Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Davis Returns To Milwauke, Rotation Instantly Stronger

Get ready for the return of the 4 hour game this summer at Miller Park. That's right, Doug Davis is back in a Brewers uniform. To say that Davis works “slow” is an understatement. But I could care less how “slow” he works, he is a good pitcher. Davis returns on a 1 year $4.25 mill contract with a $6.5 mill option for 2011. He played for the Crew from 2003-2006 before being traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Johnny Estrada (UGGHHH), GM Doug Melvin still admits to this being the worst trade he has ever made. Adding Davis to a rotation that already added Randy Wolf this offseason makes this rotation better then what the Brewers had last season. Don't get me wrong, I don't think Davis is a great pitcher, but he is a real good one. It's like the Brewers are replacing Looper and Suppan with Wolf and Davis. That is an upgrade, no doubt about it.

Davis is durable, he has made 30+ starts in 5 of the last 6 seasons and is always a lock for 200 innings. He is good for 11-13 wins and has had an ERA above 4.32 only once in the last 7 years. And in 2 of those season his ERA was under 4. He is a fly ball pitcher who can strike batters out when he needs to, the one knock on Davis besides his slow working, he is prone to walk batters. His WHIP is consistently in the 1.4 and 1.5 range. So you know he works a lot with runners on, but he is good at working out of jams and stranding runners on base.

With the addition of Doug I would predict the Brewers rotation to be Gallardo, Wolf, Davis, Bush and Parra. We all know how good Gallardo is and he should improve. Wolf and Davis are what they are and that is good. If Bush is healthy he should be fine, the big question is will Manny Parra finally step up and live up to the high expectations Brewers brass and fans have had for him. Hopefully this is the season that Parra meshes his physical ability with the mental part of the game. So that leaves the final year and bloated contract of Jeff Suppan on the outside looking in. Unless Suppan has some great spring or Parra/Bush flame out badly I think Suppan will and should start the season as the long man out of the bullpen. That would make Suppan, Chris Narveson, Chris Capuano. Josh Butler and Mike Jones as the next guys as depth in case of an injury. And I would say that group of names is better depth then say Mike Burns, Seth McClung and Carlos Villanueva. So this Davis signing also improves the overall depth of the starting pitching. Which was awful last season. Let's put it this way, the Brewers were able to win 80 games in 2009 with the worst starting rotation in baseball, with the addition of Wolf and now Davis if they can make this rotation even average, they should contend for a playoff spot.

Davis has to be the “feel good” signing of the offseason. He was a fan favorite here the first time around (gotta love the “sharpie” style facial hair), married a Wisconsin gal from the Stevens Point area and really enjoyed playing in Milwaukee.