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Free Agent Fantasyland: Jerome Williams to Milwaukee Brewers

(Image: latimes.com)

These dark days it seems like the Brewers can’t afford to sign anyone, even players who make the league minimum or would play for free.  When the team can’t figure out an Ike Davis trade or a Justin Smoak trade (or anything else for that matter, besides Aoki for Will Smith) that could help the club going forward, it’s kind of silly to predict what free agents could be signed.  I don’t want GM Doug Melvin to trade Tyler Thornburg for Davis either, but is it really this hard to make a sensible move for this ballclub?  As others have said, it’s like ol’ Doug is just messing with us now.  Or at least he’s messing with the die-hard Brewers geeks who really would like something to analyze, now, please.  A lot of free agents have come off the board and the Brewers have spent zero dollars.  Granted, there are still a lot of players out there and maybe the Brewers are just feeling sad and reflective about their lack of pull and sway in the marketplace.  They ain’t got no money.  They ain’t got no big market.  They ain’t got a first baseman.  It’s just a little bleak to watch as the Brewers do ab-so-lut-a-men-te nada!! 

Perhaps 32-year-old right hander Jerome Williams, who pitched for the L.A. Halos of the American League for the last three years, could be a decent addition to the Brewers rotation.  The Hawaii-born Williams was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 1999 and has bounced around significantly since then, spending various amounts of time with the Chicago Cubs, Washington Nats, Minnesota Twins, Long Beach Armada, Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland A’s, Indios De Mayaguez and Angels organizations.  Williams has been in and out of the scene at the major league level but has made 117 starts in his big-league career.  Williams also spent time with the Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions of the Chinese Professional Baseball League, according to Wikipedia.  

Over the years, Williams has dealt with various injuries which have hampered his production but he has pitched over 130 innings in each of the last two years for the Angels, sporting an ERA around 4.50.  That ain’t great, but it’s workhorse-ish; the Brewers could use some fortification in their rotation and this guy’s been through a lot.  He’s a lot less green than some of the Brewers’ internal options like Thornburg, Nelson, Burgos and others.  I have a bad feeling that the Brewers will go into the season with Kyle Lohse, Yovani Gallardo, Wily Peralta, Marco Estrada and the #5 guy and then one of the top four is going to be hurt or ineffective and miss time early in the season.  That’s when it would be nice to have more depth in the rotation.  It’d be better to keep a guy like Thornburg chomping at the bit to make the major league team than guarantee him a spot.  I know he’s currently not guaranteed a rotation spot but there’s so much of the reactionary look-what-he’s-done-recently chatter from the front office (“Thornburg was as good as Wacha down the stretch last year”…) that one has to wonder.  I guess I’m just advocating depth, depth and more depth versus just going by what may have been a good run that could just as easily NOT translate to the beginning of the season, a la 2013 with Fiers and Rogers. 

Jerome Williams was projected to get $3.9MM from the Angels in arbitration but was non-tendered.  I don’t know, maybe Jerome Williams is too expensive for the Crew’s needs.  What the Tanaka?  There are still a ton of starting pitchers out there, some of which could be had for the thrift-store rates the Brewers have to offer.  Via MLBTR:

Starting Pitchers

Alfredo Aceves (31)
Bronson Arroyo (37)
Dylan Axelrod (28)
Scott Baker (32)
Erik Bedard (35)
Travis Blackley (31)
A.J. Burnett (37)
Chris Capuano (35)
Bruce Chen (37)
Jeff Francis (33)
Freddy Garcia (37)
Jon Garland (34)
Matt Garza (30)
Chad Gaudin (31)
Jason Hammel (31)
Tommy Hanson (27)
Aaron Harang (36)
Jeremy Hefner (28)
Ubaldo Jimenez (30)
Jair Jurrjens (28)
Jeff Karstens (31)
John Lannan (29)
Paul Maholm (32)
Jason Marquis (35)
Daisuke Matsuzaka (33)
James McDonald (29)
Jeff Niemann (31)
Roy Oswalt (35)
Greg Reynolds (28)
Clayton Richard (30)
Ervin Santana (31)
Johan Santana (34)
Joe Saunders (33)
Kevin Slowey (30)
Masahiro Tanaka (25) – right to sign acquired via posting system for Japanese players
Jake Westbrook (36)
Jerome Williams (32)
Suk-Min Yoon (27)
Barry Zito (36)

Maybe I really am getting ahead of myself with this Williams talk.  He’s just a pitcher I have thought might fit with the Crew depending on the cost.  The above list is a bit patchy but it’s a little surprising there are so many guys left because one rarely hears a word about any of them beneath the holy trinity of Garza, Ubaldo and Ervin Santana.  Maybe Doug Melvin is doing the pertinent thing and being excruciatingly patient with this horrible, horrible free-agent market.  It’s been like watching paint dry so far this offseason, but maybe Brewers fans should just read a book and forget about the team until the market thaws out a little bit.  The Brewers are the dog under the table looking for scraps.  Despite a large smattering of appetizers, dinner’s not even served yet.