Tag: Mat Gamel

gamel getty

The Braves release the snakebitten Mat Gamel


Just more awful fortune for Mat Gamel.

The Braves have released him, reports David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Gamel — who was at one time slated to be the starting first baseman for the Brewers — has had two ACL surgeries and apparently reinjured his knee last week during personal workouts.

Gamel was a top prospect for years, took too long to get it together at the major league level, and since them just hasn’t been able to catch a break. I’d be shocked if we saw him play in the majors again.

Braves sign Mat Gamel

mat gamel getty

Mat Gamel, who was a top prospect and the heir apparent at first base for the Brewers before multiple knee surgeries derailed his career, has signed a minor-league contract with the Braves.

Atlanta isn’t a great landing spot for Gamel because the Braves have Freddie Freeman and Chris Johnson locked into corner infield jobs, although perhaps given his injury history a part-time bench role is the best plan anyway.

Gamel has logged just 269 total plate appearances in the majors through age 27, but has hit .301 with 53 homers and an .886 OPS in 290 games at Triple-A, including very good numbers there this year. He’s definitely someone to root for.

2013 Non-tender Tracker

Andrew Bailey

We’ll be writing up the non-tenders as they come in prior to Monday’s midnight deadline. These players immediately become free agents.


Angels – RHP Juan Gutierrez, RHP Tommy Hanson, INF Chris Nelson, RHP Jerome Williams

All of these were expected. Hanson and Williams would have cost upwards of $4 million apiece. Williams is worth at least $2 million-$3 million anyway for his value as a swingman, but $4 million is a bit steep. Hanson is likely looking at a cheap one-year deal to battle for a rotation spot on a non-contender.

Blue Jays – C J.P. Arencibia

The Jays worked all day to find a trade partner for Arencibia after signing Dioner Navarro, but couldn’t find anyone willing to give up a prospect and spent $2.5 million-$3 million on his services. Arencibia could yet land a starting job with a thrifty team.

Indians – OF Matt Carson, RHP Tyler Cloyd, C Lou Marson

Carson and Cloyd could be re-signed to minor league deals. The Indians decided not to spend a million or so to retain Marson after he missed most of the year with a neck injury following a collision with Desmond Jennings, but he’s a decent enough backup catcher when healthy.

Orioles – RHP Eddie Gamboa, OF Jason Pridie

Rays – OF Sam Fuld, LHP Wesley Wright

As a true fifth outfielder, Fuld belongs in the NL. He’s too limited to eat up one of the four (or sometimes just three) bench spots on an AL roster. Wright had a nice showing after coming over from the Astros in August, posting a 15/3 K/BB ratio in 12 1/3 innings. The Rays didn’t want to be on the hook for $1.5 million or so, but he should get similar cash elsewhere.

Red Sox – RHP Andrew Bailey, OF Ryan Kalish

The rumor all day was that the Red Sox would work something out with Bailey, even though that would have meant paying him $4 million to spend at least half of next season rehabbing following shoulder surgery. Cutting him makes more sense, and he could yet be re-signed for a cheaper sum. Kalish, a once-promising outfield prospect done in by injuries, will be offered the chance to stay on a minor league contract.

Royals – 2B Chris Getz

After four years and 332 games of replacement level play, Getz is finally gone from Kansas City. He doesn’t have the bat to be a decent starting second baseman or the versatility to carve out a career as a utilityman, so he might be essentially done as a major leaguer.

White Sox – RHP Dylan Axelrod

A fringy swingman, Axelrod had gone 7-13 with a 5.36 ERA in 30 starts and 18 relief appearances for the White Sox the last three seasons. A different ballpark could help him, but he’ll have to battle for a spot in spring training.

Yankees – INF David Adams, RHP Matt Daley, INF Jayson Nix

This according to Brian Cashman. The oft-injured Adams got a look at third last year because of injuries, but he hit just .193/.252/.286 with 43 strikeouts in 140 at-bats. There was no longer any room for Nix after the Brendan Ryan signing. but he should get a utility gig elsewhere after his strong showing defensively at shortstop last season. 


Braves – SS Paul Janish, INF Elliot Johnson, RHP Cristhian Martinez

Janish, 31, hit .171/.222/.220 in 45 plate appearances this year at the major league level, and Johnson, 29, batted .209/.255/.283 in 275 plate appearances. Janish, at least, offers quality defense at shortstop, if nothing else. Martinez is on his way back from major shoulder surgery and isn’t expected to be ready for Opening Day.

Brewers – none

Cardinals – RHP John Axford

Thanks to his $5 million salary, Axford was essentially marked for non-tendering after losing his closer gig in Milwaukee in April. He pitched pretty well from then on, and he’s definitely worth $4 million or so the right team. The Cardinals, though, can do without him. 

Cubs – RHP Daniel Bard, 1B-3B Mat Gamel, RHP Chang-Yong Lim

Bard fell apart in 2012 and couldn’t right the ship in 2013. In fact, things have gotten even worse of late: he walked nine while getting just one out in three appearances in the Puerto Rican Winter League. The right-hander posted a 2.88 ERA and 9.7 K/9 over his first 197 major league innings (2009-2011), but he’ll likely have to settle for a minor league contract for 2014. Bard turns 29 next June. … The 37-year-old Lim was given a two-year, minor league deal to sign out of Korea as he was rehabbing following Tommy John surgery last winter. He gave up three runs in five innings after a September callup.

Diamondbacks – RHP Daniel Hudson

While still rehabbing after the first, Hudson needed a second Tommy John surgery in June. The smart play might be for him to sit out the entire 2014 season, but he’ll probably aim for a return after the All-Star break instead. He’s still a very intriguing long-term property. It doesn’t look like the Diamondbacks have given up on bringing him back.

Dodgers – RHP Ronald Belisario

Belisario is a decent enough setup man, but the Dodgers are going to upgrade there, which might not be a bad idea given that their two best defensive infielders are free agents and Hanley Ramirez may stay at shortstop. A strikeout guy could help them more.

Giants – OF Francisco Peguero, RHP Sandy Rosario

The Giants are so loaded in the pen that they could non-tender a guy in Rosario who had a 3.02 ERA in 41 2/3 innings last season and makes nothing (he won’t even be eligible for arbitration for two years). They’ll probably just plug prospect Heath Hembree into his spot.

Marlins – OF Chris Coghlan, RHP Ryan Webb

The former Rookie of the Year is the name here, but Webb is the much bigger loss. The Marlins are giving away a perfectly fine reliever just because he’ll make $1.5 million-$1.8 million next year. The sinkerballing Webb had a 2.91 ERA in 80 1/3 innings last season, and he still seems to be getting better as he enters his age-28 campaign. Unless there’s some sort of injury here that we don’t know about, letting him go for nothing is the height of foolishness.

Mets – RHP Scott Atchison, RHP Jeremy Hefner,  INF Omar Quintanilla, INF Justin Turner, 2B-OF Jordany Valdespin

Atchison and Quintanilla were non-tendered by other teams last year, so they know how it works. Atchison likely would have undergone elbow surgery a year ago if he had been 26 rather than 36. He managed to get through 51 appearances for the Mets, but a late swoon left him with a 4.37 ERA. Quintanilla spent too much of the year as the Mets’ starting shortstop, hitting .222/.306/.283 in 315 at-bats. He’s a 25th man at best. Valdespin’s latest off-field transgression was a Biogenesis tie, but he’ll attract offers from other teams because of his age (26 on December 23) and past flashes of promising minor league production. … Hefner and Turner were late additions to the list. Hefner will miss most or all of next season following Tommy John surgery, but since he would have cost a mere $500,000 to keep around, it’s surprising the Mets didn’t ante up.

Pirates – 1B Garrett Jones, C Michael McKenry, RHP Kyle McPherson

All of these guys had already been designated for assignment. This just officially wipes them from the books. The Pirates did opt to keep outfielder Travis Snider, who was thought to be on the borderline.

Reds – OF Xavier Paul, OF Derrick Robinson

NL teams are always looking for pinch-hitting types, and Paul hit .273 with three homers in 33 at-bats in that role last season, which should serve to keep him employed. Robinson was DFA’d previously.

Rockies – RHP Mitchell Boggs

Boggs wasn’t the same disaster in his September callup with the Rockies (3 R in 8 2/3 IP) that he was with the Cardinals earlier in the season (18 ER in 14 2/3 IP), but neither did he show his 2010-12 form. Another pitching coach will get to take him on as a project.

What if the Brewers had kept Prince Fielder over Ryan Braun?

Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder

The truth is that the Brewers made their choice well before Prince Fielder signed with the Tigers two winters age. As a small-market team already pushing the payroll to the limit in 2010, the Brewers knew they’d have to decide whether to build around Ryan Braun or Fielder.

What made it an easy choice was that Braun was already under control through 2015 under the terms of an eight-year, $45 million contract he signed at age 24.

Fielder, represented by Scott Boras, was never amenable to such a contract. He did sign a two-year, $18 million pact when he was first eligible for arbitration, but the Brewers weren’t able to convince him to give up any free agency seasons. The Brewers weighed trading him after the 2010 season, when he had one year left before free agency (one rumored deal would have sent him to the Dodgers for James Loney and Jonathan Broxton), but they instead chose to make a run with him and let him go in free agency. In April 2011, they doubled down on their commitment to Braun, giving him a five-year, $105 million extension through 2020.

We know what happened next. Despite a seemingly bare market in the aftermath of the Albert Pujols contract, Fielder got a nine-year, $214 million contract from the Tigers that took him through 2020. Though he was the inferior player, Fielder would make $72.5 million more than Braun under the terms of their deals.

If the Brewers had it to do over again now, I imagine they would have declined to give Braun the big extension. However, giving a $200 million to Fielder seems like no better of an idea now than it did then, even if Brewers first basemen have been terribly unproductive in the two years since Fielder departed (Corey Hart did well after moving in from right field last year, but he’s missed all of 2013. Mat Gamel has missed the last two years).

Fielder did have a great first season after leaving for Detroit, hitting .313/.412/.528 with 30 homers while supporting Miguel Cabrera in the Tigers lineup, but Braun was even better, hitting .319/.391/.595 with 41 homers. This year, Fielder’s numbers have fallen well off; he’s sitting at .269/.362/.453 with 16 homers, though he has driven in 70 runs. Fielder’s body type has always made him a poor bet to age well. Expectations were that he’d be a $20 million-per-year player in the first half of a new contract, but that the back half could get ugly fast. His 2013 line is probably more the result of an off three months than the beginning of the end, but it still can’t be taken as a good sign at all.

Even with the steroid cloud forever hanging over Braun’s head, I’m pretty sure I’d rather have him at $127 million for the next seven years than Fielder at $168 million. Fielder probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference in the Brewers’ chances this year, and he’s not getting any better with time.