Taking a Look at the Milwaukee Brewers' Improved Bullpen
It's no secret that the Milwaukee Brewers had the worst bullpen in the majors in 2012 and revamping the bullpen was GM Doug Melvin's top priority. He managed to add three reliable relievers and did a fairly nice job improving the abysmal bullpen.
Throughout the offseason, the Brewers parted ways with relief pitchers Kameron Loe, Manny Parra, Jose Veras and Francisco Rodriguez, leaving many holes to fill.
Burke Badenhop was the first reliever they acquired, trading Raul Mondesi Jr. to the Tampa Bay Rays in return.
Badenhop, 29, is coming off a solid season. He posted a 3.03 ERA in 62.1 innings for the Rays. A big problem for Milwaukee last season was walks. Badenhop had pin-point command as he issued only 12 walks last year. The right-hander will be used in middle-to-late innings and could even be the set-up man for John Axford if Jim Henderson falters.
This was a smart acquisition by the Brewers. Badenhop came cheaply and he will do what Jose Veras failed to do in 2012.
The Brewers continued to fill their bullpen holes by signing LHP Tom Gorzelanny. Adding Gorzelanny was the highlight of Milwaukee's mundane offseason.
After years of being a mediocre starting pitcher, the Washington Nationals moved Gorzelanny to the bullpen and the switch paid off as he flourished in a relief role.
Gorzelanny had a dominant season for the up-and-coming Nationals. He managed a career-best 2.88 ERA. What makes Gorzelanny so effective is that he has the ability to get both left and right-handed hitters out. He's a lot more than just a left-handed specialist.
Left-handed hitters batted .237 vs. Gorzelanny and right-handed batters hit .245. Gorzelanny is major upgrade from Parra.
The Brewers added another cog to the bullpen by inking LHP Mike Gonzalez. Unlike Gorzelanny, Gonzalez will be used as a left-handed specialist. His role will be similar to Mitch Stetter's in 2008-09.
Gonzalez, 34, recorded a 3.03 ERA and held left-handed hitters to a .179 average last season. Milwaukee has been in need of a dominant lefty for years now because of the struggles of Parra and Zach Braddock
Melvin missed out on big-name relievers Mike Adams and Sean Burnett but was still able to sign serviceable relievers. Badenhop, Gorzelanny and Gonzalez along with Brandon Kintzler, Jim Henderson and John Axford will make a strong and efficient bullpen.
These new additions to the bullpen will be able to hold leads and as a result, take pressure off of the starting pitching.
Adding two left-handed pitchers was a necessity for the Brewers. This will allow Ron Roenicke to confidently play match-ups, which was near impossible last year.
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