The Milwaukee Brewers have been linked to some notable names on the free agent market of late, but earlier today the club executed a transaction that falls more into the depth category when it comes to building the roster. The team announced the signing of left-hander Blaine Hardy to a minor league contract, one which includes an invitation to Spring Training with the MLB club:
LHP Blaine Hardy has been signed to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League camp. pic.twitter.com/QBjolZ91bp— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) January 28, 2021
Hardy, who turns 34 in March, originally began his career as a 22nd round draft pick by the Kansas City Royals in 2008. He was cut loose by the Royals in Spring Training in 2013 but signed with the Tigers a few days later, then went on to make his big league debut the next year in 2014 as a 27 year old. Hardy wound up pitching parts of the next six seasons for Detroit and experienced quite a bit of success, logging 289.2 innings across 233 appearances (13 starts) with a 3.73 ERA (86 ERA-) and a 4.11 FIP (95 FIP-). Hardy struggled in 2017 due to an abnormally high home run rate and BABIP allowed, but otherwise has posted an above-average ERA in every season of his career while striking out 7.1 batters per nine against 3.2 BB/9.
Hardy started dealing with elbow pain in the summer of 2019 and ended the year on the 60-day injured list. He became a free agent after the season and signed with the Twins, but ultimately underwent Tommy John surgery and missed all of 2020.
Prior to going under the knife, Hardy was averaging 88.7 MPH on his fastball, which he throws along with a cutter, curveball, and a plus changeup. He throws left-handed but has actually fares relatively well against batters from both sides of the plate, holding lefties to a .304 wOBA during his career with righties at a .314 wOBA. Hardy made 13 starts during the 2018 season and held his own, posting a 4.26 ERA as an initial out-getter while giving up two or fewer earned runs eight times.
Hardy had surgery last March and the timeline for his return to the mound has not yet been reported at this point. But when he is ready to go, he’ll be an experienced arm among a suddenly deep stable of lefties with MLB experience that includes also Josh Hader, Brent Suter, Eric Lauer, Angel Perdomo, and Hoby Milner.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference