Dec 11, 2009, 9:46 PM EDT
Indications are that the Brewers are just about out of cash after signing Randy Wolf and LaTroy Hawkins for their pitching staff at the meetings. They do have an offer out to Craig Counsell, but they could well be done adding significant free agents.
Except they clearly don’t need to be.
According to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, the Brewers are leaning towards tendering contracts to both Dave Bush and Jody Gerut before Saturday’s deadline. Bush made $4 million last season, while Gerut earned $1.775 million. Neither is due a major raise in arbitration, but the Brewers would be setting aside about $6.5 million for them if they do in fact tender them.
That’s $6.5 million they could instead use to land a second reliable starter to plug into the middle of the rotation.
Instead, they’ll apparently hope that Bush can be that pitcher, even though he went 5-9 with a 6.38 ERA in 2009 season in which he was dealing with shoulder/triceps problems. Bush is a decent enough third or fourth starter when he’s going well — he had a 4.18 ERA in 185 innings in 2008 — but it’s hard to imagine that any team would guarantee him $4 million-$4.5 million if he became a free agent. Teams in smaller parks would shy away because he’s so homer-prone, and the rest of the league would still show plenty of caution.
Gerut is a closer call. He hit a very impressive .296/.351/.494 in 328 at-bats for the Padres in 2008, but he struggled for both San Diego and Milwaukee last year, coming in at .230/.279/.376. If he’s saved, it’d be the result of his strong finish while Corey Hart was recovering from an appendectomy. However, manager Ken Macha had very little interest in using him while the rest of the team’s outfielders were healthy.
I’ve been assuming that both would be set free. Neither is worth writing off, but my guess is that wouldn’t clear $4 million between them on the open market. Unless they’re willing to take paycuts now, the Brewers should let them go and try to re-sign them later.
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