In my last post, I took an in-depth look at the Burke Badenhop trade. Now, it’s Tom Gorzelanny‘s turn to go under my analytical microscope. At the end, I will give this signing a grade based on the needs of the team and Gorzelanny’s overall skill set.
Aug. 11, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Washington Nationals pitcher Tom Gorzelanny (32) during a game against Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Hilderbrand-USA TODAY Sports
In late December, Gorzelanny and the Milwaukee Brewers agreed to a two-year deal after the Washington Nationals decided to non-tender the left-hander rather than offer him arbitration. The deal is worth $5.7 million, plus a $300,000 signing bonus. From the very beginning, the Brewers have been unwilling to offer free agents a three-year deal, so when Gorzelanny, coming off a tremendous 2012 season, inked a two-year deal, it was big news.
When Gorzelanny came to the big leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates and later the Chicago Cubs, he was a starter. It wasn’t until 2011 with the Nationals that he was magically transformed into an adequate reliever. As a starter, Gorzelanny owns a dreadful ERA of 4.61. But in relief mode, he has a respectable 3.32 ERA. What a brilliant move by the folks in Washington. His failure as a starter is a result of only throwing three pitches; two fastballs and a slider. After once or twice through the lineup, hitters had him figured out.
Gorzelanny, 30, posted a career-low 2.88 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 45 appearances (one start) last season and was just as masterful against right-handed hitters (.245 average) as he was versus lefties (.237 average).
The Illinois native will fill a key cog in Milwaukee’s bullpen. The Brewers have been without a reliable left-handed reliever since Mitch Stetter in 2008. And he could only get out lefties. Gorzelanny is the new Manny Parra, without the awfulness. He could also be a nice fill-in starter if the baseball gods turn their wrath on another Brewers starting pitcher again. Look out, Chris Narveson.
Signing Gorzelanny was a clever and cheap move for the Brewers. They hooked him in on a two-year deal and will only be paying him about $2.5 million a season. Hopefully, Gorzelanny’s magic from 2012 will find its way to Milwaukee.