Brewers extend Craig Counsell through 2023

Craig Counsell is already the longest active tenured manager in the National League. Now, thanks to a contract extension, he could be the longest tenured manager in Milwaukee Brewers team history.

The team announced that Counsell’s deal has been extended through the 2023 season.

“We are pleased to extend the contract of one of the best managers in the game today,” Brewers general manager David Stearns said in a statement released by the team. “Over the last five seasons, Craig has led our team with a passion and intelligence that has resulted in some of the greatest success in the history of the franchise. I am confident in Craig’s abilities to lead, teach and compete as we continue our mission of bringing a championship to Wisconsin.”

A Wisconsin native, Counsell played for Milwaukee in 2004, and then again from 2007 | 2011. He took over managerial duties in 2015.

Since taking control of the dugout, the Brewers have made strides towards establishing the team as an annual contender. Winning the National League’s Central Division in 2018, and making the playoffs in each of the last two seasons.

Counsell also released a statement on the contract extension.

“Leading this organization on the field continues to be a great honor and unique privilege. I am very proud of what we have been able to accomplish during a short period of time through our collaborative efforts, and look forward to what the future holds.”

Although he has yet to win the NL Manager of the Year Award, Counsell has finished second in back-to-back years.

Brewers sign 1B Justin Smoak

His last name is pronounced ‘Smoke.”

The Milwaukee Brewers have reportedly signed free-agent first baseman Justin Smoak. A lefty at the plate, Smoak hit just .208 for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2019 with 22 home runs and 61 RBI.

His one-year contract is worth $5 million, with a 2021 club option.

Smoak has 191 career homers, 85 of those coming in the past three seasons. He has 228 RBI in that span as well. In 2017 Smoak set career highs with 38 homers and 90 RBI.

In the last week, the Brewers have bolstered their roster with free agent acquisitions, adding outfielder Avisaíl García, infielder Eric Sogard and pitchers Josh Lindblom and Brett Anderson.

Ryan Braun is expected to see some time at first base this year as well, but the expectation is that Smoak will fill the void left by not-tendering Eric Thames.

Eric Sogard is Milwaukee’s latest addition

Mark Attanasio has some checks to sign.

After losing starting catcher Yasmani Grandal, third baseman Mike Moustakas and others in free agency this off-season, the Milwaukee Brewers have been actively adding talent to their 40-man roster.

Most recently, infielder Eric Sogard reportedly agreed to terms with Milwaukee on a one-year deal. Fans may remember him as “Nerd Power” from his stint within the Brewers organization from 2016 to 2018. A lefty at the plate, Sogard hit .290 last season with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 110 games

Another check goes for a reported $7 million in 2020, addressed to outfielder Avisaíl García.

Garcia hit a career high 20 home runs while playing for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2019, along with 72 RBI and a .282 average.

The underrated part of Garcia’s game may be his ability to defend. Via Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Brewers general manager David Stearns said Garcia will play predominantly in left field, but may see time in center on days when Lorenzo Cain is off for rest.

The addition of Garcia allows slugger Ryan Braun to make frequent appearances at first base.

Milwaukee recently added pitchers Josh Lindblom and Brett Anderson as well.

The team will continue to add talent, especially to the infield. Versatile First baseman Ryon Healy, currently rehabbing hip surgery, signed with the team. As did infielder Jace Peterson who is on a minor-league contract.

Per Haudricourt, the timetable on Healy is still uncertain, but he has minor league options left on his contract and will have a chance to make the big league roster.

In former Brewers news, utility man Hernan Perez has reportedly agreed to a minor league with the Chicago Cubs.

Brewers add another starting pitcher

The Milwaukee Brewers starting pitching rotation is starting to take shape for 2020.

Brett Anderson, who turns 32 in February, has passed his physical and signed a contract with Milwaukee, the team announced.

He pitched for the Oakland Athletics last season, posting a 13-9 win-loss record with a 3.89 earned run average.

ESPN’s Buster Olney was first with the contract number. Throughout his career, Anderson has collected $58.4 million in 11 seasons.

Milwaukee’s rotation now features returnees Brandon Woodruff and Adrian Houser plus new additions Eric Lauer, Josh Lindblom and Anderson.

Anderson is predominantly a ground-ball pitcher but has 682 strikeouts since making his major league debut in 2009.

Brewers re-sign Claudio, add infielder

As the 2019 MLB Winter Meetings are underway, the Milwaukee Brewers added two more players to their 40-man roster, totaling 34.

The name very familiar to fans is relief pitcher Alex Claudio. Last season he appeared in 83 games (62 innings) for Milwaukee, posting a 4.06 earned run average with 44 strikeouts.

Last week the team did not tender his contract, but reportedly was brought back on a one-year deal worth $1.75 million. Initially it was expected that he’d receive nearly $2.2 million in arbitration.

Welcome, Ronny Rodriguez

The team announced on Monday that they claimed the 27-year old from the Detroit Tigers.

Rodriguez has two years of major league experience and hit .221 with 14 home runs and 43 RBI last season.

Hello, old friend

Keon Broxton is back in the Brewers organization. The team signed their former starting outfielder to a minor league contract with an invite to big league camp.

Maybe he and Lorenzo Cain can have a home run robbing contest?

A shopping spree with Keston Hiura

Warning: The following may cause excessive amounts of holiday cheer and warm feelings.

Imagine yourself at 10 years old. You walk into a huge department store and you’re given $100 dollars to buy whatever your heart desires.

What item are you seeking out? What aisle are you sprinting towards?

The Milwaukee Brewers teamed up with Meijer and USO Wisconsin to make that shopping spree fantasy come true for 21 local children.

Kids were given a budget of $100 to spend on themselves, then an additional $20 to spend on a gift that would be donated to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

Members of the team’s front office staff, TV personalities, radio broadcasters and second baseman Keston Hiura walked around the aisles, helping these children fill carts with everything from legos, to stuffed animals, monster trucks and much more.

“I had a lot of fun,” Hiura said after helping his shopping partner, Riley, pack her bags in the checkout line. “Shopping is a fun thing to do, especially around the holiday times where you’re getting a gift for other people, or just in general getting Christmas or holiday things. It was a fun time to be around.”

Hiura and Riley started in the lego aisle, then moved to the arts and crafts section where she picked out some new construction paper and markers. There was a brief debate on which pack of markers to select, eventually going with the one that had “all the colors.”

The duo then went through numerous stuffed animal options before deciding on a two-foot tall unicorn named “Uni.” Hiura suggested a different name for the new furry friend, but Riley was set on Uni.

“I said ‘Can you name it Keston?’ and she said ‘Nah, I think Uni is better.”

They added books and another stuffed animal, to be donated to the Children’s Hospital, to the cart before making their way to the checkout lines.

“Growing up I always loved stuffed animals,” he said. “You always felt like you had a friend in them being able to take them around with you where ever you go.”

Hiura wasn’t there just to shop with Riley, however. One kid approached him asking which lego set to buy. Hiura’s advice was classic, telling him to get the one with more pieces.

Legos are still extremely popular, for parents possibly still doing some holiday shopping. That aisle was all the rage at Meijer during this shopping trip.

“This is really special,” Hiura added. “To be able to spend the night with Riley and a bunch of other children whose parents served or are currently overseas, it’s truly special to be part of.

“The sacrifice (the parents) who serve our country but also the sacrifice the children are giving as well, spending many days, holidays, birthdays away from their parents, it’s always nice to remind them that there are nice things in life and help them enjoy the night.”

This event was part of Meijer’s “Shop with a Hero” series, where children are paired with local athletes or first responders to shop for themselves and others.

It was obvious that the helpful Meijer staff was thrilled to have Hiura and the Brewers in their store as well. Especially when they broke out in laughter as one of the Johnsonville Racing Sausages decided to ride a Huffy Bike down a few of the aisles.

“We are pleased to partner with Meijer for a fifth year on this impactful program to support our military and their families,” Brewers President of Business Operations Rick Schlesinger said in a release sent out by the team. “The event helps bring a little bit more cheer to these children and their families during the holidays.”

Bill Schroeder, Sophia Minnaert, Jeff Levering and Lane Grindle also represented the organization and filled their kid’s shopping carts.

Hiura legitimately wasn’t there just to make an appearance either. He scanned items at the checkout, told Riley that he read ‘Captain Underpants’ and ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ when he was her age, and took time to learn about her interests. He also accepted a Spree flavored Candy Cane from one of the shoppers, then said thanks with a two-handed high five.

There were some excited shoppers who didn’t expect to run into one of Milwaukee’s rising stars during a quick shopping pit-stop on their way home. He made time to take selfies and shake hands with them as well.

As for the 10-year old version of Keston Hiura. Before he hit 19 home runs and 49 RBI as an MLB rookie. He had a lot of interests, but probably would have ran straight for the card aisle if given the opportunity.

“I was a big Pokémon fan growing up,” he said. “I liked stuffed animals, video games, legos, cars. It was kind of a wide variety. Definitely any kind of sports or anything like that.

“So it was fun to go on a little shopping spree.”

Brewers trade for catcher Narváez

“David Stearns, DO SOMETHING, ANYTHING!”

In essence, that’s the message Milwaukee Brewers fans have been shouting across their keyboards for the last 48 hours.

Thursday morning, their tunes changed slightly as reports surfaced that general manager Stearns was nearing a deal with the Seattle Mariners for catcher Omar Narváez.

Luckily, for his own peace of mind, Stearns doesn’t interact with fans via social media. But the resounding response to this trade seems rather favorable.

Milwaukee released a statement officially announcing the acquisition.

“Omar has established himself as one of the best offensive catchers in the game,” said Stearns. “We believe his bat will give us an impactful left-handed presence in our lineup.”

The left-handed batter is 27 years old and his contract is team controlled until the 2023 off-season. He hit .278 with 27 home runs and 55 RBI for the Mariners in 2019.

Next season he is set to make $2.9 million.

The Crew will also confirmed that they’ll send pitcher Adam Hill to Seattle in return.

Replacing Yasmani Grandal, especially defensively, is no easy task but the addition of Narváez is a step in the right direction. He’ll have the entire off-season and all of spring training to work with Charlie Greene, the team’s catching coordinator.

Manny Piña, David Freitas and Jacob Nottingham, all right handed, are the other catchers listed on the Brewers active roster.

Farewells

As Milwaukee welcomes new facers to town, former players have posted goodbye messages to their social media accounts.

Travis Show and Jimmy Nelson were two of five players non-tendered this past week.

https://twitter.com/Jimmy_J_Nelson/status/1202377329223315459

Zach Davies’ wife, Megan, posted an emotional departure from the city as well.

The list of Brewers departures this off-season is seemingly a mile long and include Eric Thames, Chase Anderson, Alex Claudio, and Junior Guerra.

Brewers tender Hader, Knebel and others

It was a busy day for the Milwaukee Brewers and general manager David Stearns.

The team had until 7 pm CST to officially tender contracts to eligible players, or non-tender them, allowing them to become free agents.

Shortstop Orlando Arcia agreed to terms on a one-year deal worth $2.2 million.

The Brewers also opted to tender and bring back pitchers Brent Suter, Josh Hader and Corey Knebel along with outfielder Ben Gamel. Gamel is on a one-year agreement.

Infielders Travis Shaw and Tyler Saladino along with pitchers Alex Claudio, Junior Guerra and Jimmy Nelson were all non-tendered and are now free agents.

Moose signs with Cincinnati

The Milwaukee Brewers roster will look significantly different next season.

Former third baseman Mike Moustakas has reportedly signed a four-year contract with the Cincinnati Reds. The deal is worth $64 million.

https://twitter.com/MLBNetwork/status/1201640180135927808

This off-season alone, the Brewers watched three of their free agents sign four-year deals elsewhere. Catcher Yasmani Grandal signed with the Chicago White Sox for $84 million, and pitcher Drew Pomeranz will make $34 million with the San Diego Padres.

Milwaukee did reach a pre-arbitration agreement with shortstop Orlando Arcia, he’ll earn $2.2 million with the club in 2020.

Moustakas undoubtedly made an impact during his time with Milwaukee, hitting 35 home runs last season.

Here’s a Twitter video reliving some of the “going, going, gone” moments.

Stearns addresses trade of Grisham and Davies

The Milwaukee Brewers officially announced their multi-player trade with the San Diego Padres.

General manager David Stearns dealt outfielder Trent Grisham and starting pitcher Zach Davies and in exchange two young controllable, pre-arbitration players.

Luis Urias played second base, but can move around to shortstop and possibly third base for Milwaukee. He’s 22-years old and was listed at the 16th best MLB prospect in January of 2019. In 83 MLB appearances he has six home runs, 29 RBI and hit .221.

Eric Lauer is a former first-round draft pick (2016) who was San Diego’s opening day starter last season and posted a 4.45 ERA for the season. The lefty is only 24 years old who reportedly has a full arsenal of pitchers but specializes in fastballs and cutters.

The aftermath

Stearns met with members of the media following the announcement of the trade and took time to explain some of the long term outlook for the team.

Via Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, Stearns didn’t mince words when discussing trading Trent Grisham.

“I want to make this clear, this is not a trade designed to move Trent Grisham,” Stearns said. “This is a trade designed to get multiple players that we’re very excited about.

“Trent is a good Major League player. The play I’ll remember Trent by is the leadoff homer in Miami the first game after Christian (Yelich) got hurt. That’s the play I’m going to remember. There’s no way we get to the playoffs without Trent Grisham. Until today I fully expected him to be a big part of this organization going forward.”

If you remember, a Grisham error against the Washington Nationals allowed them to take the lead in the playoffs.

Per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Stearns was very open about the production of their shortstop position last season as well.

““We did not have good shortstop production last year,” he said. “We have been open about that. For us to ultimately do what we want to do and be the type of team we want to be, production from that position needs to improve.”

For those wondering if this trade has an impact on Keston Hiura at second base.

Former Brewers on the move

Former Brewers relief pitcher Drew Pomeranz signed a 4-year contract with the Padres, who obviously had a busy day. The deal will reportedly pay out a total of $34 million.

First baseman, and former all-star, Jesus Aguilar was designated for assignment by the Tampa Bay Rays.

Infielder Jonathan Villar was placed on waivers by the Baltimore Orioles.