The Brewers went into the 2023 season expecting big things from Eric Lauer as a member of their starting rotation. Instead, Lauer struggled, first with performance, and then with injury. The Brewers took him off the field to figure out what was going on, before sticking him in Triple-A.
Lauer made a late return to the majors in the final weekend of the regular season, and his final start did not go well. The Brewers outrighted Lauer off the 40 man after the season, and he elected free agency.
That was the last we've heard of Eric Lauer news, until now. According to Fansided's Robert Murray on The Baseball Insiders Podcast (the Lauer part begins at around 26:35), Lauer is drawing interest from the NL Central rival Pittsburgh Pirates, among other teams.
Former Brewers starter Eric Lauer is drawing interest from multiple teams, including the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Diego Padres.
Lauer's 6.56 ERA last year in 46.2 IP was hardly a strong showcase for free agency. However, he does have a track record of success. From 2021-2022, the southpaw made 49 starts for the Brewers, covering 277.1 IP with a 3.47 ERA.
Recently, Lauer held a showcase bullpen session for interested teams and according to Murray, the Pirates and San Diego Padres were there and showing interest among other teams. So there were more than just those two, but these were the two teams Murray had confirmed and named.
The Pirates got plenty of looks at Lauer the past couple years in the NL Central, with Lauer pitching to a stellar 2.61 ERA in 51.2 IP over 10 appearances. After seeing him decimate their lineup, it makes sense they would have interest in bringing him onto their team, plus he's available for cheap and can fill innings, which Pittsburgh needs.
The Padres originally drafted Lauer in the first round before trading him to Milwaukee along with Luis Urias back in 2019. That four player trade has seen a lot of twists and turns in recent years, but Lauer could also go back to where it all started. Lauer has dominated the NL West in his career and with the Padres losing some key starters this offseason, bringing Lauer back with a chance to earn some innings makes a ton of sense.
We'll see where Lauer ends up landing, but there were several teams attending his bullpen session. If he goes to the Pirates, the Brewers could end up seeing quite a bit of Lauer in 2024.