The Milwaukee Brewers announced the previously reported two-year deal for Matt Albers this afternoon, and to make room on the roster for his addition the club thinned their herd behind the plate:
Albers received a reported $5 mil guarantee to join Milwaukee’s bullpen after an excellent season with Washington in 2017. The 35 year old righty posted a 1.62 ERA across 61.0 innings pitched and was able to parlay that success into the first multi-year deal of his career, one that has spanned 12 big league seasons.
Susac, who turns 28 this March, came to the Brewers along with Phil Bickford back in August of 2016 in the Will Smith deal with San Francisco. A former top-100 prospect, Susac never really got a shot at regular playing time with the Giants while behind Buster Posey on the depth chart. Milwaukee had just traded Jonathan Lucroy around the same time as Susac’s arrival, which left Milwaukee without an obvious long-term solution behind the plate going forward. It appeared as though Susac was finally about to get his chance at everyday MLB playing time.
Susac saw action in 9 games as a September call-up that season and reported to Spring Training in 2017 as the early favorite to land the everyday gig ahead of Jett Bandy and Manny Pina. But Susac got off to a frigid start in spring before suffering an injury and landing on the DL to start the season. With a Bandy/Pina timeshare working well in the early going, Susac was demoted to AAA Colorado Springs upon his return to active duty.
Andrew’s bat never got going in the hitter-friendly confines of Security Service Field, and in 51 games with the Sky Sox he batted only .205/.307/.404 with 8 home runs. Susac fell down on the depth chart after Stephen Vogt was acquired to back up stalwart Manny Pina, but he finally got a shot when both Vogt and Bandy were injured within a few days of each other in early August. Susac went hitless in six plate appearances - with four strikeouts - in two games started behind the plate before hitting the disabled list himself with a trapezius strain. He was activated when rosters expanded in September but never saw any meaningful playing time, going 1-8 in the season’s final month.
After the season the Brewers retained all four of the catchers that saw MLB playing time last season and added Jacob Nottingham to the 40 man roster, creating a surplus at the position. The team also has Tyler Heineman in AAA and recently signed Christian Bethancourt to a minor league deal, providing even further upper level depth behind the plate. That made one of the backups on the 40 man roster - Susac, Vogt, or Bandy - expendable if the need for a spot arose this winter. And so it did when Matt Albers was signed.
Susac does have a minor league option but it’s clear that he wasn’t able to put himself in the org’s future plans, so it’s not really much of a surprise that he was sent out. The flexibility of that option as well as his track record as a once well-regarded prospect could convince another team to claim him on waivers, but if he were to clear and be outrighted to AAA Colorado Springs his contract would remain property of the Brewers.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs