Results tagged ‘ Angel Salome ’
A couple of Minor League transactions, courtesy of the Brewers:
The Brewers traded catcher Matt Treanor to the Rangers on Monday for Minor League infielder Ray Olmedo, a move that put George Kottaras on the inside track to open the season as Milwaukee’s backup catcher.
The Brewers’ medical staff has been discouraged by third baseman Mat Gamel’s slow progress back from a sore right shoulder, and it is increasingly likely that the injury will cost Gamel a shot at the Opening Day roster, manager Ken Macha said Wednesday.
The Brewers didn’t wait for the start of next week’s Winter Meetings to make their first Major League free agent signing.
The team on Friday inked switch-hitting catcher Gregg Zaun to a one-year deal with a club option for 2011 in a move that signaled the end of Jason Kendall’s tenure in Milwaukee. The sides reached terms late Thursday night and Zaun traveled to Milwaukee early Friday morning for a physical exam.
“It was an opportunity to play every day and I’m excited about that,” Zaun said. “I’m 38 years old and a lot of people have made assumptions about how much I can play, but I like that challenge. I’ll have to earn it every day, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
The Brewers were the most aggressive of Zaun’s suitors, and the financial package they offered didn’t hurt. Zaun, who earned $1.5 million last season from the Orioles and Rays, is guaranteed $2.15 million in his contract with the Brewers.
He’ll get a $1.9 million salary in 2010 with the opportunity to earn $600,000 more in bonuses based on games started. The Brewers hold a $2.25 million option for 2011 with a $250,000 buyout.
“They were aggressive early,” Zaun said. “It made me feel important to them.”
He will play an important role in 2010. Kendall had been Milwaukee’s regular catcher the past two seasons but he earned $5 million in 2009 and Brewers officials decided to go with a cheaper option.
The Brewers now have to decide how to line up Zaun’s backups. The incumbents include Mike Rivera, who has been Milwaukee’s back-up since 2006 but he’s arbitration-eligible this winter and can expect a bump in pay. The Brewers also claimed left-handed hitter George Kottaras off waivers from the Red Sox this fall and have a pair of catching prospects in Angel Salome and Jonathan Lucroy. If the team decides to promote Lucroy all the way from Double-A, a possibility already raised by general manager Doug Melvin, the experienced Zaun could help him break into the Majors.
Zaun has already played for eight teams in a 15-year career that began with the Orioles in 1995. He split 2009 between Baltimore, where he mentored stud catching prospect Matt Wieters, and Tampa Bay, where he finished the year after an August trade. In 90 games he was a .260 hitter with eight home runs and 27 RBIs.
Zaun is a Type B free agent and Tampa Bay offered him arbitration. Because he signed before Monday’s deadline for players to accept or decline the offer, the Rays will receive a compensatory pick between the first- and second rounds of next year’s Draft.
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The Brewers added catching depth on Wednesday by claiming onetime Padres prospect George Kottaras off waivers from the Boston Red Sox.
Kottaras, 26 and a left-handed hitter, reportedly asked out of Boston after it became clear that Victor Martinez and Jason Varitek would be back in 2010. Kottaras appeared in 45 games with the Red Sox last season and batted .237 with one home run and 10 RBIs.
He is out of Minor League options, and joins catchers Mike Rivera and Angel Salome on Milwaukee’s 40-man roster. The Brewers also plan to give a long Spring Training look to prospect Jonathan Lucroy, whom general manager Doug Melvin mentioned this month as a candidate to jump from Double-A to the Majors in 2010.
Rivera, Salome and Lucroy are all right-handed hitters.
“If we can get better, then we’ll try to get better,” Melvin said. “We have to have depth. We have Salome and Lucroy, we have Kottaras and we still have Rivera, but we don’t have a front-line guy.”
That guy in the past two seasons was Jason Kendall, but Kendall cost $5 million in 2009 and Melvin made it clear to agent Arn Tellem that the Brewers didn’t intend to spend that much behind the plate next year.
Rivera is arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter, but Melvin wouldn’t say what the Brewers plans are for him next season. The team has until Dec. 12 to decide whether to tender Rivera a 2010 contract.
Asked for his thoughts about the team’s catching situation in general, Melvin said, “It’s too early to say what we’ll do. We haven’t gotten to the Winter Meetings. Free agency hasn’t even started yet so we can’t really talk to anyone.”
Teams own exclusive negotiating rights with their own free agents for the 15 days following the World Series. They are free to negotiate with all free agents beginning at 12:01 a.m. ET on Friday.
As recently as three years ago, Kottaras was rated the second-best prospect in San Diego’s organization by Baseball America. He was traded from San Diego to Boston late that year to complete the trade that sent pitcher David Wells to the Padres.
In seven Minor League seasons, Kottaras is a .269 hitter with 66 home runs and 289 RBIs. His best year was 2007, when he batted .243 for Boston’s Triple-A affiliate with a career-best 22 home runs and 65 RBIs in 107 games.
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The discussion about whether the Brewers would trade Ryan Braun or Prince Fielder was the most interesting part of general manager Doug Melvin’s year-end wrap-up with the media, but here’s a taste of the other topics discussed:
- The Brewers officially announced their new deal with closer Trevor Hoffman, who re-signed for one year plus a mutual option for 2011. The contract guarantees $8 million and could pay as much as $16.5 million over two years.
“By signing Trevor Hoffman, that was a big splash for us,” Melvin said. “If our pitching is going to improve, we have to keep the success we had at the back end of our bullpen. And also, to attract free agent starting pitchers, one of the first questions they always want to know is, ‘Who is the closer?’”
- Melvin hinted that the focus on pitching could make it difficult for the team to re-sign its key free agents, including center fielder Mike Cameron and catcher Jason Kendall. Rickie Weeks is the second baseman, Melvin reiterated, making it likely that free agent Felipe Lopez will also be let go.
Assistant GM Gord Ash conceded that it’s difficult for teams to win with unproven players up the middle but insisted it can be done. He mentioned Lorenzo Cain and Logan Schafer as the team’s top center field prospects and said Jonathan Lucroy was the team’s top catching prospect. Interestingly, Angel Salome’s name was not brought up.
- Jeff Suppan, the Brewers’ 2009 Opening Day starter, is not guaranteed a spot in the 2010 starting rotation despite his $12.5 million salary. It will be the final season of his four-year contract, and he projects as the team’s highest-paid player for the second straight year.
“I think Jeff is a professional and he knows that he will come into camp and [compete],” Melvin said. “You have to give him some credit for the fact he’s been given the ball a lot of years. He’s very seldom injured. … I don’t think there will be very many guarantees about who will be in the rotation. We probably have to make it more competitive to get better.”
- Free agent righty Ben Sheets, who missed all of 2009 following elbow surgery, is still on the Brewers’ radar.
“Ben is somebody who would have to be on anybody’s list when it comes to improving your pitching staff,” Ash said. “We’re not up to date with his physical condition right now since he’s no longer in our care, so that would have to be Step 1. But from our point of view, we enjoyed Ben as part of the Brewers and there’s been, ‘once in a while’ conversations with his agent to remind him that we still have that ongoing interest. It hasn’t been followed-up yet.”
- Melvin already interviewed one potential pitching coach on Monday and was to travel with Ash on Thursday to interview another candidate. He wouldn’t say whether he had already spoken with former A’s and Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson, an early favorite for the position because of his past working relationships with Brewers manager Ken Macha and bench coach Willie Randolph.
“We don’t want to advertise who we’re looking at,” Melvin said. “The cat’s out of the bag on one guy. I interviewed him on Monday and another team interviewed him the next day.”
- Ash shed more light on the options that faced third baseman Casey McGehee, who underwent successful surgery on Tuesday. McGehee has a lesion in his knee, Ash said, that causes fragments of bone to break away. He could have had a more intensive procedure to inject healthy cells into the knee to promote re-growth but it was a riskier procedure that could have sidelined McGehee weeks or even months into the 2010 season.
“He elected, after consulting with a couple of surgeons, to have kind of the intermediary procedure done, and that was to take out all of the fragments and hope that area of his knee remains intact,” Ash said. “We don’t have 100 percent guarantee on that. What we do know about Casey is that he’s an excellent worker and he’s motivated.”
- Melvin did little to dispute the notion that shortstop J.J. Hardy will be traded this winter to make room for Alcides Escobar. Hardy’s value is down both because of his poor 2009 season (he batted .229 and was optioned to the Minors in August) and because the rest of the league knows that the Brewers are ready to install Escobar.
“It might be down a little bit,” Melvin said of Hardy’s value. “But there are still clubs that have interest in him. Shortstop is a big hole to fill.”
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The Brewers decided to place backup catcher Mike Rivera on the 15-day disabled list after Wednesday’s win over the Pirates. A visit with head team physician William Raasch revealed that Rivera’s left ankle injury was “more serious than that thought,” according to the player.
Rivera characterized his injury as a high ankle sprain. The Brewers were still referring to it as a simple, Grade 1 sprain, when they announced the roster move.
The corresponding move would be announced later Wednesday or at some point on Thursday, according to a club spokesperson.
(That move came just after 6 p.m. CT. The Brewers will promote Carlos Corporan from Nashville and add him to the 40-man roster.)
The only other catcher on the 40-man roster is Angel Salome, who is hitting just .182 at Triple-A Nashville and missed much of Spring Training with a back injury. Triple-A backup Corporan is much more familiar with the Brewers’ staff because he stayed with the big league club all the way through its exhibition games in Los Angeles just before the start of the regular season.
The Brewers made two more roster moves at lunchtime today, optioning catcher Angel Salome to Triple-A Nashville and returning nonroster infielder/outfielder Jason Bourgeois to Minor League camp. The moves came a few hours after the Brewers optioned third baseman Mat Gamel and outrighted pitcher Wes Littleton to Nashville and released outfielder Trot Nixon
I’m guessing the two most recent moves were delayed because manager Ken Macha did not have time to meet with the players individually before the morning workout.
Salome got only 11 at-bats in Cactus League games (3-for-11, .273) and has been limited to defensive duties of late by a lower back injury. He missed a huge opportunity to impress new manager Ken Macha, but he’s still the team’s top catching prospect and will have a great shot at a call-up if the Brewers suffer an injury in the catching ranks.
Bourgeois was also limited, spending the first few weeks of Cactus League games in Minor League camp rehabbing from a broken thumb. After he returned, he also went 3-for-11 in seven games. Bourgeois will play second base and the outfield in Nashville.
Another day, yet another game against the San Francisco Giants. Doesn’t it seem like the Brewers and Giants have played 100 times this spring, and that Carlos Villanueva has pitched in every one of them? He’s in there again today, scheduled to work in relief of starter Mark DiFelice.
Here’s the starting lineup:
Rickie Weeks 2B
J.J. Hardy SS
Corey Hart RF
Prince Fielder 1B
Bill Hall 3B
Mike Cameron CF
Chris Duffy LF
Jason Kendall C
Mark DiFelice RHP
DiFelice is slated for two innings and 30 pitches. Besides Villanueva, who is down for three innings and 45 pitchers in an effort to sharpen him up, relievers Todd Coffey and Sam Narron are scheduled to work today.
Some notes from Macha’s morning meeting with reporters:
- Bad news on the Trevor Hoffman front. His oblique strain is not getting any better, and the team’s trainers don’t expect him back on the mound until the end of the week at the earliest. It is becoming more and more likely that Hoffman won’t be ready for Opening Day.
- Manny Parra developed some minor back spasms and missed his scheduled bullpen session on Saturday. He’s still scheduled to make his next start on Wednesday and will be working with one extra day of rest because Tuesday is an off-day for the team.
- Macha once again described his bullpen picture as “cloudy,” and met at length Sunday morning with general manager Doug Melvin to discuss the options. Villanueva and Seth McClung remain the leading contenders to fill-in for Hoffman, Macha said. He doesn’t see David Riske as an option until Riske pitches at least one good outing, and Macha also said he’s not at the point of considering former Orioles closer Jorge Julio, who reached 97 mph on the radar gun on Saturday against the Angels. Julio is still competing for a bullpen spot, though.
- Angel Salome (back) took some swings on Saturday and “felt weird,” according to the manager. Just a hunch, but I don’t think we’re going to see much of Mr. Salome during the final two weeks of camp.
- Duffy is rehydrated and back in the lineup after missing parts of three days with a stomach ailment.
- The Brewers considered giving Villanueva this start but instead tabbed DiFelice in what Macha termed a, “manager’s decision.” Macha wants to see how DiFelice, who relies on movement, fares against the Giants’ starting lineup.
- To get DiFelice and Villanueva stretched out in the “A” game, the Brewers moved Jeff Suppan to a Triple-A game against the Salt Lake Bees. It’s a home game for the Nashville Sounds, so Suppan will pitch on one of the side fields at Maryvale Baseball Park.
- No matter where you are in the Valley, it’s a bad day to be a pitcher. The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory today, and wouldn’t you know it, the wind is blowing straight out to center field at the moment. The winds are expected to reach 25-35 mph with gusts up to 45 mph.