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Brewers On Deck notes: Attanasio says there’s still room on the payroll for a starting pitcher

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It doesn’t sound like the team is done dealing.

Philadelphia Phillies v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

When the Brewers signed Lorenzo Cain to one of the largest contracts in team history, a five-year, $80 million pact that starts at $13 million this season and works its way up to $17 million, there was some talk about what it would do to the team’s chances of signing a free agent starting pitcher.

After all, the Brewers have been linked to Cubs ace Jake Arrieta for much of the winter and are said to have a formal offer submitted to Yu Darvish. Could the payroll, now projected at close to $90 million for 2018, possibly sustain a $20+ million-a-year commitment?

At Brewers On Deck today, the man signing the checks says yes.

Mark Attanasio has shown a willingness to spend if he thinks the team needs help getting over the top. Based on other comments made to fans today, it looks like he and the front office have decided to go for it over the next few years, if you couldn’t tell from the Cain signing and the trade for Christian Yelich.

Logic still says the team will likely make that pitching addition by trading one or more of their spare outfielders, but at the very least, Attanasio’s comments mean the team wouldn’t have to focus on pitching on any trade of Domingo Santana, Keon Broxton, Brett Phillips or anyone else. They could instead to opt for help at second base or even retool the farm system by cashing in on Santana or Phillips for more prospects.

Or, if an outfielder trade does bring back a cost-controlled and paid-below-market-value starter — say, Chris Archer or Danny Salazar or Julio Teheran — those payroll savings could still be spent to bring someone like Neil Walker back.

Regardless of what the team decides to do, it’s clear Attanasio is willing to approach a nine-figure payroll in pursuit of a playoff appearance not only in 2018, but in the years to come.