Let's face it. The Milwaukee Brewers' bullpen was awful in 2012.
It was dead last in the majors in ERA (4.66) and fielding-independent pitching (83 percent). It lost more games (33) and blew more saves (29) than any other MLB bullpen. It was also 29th in WHIP (1.45) and 27th in OPS allowed (.753).
Closer John Axford and setup man Francisco Rodriguez were a combined 7-15 with a 4.52 ERA and 16 blown saves in 141 frames.
But neither was as bad as the only lefty who appeared in more than 50 games for the Brewers, Manny Parra.
Parra had a wretched ERA (5.06) and an equally bad WHIP (1.65). He surrendered 5.4 bases on balls per nine innings as well as 2.9 extra-base hits per nine innings.
He was particularly awful against righties, surrendering a .296/.403/.424 triple slash with 23 walks and 37 hits against only 28 strikeouts.
So to solve these problems, the Brewers need to go get themselves a decent lefty reliever. One who has favorable metrics. One who can make a lot of appearances. And one who it’s looking like won’t be re-signed by his current team.
May I suggest Randy Choate?
In 63 and one-third inning the past two seasons, the journeyman lefty has pulled a 2.56 ERA with 34 holds against no blown saves. He notched 9.8 strikeouts per nine against only 0.6 homers per nine. He only surrendered a .566 OPS in the last two seasons (Parra's was .738 in 2012, and .798 career).
Choate had even better metrics against lefties, allowing just four extra-base hits in 101 at-bats last season along a .158 average.
In a completely under-the-radar stat, Choate led the league in pitching appearances last season with 80.
And Choate is available. After being thrown in the Hanley Ramirez trade with the Dodgers, he never really caught on with Don Mattingly. In August and September, Choate only pitched in 10.1 innings, with Mattingly pulling him before going a full inning in each appearance.
This would suggest that the Dodgers may end up parting with him, and another team will be able to swoop him up for somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.2 million.
And that team should be the Brewers.
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