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Tom Gorzelanny: Milwaukee Brewers Free Agent Watch

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Jul 24, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Tom Gorzelanny (32) shakes hands with catcher Jonathan Lucroy (right) after the game against the New York Mets at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Gorzelanny wrapped up his two-year commitment to the Milwaukee Brewers this season with a bit of a downer after getting the job done in 2013 (in one of his roles anyway).

On December 21, 2012, the Brewers signed the former Pirates, Cubs and Nationals starter to a two-year contract worth just shy of six million dollars to work as a reliever. In his first seven years in the Majors Gorzelanny worked almost exclusively as a starter, but the Nationals moved him to the bullpen in 2011, and he had a solid 2012 for them in that role.

This was attractive to the Brewers, coming off a horrific season in the bullpen in 2012 and lacking starting-pitching depth. Gorzelanny pitched 33 games in relief for the Crew in 2013, but injuries forced him into the rotation for 10 starts where he was significantly less effective. A shoulder injury ended his season at the start of September.

Jul 4, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Tom Gorzelanny throws against the Cincinnati Reds during the sixth inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Gorzelanny

Position: Relief Pitcher
2014 Contract: $2.95M
2015 Contract: Free Agent

Grade: INC

It didn’t go quite as well for Gorzelanny in 2014 and he opened the season on the disabled list thanks to the shoulder surgery that ended his 2013. He didn’t make an appearance for the Crew until mid-June.

He didn’t allow a run in his first 13 appearances for Milwaukee, and only allowed three runs (two earned) in his 21 innings of work this injury shortened season. That earned him a sparkling 0.86 ERA.

His 9.86 strike outs per nine innings was a career high, leading him to a career best 2.99 FIP. Those numbers have to be taken with a grain of salt though as I pointed out that he only threw 21 innings this season.

Even when he did see use out of the Brewers bullpen, it was rarely in a high leverage situation. He only recorded one high-leverage out all season.

Three million dollars isn’t a great deal of money, but it is too much (in my opinion) to spend on a relief pitcher that isn’t going to throw innings that matter. That said, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Brewers bring back Gorzelanny.

Our only concern with Gorzelanny is his durability. Only once this season (July 7 and 8) did Gorzelanny pitch on back-to-back calendar days, and that could be a real issue if he’s pressed into a higher leverage role with the (possible) departure of Zach Duke.

We know that Ron Roenicke likes to have two lefties in his bullpen, and if the Brewers can’t retain Zach Duke then they could do a lot worse than Gorzelanny go with Will Smith.

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