Finding key pieces for a championship run is a never-ending task for front offices, and the Milwaukee Brewers are no exception to that task.
According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, scouts from the Brewers organization were still on the hunt for veteran pitching today as they checked out a three inning outing from Aaron Harang – the 34 year-old right-hander currently in the Los Angeles Dodgers minor league system.
Could he be a target for Milwaukee as the Brewers head into the regular season?
It’s not very difficult to see why Aaron Harang would look like a good fit for the Brew Crew. He’s a veteran with loads of experience – 11 seasons worth of Major League service time – and he can eat up innings as well. That kind of durability is hard to find, and may become even more important with an extremely young and relatively inexperienced starting rotation. And that’s saying nothing of the fact that every inning of rest the bullpen gets during the season can pay off dividends later on.
Aaron Harang made 31 starts last season with the Dodgers, which is more than all Milwaukee pitchers not named Yovani Gallardo. Harang’s 179.2 innings would also have beaten out any pitcher on the Brewers staff. We can only consider that the same would be true this year as innings limits and other circumstances would place extra pressure on a younger staff.The question is, of course, how much longer can that durability hold up at 34 years of age? It doesn’t seem to be trending downward in any marked way, but obviously that would be a concern for both fans and the Brewers front office.
Harang also spent a bulk of his career in the NL Central, with eight seasons as a Cincinnati Red. And even though things change from year to year, there’s obviously going to be a familiarity with the ballparks and opposition that Harang would be facing. Not to mention the fact that his former home park, Great American Ballpark, can turn any game into a home run derby almost instantly. Despite that, he was able to keep his home run ratio and his fly ball to home run rate on par with the rest of the rotation.
One of the down sides with Harang’s career is the fact that over the last few years, Harang’s strikeouts have gone down some while his walk rate has climbed about as much. Last season, his K/BB rate was 1.54, down from 2.14 in 2011 and down even further from 3.30 in 2009.
Overall though, Harang appears dependable and well-equipped for a future job in Milwaukee should he be approached by Doug Melvin and company. He is also affordable – a great deal more so in terms of contract dollars than his counterpart in the Milwaukee rumor mill (Kyle Lohse, in case you forgot). But should the Brewers try and chase after Harang, the Dodgers would need something in return.
Who would be enticing to the pitching heavy Dodgers, is of course, another article altogether.