Job Wanted: Milwaukee Brewers' Bullpen

Jeff BreenContributor IDecember 3, 2008

Hey, baseball fans. I'm back after a week's break. Too much turkey, I suppose.

Last time we left off, we were taking a closer look at the Brewers' starting pitching. It seems that the rotation is anything but set. The bullpen isn't much better. Let's take a look at the Brewers options for the 2009 season.

At the start of 2008, the Brewers possessed four players who were all former closers.  Derrick Turnbow, Eric Gagne, Solomon Torres, and David Riske all looked to be potential closer candidates.

But then the season started.

Derrick Turnbow continued to implode and made his last appearance as a Brewers on May 1st.

David Riske started strong as a set up man, but injuries plagued the right-hander all year, and he never got back to his old self. 

Eric Gagne was picked up for a one year $10 million deal and proved to be a major disappointment. A blown save on opening day, followed by countless others, had him out of that role by late May.

Solomon Torres proved to be a good find as he took the closer role and flourished into one of the most efficient in the league. The Brewers were shocked, however, when Torres announced his retirement only weeks after the seasons end.

It looks that David Riske will be the only returnee from that group. The 2009 bullpen looks to be somewhat weak. The Brewers are currently without a closer and posses only one long man in the rotation, Carlos Villanueva, who may be in the running for the starting rotation.

There has been talk of using Ben Sheets in the closer role, but with Sheets on the free agent market, the Brewers cant afford to wait much longer.

The Brewers are also negotiating with veteran Brian Shouse to come back. Shouse has become one of the unsung heroes in the bullpen. The left-handed specialist had a 2.81 era in 69 games. It's essential that the Brewers get him back as he is only one of two left-handers in the bullpen.

The other is Mitch Stetter. Stetter had a 3.20 era in 30 games in 2008.

The Brewers also need to find a candidate for set up man. David Riske looks to be the best candidate as of now, but the question for Riske is his health. He, a dismal 5.31 ERA in only 45 appearances, is struggling.

Certain pitchers on the staff have a good quality ERAs, and some may say that the Brewers' bullpen looks solid on paper, but it seems that the majority of that success came early in the season. The staff seems to always falter late in the year. 

The Brewers could use the winter meetings to help bolster their pen, but it was said that the Brewers would lay low at the meetings.

The Brewers should make an offer to Brian Fuentes, the former Rockies closer. It seems likely that Fuentes will go to a bigger market, so the Brewers are left to make some quick decisions or have to develop some players in house.

Well, it looks as if I have touched on all aspects of the Brewers.

Since I started writing, not much has changed as far as player personnel. Many changes in the coaching staff, however, has shown the Brewers willingness to get the right guys in the system to hopefully push for another playoff appearance. 

I will be back with more articles on the Brewers as things progress. In the meantime, I ask that you send me any idea or things you would like to know about. 

Thanks and once again, Go Brewers!