(Image: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images North America)
The Colorado Rockies recently released veteran starter Jon Garland, 33, after he had a bumpy start to the season, posting a 5.82 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP in 68 innings. MLB Trade Rumors suggests that Garland may have been unlucky in racking up some less-than-stellar numbers this year, and while I haven’t seen Garland pitch much in 2013, I think he could help patch up a Brewers rotation that is basically in experiment mode at this point beyond the turbulent trio of Gallardo, Lohse and Peralta. After having current relief pitchers like Alfredo Figaro and Tom Gorzelanny make starts in recent days, the Brewers could use a true starter in their rotation rather than forcing useful relievers into spot starts on a regular basis. With Marco Estrada and Chris Narveson currently unavailable, and minor-league options like Tyler Thornburg and Mike Fiers not exactly tearing it up, perhaps the time is right to bring in Garland, who missed all of 2012 but sports a not-dreadful 4.37 ERA over a 13-year career that covers 342 starts and a World Series ring (White Sox, 2005), and ranges from a serviceable-to-effective major-league starter, even now.
I whined all winter about how the Brewers were setting themselves up for a house-of-cards scenario by not bringing in a veteran, been-there-done-that kind of guy during the offseason, or at least not taking a flyer on a guy like Scott Kazmir. There were at least a handful of starters out there that could’ve been reeled in on minor-league deals; then the Brewers could have cut them if it didn’t work out. Instead they signed Lohse, and what’s done is done on that front. But now we’re truly feeling just how fragile the Brewers’ pitching depth is, both in the majors and minors. A stop-gap type is what’s needed here right now, a guy who would help out in the clubhouse and who could step in and win some games with the way the Brewers are capable of swinging the bats. The key here is that Garland essentially makes the major-league minimum at a $500,000 salary this year, which is 10 times less money than he made in 2011 with the L.A. Dodgers.
The word has been that Garland prefers to pitch on the West Coast, or at least somewhere well west of the Mississippi. The California native spent a lot of time with the White Sox but has since pitched for the Angels, D-Backs, Dodgers and Padres, along with the Rox. I don’t know if Garland would come to Milwaukee, or if GM Doug Melvin would be keen on the idea, but Garland is on the tail end of his career with options drying up. If it could be worked out, I would be excited to see what an experienced guy like that could bring to a disheveled Brewers rotation that is seeking answers and ways to stop the stinky dead-fish water from flooding in on a sinking ship. The Brewers have the worst team ERA in the NL (4.47) and are second in the NL in losses (37), behind only the woeful Marlins (45!). By striking contrast, St. Louis has only 22 losses….
I know you can’t predict baseball, but if the Brewers lose even one game to the Marlins this week, I may cry a little bit. Why not bring Garland in for a tryout? There’s really nothing to lose.