Jul 29, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Will Smith (13) reacts on the mound during the eighth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Owner: Milwaukee Brewers Still Shopping For Bullpen Help

Owner Mark Attanasio said this weekend that the Milwaukee Brewers, rebuffed in their efforts to add some bullpen help at the non-waiver trade deadline last month, are still working the phones to see if they can add an arm or two before the postseason eligibility deadline on Sept. 1.

Attanasio told MLB.com that Brewers are active on the waiver wire right now.

“Listen, we put in claims literally [Saturday] for relief pitchers,” Attanasio said. “Literally, [Saturday].”

General manager Doug Melvin had said last month he made serious offers for relievers such as Joaquin Benoit of the San Diego Padres, Koji Uehara of the Boston Red Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks relievers Addison Reed and Brad Ziegler.

But there were no deals to be made, with many teams asking for right-hander Jimmy Nelson—now part of the starting rotation—in straight-up trades for relief pitching.

The Brewers have been without right-hander Jim Henderson, last season’s closer, since May 1 and right-hander Tyler Thornburg hasn’t pitched since June 6 and both of those players are reportedly being shut down for the year after being unable to sufficiently rehabilitate their injuries.

Closer Francisco Rodriguez has been solid for the most part, earning his major-league leading 38th save Saturday night, one more than Greg Holland of the Kansas City Royals.

Rodriguez has a 2.84 ERA and 0.930 WHIP in 58 appearances in 57 innings and has converted 38-of-42 save chances.

From there, it’s been hit and miss.

Left-hander Will Smith, acquired last December from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for outfielder Nori Aoki, got off to a terrific start, pitching to a 1.36 ERA and 1.289 WHIP in 44 appearances and 39.2 innings through the end of June.

In 19 appearances in July and August, Smith has a 9.20 ERA and 1.568 WHIP in 14.2 innings as opposing hitters have rung up an .897 OPS against him over that span.

Smith leads all of baseball with 63 appearances this season.

Left-hander Zach Duke was being considered for eighth-inning setup duties after putting up a 1.04 ERA and 0.946 WHIP in 50 appearances and 43.1 innings through the end of July, but in August, Duke has given up seven runs, five earned, in three innings over five appearances with an unsightly 3.000 WHIP.

Right-hander Brandon Kintzler, so effective in the eighth inning over the second half of last season, has been inconsistent all season, with a 3.43 ERA and 1.333 WHIP in 46 appearances and 42 innings.

The other guys in the pen right now are lefty Tom Gorzelanny, who has a 0.68 ERA and 1.275 WHIP in 15 appearances and 13.1 innings since returning from offseason shoulder surgery, and right-hander Jeremy Jeffress, who has a 0.93 ERA and 1.138 WHIP in 11 appearances and 9.2 innings since being recalled from Triple-A Nashville last month.

Neither Gorzelanny nor Jeffress have gotten a lot of high-leverage opportunities, however.

The long man is Marco Estrada, who has a 2.79 ERA and 1.138 WHIP in seven relief appearances covering 19.1 innings after being bumped from the rotation in favor of Nelson prior to the All-Star break.

As a starter, Estrada was 7-6 with a 4.96 ERA and 1.271 WHIP in 18 starts and 107 innings and still leads all of baseball with the 28 home runs he has coughed up this season, all but one of them during his time in the rotation.

Waiver claims are difficult for the Brewers because they currently 13th of the 15 National League teams on the claim list, ahead of only the Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals based on winning percentage.

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Tags: Brandon Kintzler Francisco Rodriguez Mark Attanasio Milwaukee Brewers Will Smith Zach Duke

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