Carlos Torres posted a career-best 2.73 ERA in 82.1 innings during his first season with the Brewers, but there is little evidence to believe he turned a real corner after getting designated for assignment by the Mets after the 2015 season. His FIP actually went up from 3.53 in 2015 to 3.75 in 2016 and none of his batted ball numbers changed enough to think his improvement came in FIP's blind spot. His big change with Milwaukee was that he began to throw his cutter more often and harder, now hitting around 92 mph while throwing it for the majority of his pitches. He managed to get some late-inning assignments with the Brewers despite his shaky peripherals and will likely again be a factor in the Milwaukee bullpen for 2017. However, at age-34 and with his lack of long-term upside, Torres' leash as a high-leverage reliever will likely be shorter than most on the rebuilding Brewers.
Torres, despite allowing five earned runs over 5.0 innings with the Brewers this spring, is a lock to open the season in the Brewers' bullpen, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Torres' numbers this spring (9.00 ERA, 1.80 WHIP, 6:3 K:BB) are unsightly, but they have come in just five innings over four outings, so they also carry very little weight in the long run, particularly when compared to the numbers (2.73 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 78:30 K:BB) he posted over 82.1 innings out of the Brewers' bullpen a year ago. Torres will begin the year as one of the top relievers in front of closer Neftali Feliz and figures to work in either the seventh or eighth inning.
Torres and the Brewers avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year contract on Friday. Financial figures of the pact were not disclosed, but the agreement ties Torres to the Brewers for another year. Torres is coming off the best season of his career, one in which he posted a 2.73 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 78:30 K:BB over 82.1 innings. Those numbers will garner Torres consideration for the closer's role if Milwaukee is unable to add a reliever in free agency, but he owns just four saves over 281 big-league appearances, so it's more likely that he begins the campaign as part of the group that will bridge the gap between the starters and the to-be-named closer.
Torres has given up four runs over 7.1 innings pitched in August. The six-year veteran has given up three of those runs over his last two appearances. However, Torres is still one of the more consistent relievers for the Brewers as he ranks third among Milwaukee relievers in ERA (3.05).
Torres has a 1.98 ERA for the month of May after pitching 13.2 innings across 12 games. Torres has become one of the Brewers' most used relievers this season, having pitched 26.1 innings in 23 games. Torres has a 1.41 WHIP and an 8.54 K/9, so his numbers for the season aren't anything baffling, but he appears to be a versatile bullpen option. He's pitched anywhere from 0.1 to 2.0 innings and has three holds to go with two saves. However, there are reasons to question whether Torres's May performance is just a hot streak or his new norm, as his career ERA and WHIP are 4.17 and 1.36.
Torres owns a 5.40 ERA, 1.80 WHIP, and 8:6 K:BB ratio in 10 innings over eight appearances out of the Brewers' bullpen this season. Torres' numbers aren't pretty, and they were not helped by the four earned runs he gave up over his last four outings. He has a spot in the Brewers' bullpen for now, but that will be in jeopardy when fellow reliever Corey Knebel (oblique) is ready to return.