The Price of Mediocrity
It’s official. After saying all month that the Milwaukee Brewers wouldn’t pursue any free agent pitchers, GM Doug Melvin agreed to terms with former St. Louis Cardinal righthander Braden Looper. Melvin previously had indicated that the Brewers wanted to maintain some payroll flexibility in order to pick up any pitchers that may become available later in spring training or into the season. Whether that was an actual stategy or just a negotiating position is open to debate but it’s clear the Brewers weren’t comfortable going into the season with the starting rotation as currently constituted.
While they have added to the depth of the staff with the signing of the veteran, it remains to be seen if the Brewers have really improved themselves. Looper, a converted reliever who has only been a starter the last two seasons, has numbers that are startlingly similar to those of Jeff Suppan over the same period. The last time I checked, nobody is predicting Suppan to be the savior of the pitching rotation.
Still, at the very least Looper does figure to eat up some innings. And, at just under $5 million for next season, he’s a certifiable bargain compared with Suppan. I just hope new manager Ken Macha has a plan to manufacture a lot of runs because it’s unrealistic to expect this pitching staff to keep the Brewers in games by themselves.