MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers declined to offer contracts to infielder Travis Shaw, right-hander Jimmy Nelson and three others on Monday, making them free agents.
Pitchers Alex Claudio and Junior Guerra and infielder Tyler Saladino were also let go by a Milwaukee club that has parted with a number of key players this offseason.
Milwaukee projects to save around $15 million in salary in 2020 by cutting the five players.
Shaw hit 63 homers over the 2017 and 2018 seasons, but the corner infielder slumped last year. Nelson struggled after missing nearly two years following surgery on his right shoulder.
While letting those players go, the Brewers signed shortstop Orlando Arcia and outfielder Ben Gamel.
Arcia signed a one-year, $2.2 million contract on Monday, avoiding arbitration. Arcia might have to compete for a starting role at shortstop after the Brewers traded for Luis Urias, though it appears he’ll see every opportunity to win the job.
Arcia hit .223 last season with 15 homers and 59 RBI over 152 games.
Gamel agreed to a $1.4 million, one-year deal to avoid arbitration. The contract includes a team option for 2021 at $2.55 million with no buyout.
Earlier on Monday, Brewers’ All-Star infielder Mike Moustakas and the Cincinnati Reds agreed to a $64 million, four-year contract.
Cincinnati scored the fourth-fewest runs in the NL last season despite one of the league’s most hitter-friendly ballparks. Bulking up on offense, stabilizing the outfield and overhauling the bullpen are the Reds’ priorities in the offseason.
Moustakas is a first step toward fixing the offense. He hit .254 with 35 homers and 87 RBIs this year, making his third All-Star team. He began the season at second base and moved to third with Shaw in a slump. Cincinnati has Eugenio Suarez at third base.
Moustakas has 42 games of playoff experience with the Royals in 2014-15 and the Brewers the last two seasons.
Moustakas rejected a $17.4 million qualifying offer from Kansas City after the 2017 season but eventually returned to the Royals on a one-year deal. He was traded to the Brewers that July and finished with a .251 average, 28 homers and 95 RBIs.
He had a $7 million salary this year and gets a $3 million buyout for declining his $10 million option. He’s made $18.7 million on a pair of one-year deals the last two seasons.
MARLINS: Perennially thrifty Miami opened their purse strings and added some speed and power to an offense that ranked last in the National League in runs and homers this year.
Miami acquired infielder former Brewer Jonathan Villar from the Baltimore Orioles for minor league left-hander Easton Lucas. The Marlins also claimed former Brewers first baseman Jesús Aguilar off waivers after he was designated for assignment last week by the Tampa Bay Rays.
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Villar batted .274 with 33 doubles, 24 home runs and 73 RBIs in 162 games for Baltimore this year. The switch-hitter had 40 stolen bases, 111 runs scored and 176 hits.
He made $4,825,000 and could command $10 million in 2020, his final year of arbitration. The Orioles parted with Villar for financial reasons.
“He was a tremendously exciting player for us,” Baltimore general manager Mike Elias said. “He was a joy to have. He’s a fun player, a switch-hitter, he runs, plays hard, he’s a great guy. It was hard to let him go.”
Aguilar was an All-Star for Milwaukee in 2018, when he had 35 home runs and 108 RBIs. This year he had 12 homers and 50 RBIs for the Brewers and Rays.
Aguilar will make $2.5 million in 2020. He’s expected to share time at first with Garrett Cooper, who had 15 homers and 50 RBIs for Miami this year.
The versatile Villar has played shortstop (385 games), second base (333), third base (54) and the outfield (13). He’s a career .261 hitter who had a career-best 62 stolen bases for Milwaukee in 2016.
CUBS: Chicago did not offer a 2020 contract to shortstop Addison Russell on Monday, making the 2016 All-Star a free agent one year after he was suspended for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy.
Russell was banned for 40 games last offseason after a series of allegations made by ex-wife Melisa Reidy. The 25-year-old returned to the Cubs in May and batted a career-low .237 with nine homers, 23 RBIs and a .699 OPS.
Russell earned $4 million in 2019 and was likely to gain a raise in arbitration, probably to around $5 million.
“We decided to non-tender Addison Russell today simply because the role we expected him to play for the 2020 Cubs was inconsistent with how he would have been treated in the salary arbitration process,” Cubs executive Theo Epstein said in a statement.
MLB began an investigation in 2017 after allegations against Russell first became public. Reidy published a blog post last September describing more detailed allegations, including years of physical and emotional abuse. Less than 12 hours later, MLB announced Russell had been put on leave under its domestic violence policy. He accepted the suspension on Oct. 3.
Russell received a mixed welcome from fans at Wrigley Field and was booed often on the road after serving his suspension. He said in February that he was accountable for his past actions and apologized for “the hurt and the pain” he caused.
POSTINGS: Two players from Japan, Shun Yamaguchi and Ryosuke Kikuchi, have been made available to major league teams through the posting process.
Clubs have until Jan. 2 to negotiate with them, Major League Baseball said Tuesday.
Yamaguchi, a 32-year-old right-hander with the Yomiuri Giants, was 15-4 with a 2.91 ERA and 188 strikeouts in 170 innings. He led the Central League in wins and strikeouts, helping Yomiuri to its first Central League pennant in five years.
Kikuchi, a second baseman who turns 30 in March, hit .261 with 13 homers, 48 RBIs and 14 stolen bases for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.
Yokohama outfielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo was posted last month and is available until Dec. 19.