Jean Segura is the Brewers’ shortstop for 2013, but Doug Melvin has been looking for a veteran to serve as a backup all winter. Tuesday, the Brewers added another name to the mix, agreeing to sign infielder Bobby Crosby to a minor league deal:
#Brewers sign IF Bobby Crosby to minor-league contract w spring-training invite. Deal worth $800K if he makes club w $450K in incentives.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 22, 2013
Crosby won the American League Rookie of the Year award in 2004 with a .239/.319/.426 line. This was before sabermetrics had the influence they have now on awards voting, otherwise Zack Greinke (3.6 bWAR, 120 ERA+ as a 20-year-old) likely would have finished better than 4th in the voting that season. Another former Brewer, Dave Bush, also received a point in the ROY voting that year, pitching for Toronto.
Crosby followed up his ROY season with the best season of his career (although he only played in 84 games), hitting .276/.346/.456 in 2005. Since that year, though, Crosby has posted OPS totals of .636, .619, .645, .652 and .592. He hasn’t played in a big league game since August 21, 2010.
Crosby is the second player who will attempt a comeback with the Brewers this spring after a long layoff. Earlier this month, Kelvim Escobar — who hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2009 — signed a minor league deal with the Brewers. He will likely compete for a bullpen spot.
As Rosenthal noted, Crosby is represented by the same agent as Gabe Kapler and Jim Edmonds, two players who made successful comebacks with Milwaukee in 2008 and 2010, respectively.
Crosby will likely be competing with Donnie Murphy and Jeff Bianchi for the Brewers’ utility man role. Taylor Green will also be in the mix for a bench spot, but can’t play shortstop. Crosby is the Brewers’ 19th total non-roster invitee to spring training, and their 10th non-pitcher NRI.