Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What to do about Braden Looper?

The Milwaukee Brewers have until Saturday to exercise their $6.5 million "mutual" option on starting pitcher Braden Looper. At first blush it seems like an easy decision for Doug Melvin and the Milwaukee Brewers to pick-up the option. Looper lead the Brewers with 14 wins (though he was the lucky recipient of strong run support) and 194.2 innings pitched (source: here). Furthermore, the Brewers are very thin at starting pitching so why not bring him back? Unfortunately Looper gave up a major league leading 133 earned runs and 39 home runs (source: here). Plus Looper had an ERA of 5.22, 100 strikeouts and 66 walks.

If the Brewers decline their option on Looper they will be even thinner in the starting pitching department with Yovani Gallardo, Manny Parra, Jeff Suppan (getting paid $12.5 million...yikes) and Dave Bush (if he re-signs with the Brewers). If the Brewers decline Looper's option they owe him $1 million. There is a school of thought that the market is soft for middle of the rotation starting pitching so the Brewers could decline Looper's option and still attempt to resign him for less than $6.5 million but why take the chance? At this point the Brewers are backed into a corner and might as well pick up Looper's option as a VERY expensive hedge. If they do that it would mean that the Brewers are paying two former St. Louis Cardinal pitchers, who are not that very good by the way, $19 million next season. Paying CC Sabathia $20 to $25 million doesn't look that bad when compared to $19 million for Looper and Suppan.

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