The Milwaukee Brewers are determined to sign two relievers in free agency while the rest of the bullpen will be made up of prospects and already-signed relief pitchers. One possible addition to the bullpen could be Jon Rauch because the Brewers have reportedly shown interest in the right-hander.
Milwaukee’s general manager Doug Melvin said on Jim Bowden’s MLB Network radio show on Tuesday that he is interested in Rauch among four other relievers that he is hoping he can convince to sign with the Brewers for a decent price. Considering Milwaukee is taking at least a 20 percent cut in payroll from this past season, it is important to get the biggest bang for their buck.
The 6-foot-11, 290-pound Rauch has played for six Major League teams in his career, with his most recent stint coming with the New York Mets. The 34-year-old has mostly spent his time in the bullpen and has not started a game since 2005. Teams have used him in various different ways, but he has plenty of experience in the setup and closer role.
In 2011 with the Toronto Blue Jays, Rauch was a more of a closer while this past season with the Mets, he was used as the setup man. The Brewers would probably prefer to use him in the sixth or seventh inning instead of later in games, considering he has blown nine saves in the last two years and has averaged 3.1 blown saves per season in his 10-year career.
In 2012, Rauch posted a 3-7 record with a 3.59 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 42 strikeouts, four saves and 16 holds in 73 appearances of which he played 57 2/3 innings. He has averaged a 3.80 ERA, 46 strikeouts, 17.2 walks, 6.2 saves, 9.6 holds and 54 appearances per season in his career.
The standard price for Rauch appears to be a one-year, $3.5 million contract, which is what he received from the Mets this past season. Like some of the other prices for relievers the Brewers have been reportedly linked to, this is a bit out of the organization’s price range considering they are trying to improve on their Major League-worst 4.66 bullpen ERA in 2012 while keeping costs down.
This is not to say Rauch is incapable of improving the bullpen because his veteran presence could do wonders for the team. Plus, what is there not to like about a pitcher who averages 7.2 strikeouts and 2.7 walks per nine innings over the course of his career? However, his statistical accomplishments in recent years will not make Milwaukee comfortable spending over $3 million for him. There are a few other relievers still on the market who will post much better numbers and will command a far cheaper deal.
Michael is a MLB and NBA Featured Writer for Rant Sports, but covers topics for various teams in baseball, basketball, and football. Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelTerrill and on Facebook.