The Brewers have added add two minor leaguers with big league experience to provide minor league depth down the home stretch. Renato Nunez will back up the infield with recent injuries to Willy Adames and Eduardo Escobar while old friend Keon Broxton will back up the outfield in the event of injuries to Jackie Bradley Jr. and Lorenzo Cain. Both will head to Triple-A affiliate Nashville Sounds. The signings happened just in time to be eligible for the postseason roster.
We've signed INF Renato Nunez to a minor league contract and assigned him to @nashvillesounds— Brewers Player Development (@BrewersPD) August 30, 2021
OF Sal Frelick (@timberrattlers) and Hedbert Perez (@carolinamudcats) are moving on up!
LHP Quintin Torres-Costa & OF Michael Wilson have been released.
The Brewers have signed Keon Broxton to a Minor League contract.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) September 1, 2021
Broxton spent 2016-2018 with Milwaukee, was the team’s primary centerfielder in 2017, and was often dazzling defensively at the position. Once a top prospect with the Diamondbacks, he made his way to the bigs on his speed, defensive abilities, power potential, and plate discipline, but always struggled to make contact.
Broxton slashed .222/.314/.422 across 796 plate appearances with Milwaukee, but had power potential, and was occasionally productive at the plate. In his first year with the Crew, Broxton finished the season with 111 WRC+. He hasn’t produced more than 85 WRC+ since 2016, though, and his strikeout rate has jumped from about 35% with the Brewers to about 44% since he was traded. He spent 2019 bouncing around from the Mets to the Orioles to the Mariners. He was headed for a minor league season that never happened in 2020 and was released from the Twins Triple-A affiliate after slashing .186/.288/.335 with 68 wRC+ in 2021.
Even though Broxton has struggled at the plate before and since leaving Milwaukee, his acquisition is low-risk for the Brewers. In Broxton, they get a familiar clubhouse presence and skillset while maintaining defensive competency in case of injuries to both Jackie Bradley Jr. and Lorenzo Cain. They also don’t lose much offensively since neither Cain nor JBJ has been a major contributor at the plate in 2021. Broxton will play out the year in the minor league depth role with a call-up shot and be eligible for free agency next season.
Nuñez, best known for his 31 home run 2019 with the Orioles, has consistently played in the big leagues since 2016, though he has only appeared in 14 major league games with the Tigers after being released from the Orioles at the end of last season. Nuñez strikes out roughly a typical amount for a power hitter, but he’s struggled to get on base with limited major league at-bats. This season, he’s slashed .189/.218/.472 across just 55 plate appearances with the Tigers and .291/.383/.585 across 311 plate appearances with their minor league affiliate. When he can make contact, he’s still got plenty of pop (.283 ISO).
Nuñez can cover for either of the corner infield spots, and his right-handed bat may be useful at first, but he's no defensive stalwart. Even so, there’s little risk in having Nuñez available for depth, and he might provide some needed power for the Brewers down the stretch.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-America and FanGraphs