To say you can't go home again is to never have played professional sports. In the realm of Major League Baseball, in fact, it happens a lot. The Milwaukee Brewers have had a few examples of this over the years, most recently—before today—with Craig Counsell.
Again, that was before today.
On Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010, the Milwaukee Brewers reacquired veteran LHP Doug Davis on a one-year contract complete with a mutual option for the 2011 season.
Davis, who spent the past three seasons in the desert following a trade to Arizona, returns to Milwaukee where he has a career record of 37-36. He brings with him a reputation for eating innings and hours by not being willing to give in when down in the count.
He walks his fair share of hitters, but keeps the hit totals in check as a general rule. His contract figure is a palatable $4.25 million (or $5.25 million depending on where you read it) base salary with $1 million available in attainable incentives. This works under the Brewers' budget and is most likely why Davis was a primary target for GM Doug Melvin in the first place.
What Davis brings to the table more than anything else this time around is the generation of competition. Milwaukee now has six starters for five rotation spots. Davis, fellow free agent signee Randy Wolf, and ace-in-the-making Yovani Gallardo are all assured of being in the rotation.
However, Manny Parra, Dave Bush and everybody's favorite whipping boy Jeff Suppan now all must earn their starting job...or at least let one of the other two blow their chance.
Addition by subtraction is clearly the added benefit to this signing. It ensures that 40 percent of the starting rotation from 2009 (the worst rotation in baseball at least in terms of combined ERA) will be swapped out with superior personnel.
Milwaukee missed the playoffs in 2009 after earning the National League's Wild Card berth in 2008. After winning 90 games in 2008, the Brewers fell to just 80 victories despite a sufficient offense. With better pitching in place and an offense that returns largely intact or improved, 2010 has the potential to provide postseason play in Milwaukee once again.
Personally, I'm looking forward to that ride.