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Milwaukee Brewers sign RHP Josh Tomlin to minor league deal with spring training invite

The former Cleveland starting pitcher will try to prove himself in spring training.

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

As the Brewers get closer to spring training, the front office is still on the lookout for potential players who could improve their team. They made another addition to the team in hopes of finding another rebound player today. Ken Rosenthal reports that the Brewers signed RHP Josh Tomlin to a minor-league deal with a spring training invite.

Tomlin spent his first nine seasons with Cleveland, becoming a mainstay in their rotation through those years. Over his career, he’s posted a 4.77 ERA and 4.69 FIP, with a 6.13 K/9 and 1.33 BB/9 rate. However, last season was very rough for Tomlin. He started the season in the rotation before getting removed after six starts, then spent the rest of the year in the bullpen. His FIP shot up to 7.16 as he allowed 25 HR that year, which resulted in a 3.2 HR/9 rate. His K/9 rate also decreased to 5.89 K/9 and walk rate increased to 1.54 BB/9. Tomlin also missed a month and a half due to a hamstring injury.

Josh Tomlin is an interesting bounce-back candidate for the Brewers. Despite his struggles in 2018, his pitch selection and velocity didn’t change much from 2017, when he did have some success. In fact, his velocity has been stable across the board, with his fastball holding at 87.8 MPH and his cutter at 85.9 MPH. However, he didn’t induce as many ground balls as before (30.6%), and more of the fly balls turned into home runs (21.4% HR/FB). In addition, looking at his splits, in the second half of the season (following his hamstring injury), his FIP dropped from 8.30 to 4.52, his home run rate stabilized to a more expected rate (4.52 FIP to 4.56 xFIP), and his strikeout (6.75 K/9) and walk (0.84 BB/9) rates also saw improvements.

If Tomlin is on the big-league roster, he will earn a $1.25 million base salary in 2019. That could go as high as $3.5 million if he hits incentives based on innings pitched, with the max coming at 150 IP. This may indicate that the Brewers are bringing him in as a potential starting option.

Pitchers and catchers report in just 7 days, and Josh Tomlin could be an interesting candidate to watch in spring training this year.

Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs.