With pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training in less than two weeks, the Brewers continue to look for a pitcher to add to the front of their starting rotation.
While things aren’t looking too promising on the Chris Archer trade talks, Jon Heyman of Fanrag Sports says the Brewers might have more success on the free agent front. In fact, Heyman says it would be a surprise if the Brewers don’t sign one of the top four pitchers still available in this free agent class: Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn:
But while Darvish would appear to be a prime target of the Brewers, they’ve been in contact with the other top free-agent pitchers as well – Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb and presumably Lance Lynn, too. The Brewers have made contact on at least Arrieta and Cobb, though there aren’t believed to have been offers made on either of those pitchers to this point, as opposed to Darvish.
Heyman speculates the Brewers haven’t made an offer to Arrieta or Cobb because they may be content with landing just Darvish. While there’s still a lot of competition for the former Rangers and Dodgers ace, Heyman says the Brewers are still one of the “favorites” to sign him.
It’s worth noting that Heyman’s expectation that the Brewers sign one of the “Big Four” seems to be based more on the aggressive nature the team has shown in their pursuit of a pitcher, rather than actual negotiations approaching a deal.
While the Brewers continue to mull their options, it’s possible the asking price in a trade for Archer -- a frontline starter who won’t turn 30 until September and is on an extremely team-friendly deal for four more years -- is too high for David Stearns’ liking (especially after dealing several top prospects for Christian Yelich), and a free agent addition might be the more attractive option. Darvish (or Arrieta or Cobb or Lynn) would only cost money and/or draft picks, as opposed to prospects who have already started to establish themselves.