Mat Gamel Signed to MiLB Deal

Feb 17, 2013; Maryvale, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Mat Gamel (24) poses for a picture during photo day at Maryvale Baseball Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Braves have signed Mat Gamel (1B, 3B) to a minor league deal, per Ben Nicholson-Smith .


Mat Gamel was a former top prospect for the Brewers (#34 in the nation prior to the 2009 season, per Baseball Prospectus), and was projected to be their starting 1B each of the last 2 seasons. Two ACL injuries to his right knee, one in 2012, and another in February of this year, unfortunately ruined his young promising career.

If he can stay healthy this time around, Gamel can possibly provide a big boost to our bench as a lefty power bat; the last full season he played, (2011, at AAA, he hit .310/.372/.540/.912 with 28 HRs, in 545 PAs. This is a no-risk, but potentially high reward move. He’s projected to be above average with the bat per Steamer and and Oliver statistical projections, with good power.

It’s not clear what this could mean for Joey Terdoslavich (or possibly signing Eric Chavez), but at least we have multiple options now. This is an A+ move for the Braves in my opinion.

Topics: Braves

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  • carpengui

    Thinking that a Chavez signing was fairly remote – desirable, but remote: his preference would be for a west coast team. If Gamel’s knee holds up, this is better.

  • Chris Headrick

    I would say it’s worth it with the low risk, but the jury is still out for me on his worth coming off the bench. He certainly has the potential, and any depth, especially depth with his potential, is a good thing.

  • Chris Headrick

    I heard a rumor some have called Mat Gamel “AutoMATic”. If that’s one of his true nicks, let’s hope it holds water.

  • Jeff Schafer

    I like this addition, of course the question will be can the injury bug stay away from this once highly ranked prospect but my thought is baseball injuries are usually arm issues like TJ. His injuries aren’t arm related and are knee injuries. Hopefully the doctors have fix his issues and he can return to his potential. I like the low risk high reward deal. Nice job Frank!

  • Benjamin Chase

    Definitely more of a pinch hitter than a defender like Chavez would have been, but I remember watching Gamel hit in the minors off some really good pitching prospects and always came away impressed with his approach. The best part of this is the minor league aspect of it.

  • Guest

    Another plus, obviously, is his utility skills being able to play both 1st and 3rd. He could be a great addition offensively if Freeman or Johnson need rest. The only caveat is that I’m not seeing much to indicate he’s very sharp defensively.

    • Julien Benjamin

      and I’m afraid that his knee issues may have hurt what little defense he had. Some friends I know that are Brewers fans say his arm isn’t that good, so 3B wouldn’t be all that good for him I don’t think…

      • Sealift67

        I like this low risk signing. If ATL does not pick up an Eric Chavez
        and Joey T is not cut for coming off the bench Gamel may
        PH. Not signed for his fielding and used in a limited manner
        I’m ok with this.

  • cothjrr24

    Low risk, low money, fairly high reward for both Gamel and the Braves. I’m down with a move like this much more than I’m down for signing Chavez for 4-5 million. That is, unless, Chavez has to end up platooning with CJ, of which wouldn’t surprise me.

  • Julien Benjamin

    I really really really love this signing…. could be our “David Carpenter” or better comp, our “Ramiro Pena” for the offseason. Frank digs up great gems

    • carpengui

      Guessing this was one of the ‘things he had in the works’ from yesterday’s interview. Presume that trying to re-sign EOF is another one. If he can get that done, then we’re probably gonna call it ‘done’… unless, of course a miracle occurs.

      • Matthew Jones

        So that puts us where for our bench then? Likely Joey T., Ramiro, Pastornicky, Gamel, Bethancourt, Schaefer? Am I missing someone?

        • rick staley


          • Matthew Jones

            Should have put Gattis/Laird on there, you’re right.

        • Lee Trocinski

          Since teams go with 12-man pitching staffs, that means 13 position players, 5 on the bench. Schafer and Laird for sure, then we have matching pairs of Joey T/Gamel and Pena/Pastornicky. 3 of those 4 are in line for bench spots. Pena is probably the only one who can play 3B, so he’s in. Joey T is probably fairly safe too, so it’s between Gamel and Rev. The last spot probably just depends on Gamel’s hitting in spring training. If he hits, he’s on the team; if he doesn’t, he’s in Gwinnett or DFA’d.

          • carpengui

            …and Gamel would have the advantage due to (a) LH bat; and (b) out of options.

          • fireboss

            He signed a minor league deal. Options only a factor if he’s called up at some point as I recall anyway

          • carpengui

            Not quite sure how that works myself… was thinking that if he were actually to be _assigned_ to the minors, then he’d be subject to a possible DFA waiver claim.

          • fireboss

            Signing a minor league contract means he’s agreed to play in the minors. I didn’t even see the usual “with an invite to spring training” line but I’m sure he is. If he breaks camp with the Braves or is called up afterwards his contract like all minor league contracts becomes a major league minimum contract. At that point his options or lack of them become an issue. Like Mather who was out of options he has to agree to go down then has to clear waivers.

        • carpengui

          Probably replace ‘Pastornicky’ with ‘Pena’

  • Lee Trocinski

    Look it’s Joey T, Part 1. This is the best comparison I found for him in March (comments). tomahawktake . com/2013/03/02/joey-terdoslavich-meetin-braves-prospect/

    This is why I don’t see Joey T as a big trade piece. The injuries are another story, but Gamel’s offense was average in his only chance so far. I just don’t see major impact from either one in their careers. They’re decent hitters with negative defensive value, so they’re nice spare parts but not major pieces.

  • fireboss

    I don’t know much about Mr Gamel but here’s what Baseball prospectus said about him before the year started.
    Instead of providing the inexpensive lefty power the Brewers badly needed, Gamel struggled at the plate before his season was cut short in early May by a torn ACL. . . Already 27 and with little defensive value, Gamel may soon run out of chances to prove he can handle a role more challenging than Quad-A Slugger.
    Note the “little defensive value” bit in particular. His bat hasn’t lived up to his minor league reputation and on paper anyway he looks like Joe Mather; all promise and no delivery. If Frank comes out and says “I’ve always liked Gamel” it will be deja vu all over again.

    • Chris Headrick

      Agree with you Fred, and Lee below. Have my doubts as I’ve already expressed. The low risk is the only reason I’m not swearing. Too many unknowns.

  • carpengui

    Quoting from Mark Bowman tonight:

    “Because both the tendon and ligament were repaired, Floyd could need
    more than the 12-month rehab schedule starting pitchers often experience
    after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Multiple post-surgery reports
    indicated he could be sidelined 14-19 months. If this proves to be
    true, he could be sidelined until early July.”