Though the Brewers did not get Shohei Ohtani this offseason, they are bringing a two-way player into the mix this spring. The Brewers Twitter account announced that they have signed Christian Bethancourt to a minor-league deal with a spring training invite. The release noted him as a catcher, where he has spent most of his career. A former top prospect in the Braves system, Bethancourt has not produced at the major league level, recording a .222/.252/.316 career slash line. He has spent the last two years with the Padres, and last year was spent split between catching and pitching. He caught 31 games for the Padres Triple-A team and 8 for the MLB team last season, but also worked on converting to a relief pitcher. That also did not go well. In 34 games for Triple-A, he recorded an 8.21 ERA and 7.85 FIP, and those numbers jumped to 14.73 ERA and 12.16 FIP in 4 appearances at the major-league level. He is coming into camp as a catcher, where he looks to have a tough road to earning time. With Manny Pina, Stephen Vogt, Jett Bandy, and Andrew Susac already on the roster, he will need a great spring to stick with the Brewers. Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs.
The Milwaukee Brewers needed to create space on the 40 man roster for the recent additions of Jhoulys Chacin and Yovani Gallardo, and they did so on December 21st when Dylan Baker was designated for assignment. The 25 year old relief prospect had only been claimed on waivers from Cleveland about three weeks prior to that, and now he will be moving on to his third organization of the offseason as it was announced earlier today that he has been traded to the Dodgers. In return for the hard throwing right hander with a history of health issues, the Brewers will receive a player to be named later or cash considerations. These types of minor transactions typically result in an undisclosed amount of cash changing hands. Milwaukee's 40 man roster remains full, though it's believed that the Boone Logan signing will be made official sometime this week and could necessitate further juggling of the roster.
Tim Dillard has been pitching with the Milwaukee Brewers' organization for the last 15 seasons, but in recent years he has began to earn more notoriety for his escapades off than field than he ever did for his 73 MLB appearances. Dillard and teammates can often be found lip-syncing on his Twitter account (@DimTillard), and his affinity for Latin music has helped him develop a quite a following in Spanish-speaking countries. Back in April, Dillard was featured in a spot on Univision Deportes talking about his antics, and he apparently parlayed that into an appearance at last night's Univision Awards. There's no telling how much longer Dillard plans on continuing on the mound, but he certainly seems to have found a calling in the entertainment industry once he hangs up his spikes. It would really be a darn shame if the Brewers don't figure out some way to include him as a television or radio personality with the organization once he concludes his playing career.
Over the weekend the Milwaukee Brewers announced the release of 20 low-level minor league players and the retirement of one other. The most notable player in the bunch is Karsen Lindell, who was selected in the 9th round of the 2015 MLB Draft during Ray Montgomery's first year at the helm. The prep right-hander never figured out how to throw strikes consistently, and ends his Brewers' tenure with a 75:74 K/BB ratio and 7.33 ERA across 111.2 innings with Milwaukee's rookie-level affiliates. Our friend Jim Goulart has assembled capsules on each of the other 20 players here at Brewerfan.net for your perusal. We wish each of these players the best of luck in their future endeavors. (Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference)
The Milwaukee Brewers announced over the weekend that they have re-signed right handed pitcher Angel Ventura to a minor league contract. Ventura, 24, was signed by the Brewers as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic and began his professional career in the Dominican Summer League in 2011. He's generally put up solid statistical performances during his career, compiling a 3.96 ERA across 534.0 minor league innings with 8.1 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9. Ventura spent 2017 split between AA Biloxi and AAA Colorado Springs, logging a combined 129.1 innings with a 3.83 ERA, 6.1 K/9, and 3.5 BB/9. (Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference)
The Brewers are looking for some pitching help this offseason, and they are kicking the tires on many different options. Tom Haudricourt reports that one of those is Jesse Chavez, a 34-year old RHP who pitched for the Angels last season. Chavez spent time in both the bullpen and starting rotation, posting a 5.35 ERA and 5.09 FIP. If the Brewers do have interest in him, it's likely on a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training, to see what he has left (which Haudricourt later confirmed). Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs.
One of the early storylines of the winter meetings has been the Brewers' willingness to listen on just about every outfielder they have. Domingo Santana was floated as a possibility for the San Francisco Giants after they missed on Shohei Ohtani and Giancarlo Stanton, but according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, it looks like the Brewers' asking price for Santana is (justifiably) high, considering his breakout season, age and years of team control left. Earlier today, Kyle took a look at Santana's value as a possible trade chip.
Yesterday it was reported by Perth Now that the Milwaukee Brewers have agreed to minor league contracts with two Australian prospects who are currently playing for the Perth Heat of the Australian Baseball League. Jess Williams is an 18 year old left-handed hitting shortstop who has hit .262/.286/.326 through his first 11 games. Hall is an 18 year old switch-hitting catcher who has batted .207/.233/.345 with a home run through his first 8 games. Both players suited up for Team Australia in the U18 World Cup in Canada earlier in the year. They'll continue to play out their contracts in Australia over the winter and will come over to the States next spring to begin their careers with the Brewers. (h/t Jim Goulart)
The Milwaukee Brewers have announced that they're bringing back 24 year old catcher Dustin Houle for the 2018 season on a minor league deal. Houle, a native of Canada, was drafted by the Brewers in the 8th round back in 2011. He's battled injuries throughout his career and hasn't exactly lit the world on fire at the plate, batting .231/.302/.306 with 6 home runs across 1094 minor league plate appearances. He does have a strong defensive reputation, however, including a 41% caught stealing rate last year with AA Biloxi. He was allowed to become a minor league free agent following the end of the season, but now he will return as minor league catching depth for next season. He seems like a logical candidate to get an invitation to big league Spring Training like the one he received in 2017. (Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference)
Ugh. This feels to me like a win for veteran grittiness and looking for good clubhouse guys over analytics and the future. More Fred Flintstone, pics, though, so yay.