Brewers make moves to free up roster space

Brewers make moves to free up roster space

Brewers make moves to free up roster space
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers' busy week of roster moves continued Friday, when reliever Kameron Loe and outfielder Nyjer Morgan chose free agency over an outright assignment to Triple-A Nashville, and first baseman Travis Ishikawa moved to within a step of a similar departure.

Ishikawa was also outrighted to Nashville and has the right to refuse. He is expected to do so after clearing waivers.

All three players would have been eligible for arbitration.

"We just need roster space," general manager Doug Melvin said. "With our system, we've added some young guys and we've got a chance of adding as many as four to six more players to our roster [to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft].

"So we needed space to add players to our roster, needed space for waiver claims and free-agent players. The arbitration process drags out all the way to January and February. We need to make decisions before that."

Earlier this week, the Brewers also cut loose Jose Veras, another arbitration-eligible reliever.

Of those players let go, the one with the longest Brewers tenure was Loe, the 6-foot-8 right-hander who signed a Minor League deal with Milwaukee in December 2009 after a stint in Japan. He began the 2010 season as a starter at Nashville, but made it to Milwaukee in relief and posted a 3.67 ERA in 195 games over the past three seasons.

Statistically, 2012 was Loe's least-effective season in a Brewers uniform, with a 4.61 ERA, 10.3 hits per nine innings and a 1.434 WHIP. He would have nonetheless received a raise in arbitration from his $2.175 million salary, and as a player with five-plus years of Major League service, might not have formally signed until February.

So the Brewers opted to move on, though Melvin lauded Loe's durability and left open the door to re-signing him at some point.

"It just seemed like every year, our arbitration players and the agents who represent our guys wait until other guys sign and we're sort of held victim to some other signings at times," said Melvin, who argued that cutting ties now with Loe and Veras, "just gives us flexibility."

"One of the things I look back on and can correct is being tied up with no flexibility in our bullpen," Melvin said. "We want to have flexibility in our bullpen and have the roster space in case guys become available."