The news: On Saturday the Rays designated reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo for assignment. Pitching in the majors for the first time since 2011, Oviedo has a 3.69 ERA over 32 appearances for Tampa. His peripheral numbers tell a slightly less positive story, however, as he's walking 4.5 batters per nine innings and striking out 7.4. His FIP is almost a run higher than his ERA at 4.52. All of these numbers carry a very significant "small sample size" caveat, as they reflect just 31.2 innings.
Oviedo is 32 and injuries and identity issues (he used to be known as Leo Nunez) kept him out of the majors for the entire 2012 and 2013 seasons. Before that, however, he was a "proven closer," recording a combined 92 saves between 2009-11 as a member of the Marlins. He's never been an elite reliever and has struggled against lefties (career .782 OPS against), but he's a viable bullpen arm on a cheap contract (one year, $1.5 million).
Could he help this team? Marginally, maybe. The Brewers almost certainly wouldn't install Oviedo at closer, and he probably falls in somewhere behind Francisco Rodriguez, Will Smith, Zach Duke, a healthy Jim Henderson and maybe even Jeremy Jeffress in the bullpen pecking order.
If the Brewers are looking for bullpen help, however, then it's worth noting that they could do worse. Oviedo is probably just as likely to be a significant contributor to the Brewers as someone like 41-year-old LaTroy Hawkins, for example. Are either of them likely to be better than someone like Brandon Kintzler? That's open for debate.
As Jordan noted a week ago, the recent Huston Street trade reminded us that trading for an elite reliever is an expensive endeavor. If the Brewers aren't willing to pay that kind of price, then they might be better off looking for help on the scrap heap than paying for mid-level talent.