We began our review of the Milwaukee Brewers’ calendar year of 2016 yesterday, Today we’ll move on to the second half of 2016, where there an emphasis on player movement.
The main theme of the month was anticipating the trade deadline. Aaron Hill was sent to Boston to conclude one of the most successful Brewer careers ever, even if it was less than half of a season. But since the trade deadline was moved back to Aug. 1st, we all had to wait...and wait...until the next move happened.
The All-Star game happens in July, and Jonathan Lucroy was the Brewers only representative. It wound up being something of a last hurrah for him while with the Brewers. This All-Star game will be noted as the last one to determine the host team for the World Series. Apparently, the AL won as the Indians had home field advantage for the WS. How will we remember who won from now on?
July record: 12-13; 47-56; 15.5 games behind Chicago
Minor League FA signings: 20 (after the draft signings); Draft signings: 2; Waiver claims: 1; Designated for assignment: 1 (passed waivers, outrighted); Trades: 2
The anticipation of July quickly gave way to the action of August, as the Brewers sent Will Smith to San Francisco for minor league pitcher Phil Bickford and back-up catcher Andrew Susac. Next was the very much expected trade of Jonathan Lucroy to Texas, along with Jeremy Jeffress, for a fine prospect haul of outfielder Lewis Brinson, pitcher Luis Ortiz, and a PTBNL (who turned out to be outfielder and very bad third baseman Ryan Cordell).
Of course, we first had a trade of Lucroy to the Cleveland Indians, but Luc permanently endeared himself to Cleveland fans by vetoing the deal.
To take our minds off of the loss of Lucroy (and maybe because it was time), the Brewers brought up top prospect Orlando Arcia on Aug. 2nd. Arcia finished the season showing his MLB-ready glove at shortstop with occasional flashes of hitting ability.
August was not kind: Record 10-20; season record 57-76; 28.5 games behind the Cubs.
Designated for Assignment: 1; Trades: 4
Apparently David Stearns took vacation for the entire month of September. I wonder who got to decide who would get September call-ups?
JP showed off his prescience by pointing out that the Brewers were at a crossroads with Martin Maldonado, and that was before we’d ever paid any attention to Jett Bandy.
The Brewers minor league affiliations became clearer, and that unfortunately meant that they would be in Colorado Springs for a few more years. Earlier hope of somehow ending up in San Antonio in the future looked more unlikely, too.
We also found out that using ivy as padding for a brick wall was ineffective, as Keon Broxton’s fine second half came to an abrupt end.
The Milwaukee Brewers struck out a lot in 2016, and wound up setting a major league record for the season. The Big Sleep, Chris Carter, carved his name (hopefully permanently) in the Brewer record book by easily eclipsing the team record for K’s.
The Brewers completed their last full month with a 14-13 record, leaving them at 71-89, 31.5 behind the future world champion Cubs.
Other than September call-ups, the Brewers neither let anyone go or signed anyone.
The Brewers completed their season with the best winning percentage ever for a month...2-0, 1.000 They thus avoided a 90 loss season, which is unimportant but somehow satisfying. Not only that, but every game in October went to extra innings! What are the chances?
October record: 2-0; final tally 73-89; 30.5 games behind the Cubs. The Cubs didn’t finish ahead of the Crew; the Brewers just ran out of time as they were finally hitting their stride.
Waivers: lost one (Rymer Liriano)
With the Brewers now tied for first place with all the rest of baseball, we could once again look at every little move as a possible major step towards keeping in contention.
Kyle looked at the Cubs win from the perspective of it’s effect on the Brewers. Other than the disgust many Brewer fans felt at that historic occurrence, anyways.
Jaymes joined the site and introduced himself by trying to figure out what went wrong for Jimmy Nelson after a strong April; hopefully Jimmy was paying attention.
Minor league FA signed: 1; Major League FA signed: 1; Designated for Assignment (and non-tendered): 1; Players electing FA: 2; Waiver claims: 3
Player movement - or non movement, as it were - was naturally the topic of December. For a while it seemed like a minor league free agent (or independent league FA) was signed every day; Scooter Gennett and Kirk Nieuwenhuis avoided arbitration; Chris Carter was officially gone; waiver claims were made, then put on waivers - where some of them were lost; an actual major league free agent (Tommy Milone) was signed, and then...
Tyler Thornburg, who ended the season as the Brewers closer, was sent to the Red Sox, returning three players. One of them, Travis Shaw, will likely be the Brewers’ third baseman next season. Kyle looked at what a move to Miller Park might mean for Travis.
The Brewers also avoided arbitration with Martin Maldonado, by trading him to the Angels for the aforementioned Jett Bandy. Drew Gagnon was shipped west along with The Machete.
There are a few more days left for us to pay attention to. I’ll rush a Part 3 to the presses if necessary.
Signed 6 minor league free agents; signed 1 major league free agent; one designated player left as a free agent; one waiver claim (Steve Geltz) elected FA rather than pitch at Colorado Springs when outrighted; 3 waiver claims were subsequently claimed when the Brewers tried to slip them through waivers; 3 trades were consummated (the Brewers made a Rule 5 pick for the Cubs and then traded him to the Cubs).
I think that adds up to 35 more transactions in the second half of the season for a total of 83 on the season, again not including internal moves. The 40 man roster is half turned over, and one gets the feeling that 2017 might be similar.
Looking forward to more excitement!