As good as Hoby Milner has been, the Brewers need to give him some help from the left side. Milner is fifth in the NL in appearances this year, already nearing 50 for the campaign. He's been dazzling, with an ERA of 2.21 and 38 strikeouts against nine walks. The heavy usage the team has asked of him, however, figures to wear him down as the season nears its conclusion. Justin Wilson is a good complement if he's fully healthy and on his game, but the Brewers only have a few days to find out whether he's going to be at that level.
There are several lefty relievers who should be available this week, though, and whom the Brewers could acquire cheaply. Here are three particularly appealing options.
Brad Hand, LHP, Rockies
There's actually, ahem, an even more appealing Rockies lefty on the market, but bringing back Brent Suter at deadline premium prices might be a bit too awkward to manage. Instead, the Brewers could call about Hand, a journeyman whose career keeps coming back from the brink. Hand has a wicked slider that plays well off his fastball, even as the latter offering loses its former juice. Hand's surface-level numbers look poor, which might hold down his acquisition cost, but he's actually been solid for the Rockies. Getting him out of Coors Field would solve half his problems overnight. A pure rental, Hand shouldn't cost much. The Rockies just acquired a pair of fungible prospects for right-handed reliever Pierce Johnson, from Atlanta.
Matt Moore, LHP, Angels
With the Rangers under .500 over the last six weeks and the AL East's Wild Card contenders looking less formidable by the minute, the Angels have a clearer path to contention than they seemed to have even a fortnight ago. That could render Moore unavailable at the deadline, but if the team elects to make him available, he'd be a great fit for Milwaukee. Since converting to the bullpen for good at the start of 2022, he's run an ERA around 2.00, striking out over 25 percent of opponents and inducing a good amount of weak contact.
Though far separated from the young man who was one of baseball's top three prospects over a decade ago, this version of Moore throws about 94, with good life on the fastball. His changeup and curveball both miss bats. His command isn't what one might wish it were, but he's still a solid setup option from the port side.
Brooks Raley, LHP, Mets
In a Brewers bullpen that specializes in inducing weak contact, Raley would be a perfect fit and a standout addition. He stays off barrels as well as any pitcher in baseball, with lots of spin and four pitches (a sweeping slider, a sinker, a cutter, and a changeup) he can use to flummox hitters despite his low-end velocity. The Mets are likely to end up selling as they stumble toward the deadline, and Raley would be one of their most attractive trade chips. He can be kept on a club option for $6.25 million in 2024, with a $1.25-million buyout, and that would make him slightly more expensive than Hand or Moore, but he's also likely to be better than either of them the rest of the way. More than Milner or Wilson, Raley could slot in as a true late-inning, high-leverage weapon, to go along with the team's cluster of trusted setup men.
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