Given recent performance, this probably qualifies as the least surprising news in awhile.
#Brewers RHP Vinnie Chulk has been designated for assignment. The team has selected the contract of LHP Juan Perez from Triple-A Nashville.
— Mike Vassallo (@MikeVassallo13) May 19, 2012
Chulk was called up on April 28 when the team was in need of a fresh arm in the bullpen. Now he’s being shipped out for similar reasons. In the past three nights, the bullpen has had to cover 11 innings. Chulk’s pitched 4 of them, the last one being his undoing, giving up 4 earned runs on 5 hits on Friday night. In his one month on the roster, Chulk gave up 17 hits and 4 walks in 9 innings, allowing 10 runs.
Nobody should have expected much from Chulk when he was added to the roster. He was a minor league free agent for a reason. His career ERA now stands at 4.51 in 285.1 innings, and his last good season came 5 years ago. He was brought up to suck up a few innings, and that’s exactly what he did. He saved the Brewers from having to throw more valuable arms in sure losses (they were 1-6 in his appearances, with the only win coming in the 12-inning marathon against the Cubs), even if he helped murder the team’s run differential in the process.
Unlike Chulk, the call-up of Perez has the potential to be interesting. While he has very little big league experience (only 20.2 innings under his belt, and he’s 33 this year), he can be very effective against lefties. Perez had a 0.84 ERA in 10 appearances for Nashville this year, and could have made the team out of spring training as a lefty specialist had it not been for a collapsed lung that kept him out for much of the spring. In terms of stuff, Perez is a fastball/slider guy whose fastball has averaged 94 mph in the past.
Since Chulk had no options, he had to be designated for assignment, which also cleared the 40-man roster spot for Perez.
UPDATE: After Saturday’s game, Conrad was optioned back to Nashville to make room for Gomez. Conrad tied Brad Nelson’s infamous “0-for-21 to start his Brewers career” mark after popping out. This is why we don’t overanalyze 25th Man roster decisions at the end of spring.