With most of the top-end starters on the free agent market already gone — including Clayton Kershaw, Jacob deGrom, and Justin Verlander — a majority of the available pitchers remaining are ideal candidates to join Milwaukee and finish out the rotation that is already led by Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta.
While Milwaukee already has Adrian Houser, Aaron Ashby, and Eric Lauer on the roster as options to finish out the team’s rotation, it’s possible that the Brewers’ front office will look for another pitcher on the open market to help the team return to the playoffs in 2023.
Without further ado, let’s look at some of Milwaukee’s potential free-agent options for the 2023 rotation.
A reunion with former Brewer Wade Miley could be a solid option for Milwaukee, as Miley has bounced around to Houston, Cincinnati, and Chicago since his great 2018 season with the Crew. Miley pitched to a solid 3.37 ERA with the Reds in 2021 and a 3.16 ERA with the Cubs in 2022, making him a candidate for a one-year deal with Milwaukee in 2023. As a lefty, he would be a valuable asset if the Brewers want to keep using Ashby as a long-term bullpen option next season, a spot he mostly succeeded in while struggling as a starter in 2022.
Another veteran lefty, Rich Hill has made his rounds to 11 teams over his 18-year career, so why not add another to the list? While he struggled to a 4.27 ERA with the Red Sox in 2022, he has made at least 26 starts in each of the last two years, making him a reliable every-fifth-day pitcher even at age 42. With a career 3.85 ERA, Hill could be worth a short-term contract for the same reasons as Miley.
Once considered one of the best up-and-coming pitchers in the league, Noah Syndergaard hasn’t produced as a top-tier pitcher since 2018. He finished with a 4.28 ERA in 2019 and a 3.94 ERA in 2022 while splitting time between the Angels and Phillies. Entering his age-30 season, Syndergaard likely won’t get a huge contract, which is ideal for a Brewers team that is adept at finding diamonds in the rough. A change of scenery and a different coaching staff could help Syndergaard find his way on the mound again.
Another former Brewer, Jordan Lyles had a solid stint with Milwaukee in 2018 and 2019, finishing with a 3.31 ERA across 11 relief appearances in 2018 before totaling a 2.45 ERA over 11 starts in 2019. He’s struggled since, pitching to a 5.60 ERA with Texas in 2020 and 2021 before a 4.42 ERA with Baltimore in 2022. While Lyles’ FIP with Milwaukee was 4.00, he did have a 167 ERA+, making the Brewers the only team he pitched above average with. Like Miley, this makes him a good candidate to return to Milwaukee and take a chance on with a cheap contract for 2023.