Besides first base, the Brewers
have holes to fill in their bullpen and
possibly in their starting rotation.
There are plenty of options when
it comes to starting and relief pitchers
every year, but it comes down to a
question of which players will fit the
Below is a list of three relief
pitchers and two starting pitchers that
the Brewers could consider adding
during this off-season.
Jesse Crain: Crain is a relatively
unknown player to most fans, but
many middle relievers are. Crain
would be an excellent addition to the
Brewers bullpen because he would
not cost Milwaukee a lot of money.
He has played the last three seasons
with the Chicago White Sox where he
hasn’t posted an earned run average
above three. This past season, he had
a sub 1.00 ERA before injuring his
right shoulder. This injury led to Crain
missing the season, which is why
he wouldn’t cost the team as much
money. However, the risk appears to
be worth the potential reward. Crain
will only want a one year deal and
experts project his salary around $4
million. He would be a great set up
man for Jim Henderson and could
close games if needed.
Manny Parra: The former Brewers
starter has now been converted to a full
time reliever and has become a very
effective left-handed relief specialist.
The Brewers could use another left-
handed reliever and Parra would be
a cheap, yet effective, candidate forthat position. Last season with the
Cincinnati Reds, Parra was incredibly
effective against left-handed hitters.
In 24 innings, Parra posted a 1.13
ERA and 32 strikeouts while holding
opponent batters to a .167 batting
average. When used the correct
way, Parra would give the Brewers
a boost in the bullpen, especially
against lefties. Parra will probably
ask for a one to two year contract
with minimal money, making him an
excellent option for the Brewers to
Francisco Rodriguez: Yet another
player that could be reunited with
the Brewers is righty Francisco
Rodriguez. K-Rod pitched like he was
five years younger this season than
when he was in Milwaukee. He posted
a 1.08 ERA in 24 and 2/3 innings,
before being traded to the Baltimore
Orioles at the trade deadline. Once
in Baltimore, Rodriguez became less
effective, posting a 4.50 ERA in 22
innings. Rodriguez probably won’t
return to Baltimore and likely won’t
get another closing job that he wants.
K-Rod has shown that he is willing
to pitch in the eighth inning, and the
Brewers could use a trustworthy set
up man. If Rodriguez is willing to
take a pay cut, he could end up in
Milwaukee for another go around
with the Brewers.
Paul Maholm: If the Brewers
look to add a starter to their rotation,
Maholm may be an inexpensive option
that could pan out well. Maholm
started his career with the Pittsburgh
Pirates and was traded from the
Chicago Cubs to the Atlanta Braves
last season at the trade deadline.
Maholm was effective after the trade,
but when returning this year for his
first full season he didn’t perform up
to expectations. Dealing with injuries
during the season, Maholm posted
a 4.41 ERA in 153 innings and was
kept off the Braves playoff roster.
Maholm has potential to be a number
three starter for a contending team.
If the Brewers notice this potential,
they could get Maholm to sign a
discounted one year contract that
would allow him to show his worth
to other teams.
Ryan Vogelsong: After the San
Francisco Giants declined its $6.5
million option on Vogelsong, he was
granted free agency and his story
has been well documented. After
struggling to begin his major league
career, he went to play in Japan in the
Nippon Professional Baseball League.
Returning to professional baseball in
2011 with the Giants, Vogelsong had
his best professional season, winning
13 games while posting a 2.71 ERA
and being named to the all-star team.
2012 was also a successful year for
Vogelsong, but 2013 was a challenge.
Vogelsong posted a 5.73 ERA in 103
and 2/3 innings. Vogelsong isn’t
young, he will be 36 on Opening
Day 2014, but he is still worth a
flier. If the Brewers do take a risk on
Vogelsong, it will be a cheap one that
has potential to really pay off in the
Whatever the Brewers decide to
do in the offseason, realistically they
are only a couple of pieces away from
being a contender in the National
League Central Division.