Brewers trade 2 relievers, acquire Willy Adames from Rays

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
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MILWAUKEE — The slumping Brewers moved to shore up their infield defense by acquiring shortstop Willy Adames from the Tampa Bay Rays.

Milwaukee also got pitcher Trevor Richards from the Rays for relievers J.P Feyereisen and Drew Rasmussen.

Adames is hitting .197 with five homers and 15 RBIs in 41 games this year but had an .813 OPS last season while helping Tampa Bay reach the World Series. The 28-year-old Richards has a 4.50 ERA and one save in six relief appearances.

“We’re acquiring a shortstop who has proven he’s one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball,” Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns said.

The trade surprised Adames, who already had arrived at TD Ballpark for the Rays’ game with the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, Florida, when he learned about the move. Adames said he’d “been crying the whole afternoon.”

“To get that news out of nowhere, it was tough,” Adames said. “It’s business. You’ve got to see every side of the situation and every view and just take the positive, and just bring the joy with everything we’ve done here. Just continue to have those memories and take it with me.”

The Rays plan to call up Taylor Walls and give him much of the playing time at shortstop, though Joey Wendle will play there on occasion. Tampa Bay also has top prospect Wander Franco and Vidal Brujan at Triple-A Durham.

“You’re talking about as good a defensive shortstop as you’re going to find,” Rays general manager Erik Neander said. “You’re talking about a switch-hitter that can put ball in the play, do a lot of things to help you win tight games.”

Adames said he figured he might get traded eventually because the Rays had Walls and Franco in the organization. He just didn’t think a deal would happen this soon.

“That’s what I was telling the guys,” Adames said. “I said, `It was so surprising because it’s too early.’ I was not even thinking this year, maybe next year. You kind of knew that’s how they work, that’s how the organization works. But to get this news so early, it was tough.”

Neander said Feyereisen will fill an immediate role in Tampa Bay’s bullpen while Rasmussen will get sent to Durham.

The 28-year-old Feyereisen is 0-2 with a 3.26 ERA in 21 this season, though he has allowed six runs over 1 1/3 innings in his last two appearances. Rasmussen, 25, is 0-1 with a 4.24 ERA and one save in 15 games.

“Their arms we believe have end-of-game potential,” Neander said.

The acquisition of Adames gives the Brewers some help at shortstop, which had been a growing concern. The Brewers began a weekend series at Cincinnati on Friday having lost 12 of their last 16 games to fall below .500.

Milwaukee handed its starting shortstop job to 23-year-old Luis Urias this year and showed its faith in him last month by trading Orlando Arcia to the Atlanta Braves. Arcia had been the Brewers’ starting shortstop from 2017-20.

Urias is hitting .205 and has nine errors in 38 games. He had consecutive two-error games Sunday against Atlanta and Tuesday at Kansas City.

Brewers officials said they’d been interested in Adames long before Urias’ recent fielding struggles.

“We’ve been talking with Tampa about Willy for months, really,” Stearns said. “And it just got going again over the past week and we were able to get a deal done this morning.”

Urias now will fill more of a utility role. Most of his starts figure to come at third base, though he also can help out at second and shortstop.

“Young players are asked to continually prove themselves,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “Luis is going to be asked to prove himself again, just like every player is. Luis is up for the challenge. I believe that. And I believe he’s going to be a productive member of the team.”

Adames gives the Brewers a more polished shortstop who should team up with two-time Gold Glove second baseman Kolten Wong to give Milwaukee quality defense up the middle.

Adames has a $590,000 salary in the major leagues, is eligible for arbitration next winter and can become a free agent after the 2024 season.,

Richards has a $580,900 salary in the major leagues and also is eligible for arbitration after this season. Feyereisen is a rookie and Rasmussen began the season with less than one year of major league service.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.