Several recent signings have diluted the available options for the Brewers to add a potential closer from the Free Agent ranks. Former Giants reliever Santiago Casilla moved across the bay to Oakland, signing with the A’s just yesterday.
So what’s left? Here are some names and my knee-jerk reaction to whether I’d like to see them in the Brewers’ pen, either as a closer or “just a guy”.
Travis Wood - L (Cubs): Wood dropped from 10.55 K’s per 9 in 2015 to 6.93 in 2016, and as a lefty was awful against left handed hitters last year. Pass.
Vance Worley - R (Orioles): Vance worked 82 innings for Baltimore last year in long relief and spot starting, but a 4.92 xFIP isn’t real enticing. Nope.
Carlos Villanueva - R (Padres): Our old friend wasn’t as bad as his numbers suggest in San Diego last year, with an ERA of 5.96 but an xFIP of 4.01 and a WHIP of 1.39. But at 33...no.
Sergio Romo - R (Giants): xFIP of 3.63; WHIP of 1.08; nasty sinker and slider; and closing experience. Sure.
Jonathan Papelbon - R (Nats): just...no.
Seth Maness - R (Cardinals): Maness had an elbow injury that limited him to 31.2 innings last year. He ended up with an xFIP of 4.16 and a WHIP of 1.33. If no one scoops him up a late minor league contract would be fine.
Boone Logan - L (Rockies): Logan is a LOOGY, and did well for the Rox last year. 0.77 WHIP vs lefties; xFIP of 2.60. As such, he will likely be overpaid and picked up by a contender, and I don’t think the Brewers need to spend money on that type of roster spot just yet.
Neftali Feliz - R (Pirates): Feliz posted his first OK numbers last year since 2012, but at one time he was a good closer. Plus, his fastball reportedly returned to the mid-90s. So, yeah.
Scott Feldman - R (Blue Jays): Feldman can start or relieve, and wouldn’t be a closer candidate, but a career WHIP of 1.29 and xFIP of 4.31 isn’t too enticing. Naw.
Joe Blanton - R (Dodgers): Blanton had mixed numbers for the Dodgers last year (1.01 WHIP, but an xFIP of 4.15) and at 36 with a Dodgers biased and name recognition inflation of salary, I say no.
Matt Belisle - R (Nats): Belisle is very similar to Blanton, but more under the radar and his ‘16 stats are also quite similar (1.09 WHIP, xFIP of 3.87). Matt will turn 37 next season, but might come much cheaper than Blanton. A slight maybe.
So there we have it. The pickings, they are getting slim. We might see one of the current Brewers in the role of closer next year. It would seem that, while Brewers’ GM David Stearns might be willing to sign somebody to close, he might not be willing to meet the price of any of the experienced ones left.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference