Ever since the non-tendering of Manny Parra, the only thing higher than left-handed reliever on Doug Melvin’s offseason wishlist has been starting pitcher. While he’s still come up empty there, he at least took care of the lefty reliever need Thursday: according to Tom Haudricourt, the Brewers have signed familiar face Tom Gorzelanny to a two-year deal.
Gorzelanny started his career in Pittsburgh before spending a year and a half with the Cubs in 2009 and 2010. He’s spent the last two years in Washington, mostly coming out of the bullpen.
Once hailed as one of the better young pitchers in the game (remember when he, Ian Snell, Paul Maholm and Zach Duke were going to be the young core to get the Bucs back in contention?), things fell apart for him after the 2007 season. While he can still be an okay emergency starter, he seems to have really found a niche in the bullpen.
Last season, he put up a 2.88 ERA in 45 appearances for the Nats, striking out a little more than 8 batters per 9 innings. He was an especially valuable piece against left-handed batters, holding them to a .237/.289/.398 line last season. He was serviceable-but-not-great against righties, as they hit .245/.343/.397 against him. If you’re into judging relievers on opponent batting average the performance looks pretty even, but the walk numbers are a little concerning. You may remember the issues Parra had with walks against right-handers last year, although Gorzelanny doesn’t typically struggle to that degree.
For his career, Gorzelanny has seen righties hit .273/.354/.435 against him, compared to a .233/.296/.367 line from lefties. The Brewers could probably get away with using Gorzelanny against a righty or two in some situations (he could probably handle a R-L-R stretch every now and then), but it’s pretty clear he shouldn’t be expected to do it consistently.
No salary numbers have been released yet, but it’s probably safe to assume it’s less than the $8 million Sean Burnett got from the Angels for two years. Randy Choate signed a 3-year, $7.5 million deal with the Cardinals earlier this month, which might be along the lines of what we can expect for an annual average value.
Gorzelanny seems headed for the bullpen, joining John Axford, Jim Henderson, Burke Badenhop and probably Brandon Kintzler. Assuming a 12-man pitching staff, that leaves two spots still open.
UPDATE: Jon Morosi of Fox Sports says the two-year deal will be for a total of $6 million.