EDITOR'S NOTE: Since today's news broke late in the day, I've decided to push back today's vote on the BCB Prospect Rankings to tomorrow. We'll still vote for three more prospects, with the votes opening tomorrow, Friday and Saturday, respectively.
If you're a little late to the party, here's today's news: The Brewers have reportedly agreed to a deal with Doug Davis, pending a physical, according to Adam McCalvy. McCalvy also reports that the deal will pay Davis $4.5 million for 2010, with $1 million in possible incentives and a $6.5 million team option for 2010 with a $1 million buyout. All told, it's pretty astonishing to think the Brewers got Davis this offseason for less than what they paid Braden Looper at this time last year.
Finally, after much conversation and gnashing of teeth, we're being given what we were told to expect coming into the offseason: Two new starting pitchers to bolster the NL's worst rotation in 2009. Now, though, the Brewers face another interesting dilemma: Where does Davis fit?
Coming into the offseason, the organization said the only pitchers guaranteed a spot in the 2010 rotation were Yovani Gallardo and Manny Parra. Barring injury, it's probably also safe to assume Randy Wolf and Doug Davis will get two of the remaining spots. That leaves Jeff Suppan and Dave Bush to battle for one spot, with these possible outcomes:
The Brewers hang onto Dave Bush through the end of camp, then release him as one of the final cuts. Dave Bush almost certainly isn't the worst pitcher on the current roster. With that said, he's coming off an awful season and he's due to earn $4.2-$4.3 million in his third year of arbitration. Much like they did with Claudio Vargas in 2008, the Brewers could hold onto Bush through spring training and if they don't need him, they could release him and owe him only a fraction of his salary, gaining back some of the salary flexibility they're losing by committing to Davis.
Chances of happening: Roughly 50%.
An injury in camp causes a starter to start the season on the DL. It doesn't take much for a starter to end up unprepared for Opening Day. If one of the six starters strains a muscle and isn't stretched out in time, the whole situation becomes moot and the five healthy starters open the season in the rotation.
Chances of happening: 25%
An "injury" in camp forces Jeff Suppan to open the season on a "rehab assignment." This could be the biggest spring training of Jeff Suppan's life. He comes to camp on the final year of a big contract, and most Brewer fans have already thrown in the towel on him. As long as he isn't completely terrible, he'll probably open the season in the rotation. With that said, all recent signs suggest he will be terrible. If he gets off to a rough start, don't be surprised if an ineffective Suppan suddenly develops a "sore elbow," or his "sore oblique" from last season returns. Placing him on the DL and sending him to Nashville on a rehab assignment would buy the Brewers an extra month to try to figure out what to do with him.
Chances of happening: 15%
Jeff Suppan demonstrates a clear inability to retire major league hitters, and the Brewers eat his contract and release him. This is almost certainly the move that would draw the most positive fan reaction, but it's also the least likely. Make no mistake: Suppan has shown no signs of being a viable major league starter for quite some time now. But releasing him wouldn't net the Brewers any salary relief. They're paying him anyway, so they'll take every opportunity to try to get something out of him.
Chances of happening: 10%
What do you think? What should the Brewers do to remedy the logjam? What will they do?