That being said, who do you see the Brewers targeting for a starting pitcher? The club could go the trade route also, but I think they’d prefer the free agent market unless they don’t have to give up anything major. They’ve traded away a lot of prospects over the last few years and I think GM Doug Melvin would like to avoid giving up much value in a trade. Ideally the pitcher in question would have established value in the big leagues and would not have significant age or injury concerns. This pitcher would also preferably be available on a short-term deal, what with all of the SP prospects in the Crew’s pipeline. That’s a tall order, to be sure, but at least they don’t have to search for an ace in a pile of mediocrity.
Scott Baker is a decent pitcher, but he’s coming off injury and will presumably re-sign with the Minnesota Twins. Some of these guys just seem washed up: Erik Bedard, Joe Blanton, Jeff Francis, Rich Harden and Derek Lowe don’t seem too attractive. Some guys will get too much money and will likely sign with bigger-market teams: Anibal Sanchez, Jake Peavy, Greinke, Kyle Lohse and Edwin Jackson. Hiroki Kuroda would probably be in the overpaid and unavailable-to-Milwaukee column, but wouldn’t he be great in the Brewers rotation in 2013? Francisco Liriano could be all right but I’d be concerned about his inconsistency and whether his head is truly in the game. Brandon McCarthy would be nice but I doubt he comes to Brew City. Maybe Gavin Floyd would work out OK if his option is declined? Ervin Santana? Roy Oswalt?
It’s hard to say how this will play out. Starting pitching is always in high demand and the Brewers, though they have a lot of great things going for them, are seldom the most desirable team with which to sign, mostly because Milwaukee is a small and little-known market. When starting pitching is so desirable and sought-after, Milwaukee is just another club in the hunt. Perhaps Joe Saunders would be a good fit. He has experience in the playoffs, most recently with the Baltimore Orioles, whom he pitched well for in the last bit of the regular season and playoffs in 2012. However this shakes out, it will be an interesting component of the offseason for the Brewers. Shaun Marcum was a nice pitcher for the Brewers in 2011, but his injury woes make him too much of a risk for the club. It’s going to be tough for Melvin to find that balance of veteran presence and ability, yet coming at not-too-steep a cost to the short and long-term future of the Brewers franchise. This is an important step for the Brewers heading into 2013, however, since making a sensible and solid choice of an addition to the rotation could propel the Brewers into the 2013 playoffs.