Next week, pitchers and catchers for the Milwaukee Brewers will report to spring training. Among them will be some familiar faces as well as some new members to the organization.
Within the pitching group, specifically, the Brewers made a number of moves to add depth to the staff. A couple of those moves bolstered the starting rotation, while many more gave the team a bunch of new arms to consider for the bullpen.
And while Milwaukee now may have a deeper bullpen than last season, it's possible they could still use one more arm to be deployed in the late innings. After all, Josh Hader is gone after last year's infamous trade deadline deal, Devin Williams has moved to the closer's role, and Brad Boxberger now pitches for the rival Chicago Cubs after having his option declined by the Crew this offseason.
Though the free agent market has mostly thinned out with the offseason nearly over, there are still a few quality bullpen arms still out there. Some could even slot in as effective late inning options for the 2023 season.
Here are three remaining free agents who could still address the Brewers' bullpen.
1. LHP Andrew Chafin
Not only could the Brewers use a pitcher who could be inserted in the late innings of games, it wouldn't hurt for them to add a little more left-handed depth as well. Andrew Chafin could satisfy both of those needs in one signing.
The 32-year-old Chafin is coming fresh off of a one-year deal with the Detroit Tigers. It was a very solid showing for him in 2022, as in 64 games he put up a 2.83 ERA, 1.169 WHIP, and 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings.
Chafin mostly has a history of success, having only had a season ERA over 4.00 in two of his nine years in the league, which has also seen him pitch for the Diamondbacks, Cubs, and A's. And he has done it on the back of a three-pitch mix that includes a sinker, slider, and four seamer.
Chafin's slider is particularly deadly. Opposing batters hit just .085 off of the pitch last season and their 60.4% whiff rate against it was the fifth highest of any pitchers slider in the entire league in 2022. Now imagine seeing that before having to face a Devin Williams Airbender.