Hypothetically, if the Milwaukee Brewers wanted to shake the trade scene anymore, closer Jim Henderson could be next on the list. Of course, dealing Henderson probably wouldn’t happen until the midway point in the 2014 season because there is no viable option after him.
With the acquisition of Will Smith, it puts an interesting spin on where Henderson’s future may be in this bullpen. Let’s say that Smith is moved to the bullpen in favor of Tyler Thornburg getting the fifth spot in the rotation. The Brewers have two innings eater type bullpen arms, Brandon Kintzler and Tom Gorzelanny, so Smith could comfortably find a role as the go-to lefty in the bullpen. In that case, Gorzelanny could be switched to mid-relief and Kintzler may maintain his job as the eighth inning guy.
It wasn’t long ago the Brewers tried putting an eighth inning pitcher in as a closer and that’s exactly how Henderson won his current job. Although it was through injuries and the struggles of Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford, Henderson persevered and found a niche in the ninth inning. That said, if the Brewers do the same with Kintzler and should he succeed, Henderson automatically becomes expendable. He’s a proven closer thusfar, so putting him in the back end of the bullpen is a waste.
Even now there are teams vying for a closer and I think the Brew Crew could get a nice haul should they trade Henderson. When the Brewers traded K-Rod, they received one of the Baltimore Orioles’ top prospects in third baseman Nick Delmonico, so maybe the same could happen again. However, I honestly doubt that would be the case since Henderson does not have the same track record as K-Rod, but anything is certainly possible.
Clearly the market for closers at the current moment is rather high and maybe the Brewers should consider trading Henderson. With the way Kintzler took the bullpen by storm last season, it certainly wouldn’t be a bad idea to try him out as the closer in Spring Training should the Brewers not trade Henderson.
Even though this situation is weighed upon how Smith will do in the pitching staff next season, eventually the Brewers would run into this problem sooner than later. There would be more capable bullpen arms then spots open, so something would have to give. In this case, trading Henderson would be the piece to fall into place. We’ll see if the Brewers do anything regarding Henderson because it is definitely something to think about.