With Opening Day on Monday, the Milwaukee Brewers' final roster has remained unsettled at two positions: the outfield and in the bullpen. It appears as though one of those issues has been solved today, though the solution will reportedly be coming from outside the organization.
Carlos Torres, 33, signed a minor league deal with the Braves this past offseason but opted out of that deal earlier this week when he was informed he wouldn't make the team. Torres is a veteran of six MLB seasons (though he's only accrued 3.114 years of service time) with the White Sox, Rockies, and most recently, the Mets.
Last year Torres threw 57.2 innings for the NL pennant winners, posting a 4.68 ERA with 48 strikeouts, 18 walks, and a 48.6% ground ball rate. He did post a much more palatable 3.53 FIP and was hurt by an abnormally low 65.3% strand rate (career 73.5%). Despite his relatively advanced age he averaged a career high 92.5 MPH on his fastball last season, and he also throws a cutter, curveball, and rarely, a changeup.
For his career, Torres owns a 4.26 ERA and 4.11 FIP in 336.0 innings covering 209 appearances. He's operated in both a starter and relief capacity and has struck out 20.7% of opponents while walking 8.7% and inducing grounders at a 44.1% clip.
If indeed Torres does end up signing a major league deal with the Brewers, it would mean that Tyler Cravy would begin the season in AAA and Ariel Pena, who is out of options, would likely be designated for assignment. Pena, 26, is the final remaining piece of the Zack Greinke deal and made his major league debut for the Brewers last season. With a new general manager in place in Slingin' David Stearns, however, he may be less inclined to hold on to Pena than the previous regime would have been.
Pena made five starts and one relief appearance last September, posting a 4.28 ERA, 3.87 FIP, and 37.3% ground ball rate. He struck out 27 batters in 27.1 innings but displayed his typical control issues while walking 14. In spite of the fact that he was a starter down the stretch for the AAA Sky Sox and Brewers, Pena's lack of control and non-existent third pitch lend to a more likely role in the bullpen.
The Brewers have previously outrighted Pena off the 40 man roster, so if they do indeed elect to place him on waivers, he would have the right to elect free agency if he goes unclaimed. There could be a chance that he would choose to stick around, though. Given the nature of the Brewers' fluid bullpen situation during the rebuild there should be plenty of opportunities at the big league level.
The Brewers announced that they've signed Carlos Torres to a one year, major league deal. To make room on the 40 man roster they have transferred outfielder Rymer Liriano to the 60 day disabled list as he recovers from facial fractures.
To make room the active roster, Tyler Cravy has been optioned to AAA and righty Corey Knebel has been placed on the 15 day disabled list with an oblique strain. Ariel Pena now appears set to make the Opening Day roster and his spot in Milwaukee will remain safe for now.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs