According to sources at Fox Sports, Milwaukee is working on a trade to send long-time Brewers’ farmhand Yovani Gallardo to Texas.
There have been no reports of any players returning to Milwaukee in exchange for Gallardo, who has one year remaining on his contract.
However, we can rule out 21-year-old prospect Jurickson Profar, multiple sources said.
The potential deal makes sense for Brewers’ pitching prospect Jimmy Nelson, who could slide into the team’s starting rotation, after team officials planned to have him in the bullpen pending any off season trades of their starters.
Nelson’s 2014 campaign with the Major League club drew mixed results, starting 12 of 14 games, posting a 2-9 record and a 4.93 ERA.
Nelson, 25, had his best start of the season May 25 at Miami when he tossed 5.2 innings, allowing no earned runs with six strikeouts and three walks to earn his first career victory.
He then produced two underwhelming starts, allowing nine earned runs through 10.1 innings, but produced a solid 10:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
The right-hander produced a solid start in a 2-0 loss to the New York Mets July 27, where he strung
together seven strong innings, allowing two earned runs and struck out six batters.
Based on his season trends, he accrued six starts where he pitched six or more innings, and two where he pitched seven. He was 1-3 with three no decisions in all six of those starts.
Aside from Nelson, there is speculation from a variety of individuals on Twitter that the Gallardo trade could lead Milwaukee to either a Max Scherzer or James Shields free agent signing.
A report from MLB insider Chris Cotillo indicates Scherzer has multiple offers on the table, including one for seven years, and could sign with the Washington Nationals.
Tom Haudricourt reported Sunday that the Brewers are maxed out financially, and the trade will likely clear up some of Gallardo’s $13 million salary.
Chances are slim Shields will come to Milwaukee on a free agent contract.
One of the sole objectives to the potential deal is to relieve payroll, and not add further fuel to to a belt that is already strapped.
Regardless of Nelson’s track record last season, it could be his job to lose entering Spring Training, unless the Brewers still consider Tyler Thornburg a viable option.
By Jason Arndt
Brewers Farm Report
A plethora of new outfielders at the upper levels of the Milwaukee Brewers’ minor league system will be evident entering the 2015 season following departure of key longtime farmhands.
The Brewers made their final farewells to a flurry of departing outfielders, including former first-round selection Kentrail Davis and two frequent fliers to Miller Park in Caleb Gindl and Sean Halton.
Milwaukee’s loss of Davis to the Los Angeles Angels in the Triple A phase of December’s Rule V draft should not come as a shock.
Davis, 26, did produce a solid, but unremarkable, minor league career with the Brewers and remained in a holding pattern of his development in Double A since 2012.
The first-round selection in 2008 batted a career .266 with a .358 on base percentage, stole 103 bases and collected 118 doubles, 34 triples and scored 326 runs in 596 career games dating back to 2010.
In Davis’ 2,518 career plate appearances, he drew 265 walks and struck out 482 times.
With the starting outfield core in place at Miller Park for at least another 3-5 years, including Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez and Khris Davis, the new Los Angeles Angel would be in his 30’s by the time he reaches Miller Park.
Similar to last season’s Rule V loss of infielder Eric Farris, Milwaukee might have looked out for Kentrail Davis’ best interests, with hopes the once-promising outfielder can latch on to another organization and succeed.
Outfielder Sean Halton was plucked by the Baltimore Orioles in the same Rule V draft after accruing time with Triple A Nashville and parent club Milwaukee the last two seasons.
Halton, 27, batted .238 with a .291 on base percentage in 42 career Major League games with the Brewers in 2013. In his 42 games, he collected four doubles, belted four home runs and drove in 17 runs. Halton drew just five walks and struck out 31 times in 111 plate appearances.
Halton also remained in a holding pattern in Triple A, playing his last three of six seasons with Nashville.
The new Orioles’ farmhand had his best season in 2011 while a member of the Huntsville Stars, collecting a career-high 39 doubles and batted .298 with a .346 OBP.
Gindl, 26, signed a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays after Milwaukee attempted to outright him off the 40-man roster to make room for new additions, and led to his subsequent release by the Brewers.
The 26-year-old left-handed hitter played 65 career Major League games between 2013-14, batting .232 with a .335 OBP. He collected seven doubles, two triples and belted five home runs with 14 runs driven in.
Other key losses were veteran outfielder Jeremy Hermida, who initially agreed to a minor-league contract at the start of the off season after one season with Nashville, was released so he could further his career in Japan.
Josh Prince, considered an Arizona Fall League wonder, made an appearance at Miller Park but his career never flourished following his AFL campaign in 2012.
Veteran minor league catcher Lucas May will be reporting alongside other early reports to Spring Training Saturday after Milwaukee agreed to terms on a minor league contract January 30.
May, 29, began his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization when the team selected him with the eighth round pick in 2003.
The catcher played his first four professional seasons as a utility player primarily as a shortstop and left fielder from 2003-2006.
His best season came in 2007 as a member of High A Inland Empire where he belted 25 home runs with 89 RBI in 128 games. He also collected a career high 25 doubles and added three triples in his career season.
Baseball America took notice of his skills as a catcher and named him the Dodgers 17th ranked prospect following the 2007 season.
However, strikeouts plagued the Missouri native when he fanned 130 times in 2006 and 107 times during the 2007 season.
Los Angeles traded May prior to the trade deadline to the Kansas City Royals for former Brewers’ All-Star Scott Podsednik.
May batted .296 with 13 doubles and 11 home runs for the Albuquerque Isotopes of the Pacific Coast League before the trade. He also drove in 45 runs and scored 43 times in 73 games for the Dodgers’ Triple A affiliate.
The catcher made his sole appearance in the Major Leagues in 2010 as a member of the Kansas City Royals.
In 12 games with the Royals, he batted in six runs and snagged a double before being demoted back to the minors.
Following his stay with the Royals’ organization he was dealt to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a small minor league trade.
The catcher’s numbers have steadily declined since the 2010 season and eventually served as reserve catcher for four different organizations including stops with Buffalo of the International League (Mets) and the Indianapolis Indians (Pittsburgh).
May will likely be relegated to reserve duty with either Nashville or Huntsville following the departure of long-time Brewers’ farmhand Anderson De La Rosa, who left for the Los Angeles Angels’ organization early in the off-season.
With the Brewers’ minor league signing of veteran catcher Matt Pagnozzi, nephew of former Major Leaguer Tom, and retention of Robinzon Diaz – he will be faced with being third on the Sounds catching depth chart.
In the wake of news surrounding the surprise retirement of former prospect Vinnie Catricala in January, Milwaukee went ahead and agreed to terms with infielder Pete Orr.
The 34-year-old left handed hitter brings 443 games of Major League experience primarily with Atlanta from 2005-2007 where he batted .263 with 12 doubles, five triples and two home runs in 271 games.
Orr, 34, was originally drafted by the Texas Rangers with the 39th round selection in 1997 from Newmarket High School in Ontario, Canada.
Current Brewers’ General Manager Doug Melvin held the same position with the Rangers when Orr was picked.
However, Orr opted not to sign with Texas following the draft and later agreed to terms as an undrafted free agent in 2009 with the Braves.
The infielder had a solid 2004 season with Triple A Richmond of the International League where he batted at a .320 clip with 16 doubles, ten triples and 24 stolen bases.
Orr’s productive 2004 campaign earned him a trip to the Major Leagues where he served as a utility player with the Braves in 2005 with 25 games at second base, 15 at third base and made three appearances as a left fielder.
Through limited action his initial season he collected eight doubles and stole eight bases in 162 plate appearances. Orr maintained a .300 batting average with a .331 On Base Percentage.
Orr has not played full-time since his productive 2010 campaign with the Washington Nationals’ Triple A affiliate, the Syracuse Chiefs of the International League.
In 2010, he collected a career high 32 doubles with 12 home runs and eight triples in 489 at bats. He also notched a career best 25 stolen bases on 34 attempts.
Milwaukee will be looking to Orr as a reserve infielder with Nashville or Huntsville due to some inadequate depth up at third base.
Presently, Nashville has holdovers Stephen Parker and former prospect Taylor Green manning the hot corner. He also has experience at second base, which gives new Nashville Manager Rick Sweet more flexibility.
Milwaukee announced it agreed to terms with left-hander Zach Duke on a minor-league contract with an invitation to Spring Training Wednesday.
The signing is the second with a left-hander in two weeks after the Brewers agreed with left-hander Brad Mills to help shore up the Nashville Sounds’ bullpen.
Duke, 30, was drafted in the 20th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2001 and was named the organization’s top prospect by Baseball America following the 2004 season.
Within his first three professional seasons, he posted a 31-14 record in 63 starts for the Gulf Coast Pirates, South-Atlantic League Hickory Crawdads, Carolina League Lynchburg Hillcats and Double A Altoona Curve.
The Texas native demonstrated success throughout his entire minor league career with a 63-23 record along with a 2.65 ERA in 139 games.
However, he has been unable to translate it to Major League success with a 50-76 record and 4.57 ERA in 215 career games.
Duke managed to keep his walk rates steady throughout his nine year Major League career with 296 in 1,086 innings.
Moreover, Duke allowed a high number of hits on an annual basis including a National League leading 255 in 2006 for the Pirates.
Duke earned an All-Star berth with the Pirates in 2009 where he notched three complete games and a career-high 11 victories, but lost 16 in the process.
The Brewers’ newest minor league signing began his career as a starter but his role with teams have diminished to left-handed specialist in the bullpen.
Duke’s last season as an exclusive starter came in 2010 as a member of the Pirates where he accrued an 8-15 record in 29 starts.
Subsequently, he was traded to Arizona following the season for a Player To Be Named Later and was relegated to spot starts for the Diamondbacks.
Duke was 15-5 with a 3.51 ERA for the Syracuse Chiefs of the Triple A International League. He additionally picked up two complete games for the Washington Nationals’ Triple A club.
While the left-hander will be given a look by the Major League club in Spring Training, it is more likely he will begin the season with Triple A Nashville.
Milwaukee already has two left-handers in Will Smith and Tom Gorzelanny along with 25-man roster longshot Wei-Chung Wang.
Best case scenario for Duke in making the Opening Day roster is if Milwaukee decides to go with Smith in the starting rotation and a left-hander is needed in the bullpen.
Former Philadelphia first-round selection Greg Golson can add Milwaukee to the list of organizations after being ranked as high as third among Phillies prospects in 2005.
Golson, 28, agreed to terms with Milwaukee on a minor league contract with the Brewers January 13 and will provide outfield depth for Nashville in 2014.
The frequent flier will be with his seventh organization since 2005 and also added a one-game pit stop with the independent league Lancaster Barnstormers in 2013.
Golson batted a combined .249 with seven doubles, five triples and four home runs in 79 games for four different teams in 2013.
One of the outfielder’s best seasons came in 2007 when he batted .273 with 30 stolen bases, 15 home runs, 68 RBI and 32 doubles between High A Clearwater and Double A Reading.
His last Major League appearance came in 2011 while a member of the New York Yankees but was primarily used as a defensive replacement playing in nine games and accruing 12 at bats.
Overall, Golson played in 40 career Major League games with the Yankees, Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies.
The outfielder could be expected to be the Sounds’ center fielder in 2014 but given the organizational depth at the top of the Brewers’ organization, he will be at the bottom of the list of potential recalls if any injuries at the Major League level develop.
Nashville already has former Brewers’ first round pick Kentrail Davis, Josh Prince, Hainley Statia and 2013 Rule V draftee Kevin Mattison.
In addition, the Sounds also have utility players who could fill any outfield positions including hot-hitting Eugenio Velez and waiver claim Elian Herrera. Both are infielders by trade, but have experience in the outfield.
Another point to consider is the potential first base logjam with the Sounds where Brewers Player Development officials are finding ways to give 2013 Brewers’ Minor League Player of the Year Jason Rogers playing time.
Rogers, 25, spent the majority of his time in the off season playing in the corner outfield positions in order to allow Hunter Morris the opportunity to play full-time at first base in 2014, barring a first base crisis in Milwaukee.
Golson appears to be a fourth outfielder option for the Sounds in 2014 with a possibility for spot starts in all three positions. He played 767 of his 1,012 career games in center field.
Brewers’ top prospect and pitcher Jimmy Nelson had visions of making the Major Leagues as early as 1993 when he was a child in Florida.
Fast forward to 2014 when he made his first appearance as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field against the team’s division rival Chicago Cubs.
“I started playing when I was four years old and yes it has always been a dream to get and stay in the big leagues,” Nelson conveyed to Brewers Farm Report via e-mail.
In addition, Nelson chooses not take his opportunity for granted and credits a variety of people for his early success.
“My family has always been there since day one and I am so blessed to have them,” Nelson said. “I appreciate everything they’ve done for me even though sometimes I know I wasn’t the easiest person to deal with.”
In his initial appearance, Nelson tossed two scoreless frames against the Cubs and had two further stints as a reliever before receiving his first career start September 28 at New York’s Citi Field.
It was the same stadium where he stepped on a mound of a Major League for the first time in his life when he played in the All-Star Future’s Game in July.
“It was fun to get a taste of that big league environment early on in the season,” Nelson said. “I was very honored to be selected to participate and it was a great experience.”
The University of Alabama standout pitched a scoreless seventh inning against the World Futures as the United States squad won 4-2.
Despite his early experience, Nelson remained focused throughout the 2013 season where he produced two ten-strikeout performances and a quick progression to number one among all Brewers’ prospects according to MLB.com.
“We as players try and concentrate on what we control and how we prepare,” Nelson said. “Rankings and stuff like that are nice but we can’t allow that to be a distraction.”
The preseason’s ninth rated prospect made a statement entering the 2013 with solid performances at both Huntsville and Nashville.
Nelson’s composure allowed him to strike out 163 and walk just 65 through 152.1 innings between Double A Huntsville and Triple A Nashville.
In his 27 starts, he notched two complete games while allowing 55 earned runs to give him a 3.25 ERA between both levels.
Nelson received a tough No Decision in an eight inning gem May 28 where he fanned ten Jackson Generals walking none and allowing no earned runs.
In addition, he matched his season-high during his final Nashville appearance August 31 against Iowa when he struck out ten and walked four in 5.2 innings to give him his tenth cumulative victory of the season.
“In both instances I had good command overall and had my secondary pitches working well,” Nelson said. “Also both times the defense did a great job of picking me up on multiple occasions throughout both games.”
Nelson learned from a tough transition between Brevard County to Huntsville in 2012 when his WHIP numbers jumped from 1.08 to 1.54.
“The adjustment is the level of hitters. They’re more selective and don’t miss mistakes as much. Also the zone from High A to Double A tightens up a bit and even more from Double A to Triple A,” Nelson said.
The pitcher’s adjustments paid off the following year when he produced a stellar 72:15 strikeout-to-walk ratio through 69 innings for the Stars.
In addition, he reduced his WHIP total from 1.54 in his previous Stars’ stint to 1.13 in his 12 starts in Huntsville.
“You have to even polish your game more and advance the way you pitch/use pitch sequences yet attack the zone and try your best to stay in pitchers counts,” Nelson explained. “You can’t change your mindset though, you have to stay aggressive and not allow the names of the hitters or what they’ve accomplished in the past effect the way you pitch to them.”
Nelson endured another adjustment when his contract was purchased by the Brewers in September and assigned to a relief role.
In his 88 total appearances in the Brewers’ organization, he made just 13 coming from the bullpen.
“I adjusted my routine a bit since I moved to the bullpen for most of the month and tried picking the brains of some of the relievers down in the pen,” Nelson said. “I picked up a few things from the guys down there that really helped me make the transition to the bullpen smoother.”
Nelson held opponents to one hit and no runs in his first three appearances as a member of the Brewers and struck out four batters through four innings.
The starter indicated his development during his climb up the organizational was due to a variety of individuals.
“It’s more of picking and choosing certain things from all the coaches and other players that you can implement in your routine or skill set,” Nelson said. “Certain tips or adjustments work for some people but don’t necessarily work for others.”
In addition, he noted his development is “like putting a giant puzzle together and the coaches all give you certain pieces and it’s up to you to put it all together the way benefits you the best”
Nelson was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds with the 39th round selection when he was an 18-year-old from Niceville, Fla.
However, Nelson made the decision to make college as a top priority prior to the Reds’ selection.
“I committed to the University of Alabama pretty early and put my education first on the list,” Nelson said. “The offer just wasn’t good enough for me to skip college and I’m glad it wasn’t in the long run.”
When Milwaukee drafted Nelson as a junior in 2010 with the second round selection, the Alabama pitcher seized the opportunity.
“I appreciate everything the University of Alabama have given me but I felt as if it was time. I knew that I could further advance my game in the minor leagues and polish up on things that I wasn’t so good at in college,” Nelson said.
“It was an opportunity I was excited for and a challenge I was ready to take on. That’s why I decided to sign so early and get the ball rolling in my development.”
Nelson demonstrated the ability to remain composed when Milwaukee assigned him to Pioneer League environment notorious for high ERAs.
In his first 12 professional games, he struck out 33 batters and walked 12 in 26.1 innings for the 2010 Helena Brewers.
“I really just tried to attack the zone and let my defense work. That’s really my goal no matter where I’m pitching,” Nelson said.
In addition, he maintained trust in his pitch combinations during the early portions of his career.
“I worked on using my two seam (sinker) more to try and force bad contact and keep the ball on the ground. A main goal was to try and get the batter to put the ball in play in three pitches or less. Therefore allowing you to go deeper into games and give your team a chance to win,” Nelson said.
Nelson also credited some of his hometown friends and former coaches for giving him the ability to stay focused.
“My old pitching coach back home in Florida always helped me a lot on and off the field also and I still stay in touch with him to this day. Also a close family friend back home that I always visit when I’m in town. They keep me grounded and give me good advice from a different perspective other than family,” Nelson said.