Results tagged ‘ David Weathers ’

No arbitration offers

As general manager Doug Melvin forecast on Monday, the Brewers did not extend arbitration offers to any of their ranked free agents ahead of Tuesday’s deadline to do so. That means the club won’t reap any Draft compensation in the event that outfielder Mike Cameron, catcher Jason Kendall, infielder Felipe Lopez or pitchers Braden Looper and David Weathers sign with other clubs.

All five players were Type B free agents. Had the Brewers extended arbitration offers and the players declined, the team would have received a compensatory pick between the first and second rounds of next June’s First-Year Player Draft. Since no offers were made, the Brewers won’t reap any extra picks in 2010.

That’s disappointing for amateur scouting director Bruce Seid, who is already deep into preparation for the Draft. But the risk in extending such offers is that the player can accept, making him signed for the following season at a salary to be determined either in negotiation, or if talks prove unsuccessful, in an arbitration hearing. Players almost always get raises through the process, and that would have certainly been the case for all five of the Brewers’ ranked players.

Four of the decisions were likely easy ones. Melvin has already made it clear he wouldn’t pursue Cameron (who earned $10 million in 2009) or Kendall ($5 million), and the Brewers already paid buyouts to Looper and Weathers instead of exercising club options. The options ($6.5 million for Looper and $3.7 for Weathers) could have cost than what the players would have earned via arbitration, so an offer didn’t make sense.

Lopez, though, was a matter for debate as late as Monday afternoon, when Melvin and his assistants met to finalize their decisions. Lopez earned a reasonably $3.5 million base salary in 2009 and had a career year, batting .310 for the D-backs and Brewers with nine home runs, 57 RBIs, 88 runs scored and a .383 on-base percentage. He was at his best after a July trade from Arizona to Milwaukee, batting .320 for the Brewers with a .407 on-base percentage and filling the void atop the lineup that had existed since second baseman Rickie Weeks was lost to season-ending wrist surgery.

Based on that strong finish, Lopez, who is represented by Scott Boras, will almost certainly seek a multi-year contract. But the Brewers’ decision to not offer him arbitration on Tuesday was a sign that Milwaukee officials, after analyzing which teams will be looking for second basemen this offseason, aren’t convinced he’ll get it.

That left open the possibility that Lopez could accept the offer, and a multimillion dollar bench player probably wouldn’t fit Melvin’s plans. The Brewers are committed to Weeks at second base and are set elsewhere on the infield with first baseman Prince Fielder, shortstop Alcides Escobar and either Casey McGehee or Mat Gamel at third base. Lopez has some outfield experience, but Ryan Braun is a fixture in left field for the Brewers and Corey Hart is the incumbent in right. Hart earned $3.25 million last season and is arbitration-eligible once again.

Payroll is tight for the Brewers despite recent cost-cutting measures because Melvin intends to use the bulk of his remaining resources to fix the team’s starting rotation.

“You would love to have that depth,” Melvin said Monday in previewing his looming decisions. “But is [Lopez] going to want to be a part-time player? He’s going to want to be an everyday player, and Rickie is going to want to be an everyday player. In some sense, you also ask, are you willing to trade the possibility of [acquiring] a pitcher for Felipe Lopez? That’s the question.”

On Tuesday, Melvin answered his own question. He’d prefer to save resources for the pitcher.


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Arbitration decisions today

Brewers officials met Monday afternoon to make final decisions, but it appeared they were leaning against extending arbitration offers to any of their five compensation-eligible free agents, including infielder Felipe Lopez

“Where would he play?” general manager Doug Melvin asked. 

Before exploring that question, an arbitration primer is in order: 

Lopez, outfielder Mike Cameron, catcher Jason Kendall and pitchers Braden Looper and David Weathers all qualified as Type B free agents, meaning the Brewers could reap a compensatory pick in next year’s First-Year Player Draft should any of those players sign with another team. 

But in order to qualify for compensation, the Brewers would have to first extend an offer of arbitration to those eligible free agents. If the player declines, the Brewers would be compensated when he signs elsewhere; former teams get a first- or second-round pick from the player’s new club plus a so-called “sandwich pick” between the first two rounds for a Type A free agent, or just a sandwich pick for a Type B player. 

But if the player accepts the offer, he is considered signed for the next season at a salary to be determined, usually higher than the previous season. That possibility can present a risk teams are unwilling to take.

That risk is why the Brewers have been expected all along to decline making offers to Cameron ($10 million salary in 2009) and Kendall ($5 million). The team already declined club options on Looper ($6.5 million) and Weathers ($3.7 million), making an arbitration offer extremely unlikely. Why would the team pay those players buyouts only to bring them back several weeks later?

But many expected that the team would offer arbitration to Lopez, who is coming off a season split between Arizona and Milwaukee in which he batted a career-best .310 with 88 runs scored and a .383 on-base percentage. Lopez was relatively reasonable at $3.5 million. 

Lopez is likely to seek a multiyear contract, and would have to decline an arbitration offer from the Brewers to get one. Because he narrowly missed qualifying for Type A compensation, he is actually more attractive to rival clubs because they would forfeit a Draft pick.

But the Brewers are wary of what they would do if Lopez were to accept. The team is committed to Rickie Weeks at second base and already has two players (Casey McGehee and Mat Gamel) to play third. Lopez has some experience in the outfield, but the Brewers have Ryan Braun set in left field and Corey Hart in right. 

Melvin is already working on a tight budget and wants to preserve as much payroll space as possible to improve the team’s pitching. A multi-million-dollar reserve infielder might not fit Melvin’s plans. 

“You would love to have that depth,” Melvin said. “But is [Lopez] going to want to be a part-time player? He’s going to want to be an everyday player, and Rickie is going to want to be an everyday player. In some sense, you also ask, are you willing to trade the possibility of [acquiring] a pitcher for Felipe Lopez? That’s the question.” 

Melvin has proposed a series of changes to Major League Baseball’s Draft process, and free agent compensation is one of his beefs. He doesn’t expect any changes to come out of next week’s Winter Meetings in Indianapolis.  

“If we want to sign a Type A free agent, we would lose a second-round pick, but we don’t have a way to get picks back,” Melvin said. “Our whole Draft process needs to be redone.” 

The deadline for teams to extend arbitration offers to their free agents is 10:59 p.m. CT on Tuesday. Players who get offers have until Dec. 7 to accept.

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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Counsell, Weathers formally join free agent pool

Brewers infielder Craig Counsell and reliever David Weathers were among the 31 players who formally filed for free agency on Monday. 

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin wouldn’t say which of his free agents the team would attempt to re-sign, but Counsell is probably one of them. He turned 39 in August but has his best season since he helped the Arizona Diamondbacks win the 2001 World Series, batting .285 in 2009 with 34 extra-base hits, a .357 on-base percentage and a .408 slugging percentage. 

He also went 5-for-16 as a pinch-hitter and started at least 19 games at three infield positions, making him a valuable bench option for Brewers manager Ken Macha. Counsell could pair with versatile right-handed hitter Adam Heether, who was added earlier Monday to the Brewers’ 40-man roster, as a solid left-right pair of reserve infielders in 2010.

Asked last week whether he was in talks with any of the Brewers’ free agents about a return, Melvin was coy. 

“We’ve had discussions,” he said. “I don’t want to say which players we’ve had discussions with.”

Counsell signed a one-year, $1 million contract to return to the Brewers prior to last season. He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery last month but should he 100 percent healthy well ahead of Spring Training. 

Weathers’ filing was a formality since the Brewers declined his $3.7 million club option last week. He split the 2009 season between Cincinnati and Milwaukee, going 4-6 with a 3.92 ERA in 68 games. After an Aug. 9 trade to the Brewers, he was 1-3 with a 4.88 ERA while appearing in 25 of the team’s final 51 games. The Brewers sent cash to the Reds after the season to complete the trade. 

Weathers is a Type B free agent but the Brewers would have to offer him arbitration in order to reap a compensatory Draft pick should he sign elsewhere. That would be tricky because Weathers earned $3.5 million in 2009 and would almost certainly get a raise in arbitration if he accepted the offer. 

Five other Brewers filed for free agency last week, leaving pitcher Claudio Vargas as the only eligible player yet to submit his paperwork. Fellow pitcher Braden Looper remains in limbo while the Brewers decide whether to exercise their half of his $6.5 million mutual option. The team has until Saturday to do so. 

Monday marked the fifth day of the 15-day period in which eligible players may give notice of their election of free agency. To date, 151 Major League players have filed.

Brewers decline Weathers' option

On a busy day for the Brewers, the team declined reliever David Weathers’ club option and made him a free agent. The option would have paid Weathers’ $3.7 million in 2010; instead he gets a $400,000 buyout.

Weathers split the 2009 season between Cincinnati and Milwaukee, going 4-6 with a 3.92 ERA in 68 games. After an Aug. 9 trade to the Brewers, he was 1-3 with a 4.88 ERA while appearing in 25 of the team’s final 51 games. The Brewers sent cash to the Reds after the season to complete the trade.

The Brewers have one more option decision looming. Braden Looper’s deal includes a mutual option for 2010 that calls for a $6.5 million salary or a $1 million buyout. The Brewers have until Nov. 14 to decide, and general manager Doug Melvin would not tip his hand in a conference call with beat reporters on Friday.


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Free agency period is on

FAs2.jpg Let the offseason begin.

When the Yankees clinched the World Series on Wednesday night, it kick-started the season after the season for all 30 teams, not to mention the dozens of unattached players looking for new homes. Thursday began a 15-day period for those players to formally file for free agency, during which they may only negotiate with their current team.

The Brewers have seven such players, including two — center fielder Mike Cameron and catcher Jason Kendall — who have been fixtures in the starting lineup in the past two seasons. The other players eligible to file are outfielder Frank Catalanotto, infielder Craig Counsell, second baseman Felipe Lopez, outfielder Corey Patterson and pitcher Claudio Vargas.

Two others must wait to learn whether they will join the free agent pool. The Brewers have 10 days after the World Series to decide whether to exercise their half of Braden Looper’s $6.5 million mutual option and whether to pick up reliever David Weathers’ $3.7 million club option.

Looper, who led the team with 14 wins and tied for the National League with 34 starts but ran up a 5.22 ERA and led the Major Leagues by allowing 39 home runs, is a particularly interesting case. The Brewers would have to pay a $1 million buyout if they declined his option. 

In August it seemed a foregone conclusion that the Brewers, who are short on pitching prospects at the top levels of the Minor Leagues, would bring Looper back. But a high-ranking club official indicated during the final week of the season that Looper’s future with the team was now up for debate. He went 5-2 in September/October but posted a 6.58 ERA and a .349 opponents’ average. With general manager Doug Melvin intent on bringing in two new starters — his stated goal last month — and the Brewers’ four other ’09 starters under contract for 2010, Looper could conceivably be one of the odd men out. 

If the Brewers decline Weathers’ option, they owe him a $400,000 buyout. 

Among the players already eligible for free agency, Cameron, Counsell, Kendall and Vargas are the likely priorities. Lopez was excellent after a July trade from Arizona to Milwaukee — .with a 320 batting average and a .407 on-base percentage in 297 plate appearances — but Melvin made it clear that he is committed to Rickie Weeks at second base. If that’s the case, it appears the Brewers don’t have a spot for Lopez. 

Also on Thursday, the Brewers learned that Cameron, Kendall and Lopez all qualified as Type B players in the Elias Sports Bureau’s ranking system and that Looper and Weathers would also rank as Type Bs should they reach free agency.

That system considers a player’s last two seasons of statistical output and is used to determine which free agents are eligible for Draft compensation. In order to qualify, a free agent must be offered arbitration by his former team, but decline the offer and then sign elsewhere.

The former club of a Type A free agent receives the player’s new team’s first- or second-round pick in next year’s First-Year Player Draft, depending on where that team finished in the standings, plus a “sandwich pick” between the first- and second rounds.  The former club of a Type B free agent receives only the sandwich pick.
Lopez.jpgLopez was one spot shy of qualifying as a Type A player. National League second baseman, shortstops and third basemen are grouped together by Elias, and Lopez was the first Type B, with a rating of 71.889. Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla was the final Type A, at 72.350.

For more on the Brewers’ free agent-eligibles, see my story on

Of the players in question, who would you like to see back? Who should the Brewers let go?


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Brewers, Reds complete Weathers deal

The Brewers announced Friday that they had sent cash to the Reds to complete the Aug. 9 trade that brought veteran reliever David Weathers to Milwaukee. Weathers appeared 25 times for the Brewers and posted a 4.88 ERA, giving him a 3.92 ERA in 68 games between the two teams.

He turned 40 on Sept. 25 and the Brewers have until 10 days after the World Series to decide whether to exercise Weathers’ $3.7 million club option. If the team declines, Weathers gets $400,000 and a chance to test his value in free agency.

Weathers struggling with mid-inning yank

More than three weeks into his Brewers tenure, David Weathers is still trying to get used to handing the baseball to his manager. 

In his first 12 games with Milwaukee, Weathers was lifted in the middle of an inning six times. For comparison, he was only pulled three times in his 43 appearances for the Reds before an Aug. 9 trade to Milwaukee. Last year with the Reds, Weathers exited in the middle of an inning six times in 72 games. 

“I just have to adjust,” Weathers said. 

It’s proving difficult.

“The strange thing,” Weathers said, “is that I pitched in one of the best bullpens in the National League the last couple of years and almost always finished the inning. It’s a huge adjustment for me.” 

Might he approach manager Ken Macha to talk about it? 

“If it continues,” Weathers said. “I’ve never pitched well doing that. I don’t think any bullpen can pitch well when you’re only going 1/3 or 2/3 [of an inning]. You’ve constantly got someone warming up, and your bullpen will pay the price for that.

“You don’t want guys going out there, allowing a baserunner and then looking down for somebody to come in and help them out. You have to get out of your own jams.” 

But, Weathers added, “”The bottom line is he’s the manager. It’s just an adjustment I’ll have to make.” 

Weathers has most often made way for Todd Coffey, who has been excellent this season as the primary set-up man to closer Trevor Hoffman. That was the case at Busch Stadium on Tuesday, when Weathers started the seventh inning of a game tied at 4 and surrendered a one-out double to Brenan Ryan. The runner froze when Weathers induced a pop-out, bringing up Albert Pujols, who was 10-for-19 in his career against Weathers.

So Macha made what he considered an easy call: Intentionally walk Pujols and bring in Coffey to face fellow Cardinals slugger Matt Holliday. Macha’s logic for the move was sound. Coffey was coming off a pair of off-days and should have been well-rested. He is a ground-ball pitcher, a plus with runners at first and second base. And Macha figured that Holliday, an excellent breaking-ball hitter, would have a tougher time with Coffey’s power fastball. 

Coffey indeed went with a first-pitch fastball, only he grooved it down the middle of the plate and Holliday pounded it for a go-ahead, three-run home run that proved the difference in a 7-6 Brewers loss.

“It’s just in certain situations where [Macha] makes the move,” Brewers bullpen coach Stan Kyles said. “Skip believes more in matchups and things like that, and guys have to understand that it’s nothing personal. I’m pretty sure it frustrates [Weathers] more than it affects his pitching.” 

Weathers took the loss Tuesday and was saddled with two earned runs, boosting his ERA since the trade to 4.38 (six earned runs in 12 1/3 innings). Schumaker’s double snapped an 0-for-25 skid by opponents against Weathers. 

The Brewers own a relatively reasonable $3.7 million club option for Weathers to return in 2010. If they decline, Weathers will get a $400,000 buyout. Weathers, who turns 40 on Sept. 25, has gotten no indications from club officials which way they are leaning.

Colome dodges a bullet: Just a bruise

Right-handed reliever Jesus Colome left his Brewers home debut on Tuesday night after he was struck on the pitching hand by a line drive, but x-rays revealed no broken bones.

Colome was diagnosed with a bruised pinkie finger, and he will be evaluated before the Brewers and Padres continue their series on Wednesday night.

“He got hit on the back of the hand, and they just think it’s a bruise,” Brewers manager Ken Macha said.

Colome was in his second inning of work when Everth Cabrera’s RBI hit glanced off Colome’s right hand and deflected into center field for the Padres 20th hit of the game. Colome left the field immediately with head athletic trainer Roger Caplinger.

The hard-throwing Colome was making his second appearance for the Brewers since a Friday promotion from Triple-A Nashville. He was replaced by another bullpen newcomer, David Weathers, who was acquired from Cincinnati on Saturday. Weathers also pitched for the Brewers from 1998-2001.

Colome was one of six Brewers pitchers employed by Macha in Milwaukee’s 13-6 loss, leaving only two completely fresh arms — Mike Burns, who is penciled-in to start on Saturday, and closer Trevor Hoffman — for Wednesday. But Claudio Vargas needed only three pitches to record an out in the sixth inning, and Todd Coffey threw only two pitches while recording the final out in the ninth.

Weathers to join Brewers tonight; Smith optioned

David Weathers will be in uniform No. 20 tonight, when the Brewers begin a three-game series against the Padres at Miller Park. It will be his third number with the Brewers; Weathers wore Nos. 27 and 49 during his first stint with the team from 1998-2001. He wore No. 25 with the Reds, but center fielder Mike Cameron owns that one in Milwaukee.

To clear a 25-man roster spot, the team optioned right-hander Chris Smith back to Nashville. Smith posted a 3.63 ERA mostly in lopsided games (the Brewers were 2-21 when he pitched) but Weathers is more likely to be used in tight situations.

Weathers has a 3.32 ERA this season in 43 appearances with the Reds. He has a 2.50 ERA in 48 career appearances at Miller Park.