Milwaukee Brewers: What’s the relief pitching market?
Brandon Morrow, Steve Cishek, Bryan Shaw, Jake McGee, Anthony Swarzak, and about a dozen other guys are off the market. Which relief pitchers are still available for the Milwaukee Brewers to upgrade their bullpen?
All-in-all, 14 relief pitchers have signed multi-year deals so far this off-season. 13 of them signed for at least two years for at least $10 million. Are there options available for the Milwaukee Brewers or will GM David Stearns have to hunt for bargains? It’s not quite time to go dumpster diving, but there are fewer options than there were.
There’s always Tyler Clippard when you’re almost out of bullpen options. Clippard will turn 33 years old before Opening Day, but he’s posted a K/9 over 10.00 in three of the last four seasons. He’s still on the market and could make sense for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Clippard signed a two-year deal just over $8 million in 2016 with a $4 million signing bonus. He hasn’t really enhanced his value since then, and will likely only get a one or two-year deal this off season.
While there are rumors swirling around Addison Reed this off season, he’s still unsigned. It seems like he’s been around forever, but 2018 will be his age 29 season. He’s posted a K/9 over 9.00 and a BB/9 under 2.00 for each of the last two seasons.
Reed is one of the more expensive non-closer relief options available. If Anthony Swarzak can get a two-year deal worth $14 million, doesn’t Reed have to get a deal close to that? Given the cost involved the Milwaukee Brewers are unlikely to add Reed unless the price comes down.
We’ve covered Kevin Siegrist in detail, and he’s still on the market. If the Milwaukee Brewers are looking to add a guy looking to bounce back at a lower cost, Siegrist looks like a match.
Given all the names already off the board, it’s surprising to see Tony Watson still looking for a partner. Watson dominated in 2014 and 2015 with sub-2.00 ERAs in both years. 2016 and 2017 didn’t go quite as well, but it wasn’t because Watson forgot how to pitch.
Watson was paid $5.6 million in 2017. He’s likely to want a raise and a multi-year deal, but he’s probably not going to sign for as much as Swarzak. His lower price tag should make him an option for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Next: What's the second base market look like now?
The names left on the market don’t offer the security of the guys already signed. Milwaukee Brewers GM David Stearns made it clear that he would rather save in the bullpen and spend elsewhere. He could add a few of the remaining relievers at a lower price point, and then spend on an upgrade at second base or in the starting rotation. There are options available, but it’s clear that the Brewers need to make a decision soon.