While the Milwaukee Brewers haven't been very active on the major league free agent market, the club has quietly made a bevy of interesting minor league signees. We can reportedly add another name to that mix, as according to Baseball America’s Minor League Free Agent Tracker, Milwaukee has inked veteran right-hander Ryan Webb to a minor league contract. The club has confirmed the signing and added that Webb will receive an invitation to spring training.
Webb, 30, was originally a 4th-round draft pick by the Athletics back in 2004 and has pitched parts of eight seasons in the big leagues. He’s made 375 appearances solely in relief for the Padres, Marlins, Orioles, Indians, and Rays, pitching to a 3.43 ERA and 3.45 FIP with 6.2 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 across 393.1 innings pitched.
Webb comes after hitters with a fastball, slider, and changeup. He offered plus velocity in his younger years, but his average fastball was a career-low 90.9 MPH in 2016. He's become increasingly more reliant on his changeup in recent years after favoring his fastball/slider combination earlier in his career. Ryan struggled to a 5.19 ERA in 17.1 innings with Tampa Bay in 2016, though he was stung by a .417 BABIP despite a reasonable 32% hard contact rate. He missed some time with injury and ultimately wound up being released midseason and pitched the rest of the year in the minor leagues with the White Sox.
Webb will receive an invite to big league camp and will compete for a spot in the Brewers’ bullpen. At the very least he can offer a veteran presence, and one who has enjoyed a successful career to this point, among a bullpen filled with mostly young and inexperienced arms.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference