LHP Gio Gonzalez, LHP Wade Miley and OF Curtis Granderson have elected free agency. OF Tyrone Taylor has been selected to the 40-man roster, which now stands at 38. pic.twitter.com/VI5wWSiVK3— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) October 29, 2018
As Kyle noted last week, despite the important contributions of Wade Miley, Gio Gonzalez and Curtis Granderson down the stretch, it seems unlikely any of the three return to the Brewers in 2019.
Miley improbably became one of the Brewers’ best starting pitchers in the second half of the season once he finally shook off a slew of bad injury luck in the first half. He wound up producing 80.2 innings of a 2.57 ERA, and while he’s likely done missing bats in his career, his newfound cutter led to plenty of soft contact and ground balls that played right into the hands of the Brewers’ defensive strengths and was a good match for Miller Park.
The Brewers look to have no shortage of options for the starting rotation next year, and committing multiple years and — likely — tens of millions of dollars to a half-season to Miley doesn’t seem like David Stearns’ m.o.
The same is true for Gio Gonzalez, who soaked up innings every 5 days and provided some very valuable starts while the Brewers were chasing down the Cubs for the NL Central title. Like Miley, the results for Gonzalez were good — a 2.13 ERA in 5 starts — but he did walk 10 batters in 25.1 innings. Entering into his age-33 season, he doesn’t seem like someone Stearns is likely to spend much to try to retain. He may not end up getting much more than a one- or two-year deal in free agency, but he’s the kind of arm plenty of teams could find useful.
Granderson will be 38 next year, and while he proved to be a solid left-handed pinch-hitting option for the Brewers in September — especially as Eric Thames struggled to stay productive in a part-time role — he really shouldn’t be asked to play in the outfield at this point, and that makes it hard for a National League team to keep him on the roster outside of expanded September rosters. If Domingo Santana isn’t getting traded this winter, he isn’t likely to spend as much time in Triple-A as he did this year and will likely need fairly regular at-bats. It’s hard to make that happen if Granderson is brought back.
With extra space on the 40-man roster with those departures, the Brewers are moving early to protect Tyrone Taylor from the Rule 5 draft. After only playing in 32 games in 2017, Taylor bounced back to hit .278/.321/.504 with 20 home runs and 23 doubles in 80 games for Triple-A Colorado Springs. The former 2nd round pick will be 25 next year and will now have 3 options for the Brewers to play with.
The Brewers also announced they’re re-signing Jake Hager to a minor league contract. A former 1st round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays, Hager hit .292/.371/.521 in 64 games as a 25-year-old in Double-A Biloxi and .267/.301/.379 in 33 games in Triple-A Colorado Springs. Hager will get an invitation to spring training.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference