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Inside the Clubhouse: What are the Brewers planning for Jackie Bradley Jr.?

This week, Contained in the Clubhouse appears to be like at how the Brewers plan to make use of Jackie Bradley Jr., how Jake Odorizzi would possibly slot in Houston and extra.

That is the way in which that the Milwaukee Brewers have operated below proprietor Mark Attanasio and president of baseball operations David Stearns.

They test in with each free agent, monitor their markets and try and pounce if they’ll full a deal to their liking. They’ve completed it prior to now with Kyle Lohse, Yasmani Grandal and Mike Moustakas. They (unsuccessfully) did it this winter with Justin Turner and Trevor Rosenthal. However they agreed to phrases with free-agent outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. on a two-year, $24 million contract with a participant possibility after the primary yr, pending bodily, in response to sources aware of the deal.

Bradley, 31 in April, had been looking for a for much longer contract this offseason, with Mike Puma of the New York Post reporting that he was “looking for a major contract, maybe past 4 years.” However his market proved largely stagnant even after George Springer signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, with the Brewers being among the many half-dozen groups that thought-about Bradley this winter.

Bradley and his agent, Scott Boras, are optimistic his market could be stronger subsequent winter if he opts out after this season. He would, well being allowing, be the consensus high free-agent middle fielder. For at the very least one season, nevertheless, he joins what’s now arguably baseball’s finest outfield in Milwaukee with Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain and Avisail Garcia.

How Bradley suits in that outfield now turns into essentially the most urgent query dealing with supervisor Craig Counsell and president of baseball operations David Stearns. Yelich is entrenched in left area. Cain “is our middle fielder,” Counsell stated, that means that Bradley and Garcia will see most of their time in proper area.

Bradley, nevertheless, turns into an essential chess piece in Milwaukee. He can spell Cain, 34, when he wants a day without work in middle area. He’s a major improve in proper area and additional improves a run-prevention unit the Brewers are more and more enthusiastic about after including Bradley and Kolten Wong, two Gold Glove defenders. He additionally provides one other left-handed bat within the lineup that can permit Counsell to maximise matchups, a ability that has helped the Brewers advance to the postseason the final three seasons.

Even for a participant not recognized for his offense — Bradley slashed .239/.321/.412 in eight seasons with the Purple Sox — the contract proves to be a steal. And it places the Brewers squarely within the combine within the Nationwide League Central, even after the St. Louis Cardinals acquired Nolan Arenado.

The Brewers will want Bradley instantly after he passes his bodily. Cain is anticipated to overlook 1-2 weeks after straining his calf in batting observe, in response to sources aware of the state of affairs. The damage has been deemed “very minor” and the staff is optimistic it is not going to be a long-term difficulty, although they intend to be cautious ramping him again up.

If this state of affairs presents itself in the course of the common season, or if Yelich’s again flares up as soon as once more, the Brewers at the moment are armed with the depth to resist the potential lack of both participant. It was one thing the group had turn into more and more anxious about. However now, they’ll insert a participant who hit .283/.364/.450 in 55 video games final season whose 33 defensive runs saved in middle area ranks tied for fifth in baseball since 2015.

The Brewers have been rewarded for his or her diligence, and following by on a need to enhance. Regardless of a number of query marks concerning third base and bullpen depth, the staff seems completed making sizable additions this winter. However with Attanasio and Stearns, a transfer ought to by no means be dominated out — particularly if the staff stays in rivalry in July.

A chance for Jake Odorizzi?

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic just lately made the argument that Jake Odorizzi ought to wait to signal because the demand for beginning pitching, at the very least in idea, will increase as wants come up.

Maybe that chance has already introduced itself.

Houston Astros beginning pitcher Framber Valdez just lately suffered a finger damage that would require season-ending surgical procedure, in response to Jon Heyman of MLB Network. Valdez is looking for a second opinion, although shedding him for an prolonged time period could be a large blow to an Astros rotation that’s already with out Justin Verlander.

The match between the Astros and Odorizzi, at the very least on paper, is robust. He overlapped with normal supervisor James Click on with the Tampa Bay Rays from 2013-2017. From 2014-2019, he posted a 3.88 ERA in 991.2 innings. He would give the Astros a much-needed veteran possibility alongside Zack Greinke whereas they appear to compete within the American League West.

However the Astros have been hesitant to pursue Jackie Bradley Jr. amid considerations about shedding draft decide compensation in the event that they exceeded the $210 million luxury-tax threshold. They’re at present at $201.3 million, per FanGraphs, so it’s potential they’ll construction a cope with Odorizzi that retains them below that threshold. However even that would show troublesome.

The Astros plan to attend to see how lengthy Valdez can be out earlier than figuring out their subsequent transfer. They need to keep flexibility for future additions and will decide to go together with in-house arms equivalent to Forrest Whitley and Luis Garcia, that means Odorizzi might stay unsigned even longer.

Prospects drawing early buzz:

Aaron Ashby, LHP, Milwaukee Brewers

When requested which prospect has turned heads essentially the most this spring, one Brewers official didn’t hesitate to call left-handed pitcher Aaron Ashby.

“Ashby is filthy,” he stated. “He’ll be within the huge leagues this yr.”

Ashby, 22, could possibly be an essential piece for the Brewers as they search for arms to eat innings. He throws 5 pitches, together with a fastball that touches 97 mph, and just lately added a sinker. He makes use of completely different motions in his supply to mess with hitters’ timing. He has used each to overpower opponents this spring, hanging out six batters in two innings pitched.

Shane McLanahan, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays

Shane McLanahan turned the primary pitcher in baseball historical past to make his major-league debut final season. The Rays consider that have will solely assist him in 2021 and past.

McLanahan, 23, is anticipated to be a beginning pitcher for the Rays as soon as he’s referred to as up. He includes a fastball that persistently hits 100 mph, most just lately throwing a 102 mph fastball in opposition to the Pittsburgh Pirates, and has added a slider to his repertoire that one supply near the Rays described as “a legit weapon” that may preserve opposing hitters off stability.

The Rays can get artistic with how they finally deploy McLanahan. They will use him as a standard beginning pitcher. They will use him as a piggyback in outings by veterans Michael Wacha, Chris Archer and Wealthy Hill as they appear to maintain them wholesome all through the 162-game season. They will use him in many alternative methods, however there’s a sturdy perception contained in the Rays group that he could possibly be their subsequent homegrown star.

Across the Horn:

  • The Brewers and San Diego Padres have mentioned Josh Hader in recent times, although the 2 sides don’t at present line up for a commerce, as Rosenthal reported.
  • At one level, the New York Mets thought they’d a cope with Trevor Bauer. One among his brokers, Rachel Luba, went on the Starting 9 podcast and revealed that he was prepared to hitch the Mets after a merchandise mishap.
  • Free-agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes just lately held a showcase for groups. One scout in attendance believes the 35-year-old is finest suited to the American League as a delegated hitter.

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