What the Brewers’ bullpen needs


Even though Milwaukee Brewers’ general manager Doug Melvin remains adamant in his stance of working within the organization, there still should be some interest in the free-agent market. After all, the Brewers will need another left-handed pitcher for the bullpen in 2014.

That said, is there anyone on the market that the Brew Crew could strike a deal with?

In the bullpen, the departure of Mike Gonzalez is not only a blessing, but it leaves open a left-handed reliever role. Sure the team has Tom Gorzelanny, but not many bullpens survive on one lefty alone, and one who may have to spot start at times. In the market, there are a few decent options from the 2013 season that the Brewers could pursue:

J.P. Howell was one of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ better relievers in 2013. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

J.P. Howell – 62 innings pitched, 2.18 ERA, 7.84 K/9, 80.7 percent left on base, .189 BAA

In 2013, Howell made $2.8 million with the Los Angeles Dodgers which is pretty fair considering his successful track record. The Brewers signed Gonzalez for $2.2 million last off-season, so something tells me if they’re willing to spend that much on a guy who didn’t turn out well, what’s a little more money for a proven reliever? Howell could be a guy that the Brewers look at in the coming months because you can never have enough pitching.

Sure, Howell has had some rough years in the majors, but in the past couple years he’s zoned in on hitters. Howell is an effective lefty and in a bullpen that really needs only one piece to make it one of the most secured in the league, the Brewers should consider an offer to the 30-year-old.

Scott Downs – 43 innings pitched, 2.49 ERA, 7.68 K/9, 82 percent LOB, .268 BAA

Downs had a rather odd season if you take into consideration all of his stats. While he did have a low and envious ERA, his opponent’s batting average was high and their BABIP of .309 raises some eyebrows. That said, Downs was an effective reliever this season and even switched leagues as the Los Angeles Angels traded him to the Atlanta Braves earlier this year.

Perhaps the negatives for Downs are his age (37, 38 in March) and the fact that he was signed for three-years / $15 million by the Angels a few years back. His contract may be too much for the Brewers to want to take on as they are a small market team. However, if they want some type of veteran presence in a bullpen full of mostly guys who haven’t been in the league too long, they may looks Downs’ way.

The New York Yankees will try to bring back their star lefty Boone Logan considering their bullpen issues. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Boone Logan – 39 innings pitched, 3.23 ERA, 11.54 K/9, 85.6 percent LOB, .226 BAA

For Logan, 2013 was somewhat of a down year for the lefty, but to say that this was a down year doesn’t say much considering his decent numbers. The Yankees, or more specifically manager Joe Girardi, relied on Logan for many one-out situations this year and more often than not, Logan came through when needed. Of course, the Brewers’ problem this season was needing relievers who could pitch an inning or two, but Logan is certainly capable of pitching one inning.

One the biggest problems the Brewers would run into with pursuing Logan is that the Yankees will have to make an offer considering their right-handed dominant bullpen. The 29-year-old LOOGY is a great addition to any bullpen and he’s not too expensive, making $3.15 million in 2013, so perhaps the Brewers could snag him if a little extra money opens up somewhere.

So what do you think, should the Brewers pursue any of these three or is there another target out there?