PITTSBURGH — Forty-eight hours after announcing the acquisition of pitcher Dinelson Lamet from the San Diego Padres in the Josh Hader trade, the Milwaukee Brewers slated him for assignment in a flurry of roster changes Wednesday after- midday.
“Dinelson has a good arm and was included in the trade to help balance the deal,” Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns said. “As subsequent transactions, adjusting the list became a little more difficult. We hope to keep it in our system.
Lamet finished fourth in voting for the 2020 Cy Young Award but has struggled with injuries and shaky performances since, hitting a 5.46 ERA over 59 ⅓ innings over the past two seasons.
Why Brewers decided to nominate Lamet for assignment
By nominating 30-year-old Lamet for assignment, any other team can claim him and add him to their 40-man roster. If he gets waivers, he can be replaced outright by the Brewers on a minor league roster or released.
While there was no guarantee he would perform at the level the Brewers needed, having allowed 12 earned runs in his last seven innings, the team had in recent days expressed belief in his ability to be a key part of the bullpen.
“I think it was important for us to feel that we were stabilizing our bullpen, to understand how important Josh is to that and has been,” Stearns said Monday of Lamet and Taylor Rogers, the other big league reliever sent to Milwaukee in exchange. “So to be able to bring back two major league plays that fit into that group, I think that’s helpful.”
Brewers manager Craig Counsell said Tuesday, “He’s a guy who’s been among the elite in this league. He suffered a lot of injuries and he went through difficulties. You try to help him out a bit and bring him back there. But I think you ask any batter and anyone who’s been on the sidelines to watch him pitch when he’s been good, and he’s the best slider in baseball when he’s been good.
“We have to work to get there, but obviously there’s a lot of talent there and we acquire a player with a lot of talent and see what happens.”
The DFA’s reasoning, as explained by the Brewers: Lamet had recently passed the five-year service threshold, meaning he could refuse a demotion to the minor leagues. Left with a tight roster, as characterized by Stearns, the Brewers had to clear an active roster spot and saw Lamet as the last guy in the bullpen.
One of the reasons Lamet was included in the return of Hader, three-time National League reliever of the year, was to help even the amount of salary taken by both sides.
But whether he was going to be a DFA candidate two days later after adding just two more players to the roster – a relatively small number given the flurry of activity teams are experiencing at the deadline – the decision remains puzzling.
There also remains the question of why Lamet was the active roster player chosen as the one to be nominated for an assignment given his advantage.
The brewers are reminiscent of Keston Hiura; Pedro Severino nominated for assignment
The Brewers also recalled Keston Hiura from Class AAA and designated receiver Pedro Severino for assignment.
Hiura had been one of the best hitters on the team with an .805 OPS before being optioned on July 13, but didn’t have an optimal fit on the roster as it is currently constructed. The Brewers instead opted to carry three receivers, an experiment that has now run its course.
Severino missed the first 80 games of the season while suspended for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug and, even after his return, saw sporadic playing time. He played eight games, was 4-for-18 at the plate, and was hit as a pinch hitter in a critical spot Tuesday night.
Reliever Matt Bush, acquired via a trade from Texas late Monday night, was activated and Peter Strzelecki was moved to Class AAA.