Pitchers, pitchers and more pitchers… This offseason has been about the pitching staff and what the 2019 Milwaukee Brewers’ rotation could look like.
The Milwaukee Brewers are a team that has options. Internally they have eight pitchers that could be slotted right into the rotation. They have seven from 2018 and are returning Jimmy Nelson.
With some highly coveted prospects the Brewers have been linked to many deals for established starters, such as a Corey Kluber. The financial constraints of a small-market team do hinder the Brewers, but not all pitchers will request max contracts.
So, how can they build a rotation from all three options?
The Trade Target rotation
When we look at the current trade targets the Milwaukee Brewers are linked to, there are a few things to take into consideration. Who the opposing teams will ask for, the length of team control and current salary.
Below is a rotation of players that are in the Brewers’ price range and what prospects it could potential take to make the trade happen.
Corey Kluber, RHP, 32
2018 – 20-7, 2.89 ERA, 1.26 WHIP
Current contract – Three years / $17.5 million
What hasn’t been written about Corey Kluber already. He is a true “ace” pitcher, going 56-20 in the last three seasons. He has struck out more than 200 hitters in each of the last five seasons. He’s earning $17.5 million on average for three more seasons.
Noah Syndergaard, RHP, 26
2018 – 13-4, 3.03 ERA, 1.21 WHIP
Current contract – Arbitration 2, under team control through 2021 season
Another highly talked about target, Noah Syndergaard, like Kluber is a true “ace”. In 87 career starts, he has a 37-22 record with a 2.93 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and 573 strikeouts. Advanced stats show he was a better pitcher than that on a horrible Mets team.
He is young, entertaining, entering his prime, and is a talented player, but he would cost the Brewers some Major League talent. It has been written in previous posts that the price would be most likely a package of Corey Ray, Brandon Woodruff or Freddy Peralta, and a couple throw in pieces.
Robbie Ray, LHP, 27
2018 – 6-2, 3.93, 1.35
Current contract – Arb 2, under team control through 2021 season
Robbie Ray is a fascinating trade target. In 2017, he went 15-5 with a 2.89 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. In 2018, he went 6-2 with an ERA just shy of 4.00 and pitched a career low in innings with 123.2.
Ray is known as a command pitcher, with a good slider and great change up that are considered “nasty” by some scouts and often tricks hitters. He can get up to 95 MPH with his fastball but usually averages a touch slower, so he won’t overpower hitters with blistering speed, but has accuracy with placement.
Ray could be a cheaper option that could be a strong two or three pitcher for the Brewers. A package of Freddy Peralta or Brandon Woodruff and shedding Eric Thames salary to a D-Backs team that no longer has Paul Goldschmidt could make the deal happen. However, according to reports, a trade of Robbie Ray is unlikely to happen.
Marcus Stroman, RHP, 27
2018 – 4-9, 5.54, 1.48
Current Contract – Arb 3, under team control through 2020 season
Going back to the 2017-18 offseason there were rumors about Stroman to the Brewers that went nowhere, so why not try again? He isn’t going to strike out a lot of hitters, but he keeps the ball on the ground and in Miller Park that is a good thing.
In 2018, he used his 93 MPH sinker and 86 MPH slider to get a lot of ground balls, but has a cutter, curve and four seam fastball that he mixes in as well. With a team friendly contract, years of control, and a career 3.91 ERA, 1.29 WHIP in just 114 games, the Brewers could acquire him for Domingo Santana, Yeison Coca, and another good, young prospect in the Brewers farm system.
Roenis Elias, LHP, 30
2018 – 3-1, 2.65, 1.22
Current contract – Arb 1, under team control through 2021 season
Roenis Elias is another player we haven’t discussed yet this offseason, but the Seattle Mariners have been selling the farm and the 30-year-old Elias could be an attractive option for a team seeking a good fourth or fifth pitcher in the rotation.
In 78 games, Elias is 18-22 with a 3.97 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. In 2014, the Mariners had him locked into the rotation starting 29 games. 2015 was similar, but like other starters in Seattle he struggled in found his way to the bullpen. Last year he started four games, played in 23 and kept opponents to a .242 average with 34 strikeouts.
A change of scenery could be good for Elias, who may need to get out of the Emerald City, and the Mariners may look at a straight up trade for prospect Trent Grisham as a fair trade as they attempt to find buyers for Kyle Seager’s large contract.