Brewers’ Bullpen Gets Torres For Reinforcement

The Deal
The Brewers bolstered their depleted bullpen by acquiring veteran righthanded reliever Salomon Torres from the Pirates for minor league righthanders Marino Salas and Kevin Roberts.

The Big Leaguers
Torres, who will be 36 next year, found his comfort zone in Pittsburgh, serving as a workhorse reliever for the Pirates from 2004 to 2007. A sore right elbow cut into his playing time (and effectiveness) last season, but Torres still compiled a 3.30 ERA in 332 2/3 innings in the past four seasons. In two of those years he appeared in more than half the Pirates’ games (84 in 2004 and 94 in 2006). Torres signed with the Giants out of the Dominican Republic in 1989 and made his big league debut for the club in 1993. He famously got the start on the final day of that season with the Giants’ playoff fate in the balance. Torres gave up three runs in 3 1/3 innings of San Francisco’s 12-1 loss to the Dodgers. The Giants, winner of 103 games, did not go to the playoffs. Torres has gone 37-53, 4.40 with 489-316 K-BB in 767 career innings. He’s also notched 29 career saves in stints as the Pirates’ closer from 2005 to 2007.

The Prospects
Salas, 27, needed seven years to advance past short-season ball, and he’s taken a one-level-at-a-time approach since setting foot in the low Class A South Atlantic League in 2004. Signed by the Orioles out of the Dominican Republic in 1998, Salas’ fastball touches 93-95 mph to go along with a sharp slider. The Brewers claimed Salas on waivers from the Orioles in February 2007. He went 0-1, 2.77 with 54 strikeouts and 22 walks in 62 innings for Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville this season.

Roberts, 23, pitched on some of the same University of Houston clubs as Brad Lincoln, the Pirates’ first-round pick in 2006. The Brewers made Roberts a fifth-round pick in 2005. A two-way standout for the Cougars, as was Lincoln, Roberts’ fastball sits in the low 90s and his curveball is solid-average, sometimes above. His changeup is solid. Roberts has progressed slowly as a pro, spending a year at each Class A destination and going 6-3, 3.44 with 74 strikeouts and 37 walks in 65 relief innings for high Class A Brevard County this season.

Quick Take
The Brewers lost two of their top relievers, Francisco Cordero and Scott Linebrink, to free agency, creating a hole in the bullpen—but netting them four additional draft picks. Milwaukee has moved quickly to address their bullpen deficiency, though, by trading for Torres and righthander Guillermo Mota and by signing righthanders David Riske (three years, $13 million) and Eric Gagne (one year, $10 million). A healthy Torres should help them stay in the National League Central playoff hunt.

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