The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired 1B Rowdy Tellez from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for RHPs Trevor Richards and Bowden Francis.
The struggling Blue Jays bullpen has gotten another addition today. Recently, it was Adam Cimber coming in from Miami. Now, Richards joins him. An undrafted pitcher who spent time in independent leagues before making it to the majors, Richards struggled the past few seasons before getting into a groove with Milwaukee following a midseason trade. A lot of his success can be attributed to a career best 31.8 percent K rate and 3.95 xERA. However, Richards does have an increased 91.3 mph average exit velocity and 44.7 percent hard hit rate. Also, his 9.3 BB% is a bit high. Still, Richards is a solid get. Francis is a minor league starting pitcher drafted in the 7th round back in 2017 by Milwaukee. He has made it to AAA this year, with good numbers. The Blue Jays need all the pitching help they can get, so if Francis continues to pitch the way he has, he can be in the big leagues sooner rather than later.
Richards, 28, has a 3.69 ERA (3.20 with the Brewers) with 41 strikeouts, a 3.76 FIP, and a 1.137 WHIP in 31.2 innings for Milwaukee and the Tampa Bay Rays this year. In his career for the Brewers, Rays, and Miami Marlins, Richards has a 4.34 ERA with 325 strikeouts, a 4.30 FIP, and a 1.380 WHIP in 325.1 innings pitched.
Francis, 25, has a 3.62 ERA with 65 strikeouts, 17 walks and a 1.022 WHIP in 59.2 2021 innings between AA Biloxi and AAA Nashville. In his minor league career, Francis has a 4.23 ERA with 349 strikeouts, 113 walks, and a 1.284 WHIP in 340.1 innings.
With Vladimir Guerrero Jr. taking over the first base role in Toronto, Tellez would have to be relegated to the designated hitter spot. However, the team has a ton of good bats, with too many outfielders. Add that with a rough start to the season, and Tellez has found himself in the minors. There is upside to be found. He hit 21 home runs in 2019, and has an .886 OPS last year. In 13 AAA games this year, Tellez has a 1.038 OPS. Plus, Tellez has been unlucky. He has a 92.6 mph average exit velocity, and a .251 xBA plus a .454 xSLG. His real average and slugging are only .209 and .338. A reversal of fortune is possible. The Brewers do have a similar player in Daniel Vogelbach, but he is injured. Tellez can start at first until then. He could possibly split time with Vogelbach or be a good bench bat for the first-place team in the NL Central.
Tellez, 26, has hit four home runs with a .209 average and a .610 OPS in 151 Plate Appearances this season. In his MLB career, all in Toronto, Tellez has hit 37 home runs with a .241 average and a .759 OPS in 760 Plate Appearances.