Brewers Sign Skye Bolt, Colin Rea To Minor League Contracts


The Brewers have signed outfielder Skye Bolt and right-hander Colin Rea to minor league deals, tweets Adam McCalvy of Both players will get non-roster looks in major league camp.

Bolt joins the third organization of his professional career. He’s spent most of the last eight years with the A’s, joining the pro ranks as a fourth-round draftee in 2015. Bolt debuted with Oakland briefly in 2019, getting into five games. He didn’t appear in the big leagues in 2020, then split the 2021 campaign between Oakland and the Giants. Returning to the A’s late in that season via waiver claim, he held his 40-man roster spot until last September.

The 29-year-old has played in 81 major league games in his career. More than half came last season, as he tallied 116 plate appearances over 42 contests with Oakland. After missing the first couple months of the season thanks to an oblique strain, he got some run as the A’s primary center fielder. The switch-hitter managed only a .198/.259/.330 line with four homers and a slightly elevated 25.9% strikeout rate before being outrighted off the 40-man roster.

Bolt hasn’t hit well in limited MLB time thus far. The UNC product owns a .313/.399/.526 line through parts of three Triple-A campaigns, and while that’s no doubt aided by the Pacific Coast League’s favorable hitting environment, that’s still above-average production at the top minor league level. Bolt’s a quality runner who can play all three outfield positions, so he doesn’t need to make a huge offensive impact to carve out a depth role.

Milwaukee has Christian Yelich locked into left field, while top prospect Garrett Mitchell is the favorite for center field run. Tyrone Taylor is the top right fielder, with recent signee Brian Anderson set to bounce between third base and right field. Jesse Winker is the primary designated hitter but could see some corner outfield action, while Blake Perkins secured a major league contract this offseason despite having no prior MLB experience. Top prospect Sal Frelick doesn’t seem far off MLB readiness after reaching Triple-A last season, though he’s not yet on the 40-man roster.

Bolt will try to crack the group in exhibition play but could open next season with Triple-A Nashville as a depth option. He’s out of minor league option years, so the Brewers would have to keep him in the big leagues or designate him for assignment if he earns a promotion at any point.

Rea has some familiarity with the Milwaukee organization. His most recent big league appearance was a six inning relief outing for the Brew Crew in 2021. The 32-year-old has pitched for four different clubs over parts of four big league campaigns. His most extended work came in a 2016 season divided between the Padres and Marlins, where he pitched to a 4.82 ERA through 102 2/3 innings.

An Indiana State graduate, Rea has just 20 big league frames since the conclusion of that 2016 season. He made seven starts in Nashville during the 2021 campaign, posting a 2.27 ERA over 35 2/3 innings. Last year, Rea pitched for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in Japan, logging an even 100 innings through 23 outings. He allowed just fewer than four earned runs per nine with a fairly modest 19.6% strikeout rate but a solid 7.8% walk percentage. He’ll offer some rotation or multi-inning relief depth in camp.

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