Tosoni signs with Brewers, plus payroll numbers

The Brewers signed former Twins outfielder Rene Tosoni and have re-signed former farmhand Ozzie Chavez, both to Minor League contracts.

The acquisitions were reported by Baseball America late Wednesday along with right-hander Jim Hoey, though the Brewers announced Hoey’s deal before Christmas. Hoey, who has pitched in 61 Major League games for the Orioles and Twins, was invited to the team’s early Minor League minicamp, but none of the three players were granted invitations to the Brewers’ Major League Spring Training camp.

The MLB.com transactions page says Tosoni’s deal was official on Dec. 28. The 26-year-old, Canadian-born left-handed hitter won All-Star Futures Game MVP honors in 2009 and made a 60-game Major League debut with Minnesota in 2011, batting .203 with five home runs and 22 RBIs, including a three-run homer off Zack Greinke that helped turn a 6-1 deficit into a 6-1 Twins win over the Brewers that July.

c9ecf2328d6a0b0e5006dc35a735b031(By the way, he’s on Twitter — @Tosoni08. That’s his profile picture at right.)

(And another thing, Tosoni’s most memorable at-bat against the Brewers might have been on July 3, 2011, when his three-run homer off Zack Greinke sparked a Twins comeback from a 6-1 deficit. I’ll never forget how frustrated Zack was that day — you can revisit the game coverage here. Except for one start in Pittsburgh, Greinke was essentially awesome the rest of that season.)

Chavez, 29, is an 11-year Minor League veteran who played shortstop in the Brewers’ system from 2001 through 2008, topping out at Triple-A Nashville. He played in the Phillies and White Sox systems from 2009-2011, but began last season on the Braves’ Double-A disabled list with a right groin strain and was eventually released and did not play affiliated ball in 2012. Chavez most recently appeared for the Toros del Este in the Dominican Winter League, batting .300 in 26 games.

A switch hitter, Chavez is a career .245 hitter in the U.S. Minor Leagues.

Hoey turned 30 on Monday and has a 7.02 ERA in his 59 Major League innings. In parts of nine Minor League seasons, he has a 3.38 ERA and 59 saves. He pitched for Toronto’s Triple-A team in 2012.

On a completely separate note, you may be interested in this post from Maury Brown’s excellent “Biz of Baseball” site that compiles end-of-season payroll data for all 30 teams encompassing the past 14 years. Remember that this is season-end data, encompassing the entire 40-man roster plus “other costs” that are not spelled out, making these numbers very different from the Opening Day estimates that are floated out there every year.

According to those numbers, the Brewers were 14th in MLB and seventh in the National League in payroll at the end of 2012. They would have been something like 10th overall and fifth in the NL had Zack Greinke not been traded in July.

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Follow me on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy

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