Among some of the less imperative roster needs for the Milwaukee Brewers to focus on this offseason was a backup catcher to former All-Star William Contreras. A couple weeks ago, that hole seemed to be addressed.
Five days before Christmas, the Brewers signed former Tiger Eric Haase to a free agent deal. It was a low-cost move to fill a position that doesn't need much money devoted toward it in the first place and brought in a player who needs a bounceback season but had some success previous to 2023.
The Brewers' lack of catching depth didn't only exist at the Major League level, however, it extended into the minors too. So the team has continued working to strengthen that part of the organization, which included a deal that was announced on Friday.
The Milwaukee Brewers agreed to a minor league deal with veteran catcher Austin Nola on Friday.
According to MLB.com's Brewers beat writer Adam McCalvy, the Brewers continued to add to their catching depth when they agreed to a deal with free agent Austin Nola. Unlike with Haase, Nola is getting a minor league contract but does get an invitation to spring training.
The 34-year-old Nola originally broke through to the majors with the Mariners back in 2019. In his first two seasons, he fared pretty well as an offensively-minded catcher, batting .271 with a .808 OPS in 127 games. Halfway through his second Major League season, he would be traded to the Padres, which is where he has spent the past three and a half seasons.
Since being traded to San Diego, though, Nola has seen his offensive slash line decline every single season. It culminated with his poorest season to date in 2023 when he slashed a lowly .146/.260/.192 in 52 games while spending much of the season on the 60-day IL. He was ultimately non-tendered by the Padres in November.
Nola actually marks the third catcher the Brewers have signed to a minor league contract since Haase was added, joining Ramon Rodriguez and David Garcia. Rodriguez was assigned to the Double-A Biloxi Shuckers while Garcia, along with Nola, was assigned to Triple-A Nashville.
Nola gives the Brewers a veteran presence at the minor league level and some insurance should something happen to Haase. Just one of many small moves that go toward building an organizational roster for a season.