The Milwaukee Brewers were apparently once close to acquiring left handed starter Mike Minor from the Texas Rangers this offseason.
In the latest notes column from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required), there was a piece at the end that said the Rangers once thought they were close to sending Mike Minor to the Milwaukee Brewers when referencing the Phillies recent interest in the southpaw.
Huh. That’s interesting.
Outside of that casual mention, there were no rumors surrounding the Brewers interest in Minor. Then again, there weren’t any indications the Brewers were going after Alex Claudio either before that trade happened. David Stearns prefers to keep things close to the vest.
Why Go After Mike Minor?
Minor is a left-handed starter and the current Brewers rotation is full of right handed options. It makes sense that Stearns would want to pursue a lefty pitcher given that Brent Suter will miss 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery during the summer.
Last year, Minor posted a 4.18 ERA in 28 starts covering 157 innings. He’s a good control pitcher that doesn’t strike out many and pitches to contact. But Minor has a career 3.98 ERA and really has been nothing spectacular since 2013 when he threw 200 innings with a 3.21 ERA.
He missed the 2015 and 2016 seasons, but returned in 2017 with the Royals as a member of their bullpen, pitching to a 2.55 ERA in 65 appearances.
He signed a 3 year, $28 million contract last offseason with the Rangers and still has two years and $19.6 million remaining on his deal. He currently sits atop the Rangers starting rotation, but calling him an ace because of that would a gross mischaracterization. The whole Rangers starting staff is mediocre, as they are a rebuilding ballclub.
The soon-to-be 31 year old Minor would be a nice depth addition, but nothing more than that.
Minor is also a fly-ball pitcher, making him an odd fit in Milwaukee.
Why Did The Deal Fall Apart?
Maybe David Stearns came to his senses about acquiring Minor and realized it isn’t that great of a fit. It’s unknown what the possible prospect return would’ve been. But coming off a mediocre season and still with nearly $10 million per season remaining over two years, the return likely would’ve been light.
Perhaps instead the Brewers preferred a different lefty in Alex Claudio, and the consummated that deal at the Winter Meetings. They couldn’t come to an agreement on Minor, so they possibly could have just moved on to a different target.
For whatever reason, talks appear dead. Although they could start back up, there is no current belief that that has happened or is going to happen.
Would This Have Been A Bad Deal?
It’s impossible to say unless we knew what the asking price on Minor was. Without that, it’s hard to judge.
On the other hand, Minor just does not appear to make sense as a target for Milwaukee on paper. Yes, he’s left handed, which is a plus and probably the main reason why the Brewers were interested in him. But if they were planning on putting him in the rotation, he wouldn’t really move the needle that much.
He’s probably a No. 4 starter on a good team, and the Brewers rotation is currently full of those kinds of options. What they need is a top-tier arm, not another mid-back end starter.
Minor is a fly-ball pitcher that’s owed close to $10 million for each of the next two seasons, and doesn’t move the needle for that rotation. The fit just doesn’t make sense, and not making that trade was probably a good move by Stearns.
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The Brewers need to use every dollar they have wisely, and spending $10 million for the next two seasons on a career 3.98 ERA pitcher who doesn’t improve the rotation outside of being left-handed, doesn’t seem like a wise use of payroll.