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Lesser Brewers: Tom Gorzelanny

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Tom Gorzelanny's loss was Zach Duke's gain.

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In the past Ron Roenicke has stated his desire for 2 left-handed relievers in the bullpen. Well this year he got three (four if you count Wei-Chung Wang but you probably shouldn't). Zach Duke and Will Smith caught most of the headlines and rightfully so. But if it weren't for his injury, one has to wonder how different a year it would have been for Tom Gorzelanny.

Prior to the 2014 season Gorzelanny had surgery to "clean up" his shoulder. At the time there was still hope that he would be ready to start the season. That hope proved false as he did not get into major league action until June 15th. Unlike elbows and Tommy John surgery, shoulders have a much lower rate of success. While Tom Gorzelanny did return and was effective, he seemingly never fully recovered.

In the final 3 and a half months of the season Gorzelanny only made 23 appearances pitching a total of 21 innings. More telling than that, he only appeared in back-to-back games twice. And even that was early on in his return suggesting they tried to push him and his shoulder didn't respond well.

His sparse usage certainly wasn't due to ineffectiveness. In those 21 innings pitched he logged a career high 24.2 K% and a career low 0.59 ERA. Of course we're dealing with a pretty small sample size. His 8.4 BB% was higher than league average and his .259 BAA as well as 1.43 WHIP were rather high. Given a full season workload he definitely would have seen poorer results overall, but I imagine things would have evened out and he probably still would have been solid.

Best Game

Um, he barely played and only gave up runs in 3 games with only 2 of those earned. It's kind of hard to pick a "best of." How about the 4th of July? He struck out the side that game, the only time he did that in 2014. Also he probably got to see some neat fireworks later that day.

Contract Status

Tom Gorzelanny is a free agent. It's possible the Brewers decide to bring him back. They lost Zach Duke to the White Sox and there aren't many other good left handed relievers available. There might be no other good left handed relievers available. After a season mostly lost to injury there's a good chance he'll be cheap and he'll come on a 1 year deal. That's right in Doug Melvin's wheelhouse.

Unfortunately, the one thing that likely makes Gorzelanny cheap and therefore a good option, also makes him a risky option. If he is never the same after that shoulder surgery and he simply can't pitch in back-to-back games, then he really isn't worth rostering no matter how effective he would be in sporadic outings.

Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs