Takeaways from Brewers On Deck fan fest

MILWAUKEE — The offseason in Major League Baseball is sometimes filled with a lot of change, but for the Milwaukee Brewers, their “On Deck” fan event only provided a few surprises.

One of the most noteworthy observations from the event held at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee is that second baseman Scooter Gennett will be experimenting with several positions during spring training, mainly in the outfield. His playing time would be limited if he played solely at second base, due to newcomers Travis Shaw (third base), Orlando Arcia (shortstop), and Jonathan Villar (second base).

Gennett noted that he’s had limited experience as an outfielder, mainly in high school.

“I can catch a fly ball, I’m not saying it’s going to be easy,” Gennett told reporters. “I can catch a fly ball and I can run, so hopefully I’ll be able to adjust and if I’m needed in the outfield, I’ll be able to handle it.”

Another offseason storyline clarified at the event was the future of outfielder Ryan Braun. Braun was a big talking point last August when it was reported the Los Angeles Dodgers had nearly brokered a deal with Milwaukee that would have sent Braun to LA in exchange for Yasiel Puig and a top prospect. That deal fell apart minutes before the Aug. 31 midnight deadline and Braun has remained in Milwaukee ever since. Manager Craig Counsell revealed on Sunday that he never expected Braun to be dealt this offseason.

“I expected Ryan [Braun] to be back and I expected Ryan to hit third [in the batting order] and I’m very happy that I get to continue to write his name. I thought I’d always continue to write his name at third in the lineup. He’s played at a high level last year; he’s going to play at a high level this year; and he’s going to continue to…”

Braun will enter his 11th MLB season with $72 million remaining on his monster five-year, $105 million contract. The 33-year-old will make $19 million in 2017.

Additionally, principle owner Mark Attanasio revealed that he’s in discussions to purchase the club’s Class A affiliate, the Carolina Mudcats. That’s significant because it would allow the Brewers to control decisions about the farm system team without risk of it changing locations or being bought out by another club during contract negotiations. Milwaukee has parted ways with longtime affiliate, the Brevard County Manatees.

Report: Braun’s P.E.D. past is preventing trades

MILWAUKEE — An unnamed MLB executive told the Boston Globe this weekend that teams are unwilling to trade for Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun due to his ties to performance-enhancing drugs.

The Globe’s source also indicated that Braun’s remaining $76 million is a lot to gamble on a player with a past of P.E.D.s even if Braun were to never use again.

That report could explain why Brewers general manager David Stearns said last week that he expects Braun to be their starting left fielder for the foreseeable future, reiterating that stance on 105.7 The Fan on Wednesday:

“At this point, my expectation is that Ryan is going to be here next year and going forward. My general thinking right now is that if we were going to get a deal that was going to motivate us to move Ryan, we likely would’ve already gotten it. Obviously we need to keep listening, that’s my job, I generally answer the phone when other GMs call and want to talk about any of our players. Given the offers that have come to us at this point, and he’s still a Brewer, I expect that he’s going to be a Brewer going forward.”

Braun’s 65-game suspension served in 2013 didn’t stop him from producing, however. After overcoming thumb and back injuries, Braun returned to All-Star-caliber form, smacking 30 home runs, 91 RBI, and a batting line of .305/.365/.538.

Braun headlines Brewers 2016 season awards

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun was named the Most Valuable Player as part of a season-ending awards list released Monday by the Milwaukee chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Braun led the Brewers with a .305 batting average in 2016, adding a .903 OPS and driving in 91 runs.

The five-member panel selected Junior Guerra as the club’s Most Valuable Pitcher after leading the Crew with a 2.81 ERA and a 9-3 record.

Others earning recognition from the BBWAA were Jonathan Villar (Top Newcomer), Hernan Perez (Unsung Hero), and Chris Carter (Good Guy Award).

Villar and Carter were also considered by the panel for the MVP award.

Susac leads Brewers to season finale win

DENVER — Catcher Andrew Susac came through with a 10th inning home run to give the Milwaukee Brewers a 6-4 win over the Colorado Rockies in Sunday afternoon’s season finale.

There was nothing left to play for except for pride, and Susac chose his final at-bat of the season to launch his first home run. It ends Milwaukee’s season with a 73-89 record, much higher better than some analysts thought possible before the season started.

First baseman Chris Carter singled in the win, finishing the season with 41 home runs. That number not only paced Milwaukee for the season, but tied with Colorado’s Nolan Arenado for the best in the National League.

Ryan Braun didn’t play in the season finale, part of a plan to allow newcomers to get some playing time. He ends the season with a team-high .305 batting average, but his time with the Brewers may be limited after reports that the Los Angeles Dodgers would resume trade talks for the six-time All Star.

Milwaukee used seven pitchers in Sunday’s win, starting with Tyler Cravy. He allowed two hits and two earned runs before being replaced by Rob Scahill. Tyler Thornburg notched the win after one inning of relief in the eighth.

Braun discusses final home game as a Brewer(?)

MILWAUKEE — When he stepped up to the plate in the eighth inning, the cheers grew loud from the fans as Ryan Braun had perhaps his final swings at Miller Park as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers.

It was an ovation that drew a tip of the cap from Braun before striking out in the 4-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

“The fans here have treated me so well,” Braun told reporters after the game. “The love and support I’ve received here is as great as any athlete can hope to get from any fan base. People here, at least most of them, recognize there’s at least a chance that today’s my last home game as a Brewer. I’ve always appreciated the support. It means a lot to me.”

The Brewers finish the regular season with six straight road games before heading into an uncertain offseason. The Aug. 31 trade deadline fell just short of a blockbuster trade that would have sent Braun to Los Angeles as a member of the Dodgers, while Milwaukee would have received budding outfield superstar Yasiel Puig. Terms of the deal, including money exchanged, was reportedly decided before time ran out on the midnight deadline. Both teams have vowed to reconvene those talks this winter.

“Obviously that’s the closest I’ve ever come to being traded and it was an eye-opening experience. It made the last couple months for me a little bit more enjoyable here just to make sure that I took the time to reflect on everything and really enjoy the last couple months here just in case they’re my last.”

Those discussions with the Dodgers are part of a larger effort by the Brewers to not only shed some unnecessary weight of big contracts, but to build with a vision towards the future under general manager David Stearns. Braun knows that’s just part of the business.

 

Braun had some shining moments in Milwaukee:

  • Sept. 28, 2008 | Braun’s two-run home run in the eighth inning gave the Brewers a 3-1 win over the Chicago Cubs, clinching a National League wild card spot
  • Sept. 11, 2011 | Braun drives in three with a home run to give Milwaukee a 4-1 win over Miami to help secure a National League Central title
  • May 25, 2015 | Braun clobbers a 474-foot home run in 8-4 loss to the Giants, the fourth-longest home run in Miller Park history

But fans will likely always remember the betrayal they felt after Braun tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in December 2011. He successfully argued his urine sample had been tampered with, only to be found guilty during the Biogenesis scandal of 2013.

Whether trade talks resume between the Brewers and Dodgers remains to be seen. But Braun seemed pretty confident his time was up with the Brewers, the team that drafted him fifth overall in 2005.

Brewers open Reds series with 5-4 win

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers gave their fans plenty of excitement in a 5-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds Friday night to open Milwaukee’s final home series of the season.

First baseman Chris Carter started it off with a first-inning triple play, the Brewers’ second of the season. He’d continue his hot start offensively with a career-high 38th home run of the season.

Cincinnati’s Jose Peraza answered with a three-run blast in the fifth to give the Reds a 3-1 lead, but Milwaukee would score again on a bases-loaded walk in the sixth inning to cut the deficit to one.

Ryan Braun would deliver the game-deciding hit with a two-run single in the seventh.

Zach Davies gave the Crew five innings of three-run ball, while allowing seven hits. Tyler Thornburg gave up a run in the ninth, but still notched his 13th save in 18 attempts.

Braun’s two homers lead Brewers to sweep over Rockies

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin | If only the Milwaukee Brewers played all their games at Miller Park. The Crew improved to seven games over five hundred at home this season with a 7-1 win over the Rockies Wednesday afternoon.

Ryan Braun hit two homers | numbers 23 & 24 on the season.  His first was a solo drive off Tyler Anderson in the fourth inning. He connected for a two-run blast of Chad Quails during a four-run seventh.

The Brewers posted their first three-game sweep over Colorado at Miller Park since 2011.

Brewers starter Zach Davies (10-6) got the win giving up just one run in six innings while striking out eight.

 

Milwaukee starts a four-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park on Thursday night.

Brewers lose to the Cubs, also lose Braun, Anderson to injury

The Milwaukee Brewers believe that Ryan Braun avoided serious injury when he slid into an outfield fence Tuesday night at Wrigley Field.

The veteran left fielder was forced from Milwaukee’s 4-1 loss to Chicago when he suffered a sprained ankle and knee. He was able to walk off the field under his own power, and after the game Braun told reporters that all things considered, the severity of the injury was probably the best-case scenario. He added that they would know more on Wednesday, and depending on how swollen it is, they may do an MRI to determine if there is any ligament damage.

Braun wasn’t the only Milwaukee player to exit with an injury. Just two batters into his outing, starting pitcher Chase Anderson was hit in the left quadriceps with a line drive by Kris Bryant. Anderson said afterwards that he was stiff and sore but that there wasn’t much pain.

The loss of players mirrored the day on the field, as the Cubs took both games of the double-header. They held Milwaukee scoreless in the first game, winning 4-0, before allowing just one run in the night cap.

The teams will play the third game of their four-game series Wednesday night in Chicago. Jimmy Nelson (6-12, 4.07 ERA) gets the ball for Milwaukee, while the Cubs counter with John Lester (12-4, 2.93 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.

Braun’s big day propels Brewers to win over Reds

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin |  Have a day Ryan Braun! The Brewers leftfielder homered twice and drove in six runs, leading the Crew to a 7-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday afternoon at Miller Park.

Braun did all of his damage in the first four innings as the Brewers gave Wily Peralta a quick 6-0 lead. It was Braun’s 25th career multi-homer game and his second in the last eight games. Braun has homered 35 times against Cincinnati, more than any other player in the major leagues since his debut season in 2007. He also became just the third player in franchise history to record two 6-RBI games in a season, joining Jonathan Lucroy (2012) and Geoff Jenkins (2001).

 

Peralta (5-8) had a solid outing, allowing four hits, one run (earned) and a walk while striking out five over 100 pitches. It was the second consecutive solid start turned in Peralta since his recall from Class AAA Colorado Springs on Aug. 8, and his first victory with the Brewers since June 11.

Milwaukee is off Monday before opening a four-game series against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field with a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday.

Arcia hitless in Major League debut

SAN DIEGO — Top prospect Orlando Arcia got his first Major League start for the Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday night, going 0-for-4 at the plate in a 3-2 win over the San Diego Padres.

The 21-year-old shortstop went hitless in his debut, but made some plays on the defensive end that raised some eyebrows.

“I didn’t hit very well, but I was able to play good defense and we were able to get the win. It always feels good to win,” Arcia said.

Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun hit his 15th home run of the season in the sixth inning, followed by a two-run RBI thanks to Chris Carter. Braun offered his support of Arcia as he tries to live up to the hype of being one of Milwaukee’s three prospects in Baseball America‘s top eight.

“Easier said than done,” Braun said. “There’s a ton of adrenaline, a ton of emotion, a lot of thoughts that are running through your head. Hey, it’s even exciting for all of us to see a guy with his potential show up. It’s something we can all feed off of.”

The Brewers and Padres finish up the three-game series Wednesday at 2:40 p.m. CT.