The Milwaukee Brewers have made some generally positive signings so far in this off season. However, there are a few signings, such as Donnie Murphy, Kelvim Escobar and Bobby Crosby that to me, do not make a whole lot of sense. Does this directly affect the team in any way? Not really, but still, it just seems like pointless money going out the window.
Perhaps that’s a bit cynical, but with Brewers being a team centralized on their younger guys, signing very average veterans isn’t exactly a smart move. Who knows, maybe if these three can impress in Spring Training, they’ll have a legitimate shot at making the 40 or even 25-man roster. Let’s take a look at each player.
Donnie Murphy: .205/.270/.373 slash line, 18 HRs, 82 RBIs, 68 runs scored, .661 OPS, 78 OPS+
The numbers kind of speak for themselves. Murphy is far from a Babe Ruth or Pete Rose type of hitter, but he’s not the worst hitter who has ever gone pro. He’s very average in every aspect of the word and his 78 OPS+, which is 22% below the league average, is nothing to write home about. It’s really hard to judge a good offensive season for Murphy as he’s never played in more than 52 games in a season and anything less would be too small a sample size to make a call on him. Perhaps we can look back at his 2012 and 2008 in which he played the most games in his career and even then, it’s nothing spectacular.
Defensively, Murphy is versatile, but doesn’t really stick out at any one position. He primarily plays a combination of shortstop, second base and third base, all positions that are currently filled by players who have proven more. This isn’t to cut Murphy down, but he’s simply not going to be any more than the occasional bench guy, if that.
Kelvim Escobar: 101-91, 4.15 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 59 saves, 9 blown saves, 1507 innings pitched, 1310 K’s, 611 BB’s
For Escobar, I believe this signing makes the less sense out of the three. The Brewers have been trying to escape mediocre pitching and that’s all Escobar has really ever offered. Sure he may be a veteran from 1997, but he hasn’t pitched since 2009 and even then, that was only in one game for the Los Angeles Angels. 2008 was pretty much nonexistent for Escobar and 2007 (which actually wasn’t too bad) saw him pitch in 30 games as he was a starter.
I highly doubt Escobar will see any big league time this season and really, I think that’s to be expected. He’s not magically going to bounce back after being absent for so long and not to mention the fact that he’s going to be 37 in April. Unfortunately for the righty, 2013 might be his last shot to do anything productive for a major league team.
Bobby Crosby: .236/.304/.372 slash line, 62 HRs, 276 RBIs, 329 runs scored, .677 OPS, 80 OPS+
Crosby may have the best shot to possibly make the 40-man roster. However, like Escobar, he’s been absent from the game for awhile. Crosby last played in 70 games in 2010 and since then has been out of baseball until now. That said, the 2004 AL Rookie of the Year could impress in Spring Training, but it’s hard to imagine he’s going to beat out guys like Jeff Bianchi, Taylor Green and even to some degree the eventual Scooter Gennett of their jobs for a utility spot. He’s clearly had more experience than Murphy and wouldn’t be a bad guy to consider having on the roster to provide a veteran presence for younger guys like Jean Segura.
Crosby’s defense has been all shortstop (5228.2 innings at the position) with a mix of first, second and third base thrown in. He’s not particularly bad at the position with a career UZR of 10.1 and a fielding percentage of .971, but he’s far, far from a Gold Glove. Crosby could provide to be an interesting player if he pans out well in March.