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Milwaukee Brewers Headed for Free Agency

The Brewers will likely be saying goodbye to two veteran relievers.

San Francisco Giants v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

Thanks in large part to the high volume of trades over the last two seasons, the Milwaukee Brewers have not had many players depart their major league roster via free agency. Last season, the club’s only free agent loss was veteran starter Kyle Lohse. This winter, Milwaukee has two players set to hit the open market:

LHP Chris Capuano

The veteran left-hander is a familiar face to the organization, having spent the bulk of his career in Milwaukee over two separate stints: one from 2004-2010 (including a 2006 All-Star Game appearance), and again in 2016 after signing with the Brewers on a minor league contract. Capuano made the club out of spring training and was called upon in 16 games, tossing 24.0 innings with a solid 4.13 ERA. He struck out 27 batters during that time, but also walked 15 and allowed 7 home runs, giving cause for metrics like FIP (6.69) to be much more down on his work.

Capuano’s final appearance came on May 25th before going on the disabled list with soreness in his left elbow. Despite receiving a platelet rich plasma treatment, he was not able to make it back to a big league mound in 2016. The 38 year old has already survived two Tommy John UCL replacement surgeries, so Capuano’s career may perhaps be in jeopardy at this point. If this is it for the southpaw, he’ll end his career with a 4.38 ERA across 1429.2 innings pitched covering parts of 12 seasons in the MLB with the Diamondbacks, Brewers, Mets, Dodgers, Red Sox, and Yankees.

Likelihood of returning: Slim

RHP Blaine Boyer

Boyer also made the club out of spring training after signing a minor league contract and wound up serving as an innings-eater for Craig Counsell out of the bullpen. The 35 year old appeared in 61 games and tossed 66.0 innings. Despite finishing last among qualified relievers (by a mile) with 3.55 K/9, Boyer was able to post a solid 3.95 ERA that was supported by his 3.96 FIP. The righty’s success came from avoiding issuing free passes (2.32 BB/9) and allowing only 4 home runs all year while limiting batters to just a 24.9% hard contact rate.

Boyer’s not your typical reliever inasmuch as he doesn’t strike batters out and he doesn’t throw hard. In fact, his average fastball velocity of 91.8 MPH this season was a career-low. Still, the crafty veteran has probably earned another contract this winter based on his quality work during 2016. Given the volume of intriguing young arms the Brewers have in the upper minors and at the MLB level, however, that contact will probably be coming from a club other than Milwaukee.

Likelihood of returning: Slim

Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs