Just prior to the close of the business day Monday, the Milwaukee Brewers announced six players as no longer being a part of its 40-man roster by way of outright assignment to Triple-A Colorado Springs.
New general manager David Stearns has been discussing his ongoing evaluation of the organization’s talent pool. Now almost a month into his official tenure, the first wave of changes are underway in earnest.
Five of the players could have remained under team control for 2016. Four of those five appeared in the big leagues in Brewers uniforms this season along with the sixth player who won’t be back with the club in any capacity.
- RHP Johnny Hellweg
- LHP Cesar Jimenez
- C Juan Centeno
- 1B Matt Clark
- OF Logan Schafer
- RHP Kyle Lohse (declared free agency)
Lohse’s declaration should come as no surprise given how his tenure in Milwaukee ended this year. All five of the outrighted players now also have the right to declare minor league free agency, though they could sign minor league contracts for next year should they choose to do so.
Despite a new man in charge and disappointing results following Tommy John surgery and rehab, you would think the Brewers would prefer retaining Johnny Hellweg on a minor league contract. They have, after all, put quite a bit of time and money into him after he was acquired as the second piece in the Zack Greinke-to-Los Angeles deal. Hellweg was also the Brewers MiLB Pitcher of the Year once upon a time.
Jimenez’s outright is probably the only somewhat unexpected move as he performed acceptably for the majority of his time in Milwaukee. That said, he’s certainly a veteran player who doesn’t have a ton of business on a rebuilding roster at the end of the day.
Centeno was passed over for a September call-up after appearing in 10 games early in the year. While it’s not a bad thing to have a third catcher on the 40-man roster, that spot is much more valuable this off-seaosn for Rule 5 Draft protection than for a guy who is inconsequential while there are no games being played.
After being sold a bill of goods never fulfilled, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Matt Clark look for his next opportunity elsewhere. He’s flashed a solid set of tools and I believe he could help a team at the MLB level. That said, at 29 years of age next season, he’ll be outside of the range wherein the Brewers would best benefit from his skills before they deteriorate.
As for Logan Schafer, he’s always been a great guy and he still plays top flight defense (when he’s sharp) but given where he’s at in his career against where the Brewers are in their rebuild, this one just felt kind of inevitable. Schafer is a solid 5th outfielder, in my opinion, but outfield just so happens to be one of the deepest positions in the organization right now both in terms of players currently on the 40-man roster and those hopefully on their way through the minor (Brett Phillips, Tyrone Taylor, Trent Clark).
The Brewers have plenty more decisions to make as the weeks and months pass following the completion of the World Series. For now, Stearns has decided he needs the room on his 40-man roster. After all, two of the spots would appear to be spoken for already as RHPs Jimmy Nelson and Michael Blazek will likely be reinstated from the 60-day Disabled List soon enough and will, as a result, fill two of the current openings.
Nelson and Blazek were reinstated from the 60-day DL on Monday as assumed. That officially puts the 40-man roster at 36 players with four open spots.
***END OF UPDATE***
Ron Burgundy may never have heard Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin,’” but David Stearns obviously has, and he’s willing to make the moves he deems necessary to regain Milwaukee’s footing in the ultra-competitive National League Central division.
Up next for Stearns? It could be a decision on whether to pick up the $8 million club option on first baseman Adam Lind. That decision must come by the close of business Wednesday.
BREWERS ON DECK TO INCLUDE OVER 50 PLAYERS, COACHES, BROADCASTERS & ALUMNI
Event to Feature Community Book Drive; Food Donations Accepted through Hunger Task Force
Nearly 50 Milwaukee Brewers players plus a host of alumni, coaches, front office executives and broadcasters are scheduled to participate in Brewers On Deck, which is set to take place on Sunday, January 25 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Wisconsin Center.
Advance tickets are $15 for adults and $9 for children 14 and under. Tickets on the day of the event are $20 for adults and $15 for children 14 and under. A portion of the proceeds from Brewers On Deck will benefit Brewers Community Foundation. Tickets may be purchased at the Miller Park ticket office, by calling the Brewers ticket office at 414-902-4000, or online at brewers.com/ondeck.
This year the event will feature a community book drive that will help support Next Door’s Books for Kids program. The goal of the Books for Kids campaign is to help all children in Milwaukee’s central city, regardless of their family income or education levels, have books they can call their own. Local author Marla McKenna will help host the event. Fans are encouraged to bring new or gently used children’s books to donate. In appreciation for their contribution, fans who donate a book will receive a free copy of McKenna’s newest publication, “Mom’s Big Catch,” a story based upon events that took place at Miller Park.
Once again food donations will be accepted through Hunger Task. Donations can be dropped off at two main entrances to the Wisconsin Center, located at 4th Street and Wisconsin Avenue, and 4th Street and Wells Street.
Players, coaches and alumni scheduled to attend include (all subject to change):
- Michael Blazek
- Ryan Braun
- Juan Centeno
- Matt Clark
- Clint Coulter
- Khris Davis
- Mike Fiers
- Scooter Gennett
- David Goforth
- Carlos Gomez
- Hector Gomez
- Brooks Hall
- Jim Henderson
- Jeremy Jeffress
- Taylor Jungmann
- Brandon Kintzler
- Corey Knebel (just added)
- Adam Lind
- Jonathan Lucroy
- Kyle Lohse
- Jimmy Nelson
- Gerardo Parra
- Wily Peralta
- Shane Peterson
- Jason Rogers
- Luis Sardiñas (just added)
- Logan Schafer
- Will Smith
- Michael Strong
- Tyler Thornburg
- Rob Wooten
- Darnell Coles (Hitting Coach)
- Joe Crawford (Video/Scouting)
- Matt Erickson (Timber Rattlers Mgr.)
- Mike Guerrero (1st Base Coach)
- Marcus Hanel (Bullpen Catcher)
- Rick Kranitz (Pitching Coach)
- Jerry Narron (Bench Coach)
- Ron Roenicke (Manager)
- Ed Sedar (3rd Base Coach)
- John Shelby (Outfield Coach)
- Lee Tunnell (Bullpen Coach)
- Jerry Augustine
- Cecil Cooper
- Craig Counsell
- Rob Deer
- Jim Gantner
- Larry Hisle
Brewers On Deck will feature a number of activities for the entire family. Autographs and photos from Brewers players, coaches and alumni; interactive games in the Kids Area; Q&A sessions and game shows with Brewers players, coaches and broadcasters; vendor booths with baseball memorabilia; Brewers Community Foundation’s Treasure Hunt, a 50/50 raffle, live auction and many other activities will all be a part of Brewers On Deck.
Details regarding autographs include the following: Recipients of “PREMIER” autographs (players to be announced next week) will be chosen through a random selection process. Each fan in attendance will receive one Premier Entry sheet which may be redeemed at the Random Selection area outside the Main Exhibit Hall of the Wisconsin Center District. The Premier Entry sheet will be exchanged for a numbered coupon to be entered into the random selection process for any one of the select Brewers players. Coupon distribution will be available at 8 a.m. the day of the event and will continue up to an hour before each designated autograph session. There is no cost for coupons to enter the random selection process; however, those holding winning coupons must pay $10 at the respective autograph stage to collect their player signature. There will be 250 winners for each of the autograph sessions. The winning ticket numbers will be posted at the designated autograph stage no less than 30 minutes prior to each player’s session.
Players and staff not included in the PREMIER autograph list will not use the random selection process. Each of these players will sign 250 autographs at prices ranging from free to $10. A schedule of players, their session times, and distribution info will be posted next week. The autograph opportunities are for signatures on photo cards provided by the team; the Brewers cannot guarantee that any player will sign other memorabilia. For additional information, visit Brewers.com/ondeck.
Autograph proceeds benefit Brewers Community Foundation. Please note that cash is the only acceptable form of payment for autographs. The Brewers cannot guarantee that any player will sign other memorabilia, and personalization of items is solely up to the discretion of each player.
A detailed schedule of all Brewers On Deck events will be released next week.
***UPDATE! Here is the schedule…***
Recipients of “PREMIER” autographs Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez, Jonathan Lucroy and Bob Uecker will be chosen through a random selection process. Each fan in attendance will receive one Premier Entry card which may be redeemed at the Random Selection area outside the Main Exhibit Hall of the Wisconsin Center. The Premier Entry card will be exchanged for a numbered coupon and entered into the random selection process for any one of the select Brewers players. Coupon distribution will be available at 8 a.m. the day of the event and will continue up to an hour before each designated autograph session.
There is no cost for coupons to enter the random selection process; however, those holding winning coupons must pay $10 at the respective autograph stage to collect their player signature. There will be 250 winners for each of the autograph sessions. The winning ticket numbers will be posted at the designated autograph stage no less than 30 minutes prior to each player’s session. A schedule is listed below:
PREMIER AUTOGRAPH SCHEDULE
Player Signing Time Stage
Bob Uecker 12:30 – 1:15 5
Ryan Braun 1:00 – 1:45 6
Jonathan Lucroy 2:30 – 3:15 3
Carlos Gomez 3:00 – 3:45 1
Players and staff not included in the above autograph list will not use the random selection process. Each of those players will sign 250 autographs at prices ranging from free to $10.
The autograph opportunities are for signatures on photo cards provided by the team; the Brewers cannot guarantee that any player will sign other memorabilia, and personalization of items is solely up to the discretion of each player (BOLD ITALICS – Premier Autograph).
Autograph Schedule – MAIN STAGES
10:30 – 11:15 Scooter Gennett ($10)
12:00 – 12:45 Logan Schafer ($10)
1:30 – 2:15 Mike Fiers ($10)
3:00 – 3:45 Carlos Gomez ($10)
12:30 – 1:15 Jim Henderson ($10)
2:00 – 2:45 Gerardo Parra ($10)
3:30 – 4:15 Will Smith ($10)
11:30 – 12:15 Adam Lind ($10)
2:30 – 3:15 Jonathan Lucroy ($10)
3:45 – 4:30 Wily Peralta ($10)
10:30 – 11:15 Brandon Kintzler ($10)
12:00 – 12:45 Rob Wooten ($10)
1:30 – 2:15 Khris Davis ($10)
11:00 – 11:45 Jimmy Nelson ($10)
12:30 – 1:15 Bob Uecker ($10)/Mark Attanasio ($0)
3:30 – 4:15 Jeremy Jeffress ($10)
11:30 – 12:15 Tyler Thornburg ($10)
1:00 – 1:45 Ryan Braun ($10)
3:45 – 4:30 Kyle Lohse ($10)
Players who are not listed above will sign free autographs on the Bonus Stage all day long.
Please note that cash is the only acceptable form of payment for autographs.
The 620 WTMJ Stage will broadcast live from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and will include interviews with Brewers players and coaches.
New this year, fans are invited to stop by the Social Media Stage for fun and games. Fans can also post their photos from the event to Twitter and/or Instagram using the hashtag #BrewersOnDeck for a chance to win prizes such as a trip down Bernie Brewer’s slide, game tickets and more. For contest rules, visit brewers.com/onDeck.
Children are invited to visit the Farm Teams Infield for free batting and hitting clinics scheduled throughout the day. Brewers alumni and players will be on hand for the instructional sessions. Kids can run around the field or try a quick game of ping pong with Brewers players.
Klement’s Main Stage Schedule
10:15 a.m. – Welcome – Brewers television broadcaster Craig Coshun will welcome fans to Brewers On Deck. The winners of the seven T-Shirt Friday designs will be introduced to fans.
11:15 a.m. – Meet the Coaches – Third base coach Ed Sedar will host a Q&A session with Brewers manager Ron Roenicke and his coaching staff.
12:30 p.m. – The Brewlywed Game – Brewers players, coaches, prospects and alumni will participate in a game show to see which pair really knows each other the best. Joe Block will host the show.
2:00 p.m. – Meet the Management and Newest Players – Brewers Chairman and Principal Owner Mark Attanasio, President of Baseball Operations – General Manager Doug Melvin, Vice President – Assistant General Manager Gord Ash will join the newest Brewers acquisitions – Corey Knebel, Adam Lind and Luis Sardinas – in a question and answer session with Brewers fans. The session will be hosted by Brian Anderson.
3:15 p.m. – Call to the Pen – Brewers players, coaches, prospects and alumni will participate in a game show, similar to Pictionary. Joe Block will host the show.
Several of the newest jersey numbers for Brewers 40-man rosterees were updated last night.
If you’ve read me for any length of time, you probably know what a number nerd I am by now. After all, these numbers are an impetus behind my annual countdown to Opening Day.
Without further ado, here are the number updates which also will be where you can find these players in said countdown.
Logan Schafer, who gave up his #22 when Matt Garza was signed during last year’s Brewers On Deck fanfest, now had to give up his #1 after the team retired it for outgoing commissioner and former owner Bud Selig. Schafer gets #7 for 2015.
Brooks Hall was listed without a number for a time but returns to the 63 he wore last spring as a new 40-man add.
Similarly, Taylor Jungmann returns to the 78 he’s worn as a past non-roster invitee.
David Goforth will wear #77 when pitchers and catchers report to Maryvale in his first spring on the 40-man.
Number 76 now belongs to lefty Mike Strong as he contends for a specialist role in the big league bullpen.
And now for the guys new to the organization…
Big off-season acquisition and new starting first baseman Adam Lind will wear the 24 used by Lyle Overbay last season.
Catcher Juan Centeno has been assigned #66.
Finally for these updates, shortstop Yadiel Rivera will don #65 in his first big league camp.
(As of this writing, new corner infielder Luis Jimenez and new outfielder Shane Peterson hadn’t been assigned a number…at least not ones that were updated on the Brewers website.)
My annual countdown to Opening Day will return for another season!
There has been some decent 40-man roster turnover since Spring Training. I mark the passage of time from (roughly) the turn of the calendar until Brewers Opening Day by previewing players who wear a certain uniform number on the corresponding day.
We’re 98 days away from Opening Day, so we won’t get underway on this thing quite yet, but once the countdown coincides with a jersey, you’ll see the first column go up.
I call the series “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” and it works a little something like this:
- Opening Day is April 6, 2015.
- March 29th is eight days before April 6th.
- Ryan Braun wears number 8 on his jersey.
- I’ll write an article reviewing Ryan Braun’s 2014 and looking ahead to his 2015 and post it on March 29, 2015.
Make sense? Here’s another example:
- Jonathan Broxton wears number 51.
- 51 days before April 6th is February 14th.
- I’ll post my Broxton column on February 14th.
I do a column on every player who is on the Brewers 40-man roster along with most Spring Training non-roster invitees. I’ll update this space with a full schedule once the uniform numbers for the newest 40-man additions are announced. I’ll update it again as non-roster invitees are revealed.
Thanks for reading and sticking with me this winter. BBtJN is a very popular series and I thank you for that. Stay tuned!
The Milwaukee Brewers have made what is at least their first round of September call-ups prior to Monday’s game in Chicago.
As I first told you on Twitter just before 10pm on Sunday night:
— The Brewer Nation (@BrewerNation) September 1, 2014
I went on to mention how much sense it makes to have a third catcher in the month of September. Just think back to how the Brewers utilized Yorvit Torrealba, and you’ll get the idea.
In order to clear a 40-man roster spot, which I mentioned they’d need, the Brewers moved infielder Jeff Bianchi to the 60-day Disabled List.
The only other true September call-up at this point is outfielder Logan Schafer, likely recalled a day earlier than he would have been due to the uncertainty surrounding the injured wrist of Carlos Gomez. Gomez said he felt a pop in his left wrist while swinging during an at-bat in the top of the third inning on Sunday afternoon in San Francisco. He was pulled from the game after awkwardly finishing his at-bat with a bad swing.
To Schafer’s part, he’s had a whole lot full of better looking swings since getting back in a groove due to his regular playing time with Nashville. When he was demoted following the acquisition of Gerardo Parra, Schafer went back to a .236/.349/.375 slash line in Triple-A. All he’s done is get hits in 19 out of his 23 games (including eight multi-hit affairs) and raised his slash line to .273/.356/.461 which is not an insignificant increase. Schafer still brings his glove with him which he might need early.
As for the other additions made official on Monday, while Jimmy Nelson is technically a September call-up (he was only officially with the Brevard County Manatees on paper while awaiting his scheduled MLB start Monday afternoon), the Brewers otherwise activated both Matt Garza and Wei-Chung Wang off of the 15-day Disabled List.
Garza is scheduled to rejoin the Brewers starting rotation on Wednesday in Chicago. He has been out since being pulled during a brilliant start against the St. Louis Cardinals back on August 3rd after straining his left oblique. The Cardinals came back to steal that one from the Brewers prompting Garza to say that they “dodged a bullet.” Hopefully it doesn’t take Garza long to round back into that same form. The Brewers are going to need him.
The Brewers probably won’t need much from Wei-Chung Wang though. Wang has been stretching out during his rehab assignment, most recently completing the longest outing (7.2 IP) of his professional career with the Brevard County Manatees. In it, he tied a career-high with eight strikeouts, something he hadn’t done since his first appearance in 2013 in the Pirates’ system. It will be good experience for Wang to be around a pennant push, though I wouldn’t expect him to pitch maybe at all in September. They’ve got more than enough arms to cover themselves and Ron Roenicke rightfully won’t exactly trust Wang with every pitch being so crucial over the next 28 days.
The other new face in the Brewer locker room on Monday is expected to be relief pitcher Jonathan Broxton whom the Brewers officially acquired from the Cincinnati Reds just after noon on Sunday. For more on that deal, check my write-up here as well as my short interview with Broxton’s agent.
Just a quick item to get those up to speed who might not have been made aware of the happenings over the past couple of days.
Decision Finally Forced on Braun
Ryan Braun was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday morning. The transaction is retroactive to Sunday, April 27th. That means Braun isn’t eligible to return until Monday, May 12th (an off day for the Brewers). He’ll miss the rest of this series against the Cincinnati Reds and both full series against the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks and the New York Yankees.
Hopefully Braun is ready to go on Tuesday, May 13th against the Pittsburgh Pirates, but having been given no real report on his progress in returning from a strained right oblique, we’re left to wonder and hope.
Return of the Mack
Taking my heading from his choice of walk-up music during home games, Logan Schafer was activated from the disabled list when Braun was placed on it Saturday. Schafer played a handful of games on a rehab assignment, some for Class-A Advanced Brevard County and then for Class-AAA Nashville before returning. He only slashed .133/.222/.200 in 26 combined at-bats, but the Brewers will appreciate getting his steady defense back on the field and his left-handed bat back in the lineup to spell Khris Davis. Davis is struggling pretty hard against right-handed pitching so far this season.
Schafer was originally placed on the DL after straining his hamstring while stretching in the on-deck circle before a pinch-hit appearance on April 17th.
Inflammation Sidelines Henderson
Jim Henderson, who hasn’t pitched in a save situation all season for the Brewers after velocity and command issues plagued him all spring, was placed on the 15-day disabled list following Thursday night’s game against the Reds. Henderson was diagnosed with right shoulder inflammation, which would help explain his reduced velocity in his appearance earlier that night.
The Brewers wanted to get a fresh arm up from the minors anyway — then ended up recalling Rob Wooten — so the timing ended up convenient to that end. Unfortunately it was quite the inconvenience to the outcome of the game as Henderson entered in a tied game and was eventually charged with five earned runs in a rare bullpen blow up.
Once Henderson is actually ready for a rehab assignment, expect the team to take its time in activating him. Given this opportunity, they’ll certainly want to make sure Henderson is finally healthy before rejoining the team.
Steady As She Goes
Tom Gorzelanny, who pitched very well when used out of manager Ron Roenicke‘s bullpen last year, required off-season shoulder surgery and is still working his way back. Gorzelanny still has not begun a minor league rehab assignment after suffering what was called “a little setback” during the second week of April.
Then expected to miss the balance of April, we’re now in May so the question is coming back around as to how Gorzelanny is progressing. With no rehab assignment announced, they’re still looking at a minimum of a couple of weeks.
Ladies and gentlemen, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news.
Some clarification on Carlos Gomez’s appeal. Gomez thought it was Mon., May 5. It is actually Fri., May 9, according to #Brewers.
— Todd Rosiak (@Todd_Rosiak) May 3, 2014
So yeah, basically all that other stuff I said at that link up there? Forget it.
Here’s the new basic fallout surrounding the Gomez appeal.
- Gomez will have his appeal heard during the day on Friday, May 9th
- Any suspension that remains (and it’ll be at least one game, and likely two) will likely begin being served immediately after the hearing.
- That would mean that Gomez would not play on Friday, May 9th against the New York Yankees.
- …and he could still miss the entire series against the visiting Bronx Bombers.
As for the roster situation, the need to get Logan Schafer back isn’t as immediate as it previously seemed. He’s still reportedly “on track” to return Saturday in Cincinnati, but it needn’t be at the expense of Ryan Braun taking a trip to the disabled list yet. Braun still has until that first game in the Yankees series to get healthy enough to play before Carlos Gomez will be lost and the Brewers could be back down to just two healthy true outfielders as they were Thursday night against the Reds.
Assuming everybody else stays at least as healthy as they are right now, then Schafer and left fielder Khris Davis will be starting once Gomez is suspended. If Braun still isn’t ready to play, then one would think that Caleb Gindl would be there to fill in.
Even if Gindl is optioned back down to Nashville tomorrow, he’d be eligible to return if Braun does ultimately wind up on the disabled list. Normally, for those not aware, you must spend a minimum of 10 days back down in the minors from when you are optioned before you’re able to be called back up. The exception is when said optioned player is recalled as an injury replacement.
Therefore, fellow Brewers fans, it’s best not to let the situation worry you and instead just react to whatever ends up happening. After all, this could be put to bed on Saturday if they simply keep Gindl and put Braun on the DL in order to reinstate Schafer.
The bigger worry is just how many games Gomez ultimately serves of a three-game suspension levied as punishment for the Easter Sunday skirmish.
Though, if Gomez gets all three and Braun is placed on the DL (retroactive to Sunday, April 27), then they could both miss the entirety of the series against the Yankees.
And that certainly wouldn’t impact the Brewers chances in a positive way.