Remember the days of “too many catchers?”
At one point during the offseason, the Milwaukee Brewers had six catchers on their 40-man roster. That was cut down to five when the club sold the contract of David Freitas to Korea, and then four last week when Jacob Nottingham was DFA’d and claimed by the Mariners. Then Manny Pina and Omar Narvaez both suffered injuries, leaving the Brewers with just two healthy catchers on the 40-man — Luke Maile and prospect Mario Feliciano. Both of those player appeared in last night’s win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, but now the club will welcome back a familiar face as reinforcement:
Gone, but Nott forgotten! Catcher @JacobNottingham, who was designated for assignment by the #Brewers on April 22 and claimed by the Mariners on April 28, has been re-acquired from Seattle in exchange for cash. Nottingham is in the lineup today against the Dodgers. pic.twitter.com/8W03AFziYu— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) May 2, 2021
Nottingham, 26, did not appear in a single game for the Mariners, but he may now be ticketed for some regular playing time over the next week or two back with the Brewers as Pina and Narvaez continue to recover. Pina won’t be back from his toe injury until at least this coming Friday, and Narvaez is set to miss at least two weeks of action with his hamstring strain. In parts of three seasons at the big league level for the Brewers, Nottingham, who is in the lineup today, owns a 95 OPS+ by way of a .203/.306/.432 slash line. He’s got some pop (five home runs, .230 ISO in 85 plate appearances) but also plenty of swing-and-miss (35.3% K rate). He has rated well as a defender (+3 Defensive Runs Saved) and about average as a pitch framer (-0.1 framing runs) over a small sample of 200.2 career defensive innings.
C Mario Feliciano optioned to the Alternate Training Site.— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) May 2, 2021
RHP Dylan File recalled from Double-A Biloxi and placed on the 60-day injured list (right elbow). pic.twitter.com/XS1mAkG7Re
To make room for Nottingham on the active roster, #5 prospect (per MLB Pipeline) Feliciano was optioned back down to the Alternate Training Site. He drew a walk and scored the winning run in extra innings last night, and is slated to begin the minor league season in Triple-A Nashville. To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, the Brewers made the unconventional move of recalling the ailing Dylan File and then placing him on the 60-day Injured List. File, the club’s #26 prospect, has yet to appear at the big league level and won’t pitch until at least midseason as he recovers from a stress fracture in his elbow. But by recalling him and placing him on the 60-day IL, the Brewers have started his MLB service clock. That means that beginning today, every day he spends on the 60-day IL he will earn a big league paycheck as well as accrue MLB service time, which counts towards his pension.
Finally, also worth noting is #23 prospect Alec Bettinger, who was recalled from the Alternate Training Site a few days ago, will get the start this afternoon against the Dodgers and make his big league debut. Bettinger was a 10th-round pick and senior sign back in 2017 but now features a diverse arsenal with improved velocity that plays up due to above-average command.