Brewers sign right-hander Josh Lindblom from KBO

The Brewers have been relatively quiet since the Omar Narvaez trade, announcing a series of smaller signings in the six days since. That was before news broke of a new acquisition from a familiar source of talent.

Halfway through the winter meetings, the Brewers still found themselves with several 40-man roster positions that need to be filled prior to the start of Spring Training. That included the pitching staff where the team could use some starters as well as relievers.

Milwaukee bolstered the relief corps on Monday when they announced the return of left-hander Alex Claudio. On Wednesday, it was time to address the rotation as news broke that the team was finalizing a deal to bring former Dodgers second round pick Josh Lindblom over from the Korean league.

How did his Major League career look?

Drafted in 2008, Lindblom ascended the Dodgers organization quickly and found himself up in Triple-A by 2009. His big league debut would come two seasons later in June of 2011. The righty finished with a solid rookie year, pitching in 27 games and finishing with a 2.73 ERA and a 1.045 WHIP.

Lindblom’s numbers have been much more mediocre his seasons since then, which he has spent bouncing between the majors and minors. In total, he has spent parts of five seasons with five different major league teams and pitched in 114 games. In those games, he went 5-8 and compiled a 4.10 ERA and a 1.367 WHIP.

Lindblom began transitioning to starter in 2013 when he was with the Rangers organization. And although he only has six Major League starts to his name, he would gain much more starting experience in the following years.

How were his numbers in Korea?

Lindblom actually has spent two separate stints in Korea. His first was for three years with the Lotte Giants starting in 2015. After a brief period back in the states with the Pirates organization in 2017, he went back to Korea for two more years, this time playing for the Doosan Bears.

His last year for the Bears in 2019 is what really turned heads. In 30 games last season, all starts, Lindblom went 20-3 with a 2.50 ERA and impressive 0.997 WHIP. On top of that, in 194 2/3 innings, he struck out 189 batters while walking just 29. Overall, Lindblom put together a 3.55 ERA over 130 starts in his five seasons abroad.

Signing players from overseas, particularly from the KBO, is obviously a familiar tune for the Brewers and their fans. Eric Thames famously came to Milwaukee in 2017 from the same league, a move that certainly paid off. More recently, Jay Jackson was signed by the Brewers after reinventing himself in Japan and played an important role out of the bullpen for the team down the stretch in 2019.

With all of Lindblom’s recent success coming after his transition to starter, that’s exactly the role that Milwaukee will be entrusting him with in 2020. That means three of the five spots should be considered filled as Lindblom joins current staff ace Brandon Woodruff and new Brewer Eric Lauer. There are internal options for the final two rotation spots, but GM David Stearns could still look externally to fill them as well.

Next: Is Madison Bumgarner a Brewers FA target?

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Little by little, the Brewers’ 40-man roster is beginning to fill out. Stay tuned to see if any more roster spots get filled before the Winter Meetings end later this week.

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