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Brewers sign Alex Claudio to minor-league contract

Lefty specialist receives an invite to big-league spring training

Cincinnati Reds v Milwaukee Brewers - Game One Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Brewers have reunited with an old friend. Per Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the club has signed veteran reliever Alex Claudio to a minor-league contract. The deal includes an invitation to big-league spring training.

The Brewers first acquired Claudio in December 2018 in exchange for their Competitive Balance Round A draft pick, which was the 41st overall pick in the 2019 draft.

During his two seasons in Milwaukee, Claudio was one of Craig Counsell’s most-used relievers, appearing in 103 games across the 2019 and 2020 seasons while posting a respectable 109 ERA+.

The club non-tendered Claudio after the 2020 season, and he has since had shorter big-league stints with the Angels and Mets. He spent most of last season with the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse.

Claudio will get an opportunity to compete for a spot in the Brewers’ bullpen, where Hoby Milner is currently projected as the lone left-handed reliever.

While Claudio would add more diversity to that group as another southpaw, he does not profile as a realistic contributor to a big-league bullpen at this stage in his career. He owns a 5.00 ERA and 4.97 FIP since the start of the 2021 season, and his once-stellar home run and walk rates have trended in the wrong direction since 2019.

Most importantly, the addition of the three-batter minimum for relief pitchers has handicapped Claudio’s usefulness. The sidearmer is strictly a specialist. He has held lefties to a career .210/.255/.335 line, but righties have gotten to him for a .302/.358/.441 slash.