The Brewers acquired Badenhop on December 1st of last year from Tampa Bay in exchange for Raul Mondesi. Two years ago on December 12th, the Rays got Badenhop from the Marlins for catcher Jake Jeffries.
Like his 2012 season with Tampa Bay, Badenhop was solid with the Brewers, but not quite good enough to avoid being a non-tender candidate as an average middle reliever. His 3.47 ERA was nearly a half run higher than it was with the Rays (3.03), but his FIP in 2013 was actually lower than the year before (3.53, down from 3.62).
FanGraphs had Badenhop at 0.3 WAR in each of the past two seasons — pretty much the very definition of “replaceable middle reliever.” Badenhop made $1.55 million last season and was likely in line for a salary over $2 million after arbitration this winter. Facing some pretty significant payroll restraints, the Brewers opted to use that money elsewhere while dealing him for what they hope to be a lottery ticket. With the slew of young, cheap relievers the Brewers have ready to contribute at the big league level, it’s no surprise that Doug Melvin is choosing to allocate those limited funds somewhere else.
Ortega will turn 21 in April and made his stateside debut this past season in the Gulf Coast League. Ortega made 13 starts in 2012 for the Red Sox’ Dominican Summer League team, but was used mostly in a piggyback relief role in 2013. In 12 games, the 5’10″, 155-pound lefty threw 36.2 innings, striking out 26 and walking 15 while giving up 10 earned runs. Reports are limited on him, but his fastball was touching 90 this past spring. According to Adam McCalvy, the Brewers will decide whether they’ll use him as a starter or reliever after seeing him in the spring, and he could start the year in Appleton with the T-Rats.
With Badenhop gone, the Brewers now only have two arbitration-eligible players: Marco Estrada and Juan Francisco, who is eligible for the first time as a Super Two player.