The Brewers have announced to reporters, including Curt Hogg of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a series of roster moves prior to today’s game. righty Freddy Peralta has been reinstated from the 60-day injured list, while deadline acquisition Matt Bush has been added to the roster. infielder Keston Hiura was also recalled. In corresponding moves, the club optioned righty Peter Strzelecki and designated righty Dinelson Lamet and catcher Pedro Severino for assignment.
Lamet getting cut from the roster comes as a surprise, since he was just acquired from the Padres a couple of days ago as part of the Josh Hader trade. Adam McCalvy of MLB.com relayed a quote from Brewers’ president of baseball operations David Stearns, attempting to explain. “Dinelson has a good arm and was included in the trade to help balance out the deal,” Stearns says. “As subsequent transactions played out, the roster fit became a little tougher. We are hopeful we will be able to keep him in our system.”
The reference to “subsequent transactions” seems to imply that the Brewers ended up making other trades that squeezed Lamet out of their plans. Lamet, and the other players in the Hader deal, were acquired on Monday, the day before the trade deadline. As the deadline played out yesterday, the club also added Bush and Trevor Rosenthal in separate deals. Perhaps the Brewers value those hurlers higher than they view Lamet, which led to Lamet losing his roster spot today.
Although Lamet technically has options remaining, hogg points out that he recently surpassed five years of MLB service time. Players beyond that threshold cannot be optioned without their consent, meaning Lamet had to be DFA’d to be removed from the roster. That also means that, should Lamet clear waivers, he would have the right to refuse an outright assignment and elect free agency without forfeiting his salary, as all players beyond five years of MLB service can.
Frankly, it would be very surprising if Lamet cleared waivers, given his track record and modest salary. He was one of the best pitchers in baseball during the shortened 2020 season, logging a 2.09 ERA over 12 starts with a 34.8% strikeout rate and 7.5% walk rate. He has dealt with injury woes in subsequent seasons, being relegated to bullpen duty and occasionally getting optioned to the minors. Still, he’s making a modest $4.775MM salary this year and can be retained for another season via arbitration. Due to his injuries, underperformance and time spent in the minors, he likely wouldn’t earn a huge raise for 2023.
Now that the trade deadline has come and gone, it complicates Lamet’s status. For one thing, the Brewers won’t be able to work out a deal to send Lamet elsewhere, as they would have been able to do prior to the deadline. For another thing, for clubs that are looking for bullpen upgrades from outside their organization, waiver claims are now effectively the only way to do so. It seems highly likely that some club will give Lamet a shot, either a contender looking for a boost down the stretch or a rebuilding team that will give him some time to regain his previous form and perhaps trade him in the offseason or next year.
More to come.