The Brewers already made one significant free agent acquisition this winter, snagging backstop Yasmani Grandal on a one-year arrangement when he failed to find a multi-year deal to his liking. It seems the organization is still eyeing some additional potential targets, according to a report from Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (Twitter links).
Most intriguingly, Haudricourt says that he’s heard of at least some connection between the club and veteran southpaw Dallas Keuchel, who’s the best free-agent starter still on the open market. Fellow lefty Gio Gonzalez is also an apparent possibility, as is third baseman Mike Moustakas. Both of those players, of course, spent the back end of the 2018 campaign in Milwaukee.
As Haudricourt points out, all three of the aforementioned players are clients of Scott Boras. The super-agent has seemingly struck up a chummy relationship with Brewers owner Mark Attanasio over the years. Indeed, they were able to line up on a rare extension of a star Boras client (Carlos Gomez).
Of course, that sort of connection will only go so far, particularly since Attanasio has relied heavily upon the judgment of recently promoted president of baseball operations David Stearns. To this stage in his tenure, Stearns has eschewed large pitching entanglements.
A large and lengthy deal for Keuchel, then, would be especially surprising. Still, it would make some sense for the organization not only to seek a rotation upgrade, but to target a lefty starter in particular. Virtually all of the team’s rotation or long-relief options throw from the right side. Though the bullpen includes two valuable southpaws (Josh Hader and Alex Claudio), skipper Craig Counsell could gain some additional game management possibilities if he can run a southpaw out to start every fifth day.
The Brewers already proved willing to take that sort of thinking to the extreme when they sent out lefty Wade Miley to pitch to just one batter during the fifth game of the National League Championship Series. Interestingly, despite a bounceback campaign last year, Miley himself does not seem to have been targeted to this point for a reunion. The 32-year-old did not exactly have the peripherals to support his 2.57 ERA, but he rewarded the Brewers for the opportunities they were willing to give him and it seemed reasonable to anticipate the team would have some interest.
It’ll certainly be interesting to see whether Stearns has any more tricks up his sleeves this winter. While the team’s rise to the NL Central title last year has certainly raised the bar in Milwaukee, projection systems are not exactly enamored of the present roster. The middle infield unit is a less-than-inspiring bunch, at least on paper, while the rotation is more notable for its depth than its evident upside. Though there is no clearly dominant team in the division, it seems to be competitive from top to bottom. While the organization likely remains optimistic with the current batch of players, it stands to reason that Stearns is still working on potential additions.