As we look at next year, the Milwaukee Brewers’ starting rotation is something that will remain to be a mystery. Obviously we know some people that will be in the rotation and others who we aren’t so certain about. What about free agency? With Shaun Marcum‘s departure, the Brewers have freed up some money to play around with. There are two pitchers in mind that could help bolster this rotation if the Brewers feel that some of the younger guys aren’t quite ready to take the reigns just yet.
First off, let’s start with two possible free agents that the Brewers could try and snag.
One free agent whose name has been somewhat tied with Milwaukee is none other than Ryan Dempster. What Dempster presents to the Brewers’ rotation is not only a veteran arm, but the confidence to pitch in Miller Park. Dempster, who has a career record of 16-6 and an ERA of 2.65 at Miller Park, would absolutely thrive in this environment. We saw this season a Dempster that nobody had seen really in his career. Before the Texas Rangers traded for him in July, he was having one heck of a year in Chicago with a 5-5 record and a 2.25 ERA. After that though, he fell apart in Texas with a 5.09 ERA and just couldn’t do well in Arlington.
If the Brewers were to pursue Dempster, his 2012 salary of $14 million may play somewhat of a factor into the signing, but not enough to disregard a deal. Dempster has actually done well in this ballpark and for primarily being a National League pitcher his entire career, aside from a few months this year, he’d be a better fit than what most people think. Sure, we can look at his 2012 and say it was his best year since 2008, but imagine what 2013 could bring for Dempster if he’s in Brewer Blue.
The second pitcher we could try to go after is one we already had, Zack Greinke. Not too long ago, it was reported that General Manager Doug Melvin and Greinke were talking, but nobody is really sure what is going to come from that discussion. Would it be nice to have Greinke back? Of course. Is it plausible? Maybe. We all know how good Greinke was to us and how good he would be for our rotation come next year. However, his contract would play the biggest role in this. Now I’m not expecting a long-term deal, heck, I’m not so certain I’m expecting any type of deal to come from this.
However, the point with Greinke is he’s a free-agent. The Los Angeles Angels will try everything in their power to keep Greinke, especially with Ervin Santana in Kansas City and Dan Haren pretty much out the door. The Greinke rumors are obviously not but a lot of speculation from many sources and many teams. The Boston Red Sox had an interest in him, but have since backed out. Since Hiroki Kuroda re-signed with the New York Yankees, perhaps this gives the Angels a push to get Greinke back as Kuroda was though to go to Southern California.
Looking beyond these rumors, let’s look at what we do have. What we know is Yovani Gallardo will be the number one without question. Following him is where it gets tricky. I’ve said before I think you give Mike Fiers the second spot in the rotation, but after his meltdown from August until the end of the season, I’m pretty sure Marco Estrada earned that spot. After Estrada and Fiers, it gets even more complicated. Wily Peralta only started in five games, Mark Rogers was a spot-starter, and Tyler Thornburg didn’t have much exposure in starting pitching.
There are a whole lot of questions and not a lot of answers when it comes to this rotation. We can say that ideally, we’d like X,Y, and Z to start, but if they aren’t ready, or just can’t handle the pressure for awhile, then the Brewers need a back-up plan. Perhaps Dempster and Greinke are those plans.