Ricky Nolasco throws against the Milwaukee Brewers back in 2011 Photo: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
I love the title of this article because as a baseball writer I do not get to use the word “carcass” enough…if ever. But after the events of the past week, why wouldn’t you at least put out feelers on every player still on that roster? In particular I would be interested in Ricky Nolasco and Steve Cishek.
The goal of this off-season should be and has always been pitching. Sure, I may daydream about having Josh Hamilton warming up in Miller Park 81 times a season, or Giancarlo (Mike) Stanton launching moon shots into the Milwaukee night air, but the reality is that we need pitchers. And we need them in all forms, shapes, and sizes.
For me, the draw of Nolasco is the durability and amount of innings he chews up. Let’s get one thing straight, if the Brewers acquired Nolasco and gave him the same run support they gave starters in 2012, he would go back to winning 15 games a season. It is easy to look at his 22-25 record, and roughly 4.50 ERA, over the past two seasons and write him off, but consider how offensively stagnant the Marlins have been! I also feel like we could get Nolasco for nothing more than some spare Nashville, Brevard County, or Helena parts. Things that we would never miss, is really what I am saying. Making a move like this allows you to spend more money on building that bullpen, which as we saw in 2012, can make or break a season.
Speaking of the bullpen, the Marlins have this kid named Steve Cishek that you’ve never heard of, unless of course you write for a baseball site and know about guys on every team in baseball. Cishek is a 6’6″ RHP bullpen arm, who has thrown 116 innings over 3 seasons. In those appearances he has recorded 126 K’s (just over one an inning), and last season took over as the closer after the Marlins shipped Heath Bell to the D’Backs. And after looking at this kid a little more, he did have a meltdown in September. But compared to some of the John Axford/Francisco Rodriguez meltdowns we witnessed this past season, this is nothing more than a speck of dust on your lapel. (Lapel is another word I have wanted to use more, I am winning 2-0) A 7.56 ERA during the home stretch of a season is pretty bad, but when you look at his entire body of work it puts everything into perspective. I love this kid and think he would be an ideal set-up man in the NL Central.
Even with a horrific September, Cishek finished his 2012 campaign with a 2.69 ERA in 63.2 innings. Not one 2012 Brewers reliever can boast anything even close to those numbers. And as with Nolasco, I bet we could acquire this kid for next to nothing. Maybe a Single-A pitcher you have never heard of and will never miss. Once again, you can’t miss what you never realized you had, which makes a move like this all the more intriguing to me. I can only hope that it is as intriguing to Uncle Mark and Doug.
Whenever a team has a fire sale, I think the Brewers should get in on that. By capitalizing on other teams misfortunes, you can underpay for major league (or at the very least Triple-A) talent. I also wouldn’t mind them looking at Ryan Webb, another 6 and a half foot bullpen beast. Webb does not have the flashy numbers Cishek has, but he would certainly help solidify that bullpen.
To reiterate my point, in the Marlins you have the chance to rob another teams cupboard of top tier talent and only give up some small minor league pieces in return. This is something the Brewers need to get after as soon as possible. Because if there is one thing I know about smoked fish…if you don’t get your fill fast, it is all gone.