If you follow on Twitter, you’ve seen me comment on reports over the last couple of weeks that the Brewers appear to be performing due diligence on veteran starting pitchers around the league.
From a scout attending a game in which Aaron Harang was pitching to the scouting of Scott Kazmir to the reported interest in Javier Vazquez before he was shut down due to injury, it seems as though the Brewers are making sure they are up to speed on where several considerable options stand in their preparation for the season.
While this could make it seem as though the Brewers don’t have faith in their in-house options, I really feel as though this is mostly simply keeping tabs just in case. If the guys competing for rotation spots step up, I think Doug Melvin probably is comfortable entering the season with all of this inexperience in the starting rotation. However, if enought of those same competitors don’t begin to round into form before long, you might see the front office look to supplement the group currently working at Maryvale.
The thing about it though is that the Brewers are confident in many of their arms that are beginning to reach the upper levels of the minor leagues. So much so that entering into a long deal with a free agent pitcher doesn’t seem to make sense at this time. That being said, one of the jobs of the front office is planning for the present as well as the present. For example, is keeping a Hiram Burgos down at Nashville for an extra season worth it to sign a free agent if you have to tack on an extra season to his deal?
But I promised you a rumor at the top, and I’m sure that’s why you clicked on the link.
I’ve been told that the Brewers’ diligence has extended beyond the three names that have been in the media lately. Two specific names were mentioned to me. They’ve both been discussed to varying degrees on my different platforms at different times.
The first name will come as no surprise. I was told that there has been at least one additional conversation between the Brewers and Scott Boras about Kyle Lohse. I wasn’t told the details of the conversation, but I would guess that it was basically a “What are you asking at this point?” kind of a talk.
If you sign Lohse, you’re committing to, one would think, at least two seasons with a seven-figure average annual value. You’d also be surrendering your first-round draft pick in June. That means the player you’d draft and the portion of the draft pool compensation that goes along with the slot.
Look, despite all of the costs, doesn’t it feel like if the Brewers really wanted to sign Kyle Lohse, that they simply would have by this point? I understand the reluctance and I sincerely hope that the Brewers don’t feel forced into something that they really don’t want to do.
Secondly, a name that many of us discussed after Zack Greinke agreed to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Brewers and Dodgers have reportedly been in contact about veteran starting pitcher Chris Capuano. A fan favorite in his time in Milwaukee, “Cappy” would make much more sense to me than Lohse would.
Capuano is in the final guaranteed season of a two-year free agent contract he signed with the Dodgers before the 2012 season. There is a mutual option on that contract for 2014. Unlike the potential annual cost of a Lohse free agent deal, Capuano’s contract pays him “just” $6 million in 2013. And after consecutive seasons with 31+ starts, there should be no reservations anymore another year removed from his second Tommy John surgery.
There are two schools of thought though.
What do you value more? The packages are put together like this:
- Money to spend elsewhere, a first-round draft pick, no commitment beyond 2013
- Retaining the assets already in your system, stability in the rotation (assuming performance)
Personally, I think that Capuano makes more sense for this team for a number of reasons, one of the biggest being the ability to move on as early as 2014 should that be necessary. There are have been a number of long-term free agent contracts given out by Doug Melvin that haven’t worked out in the last year of the deal, and recent history (Jeff Suppan, Randy Wolf) rings loudest.
Now, these are only conversations and I’m not even close to saying that either of those conversations will lead to anything, but I wanted to pass along the info. I’m also not exactly sure when the conversations took place, for the record.