Milwaukee Brewers Offseason Tracker: Hottest Trade Rumors, Free-Agency News

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistNovember 1, 2013

Milwaukee Brewers Offseason Tracker: Hottest Trade Rumors, Free-Agency News

0 of 11

    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    While the National League Central sent three teams to the postseason in 2013, the Milwaukee Brewers struggled for much of the season.

    The offense ranked in the middle of the league, but it was the starting pitching that was a problem. Milwaukee managed to snag Kyle Lohse this year, however, of the four starters with at least 20 starts this year, he was the only one with an ERA below 3.85.

    The team could use some help in the rotation.

    On the bright side, center fielder Carlos Gomez turned into a star this year. He was doing it all with his bat and his glove. Milwaukee can continue to add pieces around him and try to get back to winning.

    The NL Central isn't going to come back to the Brewers. They are going to have to improve if they want to get back in contention, and this market will give them an opportunity to add to their roster.

    This tracker will keep tabs on all of the latest rumors and deals involving the Brewers, so check back daily as the offseason heats up.

Milwaukee's Own Free Agents and Done Deals

1 of 11

    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Done Deals

    Oct. 29: RF Norichika Aoki's $1.5 million club option exercised, via Adam McCalvy of MLB.com

    Nov. 22: Traded RHP Burke Badenhop to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for LHP Luis Ortega

    Dec. 5: Traded OF Norichika Aoki to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for LHP Will Smith

    Dec. 12: Selected LHP Wei-Chung Wang in the Rule 5 Draft 

     

    Free Agents

    INF Yuniesky Betancourt (Age 31)

    2013 stats: .212/.240/.355, 13 HR, 15 2B, 1 3B, 46 RBI, 14 BB, 71 K

     

    LHP Mike Gonzalez (Age 35)

    2013 stats: 75 G, 50 IP, 0-3, 4.68 ERA, 58 H, 10 HR, 60 K/25 BB

     

    1B/RF Corey Hart (Dec. 11: Signed a one-year deal with the Seattle Mariners)

Arbitration Eligible Players

2 of 11

    Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

    Tendered

    RHP Marco Estrada

    1B/3B Juan Francisco

     

    *via Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Michael Young: Free Agent Target

3 of 11

    Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

    FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that the Brewers are interested in utility man Michael Young. Rosenthal suggests that Young would be a nice match with Juan Francisco at first base.

    Younghit .279/.335/.395 with eight home runs, 26 doubles and five triples with the Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013. He has a career slash line of .300/.346/.441.

    The 37-year-old can play any position in the infield, so the Brewers have to like his versatility. He may be used mainly as a first baseman, but he will play where ever a team wants him.

    He spent the first 13 years of his career with the Texas Rangers before joining the National League this past season.

Ike Davis: Trade Target

4 of 11

    Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reported that the Brewers talked to the New York Mets about a possible trade for first baseman Ike Davis. However, a deal isn't likely to happen at this point.

     

    *Update: Friday, Dec. 13 at 11:46 a.m. ET

    FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Brewers and the Mets continue to talk about a deal involving Ike Davis. There appears to be a holdup on the Brewers' side as they don't want to deal right-handed pitcher Tyler Thornburg.

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Thursday, Dec. 12 at 11:04 a.m. ET

    After the Brewers lost Corey Hart to the Seattle Mariners, they have continued to talk to the Mets about a possible trade involving Ike Davis, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

    Milwaukee is expected to look for a first baseman via free agency and trade.

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Monday, Dec. 9 at 6:48 p.m. ET

    MLB.com's Adam McCalvy tweeted that the Brewers and the Mets revisited a possible deal involving Ike Davis. Like McCalvy reported with Hart, there is "groundwork" in place.

    ---End of update---

     

    The Mets are shopping Davis, and the Brewers need a first baseman. It seems like a potential match, but Martino was also told that the Brewers are looking to address the position in free agency rather than trade.

    Davis hit .205 with nine home runs in New York, so the Mets are trying to see what they can get for him.

Dec. 12: Selected LHP Wei-Chung Wang in the Rule 5 Draft

5 of 11

    Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

    With the 11th pick in the Rule 5 draft, the Brewers selected left-handed pitcher Wei-Chung Wang from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    Wang spent only one season in the Pirates organization. 

    In rookie ball, the 21-year-old went 1-3 with a 3.23 ERA and a 0.866 WHIP in 12 games, including 11 starts. He struck out 42 batters and walked only four batters in 47.1 innings, so he has pretty good control.

    MLB.com's Jim Callis pointed out that Wang has good stuff. He can touch 95 mph with his heater, and he has the potential to have a good changeup and curveball.

    Milwaukee must pay $50,000 for Wang. If he doesn't stay on the Brewers' 25-man roster, he must be offered back to the Pirates for $25,000.

Dec. 11: Corey Hart Signs a One-Year Deal with the Seattle Mariners

6 of 11

    Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

    After nine seasons in Milwaukee, fan favorite Corey Hart has decided to move on. He has signed a one-year deal with the Seattle Mariners, which means the Brewers are now in the market for a first baseman.

     

    *Update: Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 1:54 p.m. ET

    CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that the Mariners have signed Corey Hart to a one-year deal.

    ---End of update---

     

    Hart missed the entire 2013 season, but he was swinging the bat very well in recent seasons. He hit at least .270 with 26 home runs or more in each of the previous three seasons.

    He is a two-time All-Star, and the fans in Milwaukee love him. When he is healthy, he is a very productive hitter. A knee injury caused him to miss this past season, and he is limited to first base at this point.

    The 31-year-old is a strong hitter who can help most lineups. If he can show that he successfully recovered from knee surgery, some team will be willing to give him a team-friendly deal that could end up being a bargain. 

Carlos Marmol: Free Agent Target

7 of 11

    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Milwaukee Brewers are interested in a familiar face, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman. The team is interested in former Chicago Cubs closer Carlos Marmol.

    Although he has a talented arm, Marmol is currently looking for work.

    The right-hander spent the first seven-and-a-half years of his career with the Cubs before being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the middle of 2013. He went 2-4 with two saves, both with Chicago, this past season. He posted a 4.41 ERA and a 1.633 WHIP in 52 games between the two clubs.

    Marmol is an experienced closer. The 31-year-old saved 92 games for the Cubs from 2010 to 2012. He has a 3.58 ERA in 27.2 innings at Miller Park.

    As good as he can be, his control has gotten him in trouble. He had 59 strikeouts to 40 walks in 49 innings this past season. The right-hander has walked 18 batters in 22 games in Milwaukee. He has walked at least 40 batters in seven of his eight seasons in the majors. 

    Marmol is generating some interest, and the Brewers could take a chance on him.

Johan Santana: Brewers Show Interest in Veteran Pitcher

8 of 11

    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    The Brewers are one of eight teams interested in Johan Santana, according to Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com.

    He has missed two of the past three seasons with injuries and has tossed only 117 innings since the end of the 2010 season. A shoulder injury has cost him playing time, and now he is looking to get back to the majors.

    Santana began his career in Minnesota and was the best pitcher in baseball for years. Now teams will be taking a chance by giving him a chance with his recent injury history.

    The 34-year-old threw a no-hitter while with the New York Mets. That was about the only bright spot he has had since 2010. He went 93-44 with a 3.22 ERA during his time with the Mets, so he showed that he can pitch in a big market after leaving Minnesota.

    Santana is expected to showcase himself for teams in January. If the Brewers like what they see, they could end up offering him an incentive-laden non-roster invitee contract.

Dec. 5: Traded Norichika Aoki to Kansas City for LHP Will Smith

9 of 11

    Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

    Norichika Aoki's option was picked up by the Brewers earlier this offeseason, via Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, but now he has been dealt to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for LHP Will Smith.

    Aoki hit .286/.356/.370 with eight home runs, 20 doubles, three triples and 20 stolen bases. His slash line was eerily similar to the .288/.355/.433 line that he put up in 2012.

    The right fielder can get on base, and then, he can steal a base. He has 50 stolen bases in 70 attempts in the last two seasons, which comes out to 71.4 percent. 

    Take a look at what Brewers GM Doug Melvin said about dealing Aoki, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

    “Nori is a true professional and performed very well as a member of the Brewers,” Melvin said. “This was a tough call because of what he brought to our organization on the field and in the clubhouse.”

    Milwaukee received Smith in return. The 24-year-old is 8-10 with a 4.76 ERA and a 1.423 WHIP in 35 games, including 17 starts. He struggled as a starter in 2012, but it looks like he found his niche by moving to the bullpen.

    In 19 outings, including one start, in 2013, Smith went 2-1 and posted a 3.24 ERA and a 0.930 WHIP in 33.1 innings. The southpaw showed fantastic control. He struck out 43 batters to only seven walks.

    Here's what Melvin had to say about their acquisition:

    Will Smith is someone we have liked for a couple of years now. We had the chance to acquire a 24-year-old big, physical left-hander who we feel can be a part of our staff. We could not walk away from the opportunity.

    It was a surprising move made by the Brewers, but they got a young arm who could help the bullpen.

Brewers Aren't Likely to Be Major Players in Free Agency

10 of 11

    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the Brewers aren't expected to make major splashes in free agency.

    Here's what GM Doug Melvin said:

    I don't anticipate us being overly active at this point but things could change

    ...

    We like parts of our ballclub; some parts we need help. There's not a lot of openings in the regular lineup. One position we need to fill is first base. We were really hurt by the lack of production there.

    There's nothing major on the free-agent market we'll probably get involved with. Maybe we'll do something with the bullpen, make an addition or two.

    It looks like Milwaukee is content with its roster, for the most part. If Corey Hart does not return, Juan Francisco could take over at first base.

    Other than that, the Brewers don't look like they will be very active this winter. They saw their rotation improve as the year went on, so bullpen help may be the only thing that the club looks for.

     

Elian Herrera: Claimed off Waivers from LAD

11 of 11

    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Update: Monday, Nov. 4 at 3:45 p.m. ET

    The Brewers have claimed utility man Elian Herrera off waivers, according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.

    The 28-year-old hit .251/.336/.328 with one home run, 10 doubles, one triple and four stolen bases in parts of two seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He hit .285/.365/.392 with 149 stolen bases in eight years in the minors.

    Herrera has played every position but catcher, so he gives the Brewers a versatile player.