Over the next couple of days, I will individually break down Milwaukee Brewers acquisitions Burke Badenhop, Tom Gorzelanny, and Michael Gonzalez. Then, I will give each signing a grade based on the needs of the team and the player’s overall skill set.
Badenhop, you’re up.
The Brewers acquired right-hander Burke Badenhop from the Tampa Bay Rays for minor-league outfielder Raul Mondesi Jr. in early December, adding the first piece to a decimated bullpen. Badenhop, 29, enjoyed the best season of his career in 2012 as he pitched to a 3.03 ERA in 66 appearances.
His biggest strength is generating ground balls. Last season, 52.9% of his outs came via the ground ball as a result of his splitter and sinker that he uses almost exclusively. He also manages to work in an effective slider. While this may prove troublesome for Milwaukee’s average infield, giving up ground balls is significantly better than long fly balls. As expected, Badenhop keeps right-handed hitters at bay (.239/.260/.350 last year), while lefties torment him (.300/.356/.488 last year).
Badenhop will most likely be used as a middle-to-late inning reliever, to replace Jose Veras and Kameron Loe, neither of whom had the nerve to get the job done in high-pressure situations for Milwaukee. The Brewers hope Badenhop can contribute to the resurgence of their bullpen and provide stability that was nowhere to be found in 2012.
The Brewers gave up a minor-league outfielder, who is only recognized because of his father (former MLB player Raul Mondesi), for a veteran pitcher who has proven to be reliable at crunch time. Badenhop is no Mike Adams or Rafael Soriano, but this was a advantageous move by the Brewers. This trade was a no-brainer and Milwaukee received the better end of it.