Milwaukee Brewers bring back old friend Alex Claudio on minor league deal

Milwaukee Brewers v Minnesota Twins
Milwaukee Brewers v Minnesota Twins / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages
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According to a tweet from Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Milwaukee Brewers have signed left-handed pitcher Álex Claudio to a minor league contract. He will be invited to big league Spring Training.

Claudio's name should ring a bell to Brewers fans as he was previously an oft-used middle-relief option for the Crew in 2019 and 2020.

The Milwaukee Brewers have brought back Alex Claudio on a minor league contract for 2023.

The 30-year-old southpaw broke into the league with the Rangers back in 2014 and immediately emerged as one of the better left-handed relievers in the game.

He relies heavily on a heavy sinker that pairs nicely with his unorthodox sidearm delivery that the Brewers hadn't seen used with regularity since Brian Shouse or Mitch Stetter over ten years ago.

After his five-year run with the Rangers, the club traded him to the Brewers in December of 2018 for a 2019 competitive balance pick in the upcoming MLB draft. In the 2019 season, he became one of Craig Counsell's favorite weapons to use in games.

Over the course of his first full season as a Brewer, Claudio made a whopping 83 appearances out of the 'pen for the club, enough to lead the entire major leagues. He went 2-2 with a 4.06 ERA and 110 ERA+, meaning he was ten percent better than league average.

After being non-tendered and becoming a free agent in the 2019-2020 offseason, he re-signed with the Brewers on a one-year contract just seven days later. He made 20 appearances for the club in the COVID-shortened 2020 season and posted a 4.26 ERA and 108 ERA+.

Once again, he was non-tendered at the end of the season but this time he was not brought back. Claudio spent 2021 as a member of the Angels where he struggled, posting a 5.51 ERA in 41 appearances. Last year, he made just three scoreless appearances out of the Mets bullpen before the season ended.

It's unclear what kind of role Claudio will serve in the upcoming campaign for the Brewers. While Hoby Milner is the only lefty currently projected to be in the Opening Day bullpen for the club, it's hard to see Claudio replacing any of the current members of the bullpen. Since he's on a minor league deal he could start the year in Triple-A and be called upon if needed. He will need an incredible Spring Training performance to lock down any sort of spot on the big league roster for Opening Day.

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