The Brewers' number one goal this winter will be upgrading their pitching staff, Mark Attanasio told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Specifically, the team hopes to improve their starting rotation, according to the Brewers' owner.
"We know we've got a problem, which is starting pitching," said Attanasio. "We, as an organization, need to face that reality and address it, as opposed to shrink from it or excuse it."
Attanasio goes on to say the free agent market isn't "the perfect answer," and that the team may have to look into trading a position player for pitching. Haudricourt interprets Attanasio's comments to mean the Brewers will explore the possibility of moving Prince Fielder for an impact arm. 2011 is the slugger's final arbitration-eligible season, and GM Doug Melvin has said in the past that he prefers to trade position players in the offseason, when there are more potential suitors.
If the Brewers don't receive any offers they like for Fielder, turning to the free agent market should still be an option. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe estimates that Milwaukee may clear as much as $47MM off the books this winter, which could make them "huge players" in the Cliff Lee sweepstakes. Cafardo adds that the club also "should be in on Bronson Arroyo," who has an $11MM club option for 2011.
Earlier this month, MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith examined the Brewers' 2011 rotation, touching upon potential trade and free agent options.