Just a few days ago, we looked at how the Rangers figured to provide the Cubs with major competition for the top free agent starters on the market. That makes sense, what with their propensity to spend on arms and their need to fill holes in the rotation. But if a report from MLB.com’s Jon Morosi is accurate, the Brewers could be just as formidable an opponent this offseason as they figure to be once the 2018 campaign begins.
Jake Arrieta’s name has come up in connection with the Brewers more than once thus far, so there’s reason to believe it’s not just idle chatter. And it sounds as if this isn’t a matter of Milwaukee just going all-in on one guy, either. Led by GM David Stearns, the Brewers “are showing interest in virtually every prominent free-agent starting pitcher,” Morosi writes.
Though he only mentions Lance Lynn by name, you can go ahead and fill in the blanks on who exactly might be included on that list. After all, if the Brewers are serious about pursuing Arrieta given his high cost relative to their payroll, it figures that nearly every other starter on the market would be on their radar.
They’ve got a definite need with Jimmy Nelson out for a large chunk of the 2018 season, and Morosi writes that they’d like a guy who misses bats. That’s a descriptor that suits Arrieta better than pretty much any of the other available options, though it’ll be nigh impossible to replace Nelson’s 10.21 K/9 last season. Perhaps they could even look beyond free agency to scratch that itch.
Though nothing has been mentioned explicitly, it’s possible the Brewers could check in on Pittsburgh’s Gerrit Cole. Intra-divisional trades like that are rare, but Milwaukee is chock full of young talent and they’ve got more than enough room to add Cole’s projected salary of $7.5 million. He’s still under club control for two more years, so we’re not talking about a rental, and the overall cost to acquire him — even after another arbitration raise — could be more palatable than a splashy signing.
Regardless of exactly how they go about attacking the winter, it’s becoming quite evident that the Brewers don’t intend to sit back and allow their rebuild to take its sweet time. In that, they’re kind of like the Cubs in 2015. Except for the part about hanging on down the stretch and actually making the playoffs. But Milwaukee is young, cheap (for now), and led by a strong front office that has a solid grip on putting together a solid team.
And here you thought the Cubs were just going to have their pick of whomever they wanted and wouldn’t need to beat back competitors with a stick.