Crew signs reliever Morales to Minors deal

Lefty will get $2.3M in Majors, with potential $1.5 million in bonuses

March 4th, 2016
The Brewers made it official Saturday, announcing they had signed ex-Royal Franklin Morales. (AP)

PHOENIX -- The Brewers finalized a Minor League deal with left-hander Franklin Morales on Saturday morning after running the reliever through a physical exam at Maryvale Baseball Park.

Morales would earn $2.3 million in the Majors with another $1.5 million in performance bonuses available for appearances, according to a baseball source. The source said the contract includes a March 28 opt-out.

Brewers Spring Training info

The Brewers have one lefty, Will Smith, with a bullpen spot assured. Morales, fellow non-roster invitee Chris Capuano and recently acquired Sean Nolin (who is on the 40-man roster and out of options) are vying with a group of right-handers for one of the other bullpen openings.

Would manager Craig Counsell prefer to break camp with two left-handers in the bullpen?

"No, my preference is to have guys that get left-handed hitters out," Counsell said. "That doesn't mean left-handed."

The Brewers have at least two right-handers already ticketed for the bullpen who have "reverse splits," meaning they have been more effective in the Majors against left-handed batters than right- handed ones. Tyler Thornburg has held lefties to a .575 OPS -- 201 points lower than right-handers. Michael Blazek has held left-handers to a lower batting average (.186) than right-handers (.226).

Morales, 30, made 67 regular-season relief appearances for the Royals last season with a 3.18 ERA, then made three more appearances in the postseason. He amassed 107 plate appearances against left- handers during the regular season and held them to a .199 batting average.

"It's a 'do good' deal," Counsell said. "We'll take a look at it. He just gives us a wider choice of options."