The Brewers have released veteran right-handers Brad Boxberger and Jordan Zimmermann, president of baseball operations David Stearns announced to reporters Friday (Twitter link via Adam McCalvy of MLB.com).
Though both are now free agents, Stearns noted that he hopes to be able to re-sign both to new minor league deals. Both players were Article XX(B) free agents (i.e. six-plus years of MLB service and in camp on a non-roster deal after finishing the prior season on a big league roster), and as such could only be retained in the minor leagues beyond Saturday if they were paid a $100K retention bonus. That arrangement, by default, allows a player to opt out of the deal on June 1 if he’s not added to the MLB roster by then.
The Brewers could work on a new deal with either player that comes with an earlier opt-out opportunity while avoiding the $100K retention bonus as a trade-off. In the meantime, they’ll both be able to seek big league opportunities — or more promising minor league deals — elsewhere.
Neither veteran pitched particularly well with the Indians during Cactus League play. Boxberger whiffed 11 hitters in eight innings but also served up eight runs on 10 hits — including three home runs. He was sharp in 18 innings with the Marlins in 2020, however, logging an even 3.00 ERA with an 18-to-8 K/BB ratio.
Zimmermann, meanwhile, yielded four runs in six frames while punching out three hitters. He recently wrapped up a five-year deal with the Tigers that was marred by injuries and a precipitous downturn in performance. Zimmermann, a Wisconsin native, may have some extra incentive to work out a new deal with his hometown Brewers.