While the National League Central sent three teams to the postseason in 2013, the Milwaukee Brewers struggled for much of the season.
The offense ranked in the middle of the league, but it was the starting pitching that was a problem. Milwaukee managed to snag Kyle Lohse this year, however, of the four starters with at least 20 starts this year, he was the only one with an ERA below 3.85.
The team could use some help in the rotation.
On the bright side, center fielder Carlos Gomez turned into a star this year. He was doing it all with his bat and his glove. Milwaukee can continue to add pieces around him and try to get back to winning.
The NL Central isn't going to come back to the Brewers. They are going to have to improve if they want to get back in contention, and this market will give them an opportunity to add to their roster.
This tracker will keep tabs on all of the latest rumors and deals involving the Brewers, so check back daily as the offseason heats up.
Oct. 29: RF Norichika Aoki's $1.5 million club option exercised, via Adam McCalvy of MLB.com
Dec. 12: Selected LHP Wei-Chung Wang in the Rule 5 Draft
INF Yuniesky Betancourt (Age 31)
2013 stats: .212/.240/.355, 13 HR, 15 2B, 1 3B, 46 RBI, 14 BB, 71 K
LHP Mike Gonzalez (Age 35)
2013 stats: 75 G, 50 IP, 0-3, 4.68 ERA, 58 H, 10 HR, 60 K/25 BB
RHP Marco Estrada
1B/3B Juan Francisco
The 37-year-old can play any position in the infield, so the Brewers have to like his versatility. He may be used mainly as a first baseman, but he will play where ever a team wants him.
He spent the first 13 years of his career with the Texas Rangers before joining the National League this past season.
*Update: Friday, Dec. 13 at 11:46 a.m. ET
FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Brewers and the Mets continue to talk about a deal involving Ike Davis. There appears to be a holdup on the Brewers' side as they don't want to deal right-handed pitcher Tyler Thornburg.
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*Update: Thursday, Dec. 12 at 11:04 a.m. ET
After the Brewers lost Corey Hart to the Seattle Mariners, they have continued to talk to the Mets about a possible trade involving Ike Davis, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.
Milwaukee is expected to look for a first baseman via free agency and trade.
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*Update: Monday, Dec. 9 at 6:48 p.m. ET
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The Mets are shopping Davis, and the Brewers need a first baseman. It seems like a potential match, but Martino was also told that the Brewers are looking to address the position in free agency rather than trade.
Davis hit .205 with nine home runs in New York, so the Mets are trying to see what they can get for him.
Wang spent only one season in the Pirates organization.
In rookie ball, the 21-year-old went 1-3 with a 3.23 ERA and a 0.866 WHIP in 12 games, including 11 starts. He struck out 42 batters and walked only four batters in 47.1 innings, so he has pretty good control.
Milwaukee must pay $50,000 for Wang. If he doesn't stay on the Brewers' 25-man roster, he must be offered back to the Pirates for $25,000.
After nine seasons in Milwaukee, fan favorite Corey Hart has decided to move on. He has signed a one-year deal with the Seattle Mariners, which means the Brewers are now in the market for a first baseman.
*Update: Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 1:54 p.m. ET
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that the Mariners have signed Corey Hart to a one-year deal.
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Hart missed the entire 2013 season, but he was swinging the bat very well in recent seasons. He hit at least .270 with 26 home runs or more in each of the previous three seasons.
He is a two-time All-Star, and the fans in Milwaukee love him. When he is healthy, he is a very productive hitter. A knee injury caused him to miss this past season, and he is limited to first base at this point.
The 31-year-old is a strong hitter who can help most lineups. If he can show that he successfully recovered from knee surgery, some team will be willing to give him a team-friendly deal that could end up being a bargain.
Although he has a talented arm, Marmol is currently looking for work.
The right-hander spent the first seven-and-a-half years of his career with the Cubs before being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the middle of 2013. He went 2-4 with two saves, both with Chicago, this past season. He posted a 4.41 ERA and a 1.633 WHIP in 52 games between the two clubs.
Marmol is an experienced closer. The 31-year-old saved 92 games for the Cubs from 2010 to 2012. He has a 3.58 ERA in 27.2 innings at Miller Park.
As good as he can be, his control has gotten him in trouble. He had 59 strikeouts to 40 walks in 49 innings this past season. The right-hander has walked 18 batters in 22 games in Milwaukee. He has walked at least 40 batters in seven of his eight seasons in the majors.
Marmol is generating some interest, and the Brewers could take a chance on him.
The Brewers are one of eight teams interested in Johan Santana, according to Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com.
He has missed two of the past three seasons with injuries and has tossed only 117 innings since the end of the 2010 season. A shoulder injury has cost him playing time, and now he is looking to get back to the majors.
Santana began his career in Minnesota and was the best pitcher in baseball for years. Now teams will be taking a chance by giving him a chance with his recent injury history.
The 34-year-old threw a no-hitter while with the New York Mets. That was about the only bright spot he has had since 2010. He went 93-44 with a 3.22 ERA during his time with the Mets, so he showed that he can pitch in a big market after leaving Minnesota.
Santana is expected to showcase himself for teams in January. If the Brewers like what they see, they could end up offering him an incentive-laden non-roster invitee contract.
Aoki hit .286/.356/.370 with eight home runs, 20 doubles, three triples and 20 stolen bases. His slash line was eerily similar to the .288/.355/.433 line that he put up in 2012.
The right fielder can get on base, and then, he can steal a base. He has 50 stolen bases in 70 attempts in the last two seasons, which comes out to 71.4 percent.
Take a look at what Brewers GM Doug Melvin said about dealing Aoki, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“Nori is a true professional and performed very well as a member of the Brewers,” Melvin said. “This was a tough call because of what he brought to our organization on the field and in the clubhouse.”
Milwaukee received Smith in return. The 24-year-old is 8-10 with a 4.76 ERA and a 1.423 WHIP in 35 games, including 17 starts. He struggled as a starter in 2012, but it looks like he found his niche by moving to the bullpen.
In 19 outings, including one start, in 2013, Smith went 2-1 and posted a 3.24 ERA and a 0.930 WHIP in 33.1 innings. The southpaw showed fantastic control. He struck out 43 batters to only seven walks.
Here's what Melvin had to say about their acquisition:
Will Smith is someone we have liked for a couple of years now. We had the chance to acquire a 24-year-old big, physical left-hander who we feel can be a part of our staff. We could not walk away from the opportunity.
It was a surprising move made by the Brewers, but they got a young arm who could help the bullpen.
Here's what GM Doug Melvin said:
I don't anticipate us being overly active at this point but things could change
We like parts of our ballclub; some parts we need help. There's not a lot of openings in the regular lineup. One position we need to fill is first base. We were really hurt by the lack of production there.
There's nothing major on the free-agent market we'll probably get involved with. Maybe we'll do something with the bullpen, make an addition or two.
It looks like Milwaukee is content with its roster, for the most part. If Corey Hart does not return, Juan Francisco could take over at first base.
Other than that, the Brewers don't look like they will be very active this winter. They saw their rotation improve as the year went on, so bullpen help may be the only thing that the club looks for.
Update: Monday, Nov. 4 at 3:45 p.m. ET
The Brewers have claimed utility man Elian Herrera off waivers, according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.
The 28-year-old hit .251/.336/.328 with one home run, 10 doubles, one triple and four stolen bases in parts of two seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He hit .285/.365/.392 with 149 stolen bases in eight years in the minors.
Herrera has played every position but catcher, so he gives the Brewers a versatile player.