Brewers’ Davies: “Winning is NOT the ultimate goal”

MARYVALE, ARIZONA | I have to admit I was surprised when Brewers SP Zach Davies’ told me..

OK so he admits the Brewers goal this season is not to win. They’re most likely not going to contend for a trip to the World Series.

However Davies understands the Brewers fans’ perspective. He knows they want to see a winner sooner rather than later

Hey, let’s be honest. You didn’t really think the Brewers were going to win it all this year did you? I’m actually fine with one of the teams’ cornerstone players telling it like it is. Barring an injury or a complete meltdown, Zach Davies will be in Milwaukee for some time. He’s part of the future. And he has the pulse of the community and Wisconsin.

My advice? Embrace it. Take it for what it is. Because, as Davies told me, eventually the Brewers are going to be a great ballclub. Just not this year.

Chase Anderson loses arbitration case against Brewers

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Chase Anderson was hoping to head into the 2017 season already with a win under his belt, but it was revealed on Tuesday that he had lost his salary arbitration case against Milwaukee, and will make $2.45 million this season.

Anderson was hoping to make $2.85 million, but when the Brewers didn’t budge from their suggested salary of $2.45 million, the case was sent to an independent arbitrator.

While it wasn’t revealed what factored into the decision to rule in favor of the Brewers, Anderson’s 2016 numbers likely played a role. After coming to a hitter-friendly Miller Park from Chase Field (one pitchers are more in control), Anderson’s numbers took a slight dip. He averaged a 4.18 ERA in his two seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks, but just a 4.39 ERA in Milwaukee. He gave up 1.1 home runs per nine innings with the D-Backs to the 1.7 he allowed with the Brewers. His strikeout: walk ratio also declined, from 2.70 to 2.26.

Anderson is among seven pitchers hoping to make the five-man starting rotation.

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.

Brewers sign free agent reliever Neftalί Feliz

MILWAUKEE | The Milwaukee Brewers have signed free agent right-handed reliever Neftali Feliz to a one-year contract.

“We are excited to add a pitcher with Neftalί’s stuff to the back end of our bullpen,” said Brewers General Manager David Stearns. “Neftalί has a long pedigree of getting high leverage outs, and we believe he has the capability to help anchor our young relief corps.”

Feliz, 28, owns a career record of 19-14 with a 3.22 ERA and 99 saves in 308 games (7 starts) during his Major League career with Texas (2009-15), Detroit (2015) and Pittsburgh (2016). He went 4-2 with a 3.52 ERA and 2 saves in 62 relief appearances for the Pirates last season.

The 2010 American League Rookie of the Year produced 40 saves that season, which ranks second all-time among rookies behind only Craig Kimbrel (46 for Atlanta in 2011). He followed that campaign with a 32-save season in 2011. Feliz was the closer for the Rangers during their consecutive American League championship seasons of 2010 and 2011. His 88.9 save percentage during those seasons (72-for-81) ranked sixth in the Major Leagues.

Feliz has held opponents to a .202 batting average during his Major League career with 326 strikeouts in 343.1 innings pitched.

Courtesy: Milwaukee Brewers

Brewers, Chase Anderson could be heading to arbitration

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers haven’t taken a player to arbitration since 2012, but could be heading there with pitcher Chase Anderson if the two sides can’t make up the $400,000 difference in contract negotiations.

The club came to agreements with Wily Peralta ($4.275 million) and Carlos Torres ($2.175 million) prior to Friday’s noon deadline, but didn’t match Anderson’s requested salary of $2.85 million. Milwaukee reportedly came in at $2.45 million. Milwaukee can still avoid an arbitration hearing on Anderson’s 2017 contract if it wishes to continue negotiations, but both figures came in well below Anderson’s projected arbitration salary of $3.1 million. He earned the league minimum in 2016.

General manager David Stearns noted that no multi-year contract was discussed with any of the arbitration-eligible players, but declined to say if they’ll continue negotiations with Anderson.

Anderson had a rough start to his 2016 campaign, but had a stellar second half, ending with a 3.02 ERA and career-bests in strikeout percentage (17.6 percent) and strikeouts per nine innings (7.12).

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.

Brewers acquire catcher Jett Bandy, trade Maldonado to Angels

MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired catcher Jett Bandy from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for catcher Martin Maldonado and minor-league right-handed pitcher Drew Gagnon. 

“We are pleased that we were able to add Jett Bandy to the organization,” said Brewers General Manager David Stearns. “Jett’s presence augments our group of young catchers at the Major League level and upper levels of the minor leagues. Jett has developed into a well-rounded contributor both behind the plate and at bat. He brings solid defensive acumen along with above average power, and we are looking forward to watching his continued growth in the Brewers organization.”

Bandy, 26, opened the 2016 season at Triple-A Salt Lake before he was recalled by Los Angeles on May 20. He batted .234 with 8 HR and 25 RBI in 70 games with the Angels. He made 60 starts, all coming behind the plate. Bandy threw out 17 base runners attempting to steal, which ranked fourth in the American League and first among Major League rookies (17-for-46, 37.0%).

Bandy was selected by the Angels in the 31st round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Arizona. He was originally drafted by the Dodgers in the 41st round of the 2008 draft out of Thousand Oaks (CA) High School, but did not sign. His Major League debut came in 2015 as he appeared in two games after being recalled by the Angels on September 1.

Maldonado, 30, batted .217 with 28 HR and 111 RBI in 355 games with the Brewers from 2011-16, including .202 with 8 HR and 21 RBI in 76 games this past season. He is eligible for arbitration.

Gagnon, 26, was selected by Milwaukee in the third round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. He spent 2016 between Double-A Biloxi (5g/1gs) and Triple-A Colorado Springs (31g/4gs).


Brewers deal Thornburg to Red Sox for three players

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The Milwaukee Brewers have traded reliever Tyler Thornburg to the Boston Red Sox for a package that includes pitcher Josh Pennington, infielder Travis Shaw, and shortstop Mauricio Dubon.

Thornburg figured to be a trade piece for Milwaukee during winter meetings this week after posting near a career-best 2.15 ERA over 67 appearances in 2016. Thornburg went 8-5 with 13 saves and a career-best 12.1 strikeouts per nine innings. Thornburg’s departure likely opens up the possibility that Corey Knebel becomes Milwaukee’s closer next season.

The Brewers were considering a move to second base for youngster Jonathan Villar, and with the addition of third baseman Travis Shaw, Tom Haudricout of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel opines that it likely means Scooter Gennett will get dealt this offseason as well. Gennett had just agreed to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration, however. The deal was estimated to be worth about $2.5 million.

Dubon was considered the Red Sox’ No. 12 prospect, while Pennington to 22nd-ranked prospect.

Selig elected to National Baseball Hall of Fame

MILWAUKEE — Allan H. (Bud) Selig, founder of the Milwaukee Brewers and longtime Commissioner of Major League Baseball, was elected Sunday in balloting for the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Selig was one of 10 nominees on the “Today’s Game Era” ballot, with voting completed by a 16-member committee. Candidates named on at least 75% of the ballots earned election.

“On behalf of everyone at the Milwaukee Brewers, I congratulate Commissioner Emeritus Selig on his election to the Hall of Fame, the highest honor in our sport,” said Brewers Owner Mark Attanasio. “The Commissioner’s contributions to baseball are monumental: leading MLB in its continuing role as one of America’s most influential social institutions on diversity and inclusiveness; forging labor peace with the players’ union, which now will extend for more than 26 years with the agreement signed last week, and by overseeing unparalleled levels of competitiveness on the field. These achievements also significantly contributed to the vibrant economic health that Major League Baseball enjoys today. His determination and passion for our community and the game brought baseball back to Milwaukee in 1970 with the Brewers and later led to the building of Miller Park. The Commissioner remains one of the game’s most revered advocates, and we are all proud to celebrate with him on this very special day.”

The Today’s Game Era provides consideration to managers, umpires and executives as well as players no longer on the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) ballot.

Selig’s dedication to baseball has paralleled his love of his hometown of Milwaukee. His first significant move as an executive was to return Major League Baseball to Milwaukee in 1970, when he founded the Milwaukee Brewers. In its first decade, the Brewers featured some of the great teams of that era, which eventually led to an American League pennant and World Series appearance in 1982.

During his tenure as Brewers owner, Selig earned United Press International’s 1978 Executive of the Year award, and the franchise was honored with seven “Organization of the Year” awards.

In the 1990s, Selig began his efforts to build a new ballpark in Milwaukee to replace the aging County Stadium, and Miller Park opened for its first season of play in 2001. His efforts were recognized by the team with the unveiling of a permanent statue (2010), a uniform retirement (2015; #1 for being the “First Fan”), and the creation of the “Selig Experience,” a multi-media interactive theater attraction at Miller Park (2015).

Following his tenure with the Brewers, Selig served 22 years as Commissioner of Major League Baseball. As Commissioner, he implemented important changes throughout the game. He made popular structural changes, including the Wild Card, the three-division format, and Interleague Play. He put in place the toughest drug-testing program in American professional sports. He also profoundly affected baseball’s economic landscape by instituting meaningful revenue sharing among the clubs as well as successful ventures, such as MLB Advanced Media, MLB Network, and the World Baseball Classic.

(Milwaukee Brewers)

Brewers sign 1B Eric Thames to 3-year deal, cut Chris Carter

MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Brewers have signed free agent first baseman/outfielder Eric Thames to a three-year contract with a club option for 2020. He will wear uniform No. 7. To make room on the 40-man roster, the team designated first baseman Chris Carter for assignment. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns.

“Eric brings to the organization a left-handed power bat that is a good fit for our lineup,” said Stearns. “His ability to play first base along with both corner outfield positions adds versatility to the roster. Eric has been extremely impressive over his last three seasons in Korea, and we look forward to his return to the Major Leagues in 2017.”

Thames, who turned 30 on November 10, spent the last three seasons playing for the NC Dinos of the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO), where he batted .348 with 124 HR, 379 RBI and 64 stolen bases in 388 games. He batted .317 with 40 HR, 118 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 121 games this season.

Thames was named KBO Most Valuable Player in 2015 as he produced the first 40/40 season in league history and won the batting title, hitting .381 with 47 HR, 140 RBI and 40 stolen bases in 142 games. He owns a career 1.171 OPS in Korea.

Selected by the Blue Jays in the seventh round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, Thames has batted .250 with 21 HR and 62 RBI in 181 Major League games with Toronto (2011-12) and Seattle (2012). The Santa Clara native attended Pepperdine University and was originally selected by the Yankees in the 39th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft (did not sign).

Carter, 29, batted .222 with 41 HR and 94 RBI in 160 games during his only season with Milwaukee. He is eligible for arbitration.