In need of a first baseman after Daniel Vogelbach injured his left hamstring two weeks ago, the Brewers acquired Rowdy Tellez from the Blue Jays on Tuesday in exchange for right-handers Trevor Richards and Bowden Francis.
Tellez, who has a Minor League option, is expected to join the Brewers on Wednesday and be in the starting lineup against the Mets. He will likely split time at first base with Keston Hiura.
“The need here is clear. We lost a left-handed hitter [Vogelbach] who was hitting in the middle of our lineup and doing a nice job. We were seeking to replace some of that production,” Brewers president of the baseball operations David Stearns said. “In spurts, Keston has done a really good job as well. He will continue to get some opportunities. But the ability to add a left-handed hitter to our lineup, that is a unique opportunity at this time of year, so we were happy to [make the trade].”
Prior to the trade, Tellez, 26, played his entire Major League career with Toronto (2018-21), hitting .241 with 37 homers and 99 RBIs in 219 games. He hit a career-high .283 with eight home runs and 23 RBIs in 2020.
Tellez was hitting .209 with four home runs and eight RBIs in 50 games in two stints with the Blue Jays this season. He was with Triple-A Buffalo when the deal was made.
“This is a player who has consistently put the bat on the ball and he has consistently hit the ball hard,” Stearns said. "Those are two pretty good attributes for Major League hitters. He has had success in the Major Leagues. He has a long track record of success in the Minor Leagues. He got off to a slow start at the Major League level, but we think the underlying ingredients are pretty sound. We think he should be able to perform at the Major League level. We are going to give him a shot.”
Richards, 28, was acquired by Milwaukee in a trade with Tampa Bay on May 21. He is 3-0 with a 3.69 ERA and one save in 21 relief appearances between the Rays and Brewers this season, including 3-0 with a 3.20 ERA in 15 games with Milwaukee.
“Trevor did a great job for us,” Stearns said. “This deal is about acquiring a bat and trying to complement the roster. [Richards] did everything we could have asked for during his brief time here.”
Francis, 25, was selected by the Brewers in the seventh round of the 2017 MLB Draft. He went 22-23 with a 4.23 ERA in 69 career Minor League appearances (63 starts), including 7-3 with a 3.62 ERA in 11 starts between Double-A Biloxi and Triple-A Nashville this season.
Stearns said the club could make another move before the Trade Deadline on July 30.
“We are certainly open to improve the team, however we can. That will be a pursuit that continues over the next [few] weeks,” Stearns said. “I said this many times before: I’m not good at timing these things. I’m not good at predicting these things. I’ll stop even trying to do that. But we are working on trying to improve the team where we can. I’m hopeful that we have opportunities to do that for the next [few] weeks.”