It’s been no secret that long-term deals are slowly becoming a product of the past. The Milwaukee Brewers have some pretty obvious pitching needs and as we’ve touched on before, it’s all mere speculation and not a whole lot of doing. The Brewers were thought to be the sure candidate for Ryan Dempster, but even now that is falling apart. The Brewers missed opportunities on relievers such as Sean Burnett and Jason Grilli, so the reconstruction of the bullpen is going to be tough. Doug Melvin continues to stand pat in his decision of not offering contracts with three or more years, which is fine and dandy, but the problem still remains, Yovani Gallardo is going to be the only pitcher in this rotation with multiple years experience and no solid number two to back him up.
Since the Winter Meetings just ended yesterday, the Brewers’ attempts at talking with other teams becomes a little more strained. The Tampa Bay Rays are an interesting team who have at this point decided that James Shields and possibly Jeremy Hellickson could be traded. Even the New York Mets present an interesting case with R.A. Dickey, but who knows what the Brewers’ front office is thinking.
The Dempster deal, which looks improbable at this point, probably comes off as more shocking. Some pitchers are getting inked for 3yrs/$39MM contracts, so perhaps Dempster sees that as an equal amount. Then you have guys like Zack Greinke and Anibal Sanchez who demand more years with more money, so the 3/39 doesn’t look as bad now.
What we do know is that the Brewers are going to need a definitive number two in this rotation. Who it will be remains to be seen, but Brandon McCarthy has reportedly been looking for a two-year deal, which had piqued the interest of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, but should also get some looks from the Brewers. McCarthy has good stuff and the fact that he’s willing to sign just a two-year contract fits into Melvin’s criteria. Even then, it doesn’t have to be someone big named. Melvin mentioned the ex-Washington National John Lannan and his ability to pitch from the bullpen and to start, so there’s something to look into.
Trading, as mentioned before, is another possibility the Brewers could attempt. Since the free agency market, at least pitching wise, is shrinking more everyday, there aren’t going to be a lot of pitchers who just want a couple years maximum.
So, the question remains, have Melvin’s fears come back to bite the Brewers? Maybe. Sure we can look at guys like Jeff Suppan and David Riske who didn’t pan out so well in the past, but we’re in a much tighter pinch than then. We’re a contending them that could very well be at the top of this division if we could get a solid starter alongside some pen arms. The Brewers are only a few simple steps away from being a legitimate contender year in, year out.