Tagged: J.P. Howell

Brewers In Agreement With Gorzelanny

Tom Gorzelanny

Tom Gorzelanny, owner of one of the best “pitching faces” in baseball.

Well, it looks like the Brewers and Doug Melvin and finally found a left-handed relief pitcher for the 2013 bullpen.

Following the non-tender of Manny Parra, the Brewers had been connected closer with a trio of left-handers (Sean Burnett, Mike Gonzalez, J.P. Howell) and were basically mentioned when talking about any of the other free agent lefties available.

This morning’s news from Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel Brewers beat writer Tom Haudricourt would appear to tie a bow on those proceedings. The bow could be untied, of course, if Gorzelanny fails his physical.

The team hasn’t yet announced the deal which they cannot do until the physical is complete per Major League Baseball’s rules. The announcement is expected to happen on Friday.

Gorzelanny, 30, offers the ability to be more than just a LOOGy, something which Ron Roenicke has noted he prefers in the past. He has stated that he doesn’t want a lefty just to have a lefty, and the feel of using up a spot in the bullpen on a specialist doesn’t jive with that idea. The aforementioned Parra was thought to be able to fill that role given his ability and repertoire on the mound but proved ineffective and inconsistent.

As with many left-handers, perhaps Gorzelanny has taken a while to find his best role and really come into his ability. As a full-season starting pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates at the age of 24, Gorzelanny had a strong season but hadn’t been able to duplicate those results, let alone better them, until his full-time switch to the bullpen in 2012. (Okay, so he started one game on October 2nd to help allow the Nationals to best set their postseason rotation but 44 out of 45 appearances out of the bullpen is full-time enough for me.)

In 2012, Gorzelanny posted a 4-2 record with a 2.88 ERA and one Save. In his 44 bullpen appearances he struck out 57, walked 28, gave up 61 hits in 68.1 innings, good for a 1.302 WHIP. Gorzelanny held left-handed hitters overall to a .237/.298/.398 (.687 OPS) and a .298 wOBA. As mentioned before, he wasn’t a slouch against right-handers either, holding them to a .245/.343/.397 (.740 OPS) and a .326 wOBA. The biggest disparity is the on-base against righties. That’s in large part to his drastically increased walk rate against them. He walked right-handed hitters twice as often as lefties in 2012.

The other thing Gorzelanny offers is a bit of coverage for the rotation should the need for a spot-start arise. He has started for the majority of his career but certainly appears much more suited to the bullpen. But he has the ability to go multiple innings which is another quality that Roenicke appreciates in his relievers. In fact, Gorzelanny recorded more than just three outs in over half (23-of-44) of his relief appearances last season.

We don’t know the money yet, but assuming that Gorzelanny realized he wasn’t going to get the same kind of contract signed by Burnett with the Angels, it shouldn’t be a figure which hamstrings the Brewers in any way.

Therefore, for now, I’ll say that this signing makes a ton of sense for the Brewers and should help everyone forget about the repeated poor bullpen performances of 2012.

***UPDATE: The following tweet came from FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi regarding a dollar amount for Gorzelanny.***

Gorzelanny made $3 million in 2012 and $2.1 million in 2011 as a member of the Washington Nationals for the last two years so this dollar amount sounds fair.

***UPDATE 2: Full contract value breakdown was tracked down by Tom Haudricourt***

Assuming the deal becomes official, Gorzelanny will fill the only currently open slot on the Brewers’ 40-man roster.

Hot Stove Report: Brewers Made Offer to Dempster

Doug Melvin spoke to Tom Haudricourt this morning after free agent pitcher Shaun Marcum said on the radio yesterday that he’d be open to returning to Milwaukee.

(You can read about that part of the conversation on Haudricourt’s blog.)


Photo courtesy of John F. Rhodes – taken during the fourth inning of a MLB baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles in Arlington, Texas on Monday, August 20, 2012.

I’m posting a new blog today to expound on an additional point revealed by Melvin. He confirmed that he had made an offer to free agent pitcher Ryan Dempster but that based on reports and that he hasn’t heard back from Dempster’s agent since, it appears to Melvin that Dempster won’t be coming to Milwaukee.

In the blog post, Haudricourt says that Melvin confirmed it was a two-year offer, but on Twitter, the Brewers beat writer appeared less certain about the terms:

I asked a source and he told me that the offer to Dempster was officially for two guaranteed years with a club option for a third year. The guaranteed dollars, however, were not competitive to what Dempster reportedly turned down from Boston (2yr/$25 million) and Kansas City (2yr/$26 million) last week.

I suppose the thought process would be that a third year option (with appropriate buyout price) might allow for a lower AAV over the guaranteed two years if nobody else stepped up to offer a guaranteed third year. While there has been no indication the Boston has gone to a third guaranteed year, it could be what got the two sides to the point of being “close” which I first saw reported this morning by FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal.

So, to summarize, it looks like Ryan Dempster will not be donning a Brewers uniform to begin the 2013 season.

***UPDATE: Ryan Dempster is reportedly in agreement (again via Ken Rosenthal) on a two-year deal with the Red Sox for $26.5 million.***

Knowing what I know about the offer, that’s not a shock, but it’s also something I’m more than comfortable with. The Brewers have a budget in mind, made Dempster an offer that they felt was palatable based on that budget and their expectations for the following two seasons, and weren’t going to put themselves in a position where they felt that they were doing a disservice to the long-term view of this franchise.

They may not have gotten their man, but in forgoing increasing their offer to guarantee a third year to a player who they felt wouldn’t properly fulfill that obligation they feel they will still come out ahead in the long run. I don’t disagree with that philosophy at all.

Update on J.P. Howell:

To update on the most recent Hot Stove Report focusing on J.P. Howell, I was also told that the Brewers have made no further advancement on Howell at this time. I wasn’t told why and they certainly still could. Just wanted to pass that along.

See Previous Hot Stove Reports:

Hot Stove Report: Brewers Focusing In

jphowellThe Winter Meetings came and went with the Milwaukee Brewers not exactly making headlines. No agreements were made during the week though the meetings were hardly without action by Doug Melvin, Gord Ash, and their contingent.

It was reported last week Wednesday that Doug Melvin had met with Greg Genske, representative of several free agents this off-season. While Melvin confirmed the meeting, he wouldn’t state the nature of the discussions.

I learned last night that the Brewers have begun to “kick the tires”, to use the phrase, on one of Genske’s charges. By that I mean that they’ve looked into the player a bit more closely as of late. That player is free agent left-handed relief pitcher J.P. Howell.

Howell, 29, threw 50.1 IP in 2012, posting a 3.04 ERA while limiting left-handed hitters to a .200 AVG (17-for-85). He has made 101 appearances over the past two years as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays.

No offer has been made. It didn’t even sound like any terms had been discussed. The Brewers aren’t the only team interested in Howell. It was reported some time in the last few days (the specific tweeter escapes me) that Howell was being looked at by the Washington Nationals since they had lost Sean Burnett to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, California, PST. The Nationals “involvement” on Howell was confirmed to me last night as well.

Also of note, after the talk at the Winter Meetings about how the Brewers “would listen” on offers for Corey Hart, I was told that there aren’t any trade talks about any Brewer past the early stages. That does not mean that there are any in the early stages, just that none are advanced past that point if any are underway at all.

See Previous Hot Stove Reports: