Claudio and the Brewers reached agreement on a one-year, $1.275 million deal Friday, avoiding arbitration, Robert Murray of The Athletic reports. Claudio posted a career-worst 4.48 ERA in 68.1 innings with the Rangers last season, his first year with an ERA north of 3.00. Acquired by the Brewers in exchange for a draft pick in December, he'll likely fill a lefty specialist or middle relief role.
The Rangers traded Claudio to the Brewers in exchange for a 2019 Competitive Balance Round A draft pick, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports. Claudio will provide Milwaukee with another southpaw out of the bullpen after the team declined to tender contracts to left-handers Dan Jennings and Xavier Cedeno for the upcoming season. Though Claudio took a noticeable step back this past year (4.48 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 5.4 K/9), his previous two seasons in the Rangers' bullpen gave the Brewers enough belief that he'll be able to bounce back in 2019. In addition, Claudio is under team control for the next three seasons and still has minor-league options remaining should Milwaukee elect to send him down to Triple-A Colorado Springs at any point in the year.
Claudio will open Saturday against the Padres and will be followed by primary pitcher Ariel Jurado, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. This will be the third time the Rangers go with an opener and the second time Jurado has been paired with one. The Rangers used an opener Friday, and the plan worked perfectly when Connor Sadzeck opened with a scoreless inning in a 4-0 win. Claudio has some length to him, so he could throw more than just one inning as the Rangers continue to experiment with the concept for the rest of the season.
Claudio (ankle) was activated off the 10-day disabled list Saturday, T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports. Claudio landed on the disabled list with the ankle sprain prior to the All-Star break, and returns having spent the 10-day minimum on the shelf. The 26-year-old has a 4.32 ERA and 1.58 WHIP over 41.2 innings this season, and his 12.4 percent strikeout rate leaves a lot to be desired.
Claudio pitched the final three innings, giving up five hits and striking out four, in Saturday's 7-2 loss to the Tigers. Claudio and Matt Moore were needed for long-relief stints when Cole Hamels was bounced after just two-thirds of an inning. He entered the season as a candidate to close games for the Rangers, but Claudio doesn't have the kind of stuff a traditional closer possesses, so he's been relegated to middle relief.