There’s little doubt David Stearns and Matt Arnold are confident in their ability to churn out quality relief arms.
They’ve used that depth and confidence in arm development to make deals to address other weak spots on the roster — namely in the Willy Adames trade — while the bullpen has largely kept chugging along with quality outings.
But with Devin Williams landing on the Injured List with a sore elbow (and Williams not being the same version of himself compared to the pandemic-shortened 2020 season), it probably isn’t surprising to see the July rumor mill indicate the Brewers may be looking for some help in the bullpen.
Even if Williams’ elbow issue is not a cause for concern like he says, and even if the front office had not dealt multiple relievers away already this year, they likely would have been looking for help in the back end of the bullpen anyway to allow Craig Counsell to deploy his usual late-season and postseason reliever strategy.
Now, multiple outlets are reporting the Brewers’ interest in adding at least one relief arm — and maybe more than one — before the deadline next week. Robert Murray recently reported the Brewers could add as many as two relievers in the coming week.
Two of the best back-end options would likely come from inside the NL Central, with Chicago’s Craig Kimbrel and Pittsburgh’s Richard Rodriguez among the most talked-about names so far.
While Josh Hader would seem to be entrenched in the 9th inning, Counsell has long shown an ability to juggle multiple Capital C-Closer types in the late innings down the stretch, whether it’s been Hader, Jeremy Jeffress and Corey Knebel or mixing in acquisitions like Drew Pomeranz, Joakim Soria, Anthony Swarzak.
Adding another elite arm would allow the likes of Jake Cousins, as good as he’s been, to bump down into the middle innings and effectively shorten non-Brandon Woodruff and non-Corbin Burnes starts to 5 or 6-inning games.