The Milwaukee Brewers have addressed needs in the bullpen and in the lineup prior to the deadline already. The last need remaining is in the starting rotation.
The need for the rotation has been known for some time. GM David Stearns was rumored to be looking for a top-flight starting pitcher since last offseason. He didn’t make a trade for one then, and didn’t sign any of the top free agent starters. Instead, he was going to wait until this year’s Trade Deadline to find that ace.
What we didn’t know is that the trade market for starting pitchers was going to be so bad this season. None of the remaining pitchers that are “on the market” are even guaranteed to get traded by Tuesday. And even the best ones available have major question marks.
That said, here are the remaining starting pitchers that could become Brewers by the end of the trade deadline, listed in no particular order.
Chris Archer, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays
2018 Stats: 3-5, 4.31 ERA, 96 IP, 102 K, 1.385 WHIP
Talks for Chris Archer are reportedly “intensifying”. The Milwaukee Brewers are involved but are not known to be one of the major players for him.
Archer is going to have a very high price tag. He’s under 3.5 years of inexpensive team control. He has ace potential but hasn’t lived up to the hype the past two years. There could be a bit of overexposure in a dominating AL East division that could lead to his lack of recent success.
The Rays are reportedly more willing to talk on Archer than in the past and are more realistic in their price tag. That’s good news for the Brewers and everyone else involved in the pursuit. The Crew aren’t considered favorites for Archer, but with what we’ve seen from David Stearns so far, anything is possible.
Zack Wheeler & Jacob DeGrom, RHPs, New York Mets
Wheeler 2018 Stats: 4-6, 4.33 ERA 114.1 IP, 109 K, 1.303 WHIP
deGrom 2018 Stats: 5-6, 1.82 ERA, 138.1 IP, 164 K, 0.976 WHIP
Wheeler is reportedly the most likely Mets starter to get traded by Tuesday. The Mets are still going back and forth on whether or not they want to actually move Wheeler. He has one more year of control after 2018 and has finally shown signs of the pitcher he was supposed to be.
According to several rumors, other teams are basing their offers off of Wheeler’s body of work so far in his career. But the Mets are basing their price off of what Wheeler could be and how he’s turned things around lately.
Jacob DeGrom is unlikely to go at the trade deadline at this point. The Mets have set a very high price because DeGrom has dominated all season long. Despite a 5-6 record, DeGrom has a 1.82 ERA this year, and he’s been the lone bright spot on a struggling Mets team.
If the Mets were smart, they would trade DeGrom and his 2.5 years of control for a haul of prospects. He’s the best one on the market with almost no question marks. The only question is, will he get traded?
Kevin Gausman, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
2018 Stats: 5-8, 4.43 ERA, 124 IP, 104 K, 1.379 WHIP
Gausman does not have a track record of success in Baltimore. Why would anyone be excited about acquiring a pitcher with a career 4.22 ERA? He doesn’t exactly sound like an upgrade over anyone in the rotation or like an ace starting pitcher.
Milwaukee Brewers pitching coach Derek Johnson is one of the best in the business and he could have a tough task ahead of him if Stearns does indeed acquire Gausman. But with 2.5 years of control, Gausman could be the Brewers own version of Jake Arrieta. Arrieta went from the Orioles to the Cubs and became a Cy Young level pitcher.
Marcus Stroman, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays
2018 Stats: 4-7, 5.20 ERA, 79.2 IP, 62 K, 1.431 WHIP
Stroman is also unlikely to get traded but several teams are calling Toronto with offers. The Milwaukee Brewers figure to be one of them. The Blue Jays were heavily scouting the Biloxi Shuckers a few weeks back and that could be in preparation for a trade.
The Jays aren’t close to contending and should be planning to start a rebuild immediately. They’ve sold their impending free agents but if they want to jumpstart their rebuild, they should move Stroman.
Stroman has struggled this year, but his stuff is legit. A change of scenery could also be a big help for him as he looks to get out of the top heavy AL East.
The Milwaukee Brewers figure to add at least one starting pitcher before Tuesday’s deadline passes. And adding one won’t come cheap.