In what was a widely expected move, the Milwaukee Brewers have signed first baseman Luke Voit to a one-year, major league deal. He had just recently opted out of his contract, but the industry-wide speculation was that the Brewers would bring him back on a big league deal. His contract will have a club option for a second season.
To make room on the 40-man roster, infielder Keston Hiura has been formally designated for assignment. The former top prospect had been told that he was not making the Opening Day roster and his lack of minor league options made his DFA imminent.
In other news, Abraham Toro and Sal Frelick have both been told that they will not make the Opening Day roster either. Both players are being sent to Triple-A, where they will be at or near the top of the list for callups if an injury arises.
Voit, 32, is a former Cardinals, Yankees, Padres and Nationals slugger who has shown off some impressive power over his six-year career. He has topped 20 home runs three times and should be a lock to match that in his first season as a Brewer. In 14 Spring Training appearances for the Crew, he hit two home runs and drove in four with a .316 batting average.
Hiura, 26, is likely out the door for the Brewers, putting his four-year tenure with the club at an end. While he could pass through waivers and be assigned to Triple-A if no clubs claim or trade for him, he appears to be done in Milwaukee. In 12 spring appearances and 32 at-bats, he registered just five hits (.156 average) and struck out 15 times, continuing his offensive struggles.
Toro, 26, joined Jesse Winker in the Kolten Wong trade with the Seattle Mariners back in December. He gives the Brewers a versatile switch-hitter who can bounce around all over the infield and has double-digit home run potential. He managed to hit just .185 in spring with one home run and four driven in. It appears that top prospect Brice Turang has beaten him out for the final infield spot on the Opening Day roster.
Then there's Frelick, the club's No. 2 prospect (per MLB.com) and 30th overall. He became a World Baseball Classic Hero and hit .385 for the Brewers in spring, so it's been an eventful month or so for the 22-year-old.
The final outfield spot seemed to be down to him or Joey Wiemer and the latter seems to have gained the upperhand, mainly thanks to his right-handed bat and defensive fit in right field. Frelick will not be down in the minors long and should be on the big league club as soon as an injury comes up.