Surprisingly, Gerrit Cole wasn’t the biggest free agent pitcher signed yesterday and that’s 100% a true statement. The real story was Josh Lindblom being signed by the Brewers for 3 years, $9.125 million (potentially $18 million with incentives). Lindblom has only pitched in 5 MLB games since 2014 and has a career ERA of 4.10, so why does he have a job on Milwaukee’s pitching staff?
For the past 3 seasons, Josh Lindblom has been pitching in the KBO, which is the same Korean league former Brewer, Eric Thames, played in before signing with Milwaukee. Lindblom’s first season in the KBO went about as well as it could have for someone moving to a new country to play baseball. In 2017, he started 12 games for the Lotte Giants and had a 3.72 ERA in 72.2 innings. 2018 was a breakout season in the KBO for Lindblom as he was moved to a new team, the Doosan Bears. That season he was 15-4 through 26 starts and had an ERA of 2.88 in 168.2 innings. He also added 157 strikeouts and had a WHIP of 1.067. Lindblom ended up winning the KBO equivalent of the Cy Young Award that year. Last season, Lindblom actually improved upon his previous campaign. In 2019, he won the KBO MVP Award and a second consecutive “Cy Young.” He had a 20-3 record with a 2.50 ERA in 194.2 innings. He also had 189 strikeouts and an incredible WHIP of 0.997.
Even though he will be turning 33 during next season with the Brewers, Milwaukee still made a great decision signing Lindblom. He is a 6’5” righty who throws three pitches with accuracy and movement. In his arsenal he has a 4-seam fastball that he throws in the lower 90s with great spin rate, a nasty split finger fastball, and a high 80s cutter.
Josh Lindblom is a perfect starting pitching option for the Brewers moving forward. He is a very low risk signing with a potential high reward. If he starts to struggle with the adjustments in the MLB, Milwaukee is only stuck with him for three years. However, if he performs above expectations, or is even an average starting pitcher, the Brewers will be getting a great deal.