The Milwaukee Brewers have reinstated catcher Jacob Nottingham from the IL, and immediately designated him for assignment.
The writing was on the wall. This was a long time coming for the 26 year old Jacob Nottingham.
Last December, when the Brewers decided to tender contracts to both Omar Narvaez and Manny Pina, Nottingham was once again down to the third catcher on the depth chart. With his thumb injury eventually requiring surgery, he was put behind the eight-ball in spring training, being unable to catch in any Cactus League games.
The Brewers signed Luke Maile in the offseason as a way to cover themselves if Nottingham either got traded or was claimed on waivers. The injury sunk any chances of trading him at the end of camp like they did with Erik Kratz in 2019.
Jacob Nottingham getting designated for assignment by the Brewers was long overdue and gives him a chance for a new start elsewhere.
The Brewers originally acquired Nottingham in the Khris Davis trade back in January 2016. He was once thought to be the catcher of the future but his bat stalled out in the minor leagues and he was never able to make the jump, despite opportunities being available at the big league level. David Stearns brought in Yasmani Grandal and then Omar Narvaez to get chances over Nottingham.
In 74 career ABs, Nottingham has a .203/.306/.432 slash line with five home runs and 30 strikeouts. Most of his chances have come in September.
He’s shown some flashes in his limited big league playing time, but has never been able to consistently hit as a member of the Brewers and hasn’t gotten a chance to get comfortable in a regular role at the big league level to prove himself.
Now there’s a chance he can get that opportunity elsewhere.
The Brewers are hoping that Nottingham can sneak through waivers without getting claimed and they can simply outright him to Triple-A and keep him in the organization. However, if other teams put in a claim, they can try to work out a trade and get something in return. They wouldn’t get much, but perhaps a low level pitching prospect or utility infield prospect would make sense as a player return. Otherwise, cash is always an option.
Nottingham was out of options and the Brewers were not going to carry three catchers on their big league roster. This move comes as no surprise.
Milwaukee is covered in case of an injury with Maile at Triple-A, and they have top catching prospect Mario Feliciano not far behind.