And you thought nobody in the free agent market would take a two-year deal.
Last week, the Brewers finally broke through the three-year ceiling and inked a deal with another relief pitcher. Tom Gorzelanny, a lefty with both relief and starting experience, signed a two year, $5.7 million contract laced with incentives.
Will the effort that Milwaukee put into bringing Gorzelanny to town pay off in the win column?
Tom Gorzelanny is a thirty year-old pitcher who has seen considerable returns on his efforts as both a starter and reliever. The Milwaukee Brewers have incentives in his contract when it comes to the starting role, but for now it seems that Gorzelanny’s role will be in the bullpen.
As a reliever, Gorzelanny works for Milwaukee in a few ways. The most important one being his left-handedness. With the non-tendering of Manny Parra, the Crew was left without a south paw in the bullpen. The added benefit of Gorzelanny is that he performs equally well against left and right-handed batters.
Gorzelanny has a career record of 44-45 with a 4.41 ERA. Last year as a member of the Washington Nationals he had a revival of sorts, posting a 2.88 ERA in 72 innings with a 4-2 record in 45 games. He fanned 62 batters and gave up only seven home runs. Opponents hit .237 against him with a BABIP of .283. Despite that he was still able to keep his strikeouts up and walks down as part of one of the highest performing pitching staffs in the National League.
Gorzelanny’s mix of pitches – he has a two-seam and cut fastball, as well as a slider and changeup – along with his wealth of experience in the National League Central makes him a good edition to a bullpen that is lacking, well, everything. Including personnel. He can work multiple innings as makes a valuable member of the pitching staff with his ability to spot start, especially with what’s shaping up to be a young and relatively unproven staff. Besides the affordability of his talents, his versatility appears to be the biggest bonus for the Milwaukee Brewers.
With any luck, the addition of a veteran presence in the bullpen will help to keep the younger arms focused and the higher workload Gorzelanny can take on will be able to translate into a more consistent level of performance. It’s obviously hard for one man to be able to change the tone of a bullpen, but there’s no doubt that the front office in Miller Park is hoping he will help to effect that change.
It’s not the big, splashy signing many fans were hoping for – but his signing may end up making the foundation of a much better bullpen. So we extend our welcome for Tom Gorzelanny, and we wish him all the best with his time in Milwaukee.