Monday, February 9, 2009
According to Milwaukee's official website, the Brewers are closing in on a deal and nearly have Braden Looper signed to a contract but nothing is official yet. Milwaukee has said they were most likely done with picking any free agents up but decided to pull the trigger on Looper. A smart move on GM Doug Melvin's part because Milwaukee needs some depth. The move will likely take Seth McClung out of the rotation and move him to a setup role for closer Trevor Hoffman.
Looper would be a big addition in Milwaukee. He is a ground ball pitcher and rarely is injured. It is uncertain if the 34-year-old will get more than a one year contract, Melvin has yet to comment on the subject.
Here is how Looper stacks up with the rest of the Brew Crew's rotation:
Suppan: 177 2/3
McClung 105 1/3
Looper is top three in all of those categories but leads the worst category with 14 losses. However, a 4.16 era is not deserving of a 14-loss season. But than again it is baseball, anything can happen. There is no doubt who the ace of the staff is in a young Yovani Gallardo, he is the future of the Brewers. He had injury problems last season but is dynamic on the mound and has a great bat to go along with it. Both Dave Bush and Manny Parra showed flashes of brilliance last season. Bush heated up down the stretch while Parra cooled off considerably (most likely because of the pressure and he was inexperienced). Another year on Parra makes him wiser and you can't argue with his stats- 166 innings pitched and 147 strikeouts. I look for Parra and Bush to surprise a lot of people this year. I personally have a hard time taking Seth McClung out of the rotation but I think he will exceed in the setup role. McClung had very solid numbers last season and is underrated. He had a 4.02 era, 105 innings pitched to 87 k, pretty solid stats. If I could take anyone out of the rotation it would be Jeff Suppan because, well, he is high-priced garbage. The guy gets it done every once and awhile but too many times the other team takes advantage and drills him for homeruns.
So, what would my rotation be?
I would put McClung as the setup man at least for the beginning part of the season and see what Soup can do. If Soup messes up and gets pegged than bring McClung into the rotation. Suppan can go to middle to long relief depending on what they need and move reliever Jorge Julio to the setup role. I think Suppan will do alright especially if he pitches as a number five but the Brewers won't have him that far back in the rotation.
Photo: Courtesy of stltoday.com