Milwaukee Brewers Sign Brandon Reith, Leave Fans Wanting More

Right Field BleachersCorrespondent IDecember 19, 2008

Somehow in all the Trot Nixon/Chris Duffy euphoria yesterday, we missed another key offseason addition for the Milwaukee Brewers:

Doug Melvin and crew inked relief pitcher Brian Reith yesterday to a minor-league deal (Hat tip: Brew Crew Ball).

Reith was once a key part of the Denny Neagle trade between the Yankees and Reds and is now two-third of the way through the NL Central Minor-League Tour (having also been a part of the Pirates and Cubs Minor-League systems, though never pitching while in the Cubs system in 2006).

While some fans were left asking “What the Hell Ever Happened to Brian Reith?” in 2007, I was pondering the question, “Who the hell is Brian Reith?” this morning. Well, the answer is likely just a body to fill a hole in the Minor Leagues.

From the story I linked to in the first paragraph:

Reith finished the 2008 season with a 5-4 record, a 3.94 ERA, 16 saves, and 85 strikeouts in 80 innings in 41 games pitched. He began the season as a starter, where he was 3-0, but flourished in his role as the team’s closer in the second half of the season.

Reith was even more impressive in the post season, helping to lead the Patriots to their league leading fourth championship. He was 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA, three saves, and six strikeouts in four innings pitched in four games in the playoffs.

Reith had a 2.70 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 40 innings in eight games for Somerset in 2007 before leaving to play in Taiwan.

Reith has Major League experience with the Cincinnati Reds in parts of the 2001, 2003, and 2004 seasons. He pitched in 127.2 innings and recorded 85 strikeouts in 73 Major League games for the Reds.

In addition to his Major League time, Reith has five seasons of Triple-A experience with the Reds, Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates organizations. Reith has a minor league career record of 61-59 with a 3.63 ERA, and 838 strikeouts in 1,008 innings pitched in 257 games.

For those interested, his stats are HERE. He’ll be just 31 this season, but he hasn’t thrown a Major League pitch since 2004 and hasn’t even pitched on an affiliated Minor League team since 2005.

I have to keep reminding myself that Doug Melvin has a plan and I’m sure it’s not banking on guys like Nixon, Duffy, or Reith. Yes, there’s a decent chance one of those guys (probably Nixon) has a role on the big-league team this year, but these are not difference makers and will not solve the loss of starting pitching, a patchwork bullpen, the hole at third base or the lack of left-handed bats in the everyday lineup.

As the offseason wears on, I find myself getting anxious waiting to see Doug’s unknown master plan come to fruition, but Melvin is seemingly just assembling the all-time greatest “Just-A-Guy” team. The tone of the Brewer blog and message board world seems to reflect my feelings as well (though I’d like to think I’m a little more reasonable than most...).

It’s certainly not time to panic since the team as it is would probably be competitive enough to challenge for a Wild Card spot until late in the season, but I think everyone has bigger aspirations than going back to being a slightly better than .500 team again.

Maybe we can have a new starting pitcher or big bat by the new year, Doug?