(Editor's Note: This is the debut post by new contibutor Dakota Schmidt, who has written about sports for BehindTheBuckPass.com and DLeagueDigest.com, among others. -NM)
The rebuilding of the Brewers bullpen continued with the signing of left-handed reliever / spot starter Tom Gorzelanny to a reported two-year deal that will pay around $6 million. Gorzelanny adds a left-handed reliever to a bullpen that was in dire need of one after the team non-tendered Manny Parra earlier in the offseason.
Gorzelanny made his way to the bullpen after struggling as a starting pitcher for the likes of Pittsburgh, the Cubs and the Nationals. Early in Gorzelanny’s career with the Pirates he was looked at as one of the great pitching prospects along with Ian Snell and Zach Duke that would help lead the Pirates out of the cellar of the NL Central. Gorzelanny had a solid rookie year in ’07 when he posted a 14-10 record and a decent 1.40 WHIP. He was sent down to AAA in the middle of the 2008 season because of control issues which actually lasted into the ’09 season until he was sent to Chicago midway through the season to play with their NL Central rival Chicago Cubs.
Gorzelanny actually experienced some success in the 2010 season with the Cubs by striking out 119 batters and only walking 68 which allowed him to have a 1.75 SO/BB ratio, which was a huge improvement from his final year with the Pirates. In January of 2011, he was sent to Washington for multiple prospects because he became expendable after the Cubs traded for Matt Garza. He started the season in the starting rotation but moved to the bullpen in mid-June where he proved himself as a solid reliever by having a great 1.075 WHIP, allowing a batting average of only .222 and having a SO/BB ratio of 3.33 which is great when you look at his rough history with the Pirates.
Gorzelanny moved into the 2012 season as a permanent left-handed reliever for the NL East-winning Nationals where he continued as an extremely solid reliever. His SO/BB ratio stayed around 2.00 through most of the season and had a 1.31 WHIP which was the 2nd best in the Nationals bullpen only behind All-Star Drew Storen.
Overall, Gorzelanny is a good left-handed reliever that was needed on this team because the only other left-handed pitcher we currently have is Chris Narveson, who appears to be a part of the starting rotation. A great part about having a left-hander like Gorzelanny is the simple fact that he’s solid against both sides of the plate (a .245 average for RHB (right-handed batters) and a .237 BA for LHB). He’s really more of a ground-ball pitcher than a fly-ball pitcher which is pretty good with the solid defensive infield we have with the likes of Segura, Weeks and Ramirez. Even though he probably has a bad reputation with Brewers fans because he was both a Pirate and a Cub, I really do think he’ll be a solid middle-of-the bullpen / emergency set-up man for the 2013 season and beyond.