The Milwaukee Brewers entered the offseason with what many considered a log-jam of sorts in the outfield, and today that situation got more complicated with the high-impact additions of Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain. Though Lewis Brinson was subtracted from the equation, the Brewers still have six players with legitimate cases for playing time - the two new acquisitions, along with Ryan Braun, Domingo Santana, Keon Broxton, and Brett Phillips. But if Slingin’ Stearns has his way, there may be more clarity on the situation forthcoming:
The Milwaukee #Brewers now are shopping outfielders Domingo Santana and Brett Phillips for a starting pitcher— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 26, 2018
There has also been speculation as to the types of moves the Brewers may be looking at if they deal either - or both - of their young, controllable (Santana four years, Phillips six years) outfielders:
#Indians and #Brewers could have an intriguing trade fit, as a number of followers have mentioned. Cleveland has an all-LHH starting outfield. Santana is a RHH with 30 HR last year. Indians have rotation depth. @MLB @MLBNetwork— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 26, 2018
Brewers have shown some interest in Danny Salazar this winter. https://t.co/353DMNzCyn— Anthony Castrovince (@castrovince) January 26, 2018
The Brewers could still use a significant addition to their starting rotation, and it appears as though David Stearns is poised to deal from his plethora of outfielders in order to address that need. Chris Archer appears to remain a target, though this is the first time Danny Salazar has been connected to Milwaukee. The 28 year old right-hander has spent his entire career with the Indians since signing as an international free agent back in 2006. He debuted with Cleveland in 2013 and over parts of the last five seasons he’s tossed 587.1 innings with a 3.82 ERA and an excellent 79 DRA-. He’s a flamethrower who averaged 95.1 MPH with his fastball in 2017 and mixes in a sinker, changeup, and more rarely a slider and curve. He’s struck out 10.5 batters per nine innings over the course of his career while issuing a palatable 3.2 BB/9.
Salazar comes with three seasons of club control remaining and recently agreed to a 1-year, $5 mil contract to avoid arbitration. He has battled some injuries the last two seasons, though, hitting the DL in both 2016 and 2017 with right elbow inflammation as well as a stint for right shoulder soreness in 2017. He made 23 appearance (19 starts) this past season and authored a 4.28 ERA but a 75 DRA- with 145 strikeouts and 44 walks in 103.0 innings pitched.
The moves earlier today added $23 mil or so to the payroll projection for 2018, although we’re still awaiting the details on the breakdown of Cain’s reported 5-year, $80 mil deal. That would put the total up to about $90 mil or so. The Brewers have never ended a season with a payroll higher than $110 mil according to Cot’s Contracts, and it seems likely that a signing of Jake Arrieta or Yu Darvish would blow the team past that threshold. So that could play a role in how Milwaukee chooses go forward, perhaps turning their attention to cheaper and more cost-controlled trade options like Archer or Salazar rather than one of the two big fish left on the free agent market. If Stearns can’t find a trade to his liking, maybe Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn start look more attractive, depending on their asking prices.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus