The Milwaukee Brewers have finally made a move at the end of the Winter Meetings, acquiring reliever Alex Claudio from the Texas Rangers.
It’s not the blockbuster move that some fans may have wanted or predicted, but this is an effective move for GM David Stearns. The Milwaukee Brewers sent a draft pick to the Rangers in exchange for Alex Claudio. Ken Rosenthal had the report first.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 13, 2018
The 39th overall pick, which belonged to the Brewers is now controlled by the Rangers. While it would’ve been nice to have that extra pick in the early part of the 2019 draft, Milwaukee is clearly in win-now mode, and the player that draft pick would be used in would be a couple years away from helping out in the big leagues.
Who Is Alex Claudio?
Claudio, 26, has been an effective member of the Rangers bullpen for the past few seasons. Over his career, Claudio has a 3.20 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP.
He doesn’t strike out many, averaging 6.2 K/9 over his career, but he also doesn’t walk many hitters either, averaging 1.9 BB/9. Claudio ran into some tough luck last year. He posted an ERA of 4.48, but his 3.42 FIP shows he deserved a better fate.
Claudio pitches to contact, as shown by his low strikeout and walk rates, and the Brewers have their infield shift a lot. In fact, the Brewers shift the most out of any team in baseball. With an infield that’s better set up to prevent base hits, a contact pitcher like Claudio should see more success.
Claudio is a true LOOGY, and he’ll likely only face left handed hitters in a Milwaukee Brewers uniform. Over his career, right handed hitters are .313/.357/.440 against him while left handers hit just .194/.220/.278 against him. He’ll replace Dan Jennings as the LOOGY out of the Brewers bullpen.
Alex Claudio’s Contract
Claudio has three years of team control remaining, as he’ll become a free agent at the end of the 2021 season. He’s arbitration eligible for the first time this winter and is projected to earn $1.3 million in 2019.
Another important part of acquiring Claudio is that he has one more minor league option remaining. If he struggles again like he did in 2018, the Brewers can send him to Triple-A.
The long term control the Brewers will have over Claudio is what led to the high cost of a near 1st round draft pick. Although there are no guarantees with MLB draft picks, the 39th overall selection has a fairly high success rate given how early it is.
Overall, this is a good deal from the Brewers perspective. They get the left handed pitcher they desperately needed in their bullpen and they didn’t take away any talent currently in the organization.
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The Milwaukee Brewers still have a couple other holes to plug on this roster, including finding a second baseman and possibly adding a catcher or a starting pitcher.