Worth The Riske?

Brewers right-hander David Riske is in the second season of a three-year, $13MM deal inked in December 2007.  At the time, and especially in these current economic times, it was a pretty hefty price for a non-closing right-handed reliever.  Then again, it'd be tough to argue he didn't deserve it.  Riske dominated the competition during the '07 season, with a 2.46 ERA, 52/27 K/BB ratio and 16 holds in 69 2/3 innings.  He was rewarded handsomely, but things changed once he signed the dotted line.

Riske's ERA jumped to 5.32 in '08, and he worked just 42 1/3 innings while battling a hyperextended right elbow. 2009 brings even more bad news.  The 32-year-old was told this morning that he'll need to undergo Tommy John surgery, the second major elbow procedure of his career.  He's likely to miss a good chunk of the 2010 season, barring a heroic recovery. There's a $4.75MM option for 2011 sitting on his current deal.  Is there any chance Milwaukee considers picking it up?

Seeking an insider's opinion, I polled MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.  He was gracious enough to respond.

"Even if he does come back next year and pitches well," McCalvy wrote in an e-mail to MLBTR headquarters, "$4.75 million is still a high cost for a seventh-inning guy, especially with the way contracts have gone since the end of last season.  So I think you could make a very educated guess that the option will be declined.  I suppose he could pitch 60 scoreless appearances next season and change Doug Melvin's mind, but I think everyone could agree those odds are slim."


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