Results tagged ‘ Braden Looper ’

Looper a last-minute scratch

Right-hander Braden Looper was scratched minutes before his scheduled Brewers debut Saturday when he tightness in the oblique muscle along his ribcage while warming up.

Looper was supposed to throw 35 pitches against the Angels at Maryvale Baseball Park, but a Brewers spokesperson announced his injury just after the National Anthem was performed. Right-hander Eddie Morlan, who was scheduled to work in relief, made the start.

The Brewers inked Looper on Feb. 12 to a one-year contract that pays a $4.75 million base salary. His durability was a selling point; Looper missed some time in 2007 with a shoulder injury but has made at least 30 starts in each of the last two seasons after making at least 60 relief appearances in eight consecutive seasons from 1999-2006.

Macha: Gallardo probably won't go Opening Day

Brewers manager Ken Macha will not name his Opening Day starter until the final week of March, but he is “over 50 percent” sure that it will not be right-hander Yovani Gallardo.

“I’d rather have this guy go out and start in the middle somewhere,” Macha said of Gallardo, who turns 23 on Feb. 27. “I don’t know where it’s going to be just yet. Who knows, it might be second starter. … I don’t want him going out there thinking he has to throw a shutout every game and now you’re facing [Tim] Lincecum and [Jake] Peavy and [Carlos] Zambrano, guys like that.”

It makes sense that the same thought process would hold true for 26-year-old Manny Parra as for Gallardo. If that’s the case, it would leave a trio of veteran right-handers in line for the Opening Day nod on April 7 in San Francisco: Dave Bush, Braden Looper or Jeff Suppan.

Macha did leave open the door for Gallardo to open the second half, which actually could be the more prestigious assignment. Because there are fewer off-days in July, August and September, whomever draws that game is more likely to face other teams’ top pitchers.

The Brewers have an off-day on March 24, after which Macha intends to line up the rotation for the start of the season. The Brewers’ Opening Day choice should become clear soon after that date.

Looper signs; Rottino let go

Right-hander Braden Looper passed a physical exam and formally became a Brewer on Thursday when he inked a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2010.

Looper, a 34-year-old former reliever who moved to the St. Louis Cardinals’ starting rotation for the past two seasons, is expected to bolster a Brewers starting five with talent but little depth. To make room for him on the team’s full 40-man roster, Wisconsin native Vinny Rottino, a catcher, was designated for assignment.

Looper will earn $4.75 million in 2009 and at least $6 million in 2010 if both sides exercise the option. The 2010 base salary will bump to $6.5 million of Looper starts at least 30 games in 2009.

The Brewers have until 10 days after the end of the World Series to decide on their half of the option, and Looper then must make his own decision three days after that. If the Brewers decline the option, they must pay Looper a buyout.

Probably no Looper news today

Free agent right-hander Braden Looper was scheduled to undergo his physical exam late Wednesday, but his one-year pact with the Brewers probably will not be made official until Thursday, the day before pitchers and catchers report to Maryvale Baseball Park for the start of Spring Training.

Looper, 34, came to terms with the Brewers on Monday and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported those terms on its website Tuesday night. It’s a one-year contract that guarantees $4.75 million in 2009, according to the newspaper, and includes a mutual option for 2010.

If Looper declines that option, the terms of which are not yet known, he goes back to the free agent market. If the Brewers decline the option and Looper exercises it, the team must buy him out. It was not clear whether incentives could push up Looper’s ’09 salary; he earned $5.5 million from the Cardinals last season.

Looper’s agent, Alan Hendricks, has not responded to phone calls or e-mails this week for clarification of the pending deal. Brewers general manager Doug Melvin has followed instructions from Major League Baseball to avoid discussing specifics of free agent signings until they become official.

Looper terms reportedly in place

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting tonight that the Brewers and the rep for free agent right-hander Braden Looper indeed reached terms today. According to the newspaper, it will be a one-year deal with an option for 2010, but we don’t know yet whether that’s a club option, a player option, a mutual option or some sort of vesting option based on innings pitched, starts or some other statistical marker.

Not too surprising that the sides were able to agree to the framework of a deal. When general manager Doug Melvin was willing to even broach the topic today, that showed you things were moving along swiftly. Looper will have to pass a physical to make the contract official, and if I learn about the schedule for that formality, I will post it.

Now comes the really interesting part. The Brewers’ 40-man roster is full, so someone needs to go when Looper formally signs and it looks like it could be an “organizational guy” who has been with the team a while. I’d be shocked if they part with a pitcher, unless they simply decide that there’s no room for Rule 5 pick Eddie Morlan, so it makes sense that the names being kicked around include Vinny Rottino, Brad Nelson, Hernan Iribarren.  Maybe Casey McGehee should be in that group as well, but I think club officials are intrigued to see what they have in the former Cubs prospect.

Perhaps Melvin has a trade up his sleeve to help ease the logjam. Stay tuned.

Brewers "optimistic" on Looper

So much for standing pat. Brewers general manager Doug Melvin confirmed Monday that the team had re-engaged in talks with right-handed free agent Braden Looper and hoped to close a deal later this week.

“I’m optimistic,” Melvin said.

Melvin chose his words carefully because no deal was yet in place, and did not comment on whether he was offering 34-year-old Looper anything more than a one-year deal. The club has honored Major League Baseball’s directive that teams not discuss free agent signings until the requisite physical examination is complete, but Melvin indicated that in Looper’s case, there was more than that one hurdle yet to clear.

“We’re still talking,” Melvin said. “If anything happens, it’s not going to happen until later in the week.”

Looper’s agent, Alan Hendricks, did not immediately return a call to his office.

Milwaukee’s ESPN radio affiliate — 540 AM — was the first to report Monday morning that the Brewers were once again pursuing Looper, who also drew the team’s interest in December as a reliable innings-eater to bolster a thin starting rotation. 

It marked a change in club philosophy from just two weeks ago, when Melvin and Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio hinted strongly that there would be no additions to the starting rotation before the start of Spring Training. Instead, they floated the idea of holding spending at its current level — about $82 million, pending the outcome of outfielder Corey Hart’s arbitration case — to allow for flexibility early in the season, when the Brewers could try to acquire a top pitcher via trade from a team off to a poor start.

“We’ve analyzed what pitchers we think could become available during the course of the year and when it gets down to it, we think Looper fills a lot of our needs,” Melvin said.

Chief among those is that Looper, a big league reliever his entire career before switching to the starting rotation for the Cardinals in 2007, pitched 199 innings in 2008. That figure would have led all Milwaukee pitchers last year.

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