Milwaukee Brewers: Marlins to deal relief pitching?

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 27: Pitcher Junichi Tazawa
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 27: Pitcher Junichi Tazawa /

The Miami Marlins are looking to slash payroll even further. They have a pair of relievers that could help the Milwaukee Brewers. Should GM David Stearns look for a deal?

The teardown of the Miami Marlins is really just beginning. Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon, and Marcell Ozuna are already out of town. They still have Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto on the roster, but are apparently asking a king’s ransom. They also have a pair of expensive relief pitchers on the books that they would love to flip. The Milwaukee Brewers still have holes in their bullpen to fill. Is there a potential match?

Could Junichi Tazawa head to Milwaukee?

Junichi Tazawa was not good in 2017. He’s also owed $7 million for 2018. That’s $7 million the Miami Marlins would love to send somewhere else.

Tazawa posted a 5.69 ERA in 55 appearances for the Marlins last year. He struck out 38, walked 22, and was tagged for eight homers. His average velocity was the lowest it’s been since he was used in the rotation in 2011. Why would the Milwaukee Brewers want this guy?

Well, from 2012 to 2015, was a capable middle reliever. He averaged almost a strikeout per inning, and did a solid job in the Red Sox bullpen as a bridge to their closer.

His 2017 season was bad. There’s no getting around it. Tazawa got off to a bad start, suffered a rib cartilage injury, came back, and…was still bad. A change of scenery can only help Tazawa and he’ll be two years removed from shoulder issues.

The Milwaukee Brewers had Wily Peralta on their staff last year. Can Tazawa really do much worse?

What about Brad Ziegler?

Brad Ziegler is heading into his age 38 season in 2018, and he’s owed $9 million. That’s another $9 million that Derek Jeter would be happy to send elsewhere. Ziegler was better than Tazawa in 2017, but it would take a lot to do worse.

Ziegler logged 53 appearances for the Marlins in 2017 and managed a 4.79 ERA. He struck out 26, walked 16 and was only tagged for one homer. He’s known as a groundball machine, and he managed a 64.2% groundball rate last year.

Ziegler is still a capable right-hander, and that’s what the Milwaukee Brewers need to round out their bullpen. His price tag isn’t ideal, but there’s no such thing as a bad one-year deal. He’s a guy looking to chase a final World Series ring before he calls it a career.

What would these guys cost?

Not much. Not much at all if the Milwaukee Brewers decide to take on their salaries. Trading anything more than a warm body from a random Minor League roster is overpaying. Stearns could have these two for a bag of balls if he wanted to.

Next: What happens if Eric Hosmer re-signs with the Royals?

While the Milwaukee Brewers need to add a reliever or two before pitchers and catchers report, they can do better. There are better, cheaper options on the free agent market than Ziegler and Tazawa. While the low cost for a pair of experienced relievers may entice some team, Stearns would be wise to stay away from this duo. There’s a non-zero chance that either of these two could make the Brewers bullpen worse.