Should Brewers pursue one of the remaining free agent starters after Wade Miley injury?

Without Miley, the Brewers could use another starting pitcher

San Diego Padres v Chicago White Sox
San Diego Padres v Chicago White Sox / Quinn Harris/GettyImages

The Brewers are currently lacking proven depth in their starting rotation, especially after the latest injury to Wade Miley that will put him on the injured list to start the season. Freddy Peralta leads the group, but cobbling together uninspiring veterans like Jakob Junis, Colin Rea, and Joe Ross along with a rookie in DL Hall makes for a rotation that could be lacking innings.

Do the Brewers need to bring in one of the few remaining free agent starting pitchers on the market to fill the void left by Miley's injury?

With Blake Snell and Michael Lorenzen recently finding homes, there's just two notable starters left out there that could be plugged into the rotation: Mike Clevinger and Jordan Montgomery.

Montgomery has been seeking a big contract this offseason, and it's hard to blame him after his performance in 2023 helping the Rangers win the World Series. His contract would likely be similar to what the Brewers have with Hoskins at this point, a shorter-term multi year deal with opt outs. Even though his price is dropping, it still may not have dropped enough for the Brewers to want to pull the trigger. Would he be an upgrade? Absolutely. At this point, why not explore it with his price coming down?

Clevinger, however, is a far cheaper option that can still bring some innings and solid production. He's seeking a straight one year deal reportedly and he's coming off a decent year with the White Sox in 2023. In 24 starts last year, Clevinger had a 3.77 ERA and a 3.3 bWAR over 131.1 IP. He doesn't have gaudy strikeout totals, but he doesn't walk a lot of guys, he can eat up innings, and he keeps you in the ballgame.

Clevinger's pitch metrics are good, the big flaw in his advanced metrics is a low ground ball rate, he's in just the 5th percentile. He's above average in walk rate, barrel rate, hard hit percentage, and all of his pitch run values. While the Brewers prefer ground ball pitchers, avoiding hard contact is also important and Clevinger does that pretty well.

The Brewers are going to want to give opportunities to their young starters in 2024, but with Miley already hurt, it might be prudent for GM Matt Arnold to bring in another proven arm to help bridge the gap until those young arms are ready. You can never have enough starting pitching and Miley's injury this spring only further proves that.

Adding a Clevinger or Montgomery, with Clevinger being more likely, to the group would improve the ability of this rotation to cover the innings necessary to get through the season. At this point with less than a week to Opening Day, the prices should be reasonable where the payroll won't be hamstrung.