Marco Estrada: Season in Review

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Marco Estrada might not be a member of the Milwaukee Brewers any more but that doesn’t mean he escapes our meaningless judgment.

Marco Estrada

Position: Starting/Relief Pitcher
2014 Contract: $3.33 million, 2nd-year arbitration
2015 Contract: 3rd-year arbitration, Toronto’s problem

Grade: F

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After a pretty good, and by pretty good I mean roughly league-average (which is great for your fifth starter), turn through the rotation in 2013, Estrada took the final spot in the Brewers rotation going into the 2014 season.

Other than late-season call-up Mike Fiers, Estrada led the Brewers pitching staff in strike outs per nine innings with 7.74. Unfortunately for the Brewers that is where the happiness ended for Estrada this season.

Estrada made 18 starts for the Brewers in 2014 and threw 107 innings across those starts. In that time, he was by some measures, the worst starting pitcher in the National League.

Despite his rotation-leading strike out rate, Estrada earned an ERA of 4.96 as a starter. If you got into the nuts and bolts it didn’t look much better, as Estrada wracked up a 5.73 FIP and 4.25 xFIP.

Estrada’s problem was the gopher ball, of course. In his 107 innings as a starter last season, Estrada allowed an improbable 27 home runs. In fact Estrada’s 29 home runs against led all of baseball.

Things were better for Estrada out of the bullpen, where he earned a 2.89 ERA on a 2.81 FIP. That included an absolutely awful outing on August 29th where he gave up seven runs in two innings against the eventual world champion San Francisco Giants.

Estrada would probably have earned a raise to $4 million or so in his third arbitration year, and he had no real hope to be anything other than a long-man out of the bullpen, a role that can be filled by many players.

The Brewers getting Adam Lind for the cost of just Marco Estrada is a steal. I like Marco Estrada, he seems like a nice dude, but he’s a relief pitcher and the Brewers don’t need him at $4 million.

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