The Brewers have been relatively quiet on the free agent front, signing Wade Miley and Eric Haase to one-year contracts while reportedly monitoring the first base and market. Despite having one of the best bullpens in baseball last season, the Brewers were still looking to improve and add seven-time All-Star reliever Aroldis Chapman.
Per FanSided's Robert Murray, the Brewers had "serious interest" in signing left-handed reliever Chapman before the Cuban pitcher ultimately signed with Pittsburgh.
The 35-year-old Chapman is coming off of a World Series championship in Texas after spending half a season in Kansas City recording a 3.09 ERA and strking out 103 batters in 58.1 innings pitched.
Chapman could have provided the Brewers with an even more intriguing bullpen, and providing another potentially dominant left-handed pitcher to pair with Hoby Milner. Chapman has extensive experience as a closer as his 321 career saves are tied for 21st all time, and he is third in saves among active pitchers behind Kenley Jansen and Craig Kimbrel.
Devin Williams is the established closer and there is no reason to think he would have been moved out of the closer's role, especially after signing an extension to buyout his remaining arbitration years. Perhaps adding Chapman would have allowed the Brewers to trade Williams should they fall out of contention and recoup a larger return than a potential trade next offseason.
The exact terms of the Brewers offer to Chapman are unknown, but it would be safe to assume it was a one-year deal and somewhere around $10MM in salary, close to what the Pirates offered. In the end, it was Pittsburgh who ended up signing the veteran, who still ends up returning to the NL Central, just with a different team.
Ultimately the Brewers did not sign Chapman, but now the question is what will they do with that money they were willing to commit to an aging reliever. Surely that $10MM could go towards Rhys Hoskins or maybe even a Matt Chapman if Matt Arnold wants to make a really big splash. We'll see.