Question #2: How will the Brewers compensate for the loss of Brandon Woodruff?
It was just announced that Brandon Woodruff is likely to miss the entire 2024 season after undergoing surgery on the anterior capsule of his throwing shoulder. Woodruff is the co-ace of this club and losing him dramatically lowers the ceiling of this rotation and team.
Perhaps the silver lining of this news and the timing of it is that the Brewers are now fully aware they will be without one of their top starters all season and can plan accordingly. They missed Woodruff for 4 months this season when they were planning on him being available, which left the rotation in a bind.
The Brewers have a couple of weeks before free agency begins, allowing them to map out plans for who, if anyone, they want to pursue as a free agent and they can do the same scouring the trade market. In his end of season press conference, Matt Arnold said that he would aggressively pursue more pitching depth this offseason and now with Woodruff out, that pursuit is going to get even more aggressive.
There's also the possibility of opening rotation spots for rookie pitching prospects such as Robert Gasser, Carlos F. Rodriguez, and Jacob Misiorowski. The Brewers could go that route, depending on rookies to fill the void, understanding that these young arms will be key to the rotation staying strong into the future. Still, it's a risky proposition to depend on rookies to fill Woodruff's shoes.
I would expect some free agent or trade acquisitions for this rotation to help address the void left by Woodruff's injury, and there will still likely be plenty of opportunities for those young pitchers in 2024. How they address Woodruff's void on the open market remains to be seen. Lucas Giolito, Sonny Gray, and Jordan Montgomery are some of the top options on the market, but will the Brewers want to give out multi-year deals with big money to fill the Woodruff void for one year?
As the offseason goes on, we'll take a closer look at rotation options, but how the Brewers will compensate for the loss of Woodruff is the largest roster construction question the Brewers face right now.