Relief pitcher and former All-Star Brad Boxberger is another veteran presence that can help the Brewers down the stretch.
Boxberger was signed over Valentine’s Day weekend and another player with a minor league deal and big league camp invite. He has a career 3.56 ERA and has 77 career saves.
He was an All-Star in 2015, and has been a relief pitcher and closer over his nine MLB seasons. He had 41 saves with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2015, and 32 for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2018.
Much like Zimmerman with the starting pitchers, Boxberger would be a great veteran presence for Milwaukee’s similarly young bullpen. Players like Eric Yardley, Justin Topa, and Drew Rasmussen have not played a full MLB season yet. Primarily a fastball and changeup pitcher, his style would be another unique approach to the current bullpen. Since most of the bullpen players that aren’t locks already have multiple options besides Ray Black, Boxberger stands a good chance make the roster.
Boxberger is coming off of a decent 2020 season with the Miami Marlins. He pitched 18 innings and ended with a 3.00 ERA. After a difficult season in 2019, if he continues and adds on his success of last season, this will be another amazing and sneaky signing by David Stearns.
Blaine Hardy is coming off Tommy John surgery and missed the 2020 season. Can a fresh start help the Brewers with middle relief innings?
Blaine Hardy could easily complement Brent Suter and Freddy Peralta with a similar bullpen role. Hardy does have 13 starts under his belt, but was primarily used as a reliever during his six seasons with the Tigers.
He signed with Minnesota Twins after becoming a free agent, but did miss the entire 2020 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery and was released. He signed a minor league contract with the Brewers in late January.
Hardy has a career 3.73 ERA and a 14-10 record. He also has a recorded save. His 2019 season was also affected by injuries. In 2018, he pitched in 30 games and all 13 starts of his career were that year. He ended 2018 with a 4-5 record and 3.56 ERA. It wasn’t super impressive, but a sub-four ERA over 86 innings pitched is nothing to scoff at.
The left-handed Hardy doesn’t give up a lot of home runs, and uses a combination of a slower fastball, cutter, curveball, and changeup. The only thing holding him back is that he might be too similar to Suter. A slower velocity left-handed pitcher that come in after your starter or a starting pitcher if needed. Again, if he has an impressive Spring Training, I can see him getting a shot over other younger arms like Drew Rasmussen or J.P. Feyereisen.
Having multiple veteran lefties in the bullpen is never a bad idea. Suter’s speedy delivery is a lot different than Hardy’s, so switching them up with Peralta if he isn’t starting would be confusing for hitters. I believe Milwaukee’s bullpen should be the best in baseball this year.