In need of added depth and a veteran presence to an inexperienced bullpen, the Milwaukee Brewers acquired Padres set up man Scott Linebrink from the Brewers for right-hander Wil Inman, left-handers Joe Thatcher and Steve Garrison.
Padres general manager Kevin Towers has separated himself as an elite GM due to his propensity for acquiring young talent and transforming them into major league stars. Case in point was last season when he traded for Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young of the Texas Rangers who were thought of at the time as borderline players.
Wil Inman was rated as the Brewers third best prospect according to Baseball America and Joe Thatcher will be added to San Diego's 25-man roster tomorrow when they open up a weekend series in Houston. After the transaction was completed Towers said, ''it was a deal that was by far the best deal. This was one that collectively we looked at and said, we can't pass it up.''
The Padres, who by all estimations have the premier bullpen in baseball, will be losing their set up man that has been with the team since 2003. He'll provide leadership and a short term infusion for the remainder of the season. Linebrink, 30, has posted a 2.82, 2.14, 1.83, 3.57 and 3.80 E.R.A. over the course of the past five seasons. He's appeared in three career playoff games and while he has not enjoyed a great success rate, he'll be able to provide a steady presence late in ballgames.
The one question mark that can be raised about the Austin, Texas native is that his E.R.A has increased substantially the last two seasons. Going from an 8-1 record with a 1.83 earned run average to a 10-7 record with a 3.69 earned run average stages a major red flag in my mind. Nine home runs surrendered in 45 innings is inexcusable for a player of his caliber.