Brewers news has been somewhat sparse since the season ended, but the club recently severed ties with a couple members of last year’s squad, and we’ve just now learned of an incident that may affect the future of another:
– Per MLB Trade Rumors, right-handers Tim Dillard and Vinnie Chulk both elected to become minor-league free agents rather than return to the Brewers. Dillard posted a 3.80 FIP in 37 relief innings this year, while Chulk had one of those weird lines that happen when you only throw 10 innings – a 2.21 FIP and a 9.00 ERA.
Neither of these pitchers had much of an effect on the Brewers’ season, besides the guilt-by-association that came from being a member of the 2012 Milwaukee bullpen. Dillard was used almost strictly as a mop-up man (his average leverage index this year was an absurdly low 0.4), and the fact that Chulk got to the majors in the first place was a testament to how desperate the ‘pen situation was in the first place. From a performance standpoint, neither will really be missed, either. Chulk will probably find a contract and invite to camp somewhere, as will Dillard. The latter, in fact, could probably still have a nice major-league career if his new manager decides he desperately needs a sidearming ROOGY to call his own.
However, looking only at on-field accomplishments doesn’t do Dillard’s career justice. The right-hander was originally drafted as a catcher, then signed with the Brewers a year later as a pitcher, reaching the majors in 2007 before falling back into the minors and resurfacing in 2010 as a sidearmer. His imitation of Tim Kurkjian on Baseball Tonight became a minor internet sensation during last Spring Training, contributing to his cult hero status among much of the Brewer blogosphere. If he winds up finding his niche with his next club, you can bet you’ll hear about it.
– A more concerning piece of news came out of Milwaukee yesterday, with the report that reliever Francisco Rodriguez was arrested in September on a domestic violence charge. According to the Waukesheau County District Attorney, Rodriguez is accused of “physical abuse” of his girlfriend, but it isn’t clear if he will be charged with a crime. Rodriguez pled guilty to an assault charge in 2010 after an altercation with his father-in-law and underwent anger-management counseling.
The actions in question are wrong and totally unacceptable, but nothing has been proven yet, and it doesn’t make sense to pass judgement when so little is known at this point. Rodriguez stated last week that he’d really love to come back to Milwaukee (JS paywall alert), but it’s hard to say whether this will affect the Brewers’, or if they had any intention of retaining his services to begin with. However, if Rodriguez is charged and found guilty, it’s likely that he would incur penalties from MLB as well. It’s hard to know what to make of this right now, but it’s safe to say that this situation is a bad one for everyone involved.