Brewers Officially Ink Pitcher Braden Looper
By Todd Welter
The Brewers rounded out their starting rotation by officially signing free agent pitcher Braden Looper to a one-year deal. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed by the team. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Tom Hardicourt reports Looper will make $4.75 million this season with the chance to earn an additional $750,000 in incentives. The deal does have a mutual option for 2010.
"Braden brings to our ballclub a veteran presence who takes the ball and gives you a chance to win," Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin said in statement issued by the club. "His workhorse approach is something that we needed to fill out our rotation and make up for some of the loss of CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets."
Looper will most likely draw more comparisons to Caddyshack references than a Sabathia or Sheets like performance. The veteran righty can eat up innings and win some ballgames. He logged 199 innings in 33 starts last season along with a 12-14 record with the St. Louis Cardinals. That is more innings than any of the current Brewers pitchers in the rotation had last season. Dave Bush registered the most innings of any returning Brewers starter with 185.
Looper has a career record of 58-58 along with a 3.93 career ERA. Looper had a 4.16 ERA last season. He owns a career 24-26 record as a starter. Looper has spent most of his 11 year career in the bullpen with 572 relief appearances and 103 saves. Looper owns two World Series rings during stays with the Florida Marlins in 2003 and with the Cardinals in 2006. Looper also pitched for the New York Mets.
Looper will join Bush, Yovani Gallardo, Jeff Suppan, and Manny Parra in the starting rotation. The Brewers designated C Vinny Rottino for assignment to make room for Looper on the 40-man roster. Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in Maryvale, Arizona tomorrow.