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Milwaukee Brewers: Adding Starting Pitching Now A Necessity

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - JULY 21: Starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff #53 of the Milwaukee Brewers reacts after giving up a two-run home run to Alex Avila (not pictured) of the Arizona Diamondbacks during the second inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on July 21, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - JULY 21: Starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff #53 of the Milwaukee Brewers reacts after giving up a two-run home run to Alex Avila (not pictured) of the Arizona Diamondbacks during the second inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on July 21, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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The Milwaukee Brewers entered July with a debatable need for another frontline starting pitcher. That debate is over now.

Brandon Woodruff has gone on the IL with an oblique injury and will likely be out at least a month. For the Milwaukee Brewers, that’s terrible news. Woodruff had developed into their best starter this season, and now they’ll be without him at a crucial point in the season. That makes the need for more starting pitching all the more apparent now.

If you were in the camp that believed the Brewers didn’t need to pay up for a starting pitcher at the July 31 Trade Deadline this year, now is the time to switch camps. With Woodruff on the shelf, the Brewers absolutely have to add a starting pitcher at the deadline this year to stand any chance of winning the division, possibly even making the playoffs.

Yes, the past two series have marked for a nice turnaround for the Crew, but losing Woodruff is going to hurt them a lot moving forward.

Woodruff’s Spot In The Rotation

The Milwaukee Brewers are 16-4 this season when Brandon Woodruff starts. That’s obviously really good, and also hard to replicate. There aren’t pitchers that can carry their team to a record like that just lying around.

Whichever pitcher the Brewers tab to take Woody’s spot in the rotation, they’re going to need to come up with that kind of production. At the moment, there doesn’t appear to be anyone currently in the organization that can do that. So they’ll need to look outside the organization.

The Need For A Starter

Brewers GM and President of Baseball Operations David Stearns has been trying to acquire a frontline starting pitcher for quite some time now. He was looking for one at the trade deadline in 2017, and didn’t get one. He searched again in the winter leading up to 2018, but found Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain instead. Could be worse.

Stearns tried very hard at the trade deadline in 2018, but came up empty. He tried again this past winter, but also came up empty.

Now is the time that Stearns has to find his starter. The young starters haven’t been able to get it done, outside of Woodruff, and now Woodruff is hurt. Jhoulys Chacin has regressed. Chase Anderson has been serviceable. Zach Davies has pitched well, but is not capable of leading a rotation. Gio Gonzalez is not what he once was, but can still eat innings.

Add all that up, and the rotation is not one that inspires much confidence when it comes to September and October and needing to win big games. They need more.

With Woodruff now out, they might even need two starting pitcher additions, however given that this is a seller’s market this year, that would be a very high price to get two difference making starters. The Milwaukee Brewers have plenty of mid-back end rotation options, but they lack the frontline guy with Woodruff now out.

Who To Get?

There are a number of options out there. Marcus Stroman, Robbie Ray, Trevor Bauer, and Madison Bumgarner are just some of the many players who figure to be made available for trade before the deadline. Any one of those pitchers would be a huge help for the Brewers this year, and for three of those four, a huge help in 2020 as well (Bumgarner is a free agent after 2019).

Whoever it is, it’ll need to be a difference making starting pitcher, preferably with playoff experience.

After losing Woodruff for a still unknown period of time, the Brewers absolutely have to acquire a starter at the deadline this year. They have no choice. The only other option is to miss the playoffs. They won’t make it without adding a top level starter. The National League is simply too good this year and the NL Central is too competitive for the Brewers to win it without adding someone.

The time is now.

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The Milwaukee Brewers can make it a long ways in the postseason with the addition of a frontline starter, plus a healthy Woodruff when he comes back. He’ll be ready in time for the playoff push, but someone else needs to be added.

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