The Milwaukee Brewers last made the playoffs seven years ago. With a chance to end that rut, they’ve been aggressive in remaking their roster.
Milwaukee brought in three more veterans on Friday, the deadline for traded players to be eligible to postseason play. They snagged left-handed starter Gio Gonzalez from the Washington Nationals, steady outfielder Curtis Granderson from the Toronto Blue Jays and lefty reliever Xavier Cedeno from the Chicago White Sox.
Milwaukee was active, too, ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31, acquiring infielders Mike Moustakas and Jonathan Schoop. The Brewers hold the second NL wild-card spot and trail the first-place Chicago Cubs by four games in the NL Central.
Gonzalez and Granderson both have postseason experience. Gonzalez won four NL East titles in a six-year stretch with the Nationals, and Granderson has reached the playoffs with four teams in his career — Detroit, the Yankees, the Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Gonzalez changed from a Nationals uniform into a Brewers sweatshirt and cap after Milwaukee beat Washington 4-1 on Friday night for its third straight win. Leaving Washington was emotional for the left-hander, who is nonetheless excited about the opportunity.
“I grew up here. I had my family here, my wife and my kids. It’s just sad but I’m happy,” Gonzalez said. “I’m really happy. I’m getting a second chance to redeem myself and I think this is a perfect opportunity with a team like the Brewers. I see there’s a hopefully a brighter future for me (with Milwaukee).”
The 32-year-old Gonzalez, who will be a free agent after the season, has a career record of 124-97 with a 3.71 ERA in 308 games (302 starts) with Oakland and Washington. This year, he’s 7-11 with a 4.57 ERA in 27 starts.
“The track record’s important, the success he’s had is important and we feel like we’re adding a good pitcher to our staff,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
Counsell said it’s possible that Gonzalez would work out of the bullpen.
“Look, we’re at the stage where we’re just getting outs and we’re gonna try to get 27 outs a game,” Cousell said. “If there’s a spot to use him in relief, I would consider that as I would for all these guys.”
The 37-year-old Granderson is batting .245 with 11 home runs and 35 RBIs in 104 games this season. He has 330 homers in 15 major league seasons and has played in 57 postseason games, batting .227 with nine homers.
“You’re surprised because you never know what’s going to happen. You hear all kinds of rumblings and things. There’s no reason to get worked up over anything until something happens,” Granderson said after he had a pinch-hit single in Toronto’s 6-5 win over Miami.
“But I’m also excited getting a chance to go to a team that has a chance to get to the playoffs. So I am super excited to join them,” he said.
Cedeno was 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA in 33 appearances for Chicago.
“We’re just trying to fortify the roster as best we can and give ourselves options and depth for whatever happens in this month,” Counsell said about the Cedeno deal.
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