In 2008 the Milwaukee Brewers went all in for a playoff push. The Crew started planting the seeds during the off-season, stockpiling reliable bullpen arms.
By no means was David Riske a high-profile addition by the Milwaukee Brewers prior to the 2008 season. Milwaukee was rebuilding the bullpen, and Riske was at the forefront, and he signed a three-year deal worth $12.25 million.
Prior to signing with the Brewers Riske had a lot of success in the American League. Over 393 games, and 431 innings pitched, he had a 3.40 ERA with 398 strikeouts. His 3.8 BB/9 was a bit high, but the evidence of his effectiveness was there.
Doug Melvin, the Milwaukee Brewers General Manager at the time, was building a contender in Milwaukee. Riske was one of the first relievers signed heading into ’08. Along with the acquisitions of Gagne and Guillermo Mota, the bullpen was thought to be a strength heading into the season.
For eight seasons Riske consistently navigated American League lineups. With his consistent success, Milwaukee figured to have the middle innings figured out for a few years. They couldn’t have been more wrong.
Well, as you’ve already read Gagne flopped. Mota was serviceable, but far from spectacular, and it was always risky to put Riske in any close games. The move to the National League may have hampered Riske, or maybe it was age, either way he could not get the job done.
He pitched 42 1/3 innings over 45 games for the Milwaukee Brewers in ’08 with only 27 strikeouts and a whopping 25 walks. Riske allowed hitters to reach at a .280 clip with a 1.70 WHIP, proving unreliable for down the stretch.
Even with the two misfires in free agency by Melvin, the Milwaukee Brewers STILL managed to make the playoffs in 2008. Riske barely made it through his contract with the Brewers, never appearing at the Major League level again.