The Milwaukee Brewers are in desperate need of some immediate rotation help. Brandon Woodruff is out for another month, Aaron Ashby is out until September at best, and now Wade Miley is going on the shelf for 6-8 weeks. It's a worst case scenario for the Brewers rotation.
They've burned through most of their starting pitching depth. They're going to be relying heavily on guys like Colin Rea and Janson Junk if they stick with their internal options. For a team with aspirations of a division title and a playoff run, that's simply not going to cut it for very long. Waiting a minimum of another month before they get just one starter back in Woodruff puts the Brewers in a bad spot.
What the Brewers truly need is an external addition to their starting rotation, and fast. Unfortunately for them, it's only the middle of May, and most teams aren't looking to trade their starting pitchers just yet, preferring to wait closer to the Deadline when there's high demand and they know for sure they aren't making the playoffs this year.
Trades at this time of year aren't unprecedented. Just two years ago right around this time, the Brewers made a trade with the Rays to acquire shortstop Willy Adames in exchange for Drew Rasmussen and J.P. Feyereisen. It filled a need for both teams, was a mutually beneficial trade between contenders, and put the Brewers on the path back to the playoffs.
The Adames trade was made out of a desperate need to fix their shortstop situation that year. This year, the Brewers find themselves in a similar desperate situation but with their starting rotation. It calls for an impact trade.
The Brewers should look to make an external addition to their starting rotation and here are three starting pitchers they should immediately target in trade talks.
Brewers rotation trade target #1: White Sox RHP Lucas Giolito
The Chicago White Sox aren't going anywhere anytime soon. They're 16-29, they're 8.5 games back in the AL Central, and they haven't shown any signs of figuring things out. They're easily heading towards "seller" territory come trade season. Perhaps the Brewers can convince them to pull the trigger on a trade early.
Lucas Giolito is heading towards free agency this winter and will be one of the most coveted rental pitching options on the market this year. He has a 3.86 ERA through his first nine starts this year and has garnered Cy Young votes in three of the last four seasons. He's reliable, durable, and hasn't missed any time due to injury in recent seasons. The only year he's made less than 29 starts was the shortened 2020 season where he made 12 starts, which was every turn.
15 years ago, in 2008, the Brewers acquired the most coveted rental starting pitcher early on in CC Sabathia. Sabathia was exactly what the Brewers needed when they needed it. Giolito could be the same thing for the Brewers in 2023.
Giolito's walk rate is at a career low 1.8 BB/9 this year. He's making $10.4MM in his final year of arbitration and while acquiring his salary in May rather than July means the Brewers would be on the hook for more money, adding him to the rotation would drastically improve the group.