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MLB Milwaukee Brewers

Milwaukee Brewers Make Questionable Signing in Reliever Alfredo Figaro

Leon Halip-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Brewers have signed another right-handed reliever to a minor-league contract. Alfredo Figaro is the eighth non-roster player to be invited to the Brewers 2013 MLB spring training.

The 28-year-old Dominican Republic native has pitched the last two seasons for the Orix Buffaloes of Nippon Professional Baseball in the Japan Pacific League. This past season, he posted a 0-5 record with a 3.09 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 11 starts.

Figaro was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 2006 MLB Draft and made his Major League debut on June 20, 2009. He appeared in five games, three of which were starts, that season in which he went 2-2 with a 6.35 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 17 innings. Figaro is supposed to be an aggressive pitcher who should be able to start games at the professional level. However, that is not what happened with the Tigers when he was called up.

“He pitched very tentative until the horse was out of the barn,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said after Figaro’s second start in 2009 in which he surrendered seven earned runs on 10 hits to the Houston Astros. “The one thing I thought he would be was aggressive. He pitched like he was caught up in the names on the back.”

Figaro made eight more appearances, including one start, in 2010 for the Tigers with similar disappointing results. He went 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA and a measly five strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings. After the 2010 season, Detroit sold his contract to the Buffaloes. Although Figaro has posted good numbers overseas (3.25 ERA in two seasons), it is definitely not the majors.

One has to wonder why Brewers general manager Doug Melvin would even waste his time with someone such as Figaro who has proven he is unable to pitch in the Major Leagues. Hopefully, it is not because Figaro is related to closer Fernando Rodney and Melvin is taking a chance on the talent pool.

Milwaukee has cleaned house in order to improve on their Major League-worst 4.66 bullpen ERA, but has yet to do anything to convince the players or fans that anything will be different.

The three pitchers the Brewers have signed this off-season are Burke Badenhop (4.08 ERA), Chris Jakubauskas (5.58 ERA) and Figaro (6.54 ERA). Granted, Badenhop is the only one of the three who will appear on the active roster come 2013 and he posted solid numbers with the Tampa Bay Rays this past season. However, Milwaukee is not sending a good message to the fan base that they are trying to make the team better for next year.

What the Brewers must do is go out and sign left-handed reliever Mike Gonzalez or J.P. Howell in order to give the bullpen an impact player that will give the starting rotation, and the rest of the team for that matter, the confidence they need to win games.

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.