Archive for the ‘Transactions’ Category

Brewers Re-Sign Gagne, (Update) Avoid Arbitration Hearing with Hart

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Second verse much different than the first.

Tom Haudricourt drops in some notes from camp and indicates Milwaukee has reached an agreement with Cy Young winner and former Brewers closer Eric Ggane. It is reported to be a minor league deal. Under those circumstances, Haudricourt speculates it to be a one-year, incentive laden deal.

I’d expressed my desire for Milwaukee to look into re-signing Gagne in previous posts. He’ll likely compete for a seventh inning or setup (eighth inning) role in the bullpen, and will provide significant depth in case of injury.

For those who hate this deal - see it as a chance to redeem himself and actually earn some of the $10M he was paid last year. Good going, Dougie!

Update (5:14 p.m.): Haudricourt also reports Milwaukee and Corey Hart have reached an agreement and will avoid an arbitration hearing that would’ve taken place tomorrow. No financials are known. I’m glad to see Doug Melvin’s hearing slate remain clean - even if it pretty much renders THIS useless now.

Brewers Acquire Nick Green, DFA Luis Pena

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Via MLB Trade Rumors…

According to MLB.com’s Lyle Spencer, the Angels removed pitcher Nick Green from the 40-man roster to make room for Bobby Abreu and Green was “promptly snapped up from waivers by the Brewers.”  The Brewers designated reliever Luis Pena for assignment to make room, says MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy.

Green, 24, posted a 5.32 ERA in 159 Triple A innings last year.  He had issues with hits and home runs allowed.  In their ‘09 Handbook, Baseball America said Green has a strong changeup but “lacks a swing-and-miss pitch” and “projects as a #4 starter at best.”

Snapping up Green seems to further address Milwaukee’s shortage of Triple-A arms. His 2008 numbers show he has some work to do before landing with the parent club, but he could spell an emergency spot starter or long man if absolutely necessary.

Pena, a 26-year-old RHP, is entering his ninth minor league season. He was a Triple-A all-star last season, but his numbers dwindled in the second half. He has 10 days to clear waivers - which he likely won’t. Hopefully another team agrees and offers at least low-level prospect to get him.

Braden Looper Contract Specifics

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

Well, it looks like fans can now fully voice their opinions.

Tom Haudricourt paints a slightly less vague picture of Braden Looper’s impending agreement with Milwaukee in his blog. It’s reportedly a 1-year/$4.75M deal with a mutual option for 2010. Haudricourt indicates Looper can opt to return to free agency after 2009, but if Milwaukee declines the 2010 option and Looper accepts, he’ll be bought out for a “much lesser number” [sic].

No specifics were given on how much Looper would make in 2010, or whether any additional incentives exist in the contract.

All in all, this looks like a pretty good deal to me - better than expected, even.

Brewers to Sign Braden Looper

Monday, February 9th, 2009

Following an offseason full of Looper to Milwaukee rumors and speculation, Tom Haudricourt is reporting that “the Looper signing is going to happen.” He indicates two sources have confirmed this rumor and the pitcher’s wife did not deny the signing when she was contacted.

The 34-year-old closer turned starter has a lifetime record of 58-58, a career 3.93 ERA and 103 saves on his resume. He went 12-14 with a 4.16 ERA for St. Louis last season. As this signing has yet to be made official, no concrete financial terms are known.

Keep checking here, and all around the capable Brewers blogosphere for updates as they come.

Update (2:51 p.m.): Haudricourt contacted Brewers GM Doug Melvin who all but confirmed the signing. Melvin said he was “optimistic” an agreement would be reached, which Haudricourt assumed meant the deal was just a passed physical from being official. The signing may be delayed until the end of the week.

Based on preceeding speculation on Looper, and the recent contracts of comparable veteran starters, I’d expect this to be almost certainly a 1-year deal, at a base salary between $4M and $6M. But who knows, it may be an incentive-laden deal, and the Crew could’ve snuck in an unforseeable player, club or mutual option beyond 2009.

Looper, as unsexy as the aquisition may be, would eat innings and at least keep Milwaukee in games. He’s also well-versed in NL Central opponents. Unless the fiscal specifics are way more than expected, I like this signing.

Brewers Trade for Chase Wright, Sign Ramiro Mendoza

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

Milwaukee acquired 26-year-old LHP Chase Wright from the Yankees today, surrendering catching prospect Eric Fryer to do so. Wright spent all of 2008 in the minor leagues, but pitched three games for New York in 2007, winning two.

He’s probably best known as one of only two pitchers in MLB History to give up four consecutive homeruns in a game. 

The Brewers may give him a shot at a spot in the back of the rotation, but I speculate he’ll spell depth at the Triple-A level, until injury or ineffectiveness in Milwaukee requires him to come up. He’ll fill the last vacancy on the Brewers’ 40-man roster.

Fryer, 23, hit .335 with 10 HR, 63 RBI, 15 SB and a .407 OBP in 104 games at low-A West Virginia last season, but seemed to be blocked both ahead and behind by the likes of Angel Salome, Jonathan Lucroy  and Brett Lawrie. Fryer will report to A advanced Tampa Yankees.

Milwaukee also signed veteran pitcher Ramiro Mendoza to a minor league deal. He’ll more than likely start stay in the minors unless needed.

Fielder to Sign 2-year/$18M deal

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Via Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee and first baseman Prince Fielder are said to have collaborated on a 2-year/$18M deal pending physical. No specifics are known as far as how much money will he’ll make in 2009 and 2010, but Haudricourt speculates it to be $7M this season and $11M next season.

Fielder was offered $6M in arbitration by Milwaukee, while he submitted an $8M request. If Prince has a decent year this season, this contract could potentially save Milwaukee a lot of money next season, as well as make him more appealing for teams interested in trading for his services.

Expect more updates as they come.

It’s Trevor Time in Milwaukee

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

Trevor Time is about to meet Miller Time.

If reports are true (AP, MLB.com, LA Times), the Brewers are about to sign all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman.

Pending the financial details, I’m thrilled with this signing.

More details as they arrive.

UPDATE (9:30 a.m.): The Brewers have sent Hoffman an offer sheet and are awaiting Hoffman’s agent to confirm the deal is finalized, according to Adam McCalvy. This should get done early today if there are no hitches.

UPDATE 2 (9:45 a.m.): Buster Olney just said on 540 ESPN that Hoffman has agreed to terms with Milwaukee and will become a Brewer.

UPDATE 3 (11 a.m.): Haudricourt says it’s a one-year deal worth $6 million plus up to an additional $1.5 million in incentives. There is a team option for 2010. The Brewers will not announce the signing until Hoffman passes a physical.

That’s about what I expected the financial terms to be. I think it’s a nice signing for the Crew. I hope we hear a lot of “Hell’s Bells” in Miller Park next year.

UPDATE 4 (12:45 p.m.): Haudricourt has an update and there is no club option for 2010. He adds that Hoffman will reach all of his incentives if he finishes 52 games this season and the incentives start kicking in at 35 games finished.

Randall “Sausage Assaulter” Simon in a Brewers’ Uni?

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

randall-simonFirst of all, how did we miss THIS? And secondly, could it actually be true?

The Sausage Assaulter himself will work out for the Brewers? Or already has? Now there’s an interesting hot stove rumor…

Simon last played in MLB briefly in 2006 for the Phillies, hitting .238 in 21 at bats. It looks like he was out of baseball in 2007 and played for the independent Newark Bears of the Atlantic League last year.

I’m not really sure what the Brewers would want with him. His upside seems to be as a September call-up defensive replacement (as he’s very solid defensively at first base). He had a couple pretty good seasons in MLB, but they were five plus years ago now. He is still just 33 so maybe he can turn things around for himself and earn a big-league bench role.

I’m sure Simon would be thrilled to get a job with any MLB team, but landing with the Brewers would almost be self punishment. He’s primarily remembered for the sausage incident in every MLB town, but in Milwaukee, that infamy is magnified 1,000 times over.

Here’s some video coverage of the incident to refresh people’s minds:

Simon did reveal some interesting information that I had never heard about the sausage incident in another Atlantic League Baseball blog post last year:

But nobody will remember the numbers. They’ll only remember the indelible image of Simon, leaning over the dugout railing, tapping a girl in a sausage suit with his bat.

If it seems innocent enough, it was. But a lot of people didn’t see it that way.

Suffice it to say, he never thought it would have turned out the way it ultimately did.

“I never in my life have tried to hurt anybody,” Simon said.

“It was something that really hurt me and my family. I never in my life had been arrested. I always promised to God that I was never going to have anyone put handcuffs on me. But God gave me the strength to put that behind me and move on. It was key for me to let that go and focus on baseball and not let that hurt my team.”

What people do know is that Simon unintentionally struck Mandy Block, who was wearing the sausage costume at the time, with his bat. What they don’t know is that Simon paid for the then 19-year-old and her family to take a vacation in his native Curacao for a whole week.

“I really thank her for the way she handled it. If it wasn’t for her, it would have been a lot bigger with no need,” Simon admitted.

Maybe if people knew the aftermath, that the 32-year-old went out of his way to make things right not because he had to, but because he wanted to, perhaps they wouldn’t make the comments they do.

Unfortunately, I’m afraid Simon would have a hard time escaping Sausagegate in the city it took place in.

What a crazy offseason…

“If You’re Into Evil, You’re a Friend of Mine”

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Trevor Hoffman? Of course, I’d love to see him in Milwaukee.

It seemed like Hoffman wasn’t about to give the Brewers the time of day earlier this offseason. And even if he would, the Brewers interest only seemed luke warm. So, I sort of erased him from the list of plausible options in my mind… Now that his agent seems to be listing the Brewers among two finalists, I’m all about having Hoffman here.

Yes, Hoffman is old (41), but I think the age argument is overblown. Hoffman is still pitching great (3.77 ERA, 1.037 WHIP, 30 for 34 in save opportunities in 2008). Plus, he was an All-Star in ‘06 and ‘07. And he’s a change-up specialist. Declining velocity will not effect him like it could most aging pitchers (and has not thus far).

But what about the fact that he’s pitched half his games in PETCO Park, a notoriously pitcher-friendly field? Also overblown. His park-aided career home ERA and WHIP stands at 2.52 and 0.97 respectively and his career away ERA and WHIP is 3.09 and 1.15. Looks like he can hold his own away from PETCO. Last season, his home ERA was actually 1.4 runs higher than his road ERA. I think the fact that he’s primarily a change-up pitcher negates some of the park effect too.

Hoffman should also be relatively affordable (around $7 million a year, I’d guess) on a short-term commitment (probably two years if they want to beat the Dodgers offer). That’s exactly what the Brewers should be in the market for. And he’s probably the best option out there now. Every available reliever has question marks and none have anywhere near the track record that Trevor Hoffman has. The guy is the freakin’ all-time saves leader. You can’t tell me his veteran presence in the locker room alone wouldn’t help the team. And I’m pretty sure every pitcher on the team could learn a thing or two from the man who is on pace to reach 600 career saves in the 2010 season.

But more than anything, the Brewers should sign Hoffman for “Hell’s Bells.” You have no idea how jacked up I’d get watching Hoffman trotting out to close games in Miller Park to bells ringing and AC/DC blaring. Classic.

 

 

In the end, a 41-year-old Trevor Hoffman is not K-Rod and he’s probably not even Brian Fuentes, but he is a hell of a pitcher and he’d improve the Brewers in arguably their weakest area. In an offseason that seems to be littered with bad news for the Crew, I’d take a Trevor Hoffman signing as an outstanding development. Bring him in, Doug.

Brewers Sign Nixon, Duffy to Minor League Deals

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

It has been reported that Milwaukee has come to terms with outfielders Trot Nixon and Chris Duffy. Both deals are of the minor league variety and come with invites to Spring Training.

Nixon, 34, has 137 homers over 12 seasons and is a career .274 hitter. Duffy, 28, is a speedster but was the odd man out (more like 5th outfielder) in Pittsburgh last season and spent considerable time in the minors - where he also struggled.

You have to figure at least one of these guys will spell Milwaukee’s last remaining outfield vacancy. Were these the lefties you had in mind?


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