With spring training in full swing, third baseman Travis Shaw returned to the Milwaukee Brewers while former All-Star third baseman Jake Lamb and pitchers Ian Kennedy and Julio Teheran found new teams.
Shaw signed a minor league contract with the Brewers on Tuesday, giving them one more option for their unsettled situation at third base. Shaw was invited to spring training.
“I think he fits into a need that we have,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “He has an opportunity to earn something. That’s how it was presented to Travis, and I think that’s what excited him about the opportunity.”
Kennedy, 36, signed a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers, and will be in major league spring training with a chance to be compete for a spot in their bullpen.
Lamb signed a $1 million, one-year contract with the Atlanta Braves that is not guaranteed. The signing adds another veteran bat to an already deep competition for bench spots in spring training.
The 30-year-old Teheran got a minor league contract with the Detroit Tigers and will report to big league camp.
Teheran was 0-4 with a 10.05 ERA last season with the Los Angeles Angels. He’d made at least 30 starts for seven straight years before last season was shortened by the coronavirus pandemic.
An All-Star in 2014 and 2016 for the Braves, Teheran’s ERA was under 4.00 in both 2018 and 2019 with Atlanta.
If added to the 40-man roster, Shaw would get a one-year contract paying $1.5 million while in the major leagues and $250,000 while in the minors.
Shaw, who turns 31 on April 16, last played for the Brewers from 2017-19. That three-year stint included some notable highs and lows.
“The Brewers have seen me at my absolute best and they’ve also seen me in my absolute worst in 2019,” Shaw said from the Brewers’ spring-training site in Phoenix. “So the fact that they reached out and were open to a reunion meant a lot to me.”
When the Brewers declined to offer him a contract after the 2019 season, Shaw spent 2020 with the Toronto Blue Jays and hit .239 with a .306 on-base percentage, six homers, 17 RBIs and a .717 OPS in 50 games.
The Brewers enter spring training without a clear-cut starting third baseman.
Luis Urías and Orlando Arcia are each working out at both shortstop and third base this spring. Urías was at third base for 30 of his 41 appearances last season, while Arcia was almost exclusively a shortstop.
Kennedy will be in major league spring training with a chance to be compete for a spot in the Rangers’ bullpen.
New Rangers general manager Chris Young, a former teammate of Kennedy’s in Kansas City, said he right-hander brings a veteran presence after playing for four different teams over 14 big league seasons.
“He has to earn the spot, and he’s perfectly comfortable that,” Young said.
Kennedy spent the past five seasons with Kansas City, where he made the transition from starter to reliever the past two years. He had his only 30 MLB saves in 2019, but was limited to one start and 14 relief appearances last season because of a left calf injury. Young and Kennedy were with the Royals together in 2016 and 2017.
Lamb, a 2017 All-Star with the Arizona Diamondbacks, was with the Braves for their first full-squad workout and will compete for a bench spot. He could provide insurance for Austin Riley, who is expected to start at third base, but he was signed for his left-handed bat as a pinch-hitter.
Manager Brian Snitker hopes Lamb can produce off the bench the way Matt Joyce in 2019 and Eric Hinske from 2010-12 were effective with their left-handed swings.
“You get late in a game and you need a double-switch, he can be a very valuable asset much like Matt Joyce did a couple years ago,” Snitker said. “He can be a left-handed bullet on the bench.”
HOME OF THE BRAVES
Due to ongoing coronavirus protocols, the Braves took their seats at safe distances apart outdoors for Snitker’s address over the public address system rather than using their auditorium with theatre seating at their still-new CoolToday complex.
“We did our best,” Snitker said. “We had to adjust, like I told the guys. … It’s a shame we’ve got that beautiful auditorium in there that we build that we’re not able to use.” Snitker said the makeshift arrangement “worked really well” for his pep talk.
As soon as Taijuan Walker joined the New York Mets, he learned someone already his number — Mr. Met.
A day after the Mets finalized his $23 million, three-year contract, Walker said he was aced out of his preferred jersey number by the rotund mascot with the baseball-shaped head.
He wanted 00. “And, of course, this year, Mr. Met is 00. So I just went back to wearing 99,” he said.
Walker wore 99 with the Diamondbacks but had to switch to 00 with Toronto because Hyun Jin Ryu wears 99.
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