MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers traded Class A right-hander Rodolfo Fernandez to the A's on Monday in a deal that moved Milwaukee closer to signing Dominican infielder Gilbert Lara to the richest international contract in club history.
The Brewers and Lara already have an preliminary agreement for $3.1-$3.2 million, though the club has yet to confirm the agreement or finalize the contract because it would face penalties for exceeding its original international bonus pool of $2,611,800. Teams are allowed to increase their pool by as much as 50 percent by acquiring portions of other teams' allotments, which is exactly what happened Monday afternoon.
In return for Fernandez, the Brewers received international signing bonus slot No. 57, with a value of $339,000. It boosted Milwaukee's total bonus pool for international deals to $2,950,800 -- still shy of Lara's club-record-shattering bonus.
Barring additional trades, the Brewers could face penalties for exceeding their pool. Teams that exceed the pools by 0 to 5 percent have to pay 100 percent tax on the overage. Teams that exceed the pools by 5 to 10 percent pay the tax, plus are not allowed to sign a player for more than $500,000 during the next signing period. Teams that exceed the pools by 10 to 15 percent are not allowed to sign a player for more than $300,000 during the next signing period in addition to paying the tax, and teams that exceed the pool by 15 percent or more are not allowed to sign a player for more than $300,000 during the next two signing periods in addition to the tax.
Once a team exceeds its pool, it cannot make additional trades for slot dollars. So the Lara deal could remain in administrative limbo for some time.
Lucroy and K-Rod honored to be selected by peers
MILWAUKEE -- Though Jonathan Lucroy was ultimately edged out by Yadier Molina in the fan vote for a starting spot in next week's All-Star Game, he said Monday he was extremely honored to earn the top spot in the Player Ballot, voted on by players, managers and coaches.
Lucroy led all National League catchers with 420 votes, beating out Molina, who totaled 348.
"It means a lot. I think that to have the respect of the players is the most important thing for me," Lucroy said. "I mean, the fans are important, but the players, we all know how hard it is, how tough it is. To have them all vote me in there really means a lot. Part of the honor, Lucroy said, comes from knowing how seriously players take their voting power. When filling out his own ballot, Lucroy said he spent a lot of time looking at statistical leaders at each position.
"We all know how hard it is, and we all know how rarely this thing happens," said Lucroy, who will be making his first All-Star appearance. "I mean yeah, you're gonna have guys in there every year, like the top top-tier guys. Whenever you've got regular guys like myself, it's kind of rare for it to happen in our lives. It's always nice to be a part of and be recognized for it."
Joining Lucroy in election through the Player Ballot was Milwaukee closer Francisco Rodriguez, who finished behind only Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel among NL relievers.
"It is really nice to see the guys seeing the work and the sacrifice I've put into this," said Rodriguez, who will be making his first All-Star appearance since 2009. "Being able to recognize it in this particular way is real special for me."
Lucroy is batting .329/.327/.516 this season, while Rodriguez is tied with Kimbrel for the National League lead with 27 saves.
Braun picks up two hits in return, still day to day
MILWAUKEE -- After leaving Saturday's game in the first inning and missing Sunday's game with back spasms, Ryan Braun was back in the Milwaukee lineup for Monday's game against Philadelphia in his usual No. 2 spot. Braun played eight innings on Monday before being lifted for pinch-runner Logan Schafer.
He left the game after hitting a double to lead off the Brewers' eighth; he was clearly running slowly on the hit. After the game, Roenicke labeled Braun as being day to day.
"We'll see how he is tomorrow when he gets in," Roenicke said. "It appeared to, when he was running, it appeared to get worse."
Before the game, Braun said his back was feeling better and "headed in the right direction." Roenicke reasserted that he felt this would only be a short-term issue.
"I don't know what percentage he is, but he went and worked out in the cage and it went pretty well," said manager Ron Roenicke prior to Monday's game. "We need to see him at a little higher level and energy and see where he is."
This isn't Braun's only injury this season: He's also been bothered by an inflamed nerve at the base of his right thumb and a rib-cage strain that required a stint on the disabled list.
When asked if part of him was looking forward to the four-day break he'll get next week as a result of being left off this year's All-Star squad, Braun responded: "Yeah, 100 percent of me was hoping for a few days off. This time of year there's a lot of bumps and bruises everyone's dealing with, a bunch of little things."
Gomez awaiting word on Home Run Derby
MILWAUKEE -- Now that he's officially a National League All-Star, all Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez needed was a position in the July 15 game itself, and to know whether he will spend the night before watching the Home Run Derby from the sidelines, or swinging for the fences himself.
First, the position. Gomez won his spot in the NL's starting lineup by finishing second among the league's outfielders in fan balloting, between a fellow center fielder (Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates) and a right fielder (Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers). It will be up to manager Mike Matheny to decide whether center field goes to the reigning NL MVP (McCutchen) or the reigning NL Gold Glove Award Winner at the position (Gomez).
"I don't know, and I don't care," Gomez said. "I know I'm a starter. Whatever the manager thinks is better, I'll take it. I play everywhere. When I came up with the Mets, most of the time I played [left field], so I make the adjustment quick. I think it will be fun to have two center fielders playing, and two really good center fielders."
Second, the July 14 Gillette Home Run Derby. Gomez has already made public his interest in the event, and even had teammate Ryan Braun lobby on his behalf with NL captain Troy Tulowitzki, whose selections will be announced Tuesday night.
As of Monday, Gomez was awaiting official word.
"It's something I've been dreaming about. It would be really exciting and fun to do it," Gomez said. "I don't know [if] I'm going to do it. The only thing I know is I can hit the ball really far."
Gomez is not worried about the event compromising his swing. Unlike some players who work the baseball around the field during batting practice, he simply steps into the batter's box and tries to hit it over the fence.
"I go the Home Run Derby every day," Gomez quipped. "That's what I do for [batting practice] every day, even in the cage. I don't think it's a big change for me." Has he always taken batting practice that way?
"Not before; they don't let me do it," Gomez said. "[Former Brewers manager] Ken Macha told me every time I hit a home run, 'Hit a ball on the ground!.'"
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Caitlin Swieca is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.