Why would losing a pitcher who played primarily in the minor leagues, who made just 73 major league appearances, and earned a career -0.4 career WARP merit discussion of any kind? Well because that pitcher is Tim Dillard, and he is a very unique individual.
Dillard has developed quite the cult following since joining the professional ranks back in 2002, especially with Brewers fans. He obviously cultivated that following via social media, where he has produced podcasts and YouTube videos with friends, one of which includes the Chicago Cubs’ Ben Zobrist. Periodically he writes for MLB Trade Rumors in what he calls Inner Monologue of @DimTillard. He has parlayed what was probably a need to be creative and funny into a possible career in broadcasting after he retires from baseball. In fact, he was invited to joined Fox Sports Wisconsin at the conclusion of Colorado Springs’ season to contribute to Brewers social media and to add flavor to the broadcast team during the Brewers’ playoff run. He has also previously been given the opportunity to help broadcast some Spring Training games.
Signing a minor league contract with Texas with an invite to big league camp had to be a decision made based on family as much as getting another shot to play in the big leagues. He will most likely get the opportunity to pitch in Nashville where he and his family reside. At 35 years old, it has to be a blessing to continue to play baseball while also getting to go home after the game and be with your wife and children. And if he gets a call up to Texas, all the better.
If this is truly the end of Dillard’s playing career with the Brewers, he leaves with a total of 73 appearances and 84.1 innings across parts of four big league seasons in the Cream City. During that time he compiled an earned run average of 4.70, a FIP of 4.13, and 62 strikeouts against 29 walks. He earned his one career winning decision on June 5th, 2011, when he tossed 1.2 scoreless innings against the Marlins as Josh Wilson hit the go-ahead home run off Mike Dunn with two outs in the top of the 11th inning. During his 16 minor league seasons with the organization, he put together a 4.07 ERA in 487 games and 1,287.0 innings pitched. He spent a whopping 12 seasons pitching in AAA, and was valuable as both a veteran presence and a rubber arm to eat up innings in blowout games the last four seasons at Colorado Springs, helping to protect younger prospects from pitching too much in the harsh environment of Security Service Field.
Dillard’s offbeat persona certainly added something different that resonated with a lot of people. What amounts to a unique phenomena that may only exist with this fan base, this organization, and this pitcher, a 16 year relationship comes to an end. Let’s wish Tim Dillard and his family the best of luck with the Rangers organization. The French term, au revoir, means ‘until we meet again,’ which seems apropos in this case. So instead of goodbye, au revoir @DimTillard.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball Prospectus and Baseball-Reference