Brewers ink former Phillies OF Dylan Cozens, LHP Hoby Milner

Former Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Dylan Cozens (Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports)
Former Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Dylan Cozens (Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports) /

Two former 2012 Phillies draft picks and big-leaguers signed minor-league deals with the Brewers on Thursday.

Outside of hiring Dave Dombrowski — and signing infielder Ronald Torreyes and catcher Christian Bethancourt to minor-league deals with invitations to spring training — transactions have largely been silent as it relates to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Meanwhile, two players who formerly donned red pinstripes signed similar minor-league deals with the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday, the team announced — outfielder Dylan Cozens and left-handed reliever Hoby Milner.

Cozens, 26, has played just one big-league game since his rookie season with the Phillies in 2018. So far through 45 career plate appearances, the once-dubbed “Bash Brother” alongside Rhys Hoskins has hit just .154/.267/.282 with two doubles, one home run, and two RBI.

The 2012 second-round draft pick was released by the Phillies in August 2019 after he underwent season-ending surgery a few months prior on his toe. Around a week later, the Tampa Bay Rays signed Cozens to a two-year minor-league contract; despite returning healthy in 2020, the COVID-19 crisis kept him from getting any plate appearance at any level with the eventual American League champions.

The Phillies drafted the now-29-year-old Milner in the seventh round of the 2012 draft, five rounds after taking Cozens. Milner began his big-league career with a promising 2.01 ERA across 37 appearances in 2017, but struggled early under new manager Gabe Kapler in 2018 — recording a 7.36 ERA across 14 appearances.

The Rays purchased Milner’s contract from the Phillies in mid-July of that season, but he continued to falter with a 6.75 ERA in four outings. In 2019, also with the Rays, the Dallas, Texas, native posted a 7.36 ERA, before his 8.10 ERA this past season spanning 19 outings with the Los Angeles Angels.

Milner now has a 4.53 career ERA, largely helped by his strong 37-outing rookie season in red pinstripes (2017). The left-hander has an even 7.77 ERA through as many appearances since (2018-20).

Cozens and Milner both showed promise early on, but have since struggled to find success — including their stints in Tampa Bay; perhaps, the Brewers will be the team to resurrect their careers.

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