The Brewers announced that they have selected the contract of left-hander Thomas Pannone, with righty Peter Strzelecki optioned to Triple-A in a corresponding move. The club already had a vacancy for Pannone on their 40-man roster.
Pannone, 29, signed a minor league deal with the Brewers in the offseason and has been faring well in Triple-A this year. He’s tossed 53 1/3 innings over 11 appearances, nine of those being starts. He has a 2.70 ERA, 23.1% strikeout rate, 6% walk rate and 37.7% ground ball rate. That performance will get him back up to the big leagues for the first time in a few years. He made 49 appearances as a swingman for the Blue Jays over 2018 and 2019 with 5.43 ERA.
It’s unclear what sort of role the Brewers envision for the lefty. Their rotation seems set on paper with Corbin Burnes, Freddy Peralta, Wade Miley, Julio Teheran and Colin Rea taking the five spots. Teheran has generally fared well this year but it’s his first meaningful big league action since 2020 and he was lit up in his last start, allowing seven earned runs against the Mets yesterday.
Though Pannone has been working as a starter in the minors, it’s possible that he’ll be installed in the bullpen. The club has been operating with Hoby Milner as its only left-handed reliever and Pannone would give them another option in that department. It’s also possible that his multi-inning abilities are the important thing, regardless of handedness. The club is in the midst of a stretch of playing 17 consecutive days, which will last until the All-Star break. Pannone’s abilities to work in long relief could prevent the other relievers from becoming overly taxed.
In order to make room for Pannone, the club has made the somewhat surprising decision to option Strzelecki. He posted a 2.83 ERA last year and was bumped into higher leverage situations this year, having already tallied 14 holds. His strikeout rate has dropped from last year’s 27% rate to 23.7% this year, but he’s also lowered his walk rate from 10.1% to 6.4%. His ERA has jumped to 4.54 but his 3.79 FIP and 3.60 SIERA suggest there’s at least some bad luck in there. Nonetheless, the club will send him down to Nashville for the time being.