Baseball's winter meetings start Sunday in Florida. With Jimmy Nelson expected to miss a significant part of the 2018 season, there's been plenty of speculation that the Brewers will be looking to add some starting pitching, whether it's in the coming week or later in the offseason.
While the Brewers have never been major players in the free agent market, as has been pointed out several times already this offseason, the team is in a bit of a unique situation in that they have a young (and cheap) roster on the verge of playoff contention, and a lack of guaranteed contracts on the books means they could -- conceivably -- have the cash on hand to make a big splash.
That's led to some names -- like former Cubs ace Jake Arrieta -- being linked to the team.
Reading between the lines of GM David Stearns' comments to Tom Haudricourt ahead of the winter meetings, though, it doesn't sound like an acquisition on that level is in the cards.
"It's natural this time of year to have a lot of speculation," he said. "We’re not the only team that is surrounded by various levels of speculation. Our market and our history here probably is a better indicator of the types of moves we’re seeking than some of the external speculation.
"We’ve shown a pretty consistent pattern for the types of moves we seek and ways to upgrade the club. We stay open to every opportunity out there. We have to do our due diligence and assure we know where the markets are. Then we can make the most informed decisions."
That doesn't sound like someone who's about to drop $100 million on Arrieta or any other frontline starter. If anything, those comments may point to the Brewers being more interested in guys like Lance Lynn, or Tyler Chatwood before he signed with the Cubs for three years and $38 million.
Of course, there's one basic rule for the next week -- everything a general manager says publicly over the next week is some sort of lie. No one wants to tip their hand or ruin their leverage in free agent or trade negotiations by saying something that gets quoted and retweeted thousands of times. Stearns could be saying, "we're not serious about Jake Arrieta," or he could be saying, "we're not serious about Jake Arrieta at his current price." There's a difference between the two, but it may not be one he's willing to publicly disclose to reporters.
With Shohei Ohtani finally signing and Giancarlo Stanton on the verge of being traded, it looks like the dam is finally about to break on this offseason's moves. We'll see if Stearns' comments were genuine or just another instance of GM doubletalk in the coming weeks.