Brewers pick up $10 million 2023 option on 2B Kolten Wong

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MILWAUKEE — Kolten Wong is staying in Milwaukee.

The Brewers have picked up the $10 million 2023 team option on the veteran second baseman.

Wong, 32, batted .251 this season and had a career-high 15 homers to go along with 47 RBIs and 17 steals in 134 games. He had a .339 on-base percentage and .430 slugging percentage.

But the two-time Gold Glove winner also had 17 errors to match his career high.

Wong spent his first eight seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, who declined to exercise a $12.5 million option to keep him in 2021. The Brewers then signed him to a two-year, $18 million contract that included a $10 million team option for 2023.

The Brewers would have owed him a $2 million buyout if they hadn’t picked up his option.

In his first season in Milwaukee, Wong batted .272 with 14 homers, 50 RBIs and 12 steals in 116 games while helping the Brewers win the NL Central title. Wong had a .335 on-base percentage and .447 slugging percentage that year.

This represents the first major move the Brewers have made since Matt Arnold was promoted to president of baseball operations last month after David Stearns stepped down. Stearns remains with the organization in an advisory role.

Phillies select active duty Navy aviator in MLB Rule 5 draft

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SAN DIEGO — The Philadelphia Phillies took U.S. Navy aviator Noah Song in the Rule 5 draft Wednesday, hoping the former top pitching prospect can still be effective once he completes his military service.

There is no definitive date on when the 25-year-old Song might be able to join the Phillies.

Song was picked from the Boston Red Sox system in the draft for unprotected minor league players. Philadelphia put him on the military list while he continues his active duty and he won’t count on the 40-man roster, the pool from which major league teams can select players for the 26-man active roster.

Song impressed in his only pro season, making seven starts for Boston’s Class A Lowell affiliate in 2019, with a 1.06 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 17 innings. With a fastball clocked in the upper 90s mph, the right-hander dominated that year as a senior at the U.S. Naval Academy, going 11-1 with a 1.44 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 94 innings.

The Red Sox drafted Song in the fourth round – he likely would’ve gone much higher, but his impending military service caused teams to back off.

In November 2019, Defense Secretary Mark Esper signed a memo clearing the way for athletes at the nation’s military academies to delay their service commitments and play pro sports after graduation. Song’s request to have those new rules retroactively applied to his case was denied.

Song began school as a flight officer in the summer of 2020 and finished that phase last April. He started additional aviation training in May.

Song was among the 15 players, including three Boston pitchers, taken in the big league phase of the Rule 5 draft, which wasn’t held last year because of the MLB lockout.

Washington took righty Thad Ward from Boston’s Triple-A roster with the first pick. Baltimore took Red Sox minor league pitcher Andrew Politi with the ninth choice and the Phillies chose Song with the 11th selection.

Teams pay $100,000 to take players in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft. The players must stay on the big league roster next season or go on waivers and, if unclaimed, be offered back to their original organization for $50,000.