LaTroy Hawkins is back to the DL, which is only the most recent setback for Hawkins, in the first year of a 7.25 million dollar contract. Hawkins had shown good stuff before he went on the DL for the first time, but nothing has really gone right since. This deal is looking very reminiscent of the David Riske contract, which is one that Doug Melvin would certainly like to take back, although Riske seemed like a decent reliever, much like Hawkins, at the time of the signing.
The Brewers will replace him with Mike McClendon, a 25 year old righthander who was having a pretty solid season with Nashville. McClendon has only allowed 5 runs in his 40 innings of work to date, and, as the club cited in choosing him over Carlos Villanueva, he’s running a crazy 48%-22% GB-FB ratio. He has a stupendous 2.50 FIP (mostly due to the 0 home runs allowed, which is slightly unrealistic in the majors) and also a 3.31 tRA, both fantastic numbers. I don’t know anything about his stuff, but he strikes people out (35 in 40 IP), doesn’t walk many (12 BB), and when you combine that with a high amount of ground balls, that adds up to outs. Now it just remains to see if it can translate to the Majors.
Carlos Villanueva has been pitching well in AAA, and as I said when he was sent down, I don’t want to see him lost in the shuffle. However, McClendon has a good enough profile that, both short and long term, it’s hard to see this move hurting Milwaukee.