A couple of high-priced pieces of Milwaukee’s bullpen have reached free agency – Francisco Cordero and Scott Linebrink. According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Brewers will make an aggressive offer to Cordero and hope to retain Linebrink as well.
My hunch is that both players leave for greener pastures. Cordero seems likely to earn at least a four-year, $40MM deal. That’s elite closer territory. Linebrink should be compensated in the three years, $15-18MM range. While backloading is possible, the Brewers would be looking at adding $15MM per year on average to keep this pair.
My back of the napkin math says the Crew has around $60MM committed for ’08. Only Ben Sheets will make more than $10MM. The Brewers’ Opening Day ’07 payroll was about $71MM, so there is room in the budget for both Cordero and Linebrink. The team’s core players are very good and very cheap. The time to strike in free agency is now, so I actually endorse some pricier bullpen/rotation signings to get the team over the hump next year. I might go after Cordero but let Linebrink go. The Brewers could take payroll to a mere $80MM and have the best team in the NL Central.