs by Jim Callis of MLB.com.
(Yeah, I went there.)
The Milwaukee Brewers officially announced their group of September call-ups on Tuesday afternoon.
As I reported Monday evening, Taylor Jungmann is among those called up. Jungmann has worked hard to regain his form in the minors this season following his demotion on April 29.
“It was a process going through that, ” Jungmann told me. “It was a struggle. It was frustrating at times.”
He needed to rein in his mechanics to get himself through those frustrations, but the high altitudes in Colorado Springs were not exactly conducive. “I’m not even talking about that place, ” Jungmann said with a smile.
It got to the point with the Sky Sox where Jungmann was mentally beaten down. He was given some time off from the struggle to reset mentally by being sent to Maryvale and working with the group in extended Spring Training.
“I really think that was a turning point. I was glad that they allowed me to do that. It was a situation where I was struggling pretty bad, ” Jungmann admitted. “It was some time to really work on my mechanics and throw a couple of live [batting practices] where I could get in a situation where I wasn’t trying to compete too hard or overdo it or have to worry about results.”
When it was time to begin worrying again, the Brewers transferred Jungmann to Double-A Biloxi
“No. I wasn’t taking [the transfer] as a demotion, ” recalled Jungmann. “We kind of talked about it. We just wanted to get me…in a situation and environment where I could succeed. I think it was good for me.”
The overarching theme to Jungmann’s response are that he needed to get back to being himself. Being himself was good enough to compete in the big leagues once, after all.
“Really just trying to get back to who I am, not trying to be somebody else. Really just sticking with my mechanics and trusting them and just getting back to where I was and trusting it is the biggest thing.”
Jungmann admitted that he hadn’t yet had the conversations about what role he would play in September. Asked later, manager Craig Counsell said that at least over the next nine days, Jungmann’s role would be out of the bullpen but that he hadn’t made any decisions about the rotation beyond that. There is a chance some guys might reach innings limits and there would be a chance for Jungmann to possibly start.
The big Texan is worried about that just yet though.
“I’m just glad to be here, glad to get another opportunity to show that I can throw and get back to where I was.”
At a press conference held at Miller Park this morning, the Milwaukee Brewers announced plans for the “Give Back Game,” an event that is a major philanthropic endeavor to raise proceeds for great causes. With the Give Back Game, nearly all proceeds from ticket sales from the Brewers final home game on Sunday, September 25 against the Cincinnati Reds will be donated to charity.
Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger along with members from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, Make-A-Wish Wisconsin, The MACC Fund and the Wisconsin Humane Society were on hand to announce the details.
“Dating back to his first year of ownership of the Brewers, Mark Attanasio has always done something special for the final home game each year, an initiative to show his appreciation to our fans and the community,” Schlesinger said. “We wanted to do something at another level this year, and out of that came the idea of the Give Back Game. It’s not just a gift to the fans, it’s an opportunity to raise significant funding for these four great partners.”
Here’s how it works…
Starting immediately, fans can purchase tickets in person at the Miller Park box office, via phone (414-902-4000) or online by going to brewers.com/giveback. At the time of purchase, fans will be asked to choose between one of four charities for their donation to benefit:
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee
- Make-A-Wish Wisconsin
- The MACC Fund
- Wisconsin Humane Society.
Fans will be able to choose a ticket for $10, and can elect to contribute more in increments of $5 up to $50. (For donations of greater than $50, fans may call 414-902-4000.)
Tickets will be made available by level and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, beginning with Field Level, then on to Loge Level, Club Level and finally the Terrace Level. Fans can get the best seats in the house for a great price, all while helping local causes.
A portion of every presold ticket will also be donated to a general fund that will be split between the four participating charities. Season Seat Holders may contact their representative to specify which charity they would like their donation to go to.
After all of the fan donations have been made, the Brewers will contribute an additional $50,000 to the charity that generates the most donations. Regardless of the results, each charity will automatically receive a donation of $20,000 from the Brewers. Every ticket sold after today will result in those additional proceeds being added on top of that $20,000.
To help the cause, several Milwaukee Brewers players have teamed up with the four charities to help promote the game. Each player will use their social media platforms tweeting with the hashtag #GiveBackGame to promote not just the entire initiative, but also their specific charity’s involvement. Keon Broxton/Boys & Girls Clubs, Corey Knebel/Make-A-Wish, Tyler Thornburg/MACC Fund and Scooter Gennett/Wisconsin Humane Society.
In addition, media partners in the community have stepped up to help promote the effort, with each cause backed by a different media group. “Teammates” include The MACC Fund/620 WTMJ, 94-5 KTI Country and TODAY’S TMJ4; Make-A-Wish Wisconsin/FM106.1, V100.7, 97.3 NOW, 95.7 Big FM, News/Talk 1130 WISN and Big 920 Sports; Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee/FOX Sports Wisconsin; and Wisconsin Humane Society/WKLH, WHQG, WJMR and WNRG.