Since last season, the Brewers have parted ways with a few left-handed relievers. Josh Hader was traded last July and Brent Suter was claimed off of waivers by the Rockies. Returning in 2023 is Hoby Milner and swing man Aaron Ashby. Ethan Small is also on the 40-man roster but did not carve out a significant role with the Brew Crew last year. This leaves Milner as the only left-handed reliever that has been consistently used out of the bullpen. Given this information, it is reasonable to assume that Milwaukee could be looking to add another south paw to their pen.
This assumption was confirmed by Ken Rosenthal. In his latest news column, he mentions that the Milwaukee Brewers are one of eight known teams in the market for one of the remaining top three left-handed relievers.
The three left-handed relievers mentioned in Rosenthal’s column were Matt Moore, Andrew Chafin, and Zack Britton. All three southpaws are over the age of 30. Moore and Chafin are coming off very good 2022 campaigns whereas Britton attempted to come back early from Tommy John surgery that he underwent in September of 2021, but ended up struggling in his three appearances.
Moore, a 33 year old and 11 season veteran, spent all of 2022 as a reliever for the Rangers. This was the first time in his career that he did this and he had perhaps one of his best seasons. He threw 74 innings, had a 1.95 ERA, saved five games, and struck out 84 batters. Spotrac currently has his market value at $3.3MM.
Chafin, a 32 year old, spent all of 2022 with the Tigers. Over 57.1 innings pitched he posted a 2.83 ERA and recorded three saves. The nine year pro has been very solid over the past few seasons and has a career ERA of 3.23. He opted out of a $6.5MM salary with the Tigers for 2023.
Last up is Britton, who as mentioned above tried to return early from Tommy John surgery last year. While that did not go well for him, he has shown the ability to be a very good pitcher when healthy. During his first year with the Yankees in 2018 he posted a 2.88 ERA. His ERA’s after this were 1.91 (2019), 1.89 (2020), and then 5.89 (2021). He had previously been averaging around $13MM a year, but should sign for a lot less than that now.
It will be interesting to see if the Brewers pursue any of these left-handed relievers. They did bring back Alex Claduio on a minor league deal earlier this off season, but the upside of any of these three pitchers trumps what Claudio can do at his best.
There is less than one month remaining until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. The market for these pitchers should start to heat up pretty soon.