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Milwaukee Brewers sign Josh Fields to minor league contract

He gets to join in for the end of big league camp.

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers-Media Day Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Brewers made an addition to their bullpen earlier this afternoon:

Fields, now 33, signed as a first-round pick of the Mariners back in 2008. He was a part of the three-team trade in 2011 that ultimately sent him along with Erik Bedard from Seattle to the Boston Red Sox, and a year later, was selected by Houston in the Rule 5 Draft. It was with the Astros that the right-hander made his big league debut as a reliever in 2013. He spent parts of four seasons with the ‘Stros but wasn’t particularly successful in terms of results; in 164 games and 159.0 innings, he worked to a 4.53 ERA. The underlying metrics viewed him much more favorably, however, as he struck out 197 batters against 57 walks, allowed roughly a 28% hard contact rate, and posted a 2.91 FIP.

That, as well as a fastball routinely popping mitts as 95+ MPH along with a plus curveball, motivated the Dodgers to pick him up in a deadline deal during the summer of 2016. Fields’ run prevention numbers took a step forward with the Dodgers, as he worked to a 2.79 ERA in 19.1 innings down the stretch in ‘16 before posting a 2.57 ERA across 98.0 innings during 2017-18. His strikeout numbers tumbled last season as he whiffed a career-low 7.2 batters-per-nine-innings, though it’s worth noting that his healthy 11.4% swinging-strike rate and 95.0 MPH heater weren’t at all far off his career averages. He also continues to limit hard contact in strong fashion, limiting batters to 3 points below the league-average last year.

Fields signed a one-year deal for $2.85 mil with LA as he entered his final season of arbitration eligibility, but he was released earlier in camp and was paid only a portion of that in the form of termination pay. He’ll finish out the spring in big league camp in Milwaukee but will begin the year with Triple-A San Antonio.

Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs