Results tagged ‘ Craig Counsell ’

Wolf, Counsell contract details

The Associated Press reported the details of Randy Wolf’s three-year, $29.75 million contract and Craig Counsell’s one-year, $2.1 million contract:

Randy Wolf gets $9.25 million next year and $9.5 million in each of the following two seasons. The deal includes a $10 million club option for 2013 with a $1.5 million buyout.
Wolf can make an additional $250,000 a year in performance bonuses: $125,000 each for 190 and 200 innings. He has a limited no-trade clause and would get $250,000 if he’s dealt. …
Counsell can earn $500,000 in performance bonuses: $50,000 each for 50, 75, 90 and 110 games, and $100,000 each for 125 games and 75 and 100 starts.

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Wolf, Counsell officially inked

Left-hander Randy Wolf passed a physical on Monday and finalized his three-year pact with the Brewers, who succeeded in landing their top free agent target. 
The team was to introduce the newest member of its starting rotation in an afternoon press conference at Miller Park. 
Minutes later, the team announced that infielder Craig Counsell’s deal was official, too. Counsell agreed to return to the Brewers on a straight one-year contract with no option. He lives in Milwaukee but wasn’t expected to take part in Monday’s Miller Park event. 
Wolf, whose deal also includes a club option for a fourth season, reportedly is guaranteed $29.75 million, making it the third-richest pitching contract in Brewers history. The 33-year-old pitched for his hometown Dodgers in 2009, going 11-7 with a 3.23 ERA in a career-high 34 starts. He wanted to return to Los Angeles, but the Dodgers declined to offer him arbitration, then didn’t make him a contract offer once Wolf hit the open market. 
The Brewers did. General manager Doug Melvin viewed Wolf as the second-best free agent starter and decided early that Milwaukee couldn’t afford John Lackey, so he went hard after Wolf. Melvin traveled to L.A. ahead of the Winter Meetings to meet in person with Wolf, then made him a three-year offer on the first day of baseball’s gathering in Indianapolis. 
On Wednesday, apparently unable to find another team willing to go to three years, Wolf and his agent, Arn Tellem, accepted. 
The Brewers were willing to reach for Wolf because they badly need to bolster a group of starting pitchers who combined for a 5.37 ERA last season, worst in the National League. Melvin had already cut ties with Braden Looper, who led the staff with 14 wins in 2009 but also allowed more home runs than any pitcher in baseball and would have cost $6.5 million had the Brewers exercised his option. 
Melvin would like to add one more starting pitcher but he does have the makings of a five-man rotation with Wolf in the fold behind young ace Yovani Gallardo. The Brewers are expected to stick with left-hander Manny Parra, who is coming off an 11-win season despite posting a 6.36 ERA and enduring a demotion to the Minor Leagues. The Brewers tendered a contract Saturday to arbitration-eligible righty Dave Bush, who earned $4 million last season and can probably expect a raise despite an injury-plagued 2009. That’s a strong indication that Bush will return as a starter. And fellow right-hander Jeff Suppan has one year remaining on a contract that calls for a $12.5 million salary next season, making him the highest-paid Brewer.  
Wolf has made eight career starts at Miller Park, going 2-4 with a 5.95 ERA against a Milwaukee lineup that in recent years has feasted on left-handed pitchers. 
He’s been solid against the Brewers’ National League Central opponents, including the Astros (3.94 ERA in 14 starts), Cardinals (3.64 ERA in 10 starts), Cubs (4.22 ERA in 17 starts), Pirates (7-1, 3.39 ERA in 12 starts) and Reds (9-2, 3.11 ERA in 16 starts). 
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Report: Tentative Counsell deal done

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Saturday that he’d reached a tentative agreement with infielder Craig Counsell on a 2010 return. Melvin told the newspaper that the contract will be finalized on Monday. 

That jived with comments late last week from Counsell’s agent, Barry Meister, who said that he expected to have an answer either way on Counsell by Monday. Meister had a number of in-person discussions with Melvin at last week’s Winter Meetings and followed-up with a series of telephone conversations on Friday. 
Counsell, 39, appeared in 130 games last season and batted .285. Assuming his deal — it will probably be a one-year pact but it’s unclear whether the Brewers offered an option for a second season — is finalized, he would be an important bench piece behind second baseman Rickie Weeks, shortstop Alcides Escobar and third baseman Casey McGehee or Mat Gamel
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Counsell answer by Monday?

While Craig Counsell was taking part in a community event in Milwaukee on Monday, negotiations continued behind the scenes between his agent, Barry Meister, and the Brewers about a return in 2010. 
Meister said he had several conversations with Brewers GM Doug Melvin on Friday, a day after Melvin departed the Winter Meetings in Indianapolis saying he was “confident” a deal would get done. As of Friday evening, no agreement had been reached. 
“I think we’re getting close,” Meister said. “I hope one way or another, whether it’s with the Brewers or another team, that we’ll have something by Monday.” 
Counsell spoke to students from Milwaukee’s Bruce Guadalupe Middle School on Friday at Miller Park about financial literacy, an event coordinated by Brewers Charities that was previously scheduled. He’s the only Brewers player who makes his year-round home in the Milwaukee area. 
But Counsell is a free agent and his fine 2009 season has led to interest from other clubs, the Reds among them. The Brewers would like to bring him back as a backup infielder. 
If a deal is struck Monday and can be made official, it could be a busy day for the Brewers. Left-hander Randy Wolf, who agreed to terms on a three-year contract during the Winter Meetings, has said he will be in Milwaukee that day for the requisite physical exam. 
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Brewers sweeten Counsell offer

The Brewers upped their offer for free agent infielder Craig Counsell on Thursday morning and departed the Winter Meetings feeling good about Counsell’s chances of returning to Milwaukee in 2010. 
“I’m confident we’ll get it done,” general manager Doug Melvin said. “Craig is a big part of our organization, a big part of our city. I’d like to have him back.”
Counsell, who grew up in Milwaukee and still lives there, turned 39 in August but enjoyed his best season since he helped the Arizona Diamondbacks win the 2001 World Series, batting .285 for the Brewers in 2009 with 34 extra-base hits, a .357 on-base percentage and a .408 slugging percentage. Counsell also went 5-for-16 as a pinch-hitter.
Melvin wouldn’t say whether the team had extended anything beyond a one-year offer. Counsell’s agent, Barry Meister, said Wednesday night that negotiations were going in a good direction. 
“He had a good year last year and I don’t want to sell that short,” Melvin said. “He has an impact with our other players. He knows how the game is played, how to prepare for the game. I told him that someday, if he wants to, he could manage or be a coach. He still wants to play, and he had a good year last year.”
 
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Encouraging word on Counsell

Barry Meister, the representative for free agent infielder Craig Counsell, said he had a positive meeting with Brewers brass today about Milwaukee’s initial contract proposal and expected to speak with GM Doug Melvin again before the end of the Winter Meetings, perhaps even another chat on Wednesday night. 

Meister said he preferred to keep negotiations private and wouldn’t specifically say whether he presented a counteroffer. But the fact that the sides will continue talking is a good sign that the Brewers could get Counsell back. He’s a Milwaukee-area resident who proved extremely valuable to the team in 2009, batting .285 with a .357 on-base percentage while appearing at three infield positions.
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Counsell on Wednesday agenda?

The Brewers were so focused on pitching Tuesday that they never had a chance to meet with the agent for infielder Craig Counsell to discuss Milwaukee’s contract offer. Both sides say they would like to sit down before the end of the Winter Meetings, so that probably means they would have to clear time in the schedule on Wednesday.

I’m updating this post after reading what agent Barry Meister told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel late Tuesday, that Counsell is OK with a one-year deal. I heard earlier in the day from someone else that he was hoping to parlay his strong 2009 season into a two-year deal, but it appears that may not be the case.

Counsell will turn 40 before the end of next season but coming off a 2009 in which he batted .285 with a .357 on-base percentage while appearing at three infield positions for the Brewers. He’s an important offseason target for Milwaukee because the team has an injury-prone second baseman in Rickie Weeks, a rookie shortstop in Alcides Escobar, a sophomore third baseman coming off minor knee surgery in Casey McGehee and no experienced in-house bench options outside of Minor Leaguer Hernan Iribarren, who is mostly limited to second base. The Brewers did add versatile infielder Adam Heether to the 40-man roster since the end of the season, but he has never played in the Majors.

Meister was expected to meet with a number of other teams interested in Counsell on Tuesday. 

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Source: Brewers claim Pirates IF

luis cruz.jpgA baseball source told MLB.com’s Jennifer Langosch that the Brewers claimed infielder Luis Cruz off waivers from the Pirates on Monday. Cruz could provide a bit of insurance for the Brewers against the departure of versatile free agent Craig Counsell

Cruz, 25, appeared sparingly for the Pirates in each of the past two years, batting .219 as a shortstop and a second baseman. He’s a .250 hitter over parts of nine Minor League seasons in the Red Sox, Padres and Pirates chains, topping-out with 12 home runs and 65 RBIs at Double-A Mobile (Padres) in 2006.

The Pirates placed Cruz on waivers on Saturday to clear a spot on their full 40-man roster ahead of Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft. 

Counsell, though, remains a top target of the Brewers. General manager Doug Melvin submitted a contract offer to agent Barry Meister ahead of this week’s Winter Meetings and planned to meet face-to-face in Indianapolis. The Brewers are particularly focused on having depth on the infield behind injury-prone second baseman Rickie Weeks, rookie shortstop Alcides Escobar and somewhat-unproven third baseman Casey McGehee.

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Brewers open discussions with Counsell

The Brewers found their starting catcher on Friday and at the same time opened negotiations with a key member of the bench. 

Melvin signed catcher Gregg Zaun but also had time for an afternoon telephone conversation with Barry Meister, the representative for free agent Craig Counsell, and submitted an initial contract proposal. The sides will have a chance to meet face-to-face during next week’s Winter Meetings in Indianapolis to discuss whether Counsell will remain in Milwaukee. 

Melvin was mum about whether the Brewers are willing to offer anything beyond a one-year deal for the versatile 39-year-old. Counsell batted .285 for the Brewers in 2009 with 34 extra-base hits, a .357 on-base percentage and a .408 slugging percentage in his best all-around season since he helped the D-backs win the 2001 World Series. 

Counsell lives in a suburb just north of Milwaukee and might want to stay close to home. His solid season, however, has led to interest, according to an ESPN.com report earlier this offseason, from as many as a dozen teams. A few may be able to offer a multiyear contract, and it’s unclear whether the Brewers, who plan to spend as many of their available payroll dollars as possible on pitching, could match such an offer.

If Counsell departs, the Brewers would need middle-infield help. Top prospect Alcides Escobar is taking over at shortstop in 2010, but he’s a rookie. Rickie Weeks is on track to return from left wrist surgery to start at second base, but he’s injury-prone. Casey McGehee is the favorite to start at third base, but he’s still somewhat unproven in the Majors and had minor knee surgery after the season. Counsell can play all three positions well. 

The Brewers added versatile infielder Adam Heether to the 40-man roster this fall but he has no Major League experience. 

The Brewers owned exclusive negotiating rights with Counsell for the 15 days following the World Series, but did not take advantage of that opportunity. 

“We were just doing our work at that time, and I don’t think they would have signed, anyway. Not many guys sign before [testing the open market],” Melvin said.

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Melvin expects Counsell & Co. to hit open market

Thursday is the final day for teams to negotiate exclusively with their own free agents, but Brewers general manager Doug Melvin is not anticipating striking any deals before the market opens in earnest.

“No,” he said Wednesday. “I don’t think they want to sign, personally. They want to wait until Friday and hope someone picks up the phone and makes them an offer they never thought they would get.”

Beginning Friday at 12:01 a.m. ET, free agents are free to field those calls from all 30 teams. Before then, during a 15-day window that follows the World Series, other teams can only express general interest but are technically barred from making any offers.

The Brewers have nine outgoing free agents: Outfielders Mike Cameron, Frank Catalanotto and Corey Patterson, infielders Craig Counsell and Felipe Lopez, catcher Jason Kendall and pitchers Braden Looper, Claudio Vargas and David Weathers. Looper and Weathers hit the market after the Brewers declined their options.

Melvin wouldn’t say which of those players he would like to bring back to avoid giving other teams an idea of the Brewers’ thinking. He did say this month that the Carlos Gomez acquisition likely closed the door on Cameron, that the Brewers might not be able to afford Kendall unless he takes a serious pay cut and that the team remains committed to Rickie Weeks at second base, making a Lopez return very unlikely.

Counsell seems the most likely incumbent on the Brewers’ radar but a report this week said that as many as 12 teams had expressed interest. That’s not surprising at all given Counsell’s defensive versatility and his outstanding 2009 season at the plate, and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he could field multi-year offers.

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