Offseason In Review: Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers are next in our Offseason In Review series.

Major League Signings

  • Randy Wolf, SP: three years, $29.75MM.  Includes $10MM club option for 2013 with a $1.5MM buyout.
  • Trevor Hoffman, RP: one year, $8MM.  Includes $7MM+ mutual option for 2011 with a $500K buyout.
  • LaTroy Hawkins, RP: two years, $7.5MM. 
  • Doug Davis, SP: one year, $5.25MM.  Includes $6.5MM mutual option for 2011 with a $1MM buyout.
  • Gregg Zaun, C: one year, $2.15MM.  Includes $2.25MM club option for 2011 with a $250K buyout.
  • Craig Counsell, IF: one year, $2.1MM.
  • Claudio Vargas, RP: one year, $900K.
  • Total spend: $55.65MM.

Notable Minor League Signings

Trades and Claims

Notable Losses

Summary

Brewers GM Doug Melvin was active in free agency this offseason, adding seven players for over $55MM.  The focus was understandably on pitching, as the Brewers finished 15th in the NL with a 4.83 ERA in 2009.  $35MM was committed to the rotation for lefties Wolf and Davis, with a hefty $15.5MM going to the back end of the bullpen.

The Brewers' finances were limited in part by a pair of free agent pitching mistakes Melvin made previously, Jeff Suppan and David Riske.  Melvin was again aggressive in giving an extra year each to Wolf and Hawkins.  The latest additions at least come with better peripheral stats.  Bullpen-wise, the 37-year-old Hawkins and 42-year-old Hoffman received top of the market money.  Risky expenditures, but at least the Brewers weren't alone in making sizeable free agent reliever commitments.

The problem with the rotation upgrades is that the Brewers' rotation is still ugly after Yovani Gallardo and Wolf.  Playing around with CHONE's innings projections for the team's expected six starters (and limiting Suppan's impact) gives me a projected rotation ERA of 4.46.  That would've ranked ninth in the NL last year.

Given his desire to spend his available funds on pitching, Melvin swapped Hardy for Gomez and allowed Cameron to leave.  The Brewers had the best available shortstop in Hardy, but four years of Gomez is a solid return.  Even in 2010, Gomez might be Cameron's equal.

Can the 2010 Brewers bash their way to a division title?  They've got monsters in Braun and Fielder, but the keys might be a healthy season from Weeks and minimal regression from McGehee.



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