The Brewers on Tuesday declined 2011 contract options for pitchers Trevor Hoffman and Doug Davis and catcher Gregg Zaun, adding all three veterans to the pool of Major League free agents.
All three moves were widely expected.
The highest profile of those players belongs to 43-year-old Hoffman, who notched his 600th career save amid a trying 2010 but was replaced as closer by rookie right-hander John Axford. Hoffman’s contract included a $7 million mutual option for 2011, and the price of his buyout increased from $500,000 to $750,000 when Hoffman finished his 35th game of the season on Sept. 26.
Davis’ deal included a $6.5 million mutual option with a $1 million buyout. His 2010 season was a bust because of health issues.
Zaun’s contract included a $2.25 million club option for next season, but he is still recovering from shoulder surgery and will get a $250,000 buyout instead. Zaun said in August that he intends to play in 2011, but considering the Brewers have Jonathan Lucroy and George Kottaras on the 40-man roster and Mike Rivera signed to a Minor League contract, it’s difficult to envision Zaun returning.
The team also made two additions on Tuesday, claiming 29-year-old right-handed pitcher Justin James off waivers from the Oakland A’s and selecting the contract of catcher Martin Maldonado from Triple-A Nashville. Both James and Maldonado took spots on the 40-man roster.
James was pitching in the Arizona Fall Leagues for the Phoenix Desert Dogs, who happened to square-off on Tuesday against a Surprise Rafters team that includes the Brewers’ own slew of prospects. James finished the 2010 season in the Majors with five appearances in relief for the A’s but spent most of the year in the Minors, compiling a 1.83 ERA at the Double-A and Triple-A levels.
Maldonado, 24, is a defensive-minded catcher who batted .239 at three stops in Milwaukee’s Minor League chain in 2010. He’s currently playing for Mayaguez in the Puerto Rican Winter League.