The Milwaukee Brewers have signed a pitcher to add to their bullpen depth for the 2020 season.
On a day where we saw two big name starting pitchers sign contracts in the NL East with Cole Hamels to Atlanta and Zack Wheeler to Philadelphia, the Milwaukee Brewers have made a pitching acquisition of their own, albeit one with far lower expectations.
The Brewers announced on Wednesday that they signed 31-year-old veteran righty Justin Grimm to a minor league contract with an invite to big league spring training.
Who Is Justin Grimm?
Brewers fans might remember Justin Grimm for his time with the division rival Chicago Cubs from 2013-2017. Grimm made 263 appearances out of the bullpen for the Cubs in those five years and posted a 3.82 ERA.
RHP Justin Grimm has been signed to a minor-league contract with an invitation to Major League camp. pic.twitter.com/nQP0ZPC1bH
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) December 4, 2019
More recently, Grimm has bounced around. He started 2018 in Kansas City and put up a 13.50 ERA there, then latched on with the Mariners after being released, pitching in five games as a September call up for Seattle, posting a 1.93 ERA.
In 2019, Grimm didn’t make it to the big leagues at all, bouncing around in Triple-A for the Dodgers and Reds this past season. In 52 appearances covering 65.1 IP for both organizations, Grimm had a 5.23 ERA on the season.
Walks were a big issue for Grimm the past few seasons. In Kansas City, Grimm walked 14 batters in only 12.2 innings. That’s a staggering 9.9 BB/9. In 2019, Grimm had a 4.4 BB/9, which is still very high.
Grimm’s career year came in 2015 for the Cubs. He was a dominant reliever on that squad, pitching in 62 games and putting up a 1.99 ERA with a 12.1 K/9. His ERA has climbed each year since.
Low Risk, Medium Reward
Perhaps the Brewers can find a way to get Grimm back to his 2015 self. If they can unlock that ability, they have a solid reliever on their hands for a very small price.
If Grimm still struggles with control and can’t find his old form, he didn’t cost much, and they can simply move on to the next pitcher in line.
This isn’t an exciting or flashy move. It’s not one with a lot of potential, but it’s a possible piece to the Brewers bullpen puzzle in 2020 and if he fits, great, if not, try a different piece in his place and move on.
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The Milwaukee Brewers still have a lot of roster additions to make before Opening Day. Grimm does not have a spot on the 40 man roster, so they’re still just as flexible as they were before.