Badenhop: ‘No hard feelings’ after trade to Sox
When the phone rang Friday and Brewers general manager Doug Melvin was on the line, Burke Badenhop expected bad news.
“I thought he was calling to let me know they were going to non-tender me or something,” Badenhop said. “So to have landed with the Red Sox is pretty awesome.”
Melvin was calling to inform Badenhop he’d been traded to Boston for a Minor League left-hander, a move that made sense on many levels. Badenhop would have cost something like $2 million in his final arbitration year, and the Brewers have a number of other right-handed middle relief options available at pre-arbitration salaries, including Michael Blazek, Donovan Hand and Rob Wooten. Instead of non-tendering him next month, the Brewers acquired a young pitching prospect in Luis Ortega, and freed a spot on a 40-man roster that had previously been full. That allows for a potential waiver claim, or a selection in the Rule 5 Draft.
Badenhop joked that this time of year is his personal “trade deadline.” He was sent from the Tigers to the Marlins on Dec. 4, 2007 in the Miguel Cabrera deal, from the Marlins to the Rays on Dec. 12, 2011, from the Rays to the Brewers on Dec. 1, 2012 and now from the Brewers to the Red Sox on Nov. 22.
“I completely understand, this being my fourth trade now,” Badenhop said. “I told Doug I couldn’t thank him enough for the opportunity to land in Milwaukee, and I told him I wish I would have pitched better. I always expect great things out of myself, and I was hoping to take a little more of a next step this last year. Obviously, it didn’t happen.
“But there’s still something to be said for giving innings and being someone you can count on, and [Melvin] said it was not performance-based whatsoever. It was a dollars thing. For a mid-market team, it makes sense that if you can get somebody to do the same thing for a lower price, you’re going to do that. There are no hard feelings there.”
Badenhop was told that the Brewers and Red Sox had discussed a trade in July, but nothing materialized. That was too bad for Badenhop, considering how little he was used late in the season (only five appearances in September), and that the Red Sox went on to win the World Series.
He was happy to land with another club, rather than on the list of nontenders.
“Relievers, you fit in spots here and there, and obviously Boston is a higher payroll team and at this point in my career I’ve become more of a specialist,” Badenhop said. “That’s not a bad thing, it’s just that for some teams it makes more sense than for others. Had I gone out and blown the doors off, would I be back in Milwaukee? Probably. So by no means did this come as a big surprise.”
He spoke fondly of his season at Miller Park, playing in front of much larger crowds than Badenhop had experienced at previous stints with the Marlins and Rays. But Boston offers some advantages. Badenhop’s sister lives in Boston. His best friend in baseball is Red Sox reliever Andrew Miller. And Spring Training in Florida will be more convenient commute from Charlotte for wife Sara and the couple’s baby daughter.
“The journey continues,” Badenhop said.
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