After the team decided not to add any minor leaguers to the 40-man roster at the deadline to protect Rule 5 eligible players last week, the Brewers were left with five open roster spots to work with going forward. One of them was reportedly filled on Sunday.
Milwaukee is reportedly signing free agent catcher Pedro Severino to a one-year contract with incentives. The deal was reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan on Sunday.
Catcher had arisen as an offseason need recently for the Brewers. Long time Milwaukee backstop Manny Pina had entered free agency for the first time after the 2021 season and recently signed with the Atlanta Braves while Luke Maile was outrighted to the minors in early November, resulting in him electing free agency as well.
That left the Brewers with just two catchers on the 40-man roster: 2021 All-Star Omar Narvaez and No. 13 prospect per MLB Pipeline, Mario Feliciano. With Feliciano having questions about his MLB readiness, it meant a catcher signing was likely imminent.
That led to the Brewers addressing their catching depth with the signing of Pedro Severino.
Severino began his career after being signed as a free agent by the Washington Nationals in 2010. He would make his MLB debut with them in 2015 as a 22-year-old, hitting a double in his first at bat and later scoring a run.
After being placed on waivers by the Nationals prior to the regular season in 2019, he was scooped up in a claim by the Baltimore Orioles, the team he has since spent his career with before they outrighted him to the minors earlier this month.
Severino has a career .235/.305/.372 slash line in 362 games in the majors, though his numbers specifically with the Orioles are a tad higher (.249/.315/.397). He isn’t exactly a power hitter with 33 career homers to his name and he has a career 81 OPS+, though again, his three years in Baltimore led to a combined 91 OPS+.
Severino did see his strikeout rate spike a bit in 2021 to 26%, which placed him in the bottom 20th percentile in the league per Statcast. His two previous seasons, though, placed him middle of the pack across the league, as did his walk rate, which ranged anywhere from 8.1% to 9% from 2019 to 2021.
Defense isn’t necessarily Severino’s strong suit either as he has seen a negative DRS in 2019 (-12) and 2021 (-9) and just barely positive in 2020 (+1). The Brewers organization has worked wonders with catchers recently, though, and could look to do the same thing with Severino.
The offseason is still young, but the Brewers can at least check one need off the list after today’s free agent signing.