The Milwaukee Brewers will be without Jimmy Nelson to begin 2018 campaign. There will be some talks between a few coveted free agent arms. Let’s examine the best available and most realistic options the Brewers could add to bolster their overachieving starting five in 2018.
We have seen the emergence of in-house options such as Brent Suter in 2017. However, Suter cannot go more than five innings due to the hitters figuring him out the third time through a line-up. There is also future ace Josh Hader who could potentially anchor a rotation, or so we think. The Milwaukee Brewers have yet to decide if Hader will become the next Andrew MIller. Meaning he may stay in the bullpen or develop into the second coming of Chris Sale.
Looking at targets the Brewers could add on the free agent market, we have to look at two important aspects. The first is the likelihood of the player wanting to come to Milwaukee. The second is the amount of money the team has to pay.
2018 top free agent starters
Yu Darvish 3.42 ERA, 1021 Ks, 832.1 innings, W-L 56-42. Potential contract, 4 years at $96 million
Jake Arrieta 3.56 ERA, 1066 Ks, 1158 innings, W-L 88-55. Potential contract, 5 years at $165 million
Tyler Chatwood 4.30 ERA, 438 Ks, 647 innings, W-L 40-45. Potential contract, 3 years at $56 million
Francisco Liriano 4.15 ERA, 1641 Ks, 1608.2 innings, W-L 102-99. Potential contract, 1 year at $11 million
Lance Lynn 3.39 ERA, 914 Ks, 972.2 innings, W-L 72-47. Potential contract, 5 years at $123 million
Shohei Otani 2.73 ERA, 614 Ks, 534 innings, W-L 41-15 in NPB. Potential contract, 3 years at $10 million
Let’s state the obvious, there are some very intriguing options on the open market in 2018. The big three, Darvish, Arrieta, and Lynn would certainly give the Brewers one of the most complete rotations the team has seen in some time.
With the inevitable departure of Matt Garza, the Milwaukee Brewers should have plenty of money to spend on one of these arms. However, they probably want to avoid another extended contract.
If we were to narrow down this list to the top two choices, we would have a very interesting conversation. It would be one heck of a get to lure away two of our division rivals best arms into Miller Park. The odds are that those options are long shots from happening due to their unwillingness to play here and the money they would command.
Who could the Brewers realistically sign?
The best options for the Milwaukee Brewers would be Otani and Chatwood.
Why are these pitchers the best for our team? Otani has been a two-way phenom in Japan the last few years and has made it known he will come to the United States to play the Major leagues in 2018. The biggest question is. Where will he want to play?
You would think that the big name clubs would be drooling over this opportunity. However, most of the other big spending teams don’t have enough international spending money to sign the phenom. Otani is allowed a maximum of $10.1 million dollars which makes the “small market ” Brewers a perfect fit.
Another intriguing case is Tyler Chatwood. Chatwood, who has spent his career in Colorado, has not enjoyed as much success as he could in a “normal” pitching environment. If the Brewers could strike a deal and sign the 27-year-old, they could end up striking gold again. Chatwood has a chance to succeed in Milwaukee like they have achieved with Chase Anderson.
Whoever the Brewers sign or trade for, we all know that with David Stearns and company running the show, we should be in great shape to compete even harder in 2018 and beyond.