The Brewers are not only getting great production from the rotation, but getting great value for the money they will pay.
The five members of the Brewers starting rotation will earn a combined $8.2MM between them this season. Looking at the other Top 10 rotations by ERA so far this season, those teams include the Marlins, Giants, Twins, Padres, Dodgers, Indians, Mets, White Sox, and Rockies.
The average amount of money these nine other teams are paying for their rotations is over $38MM. Milwaukee’s $8.2MM figure for the rotation means they’re paying, on average, about 79% less for their rotation than the other top 10 rotations in baseball. Yet the Brewers are performing better than all of them.
What we can learn from this is that, pitching is expensive. Acquiring established starting pitchers on the free agent or trade market costs a lot. Of course, that isn’t exactly a new revelation.
Looking at the rotations of those other teams, the majority of their rotations are filled by free agent signings or big trade acquisitions who already had high salaries.
So how do the Brewers get good pitching if they can’t afford to sign a bunch of high priced free agents and compete with the large market teams? They have to develop a homegrown rotation themselves, complete with their own top of the rotation arms. That’s what David Stearns has done.
The Indians and Marlins have the only top 10 rotations with a lower payroll than the Brewers and that’s because the entirety of their rotations are homegrown and none of them have reached arbitration yet.
Stearns set this plan for a stud-filled homegrown rotation in motion years ago. All those years that everyone was expecting him to sign a free agent “ace” to front the rotation went by and Stearns never signed one. He never seemed interested in one. That’s because Stearns knew the value of a homegrown rotation, and that it would far outweigh the value provided by that one free agent starter.
The Brewers will reap the rewards of this homegrown starting rotation for a few more years to come.