Badenhop to pitch with Brewers (02-12-13)
Written by JACK CARLE Sentinel Sports Editor
Tuesday, 12 February 2013 10:05
For Burke Badenhop having a change of employers in December is becoming a common occurrence.
|Burke Badenhop (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)
Badenhop, a Perrysburg High School and Bowling Green State University graduate, has been in professional baseball since being drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 2005 after finishing his career with the Falcons.
Since then, he has been traded three times, all in December.
This past December Badenhop, who turned 30 earlier this month, was dealt from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Milwaukee Brewers.
''It was interesting. We had heard the Rays weren't going to tender me a contract and that kind of put me in limbo there,'' Badenhop said in a telephone interview last week. "I was expecting a call to break that news and that never happened. When I did get a call from the Rays, I thought it was something to smooth things over. It turns out that they ended up trading me.''
Badenhop has spent his entire Major League career with Florida teams. He was part of the Tigers' trade with the Marlins in which Miguel Cabrera came to Detroit. In December 2011 he went from the Marlins to the Rays.
Now he's back in the National League with a Brewers team that had bullpen struggles last season.
"They said they were happy to have me. They only brought back two to three of the seven guys (from 2011),'' Badenhop said about the Brewers. "They are looking for consistent innings ... to up the pitching because they have a pretty good offense there in Milwaukee; it's an offensive ball park.''
With Milwaukee being the favorite city of his mother-in-law and brothers-in-law and some of Badenhop's family still in Northwest Ohio, as well as having friends throughout the region, he is looking to get back in the Midwest.
''It's not some place that is completely unfamiliar,'' Badenhop said. ''When you have no say in the game of where you land, landing in Milwaukee is an absolute blessing.
"It's a really great place. It's the loudest ballpark that I have ever been in,'' he added.
Badenhop is closing in on five years of service in the majors. He has been both a starter and a reliever, but has settled into a middle relief role in recent years.
In the majors, Badenhop is 16-17 with two saves and a 4.08 earned run average, pitching 313 innings while appearing in 216 games. He has struck out 232 and walked 102.
Last season the Rays had a very solid pitching staff, and Badenhop was 3-2 with a 3.03 ERA, pitching in a career-high 66 games.
But in this case, Badenhop said the statistics don't tell the whole story.
''I do think it was one of my best years, better than the year before,'' he said. ''But if that was the case the Rays would have had no qualms with bringing me back.
''Last year we had such a great staff and a great bullpen that some other guys and I, while we pitched well and pitched the innings we had, it wasn't the impact innings that some of our
other guys had,'' he added. ''It's not to discount anything I did last year. I did pitch very well. I wasn't needed in spots because everyone else was taking care of business.''
Badenhop said his best year was 2009 with the Marlins, his first real year in the majors. He was 7-4 with a 3.75 ERA while working in 72 innings.
''I was a real essential part of that bullpen. I was making a very big impact most times I was pitching and I was helping contribute to wins,'' Badenhop said about the 2009 season.
The Brewers' spring training complex is in Phoenix, Ariz.
During the spring, Badenhop will be working on being tougher against left-handed hitters, so he can become a more essential part of the bullpen as a more well-rounded pitcher.
''Last year I struggled with them more. It was also a factor that I didn't face many lefties. In the American League you can really match-up more,'' Badenhop said. ''Joe Maddon (Tampa Bay's manager) is a big, big match-up guy. I started struggling against lefties because I wasn't facing them as much and was not as familiar.
''The best guys in the game can get guys out regardless of which side of the plate they are hitting from.''
The Brewers avoided arbitration with Badenhop and signed him to a one-year deal worth $1.55 million, an increase from the $1.075 million he earned with the Rays.
''I'm excited and happy to keep going,'' he said. "When I got into this I just wanted to play minor league baseball and see what I could do. I never had realistic expectations of having a career as a Major Leaguer. But I have been very, very lucky.''