Posts Tagged ‘Free Agency’

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.

“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.

Melvin, Moyer and Me: A Dream Realized

Friday, December 12th, 2008

I can see it now, and it's beautiful!

With CC Sabathia having signed elsewhere, Ben Sheets basically told to sign elsewhere and seemingly no immediate front of the rotation pitching help on the way to Milwaukee from the nearly completed Mike Cameron trade, it’s time for Doug Melvin to further submerge his toesies into the free agent pitching pool.

Luckily, the starting pitching options seem numerous and qualified, even with some of the class signing or approaching agreements in past week. And of the names that so elegantly made their way past Melvin’s brillowy lip piece and into the public ear, it seems The Man, The Myth has sized up Milwaukee’s pitching needs to be something in a 40.

Melvin told JS’s Tom Haudricourt yesterday that John Smoltz, Jamie Moyer, Randy Johnson and Randy Wolf are on his radar. And, though it might make our resident mathemagician die a little inside, I’m straight up pitching a tent over Douglas’ professed interest in one of my favorite pitchers, Jamie Moyer.

Yeah, I know the Phillies are heavily interested in re-signing him. And yes, I am aware that his interest to remain in Philadelphia is mutual on his belhalf. But if there is a way, if there is a chance of this happening, then I am all aboard the good ship seasoned vet – one Jamie Moyer my preferred team’s rotational Captain.

Oh Captain, my Captain! I pray he hoists the sturdy sails of his staunch 4.19 lifetime ERA, his World Series ring, 246 wins and 22 annuals of quality moundsmanship and allows those things carry him Westward to the shores to Lake Michigan for a period no shorter than two years ($15M plus performance bonuses?). And I hate old players, but I don’t know why… Jamie Moyer is my kind of pitcher. I want to grow old(er) with him.

I don’t care that he’s older than my dad. I could give half a shit if he was drafted before I was born or that he preceded the invention of saltwater taffy. I can almost guarantee that in his youth, Jamie Moyer would walk to school shoeless, uphill for 20 miles to get to the schoolhouse. But can’t you see, none of that matters anymore!

I can take the disappointment of losing Carsten; I can even force myself to recognize that Milwaukee is probably worse off sans broken ass Ben Sheets and manage to persevere. But I can’t imagine a scenario with Milwaukee neglecting to make a formal offer to Jamie Moyer that makes a lick of sense after the week that was. If Melvin can find 15 minutes to free his balls from the workbench vise of this Cameron trade to get Moyer on the (undoubtedly rotary) phone to talk Brewerhood, I suggest he does. And if Moyer knows what’s good for me him, he’ll come to Milwaukee.

Brewers Swindle Canadian Reliever

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

Terrible headline. But possibly a good low-risk signing by Milwaukee today in acquiring 25-year-old left-handed Canadian relief pitcher R.J. Swindle. The Brewers signed Swindle, Brett Lawrie’s teammate on the Canadian Olympic team, to a Major League deal.

In 53 innings in AA and AAA last season, Swindle went 3-1 with a 1.53 E.R.A., 67 Ks and just EIGHT walks in 38 appearances. In fact, Haudricourt notes Swindle has issued just 25 walks over 194 minor league innings in parts of four seasons. He’s struggled in his three Major League appearances - posting a 7.71 ERA with Philly last season, but that is a very small sample size.

To be honest, I don’t know much about Swindle, but in the few articles I’ve read since learning of the signing, I like the move. I can’t find anything concrete on the monetary figures, but you have to assume it’s quite a bargain based on Swindle’s experience. This acquisition may spell Brian Shouse, who’s said to be on the radar of a few teams already.

He is said to be a finesse pitcher who throws a 55 mph curveball - another reason I’m excited to see this guy pitch come spring.

RFB Offseason Roundtable - Free Agents?

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

This Week’s Topic: What non blue-chip free agents should the Brewers go after?

Tyler -

Free agency is a magical time where destinies are revised, teams once declared non-threats now lead the pack, and shirt jersey sales for a franchise’s newest member are comparable only to that of personalized No. 69 “Big Sexy” apparel. As a Brewer fan, one becomes accustomed to zooming past the flashy new products in store and, instead, sifting through the thrift store bargain bin for a misplaced Talking Heads record that is an affordable yet useful and even entertaining free agent tool.
To keep my picks shorter than my epic introduction, I’ll list a pitcher and a position player along with some benefits to Milwaukee acquiring their services.
Starting Pitchers:
Jon Garland – This 29-year-old would be a prime candidate to sign should Milwaukee want a long-term resolution to a lack of top of rotation-type hurlers on staff.
- He averages just below 32 starts a year… about 35 games/year.
- He’s coming off a not-so-hot 2008 so might be more of a bargain than initially expected.
- Career 4.47 E.R.A. (all in the American League).
Reserve:
Eric Hinske – I know I sound like a broken record with my odd adoration for Menasha’s (other) wunderkind. But with Craig Counsell’s (awesome) exit at least for the time being, a player like Hinske would be a versatile and effective piece for Milwaukee. The only hole in the starting lineup is third base which – if not addressed internally by moving Hardy or by a trade – won’t be given the relatively barren market at the position. Might as well fill in the bench.
- Left-handed bat with some pop (20 homers, 60 RBI in part time play last year).
- Not great numbers, but all obtained as a member of competitive AL East teams; I’d assume a slight j ump in numbers with a move to the NL.
- Can play decently (no worse than Hall or Fielder respectively) at either corner infield spot and legitimately well in the outfield.
- Flashes of speed for a guy his size… or plain good base running, call what got him 10 swipes in limited time last season what you will.
- Cheap. And with a possible return to the motherland, maybe even more affordable. He’s not a flashy choice, or even the best choice. But try to find better for the money along with the knowledge of exactly the production you’ll get.

What’d you want me to say, A.J. Burnett and Joe Crede? Unless by way of trade (which I see as likely), I don’t see Milwaukee making any splashes in free agency. Hunker down for a quiet winter in Brewland.

Jared -

As the Brewers look to fill holes this offseason, they’ll likely look at starting pitching, relief pitching, third base and the bench.


Third Base - The options at third base in free agency do not appear to be great and the team may end up handing the job to prospect Mat Gamel if they can’t find a third baseman via the trade market.

Starting Pitching - The starting pitching field is deeper in free agency, but expensive. The Brewers are likely to lose Ben Sheets and C.C. Sabathia. Getting a full season of Yovani Gallardo would help, but they could still use another arm. If they don’t work a trade, I think Jon Garland would be fairly inexpensive (compared to the top free agents) and could be a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter. A rotation of Gallardo, Parra, Garland, Bush and Suppan would not blow anyone away, but it would be relatively solid. I think they should also look to sign Chris Capuano to a minor-league deal so he can rehab and be an option a month or two into the season.

Relief Pitching - While there are a glut of closers available via trade or free agency, I don’t think the Brewers want to spend much in a swap or in a contract on a 9th-inning man so they may look for a closer internally. If they go with that approach, it would be smart to bring in some reliable bullpen arms. Brandon Lyon might be someone they look towards. He has been a fairly reliable bullpen option and even has some closing experience. They should also look to resign Brian Shouse as their lefty specialist.

The Bench - The Brewers need a utility infielder and may bring Craig Counsell back, but I think they should make a run at Mark Loretta first. Loretta might get an offer for a starting job and then he’s probably not coming to Milwaukee. Loretta is a valuable player off the bench because he can play first, second, third and shortstop and he puts up decent hitting numbers. He could probably count on hitting the field a lot in Milwaukee too since there are some question marks at second and third and he’d be the top option if Weeks, Hardy or whoever is playing third go down.
So, recapping, I’d say Garland, Lyon, Shouse and Loretta would be a good group of less costly vets to target to round out the team. They might not be flashy choices, but they’d help fill out depth on a young team.
Bryan -
With the Cubs making a push for Peavy and the Cardinals waving both Rick Ankiel and Ryan Ludwick as trade pieces, the Brewers can’t afford to be completely dormant this offseason. Third base is a concern, but the free agent crop is very thin at third this offseason. I’d be alright with the Brewers giving Hall another shot while having Gamel in the background getting ready. I actually would like to see Nick Punto playing the role Craig Counsell has the past two years if the Brewers could get him. Hopefully Ray Durham can re-sign with the Brewers as well, providing veteran leadership and an insurance policy for Rickie Weeks.
I actually liked the scheme the Brewers took to their bullpen last season, which was aquiring veteran arms to one year deals. I thought Gagne was risky (not Riske), but when I saw that he was backed up by Mota, Riske, Shouse, and Torres, I felt much better. We now have Riske, Villa, and Stetter in the pen (with the possibility of McClung and others), but we need someone to close. This is why the Brewers need to get an offer out to Brandon Lyon. He’s young and has been a closer, but lost his job halfway through the year (much like Cordero). Hopefully the Brewers can re-sign Shouse to a deal, because he has been a great professional in Milwaukee and it’s always nice to have two lefties in the pen. Braden Looper is also an interesting option. He was a starter last year, but has relief and post season experience.
The Brewers also need one starting pitcher. I hope, like most of you, that Sabathia will take the Brewers offer, but that would be pure gravy and is not very likely. If they don’t land one of the biggest free agents in baseball this offseason, they shouldn’t feel helpless. Jon Garland would be a great addition. He’s a hard working pitcher that you can count on. However, I don’t think he’s coming. I actually would take Carl Pavano. I think New York had too much media and too many high standards that the Brewers could sign him to a one or two year deal. I know he may be considered blue chip, but it’s worth noting that there has been an eerie silence on the Ben Sheets front as well, which makes me think that they could possibly bring him back as a starter or closer, but that’s still about as likely as landing Sabathia albeit slightly more likely in my opinion. No matter what happens in free agency, the Brewers shouldn’t feel the need to bring in a long term contract which effectively makes any free agent acquisition less of a risk.
For those of you keeping track at home, that’s 3 for 3 for Jon Garland, a mention of former Brewer Mark Loretta, but no mention of former Brewer Glendon Rusch. Anyone else wanna throw some mac and cheese on the hot stove?

Unpopular Opinions: Penny, Hinske, Pavano

Thursday, November 13th, 2008


Most every Brewer fan would like seeing CC Sabathia back in Milwaukee. Some see an actual possibility for the Brewers to trade Rickie Weeks for Garrett Atkins after trading Prince Fielder for Phillip Hughes and Robinson Cano. And still others are dead set on countless other blockbuster trades or free agent acquisitions in this Brewers offseason. Not to be the first to kill the collective buzz, or pour dirt in the Kool-Aid from which the fan base as a whole is presently sipping – but there is the glaring probability that none of the superstars you wish signed or traded for end up as Brewers.

“Unpopular Opinions” are just that, pessimistic, Armageddon, doom’s day-esque sad faces drawn on the Brewers (a realist’s view). So before blowing up the comment box, know that these opinions and suggestions, unpopular as they may be, are to be set aside for if – and ultimately when – the more glamorous possibilities have been unfruitfully exercised.

Brad Penny – Brewers ace?:
While Derek Lowe has many teams licking their lips, his Dodger teammate Brad Penny is also available. Penny’s club option was declined, making him a free agent. He’s coming off his worst and most injury-riddled season of his career, but prior to that Penny was a great, arguably top-tier hurler. At 31, he can safely (and due to bad season, affordably) be inked to a multi-year deal (3-4 years?). And, unlike Type-A free agent Derek Lowe, Penny is a Type-B.

Hinske homecoming:
I know I lost a lot of you at “Hinske,” but hear me out. With Craig Counsell’s option being declined and Joe Dillon shitty/in Oakland, Milwaukee is again in need of a super-utility kind of player to lend versatility of not being terrible at numerous positions, preferably with the ability to bat left-handed. Hinske fills that need, as he can man corner outfield, first base and third base proficiently. As far as the offense goes, he clubbed 20 homers and 60 RBI in fewer than 400 ABs last season… and stole 10 bases! This Menasha, WI native and former AL Rookie of the Year was signed to a minor league deal by the Rays in 2008, and I’m sure wouldn’t demand too high a bounty if it meant a belated homecoming, and first season outside the AL East.

No, the other oft-injured former Marlins pitcher…:
Carl Pavano hasn’t pitched more than 200 innings in a season since 2004. Since that time frame he signed a HUGE contract, both had and lost Alyssa Milano, was hurt in various oddball ways and became the poster boy for worst case scenario outcomes for free agency. All that makes him a perfect acquisition for Milwaukee… well maybe not the Alyssa Milano thing. If the Chris Capuano career reclamation process goes awry, why not bring in Pavano with the spare change and food scraps Doug Melvin picks out of his moustache? Think a higher upside, lower risk and cheaper Kyle Lohse signing by the Cardinals in 2008, and we’re on the same page. If anything, Milwaukee is left with a cute long reliever that ugly girls from West Bend can make homemade shirts about.

Doors can be closed from inside too:
Remember when the Brewers signed Derrick Turnbow to a boisterous multi-year pay day? You know, the contract those cactus league nachos you’ll buy next July will still help pay off? Or do you remember how everyone whined and cried about paying Eric Gagne $10 M to stunt double for Seth Rogen and give Milwaukee negative attention? Long story short, closers can be purchased, but they can also be made from scratch. Why waste way too much money on K-Rod or Brian Fuentes? Why sent players to Colorado for new Rockie Huston Street? Promote from within. One of Seth McClung, David Riske, Carlos Villanueva or Mitch Stetter is bound to stick and make the role his to lose. Once the most overrated and short-lived position is addressed from within, the more important middle and/or situational relief spots can be solidified via trades or free agency. Without unsung pitchers to hold the lead or keep their team in the game, a closer – no matter how marketable his name may be – doesn’t mean much.

That’s it for the unpopular opinions, but keep checking – I’m bound to have more.

RFB Offseason Roundtable - Priority Number 1

Friday, October 24th, 2008

This week’s topic: What is the Brewers top priority this offseason?

 

Jared - 

 

I’d say hiring a manager is priority number one because it effects all of the other offseason questions.

 

CC would not sign a deal with the team without knowing the manager. JJ would not sign a long-term deal without knowing who was in charge. The new manager will likely have a say in if he wants to roll with Gamel and/or Escobar next season. You get the point…

 

Truthfully, I think Melvin has already made his decision on the manager (and my gut says it’s Macha), but he has to wait until the Series is over to make the announcement. After the announcement is made, it will put the dominoes in motion for the rest of what will be a very important offseason.

 

Tyler - 

 

To me, priority number one is getting some pitchers. It still seems doubtful the Brewers can sign Sabathia and almost as doubtful they bring Sheets back in, so obtaining another pitcher either in free agency or by way of trade is paramount this offseason.

With the exclusions of the possibly departing afore-mentioned free agents the rotation is probably Gallardo, Suppan, Bush, Parra and one of McClung/Villanueva/Capuano (some uncertainties with Cappy). I’d personally love to see the Brewers fill in that one sizable uncertainty with a servicable and affordable ace or, more realistically, a number two guy.

I like Derek Lowe a lot, and I hear his teammate Brad Penny may not have his pricey $8.75 M ‘09 option picked up by L.A. Otherwise, if not giving up too much to do so, Matt Cain would be a huge pickup. In the less impressive but still well worth looking into department, as I write this (Tuesday morning) the Orioles just released struggling youngster Adam Loewen. Loewen is Canadian so you know he’s present somewhere on Melvin and Ash’s big board. A low risk, short-term and affordable signing such as the Cardinals did with their $5 M deal with Kyle Lohse might pay off for a team with Milwaukee’s payroll.

Other realistic, decent and somewhat affordable starting pitching options on the free agent market IMO are players like Jon Garland, Jamie Moyer and, you’ll laugh… but here it goes, Carl Pavano - who stepped it up late in 2008, and can be signed at an absolute bargain basement price. Whoever it is and whichever method is taken to make it happen, I feel that securing at least one top half of the rotation starter is the most important gap for Milwaukee to fill this offseason.

 

Joe -

The Brewers have a hand full of holes to fill. They need a new manager. Getting a true lead-off man would be fantastic, as would adding a bullpen arm. In my opinion, it’s pretty obvious what the Brewers number one priority is getting a top of the rotation arm to compliment Yovani Gallardo.

There are a few ways to accomplish this, the most obvious being signing CC Sabathia. Call me Mr Negative, but I just don’t see it happening. The only way the Brewers sign CC is if he really would take four years for $100 million, but even that could cripple a small market team like the Brewers.

I think a trade for a solid young arm is far more likely. I felt pretty good about the likely hood of the Brewers trading for Matt Cain, but lately I’ve been thinking that is less and less likely. I have a feeling the Giants will be asking for too much. Would I trade JJ for Cain straight up? Absolutely! Prince for Cain? I think so. But sorry Mr Gammons, JJ and Prince plus possibly another player for Cain is just too much. Did you mean to say little Timmy Lincecum? I didn’t think so. (Please see the Brewmors page for many more trade rumors)

Obviously there are other means in obtaining another solid starter, but I think those are the two most likely of situations. I expect the trade and free agent signing rumors to start getting really heavy after the Brewers hire their manager and as the Winter Meetings edge closer. No matter what, this will be a fun and interesting off season.

 

Bryan -

I’m sorry if this bounces all over. I saw Los Lonley Boys sing the National Anthem and became befuddled. Is that the best MLB could bring to Tampa? Aren’t they from Texas or something? Is it World Series 2K4?

Anyway, I think it’s amazing how much things change in a year. In July, I had a couple friends tell me that signing Corey Hart to a long term deal is the most important priority for the Brewers. Well, no one is really talking about that anymore, are they?

The Brewers top prioirity this offseason is pitching. No question. The manager could be Connie Mack back from the dead and it wouldn’t matter if this team does not address their pitching needs. First of all, C.C. They will give him an offer. That priority is going to handle itself. C.C. will either choose the fun he had in Milwaukee and stick around for 4 years, or take the 6 year mad jack that the other teams are going to offer him. Ben Sheets basically has said he doesn’t think he’s coming back. Some have stated they’re fine going in with Yovani and Manny as 1 and 2, but we all saw what happened with Manny at the end of his first full year. It wasn’t pretty. It could happen to Yo as well. The Brewers need a strong starting pitcher. Derek Lowe is a big name floating out there. I think Lowe is getting old. Don’t believe me? He was drafted in the same class as Paul Byrd and Brad Radke. He had a good couple seasons in LA Land, but he could turn out to be Jeff Suppan with a sinker. The Giants believe Matt Cain is an ace and should get that amount returned to them. Matt Cain may be stuck on a bad team, but I don’t believe he’s earned the status of “ace” quite yet. Tim Lincecum is an ace, Matt Cain is a very good pitcher on a bad team.

So what to do? The Brewers need to either make one dynamic signing/trade or do what they did for the bullpen last year. Make some one to two year signings and see who pans out. Worked for the Cardinals, they keep picking up arms in low value and they do well for one year (see Jeff Weaver and Kyle Lohse). Might not be good after the one year, but that’s all we’re asking for to make sure that Yovani and Manny will be strong enough to pitch an entire year.

The bullpen is a concern again this year. Will Salomon be back, and if he is, will he be the Salomon of May-August? Or will he be the Salomon of September-October? Will Mota or Gagne be back? If not, who fills in those spots? We need to answer those questions otherwise we might have to bring Turnbow back. Is Shouse going to retire? The only things I like about the bullpen right now are Carlos and Mitch. Riske should be better, but after that who is going to be around that has experience? These are the questions that make this the top priority.

 

Your turn, what do you think the Brewers top priority is?

Brewmors

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

Editor’s Note: The Brewmors post has grown beyond a simple blog post. It was just too big. So, we’ve created a whole page dedicated to the Brewers’ trade and transaction rumors and speculation. You can check it out HERE. Bookmark the page. In the future, we’ll include a link to it when we discuss free agency or trades and you can also click on the link to it under “RFB Features” in the sidebar on the right.

We’d love your help too. If you find a link to some new tidbit we haven’t put on the site yet, e-mail it to jared@rightfieldbleachers.com.

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