It’s been a quiet offseason thus far for the Milwaukee Brewers, with this past weekend’s reported signing of Yovani Gallardo standing out as the biggest maneuver engineered so far by David Stearns and company. Shoring up his club’s pitching depth is Stearns’ #1 priority this offseason, and late yesterday is was reported that the club has another smaller transaction in the works:
Veteran lefty Mike Zagurski has agreed to a minor league deal with the #Brewers. He’s pitched in the big leagues with #Phillies, #Dbacks, #Pirates and #Yankees and also played in Japan.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) December 18, 2017
Mike Zagurski will turn 35 next month and began his professional career as a 12th-round pick of the Phillies back in 2005. He made his big league debut just a couple of years later in 2007, appearing in 25 games while posting a 5.91 ERA in 21.1 innings with 21 strikeouts and 11 walks. He injured himself that August, however, and hamstring surgery ended his season prematurely. Zagurski then missed all of 2008 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Zagurski would make it back to The Show in 2010 with Philadelphia and pitched in 12 MLB games during the 2010-11 seasons before getting shipped to Arizona for a player to be named later. He spent the bulk of 2012 in the big leagues with the Diamondbacks and also appeared in the MLB with the Pirates and Yankees in 2013, though both were very brief stints. He bounced around the minors with the Indians and Blue Jays in 2014 before heading over to Japan for one-year stints with the Hiroshima Carp in 2015 and Yokohama Bay Stars in 2016. Zagurki then returned to MLB-affiliated ball in 2017 on a minor league deal with the Tigers.
Last season in Detroit’s system, Zagurski made 25 appearances between the AA and AAA levels. He authored a nifty 3.29 ERA, though the bulk of his success in preventing runs came against the lesser competition in AA. Zagurski has long shown a penchant for missing bats, and true to form he struck out 43 batters in 27.1 innings between the two stops. Poor command has plagued Zagurski throughout his career, but he did manage a career-best 2.6 BB/9 in an albeit limited sample in 2017. He was released by the Tigers in June and didn’t hook on with another team during the regular season.
The last time Zagurski pitched in the big leagues in 2013 he featured a fastball that averaged around 92-93 MPH along with a low-80s slider, though more recent scouting information is difficult to come by. For his MLB career, Zagurski has compiled an unsightly 7.05 ERA in 89 appearances covering 75.1 innings, serving mostly as a lefty specialist. He’s struck out 75 batters but also issued 46 walks and coughed up 85 hits, including 11 home runs. He’s been much more successful during his decade-long minor league career, however, authoring a 3.02 ERA across 446.2 innings down on the farm with 11.7 K/9 against 3.9 BB/9.
It’s unclear at this time if Zagurski has been given an invite to Spring Training, though that should be announced once the transaction is made official by the club. Zagurski will likely begin next season as depth with AA Biloxi or AAA Colorado Springs, and the likelihood that he makes a significant impact at the MLB level in 2018 is minimal. Who knows though, maybe he figured something out to throw strikes more consistently last season.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs