David Stearns isn’t messing around when it comes to trying to find an answer for an overworked and underperforming bullpen.
The latest shakeup has Alex Wilson being designated for assignment a little more than a month after signing with the team as a free agent in the final week of Spring Training. Aaron Wilkerson is also landing on the Injured List with a foot injury and will be replaced on the roster by Donnie Hart.
RHP Aaron Wilkerson placed on the 10-day injured list (left foot contusion). LHP Donnie Hart recalled from Triple-A San Antonio. RHP Jay Jackson contract selected from Triple-A San Antonio. RHP Alex Wilson designated for assignment. pic.twitter.com/K1nmYsEoXD— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) April 29, 2019
Wilson pitched frequently for the Brewers in the first month of the season, making 13 appearances, covering 11.1 innings. After showing pretty strong control for most of his career — he walked 15 batters all year last season in 61.2 innings with Detroit — Wilson was killed by walks during his month in Milwaukee, issuing 9 walks in those 11.1 innings.
Despite being very good for the Tigers last season with a 132 ERA+ and a career 124 ERA+, Stearns and the Brewers aren’t in a position right now to wait for him to turn it around when just about everyone else is struggling at the same time. He’s also the latest reliever free agent signing that Stearns has moved on from very quickly when it went poorly, following in the footsteps of Boone Logan and Neftali Feliz. This signing was for much less than those two — Wilson signed on for $750,000 after being cut by Cleveland in Spring Training — but Stearns has never been shy about cutting bait on the moves of his that haven’t worked out.
For what it’s worth, Craig Counsell says he hopes Wilson clears waivers and chooses to stay with the Brewers organization. The chances of both of those happening seems unlikely at this point — enough teams need relief help that someone could take a flier on a guy who’s had big league success, and he could choose to go somewhere that has a more clear opportunity.
Craig Counsell hopes Alex Wilson clears waivers and chooses to stay in the organization. He was hurt on his best pitch (Counsell calls it a cutter and Wilson refers to it as a slider), but if he cleans that up, the Brewers like his chances to contribute down the road.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) April 29, 2019
The 31-year-old Jackson, meanwhile, is a story most people can get behind. He’s in line for his first significant taste of the big leagues, having only 6 games and 4.1 innings as a 27-year-old in 2015 to his name before now. He went overseas, became one of the more dominant relief arms in Japan, and is now back in the U.S., where he got off to a phenomenal start this year for Triple-A San Antonio, striking out 14 batters in 8.2 innings, allowing zero runs on just 4 hits and 2 walks.
Hart, meanwhile, gives the Brewers another non-Hader lefty to work with in the middle innings as Alex Claudio works through his own uncharacteristic control issues.
At the very least, Jackson and Hart give the Brewers a pair of fresh arms to start this week’s series against Colorado with after Wilson and Claudio worked quite a bit over the weekend in New York.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference