The Milwaukee Brewers are projected to undergo a major overhaul of their pitching rotation this offseason. It’s a sign of the times, as many of their elite starters will enter free agency after 2024, outpricing themselves from the small-market Brewers.
Milwaukee already non-tendered Brandon Woodruff after Woodruff underwent season-ending surgery late in the season and is expected to miss most, if not all, of next year. Corbin Burnes’ trade rumors are flying around. And Wade Miley is a free agent.
That leaves plenty of holes for their front office to fill. Allow us to be of service as we suggest five pitchers the Brewers should explore trading for.
The Milwaukee Brewers are anticipated to undergo a bunch of changes to their pitching staff this offseason. Here are five pitchers they should trade for.
Cease promises to be a hot commodity this offseason, as “several” teams are “engaged in trade talks” with the Chicago White Sox around their starter, according to Bob Nightengale. Although the Brewers aren’t one of the specifically mentioned teams, it would make sense for them to reach out about his availability.
Cease was the AL Cy Young runner-up in 2022 and had was tremendous in 2021 before slipping a bit last season. He’s arbitration-eligible for the next two years, giving him some team control. It would take a solid package of prospects for the Brewers to acquire him.
Berríos is coming off one of the best seasons of his career for the Toronto Blue Jays, where he posted a 3.65 ERA and a 116 ERA+ in 189 innings. This deal would make sense for Milwaukee only if they include Christian Yelich in it. Berríos is entering the third year of a seven-year deal to pay him $17.7 million this season. That’s not the type of contract the Brewers are set up to take on, but they could be enticed by cashing in on some of their abundance of outfield talent for a starting pitcher.
Tanner Houck would give the Brewers flexibility with his ability to either start games or come out of the bullpen. He’s shown potential throughout his career–a sub-3.5 ERA in 2021 and 2022–but injuries have sapped him of building any momentum. He’s also coming off a down season that saw his ERA balloon to 5.01. Perhaps the most enticing factor for the Brewers is that he still has four years of team control.
Trading for Javier would take another significant financial commitment from the Brewers. He’s in the second year of a five-year deal that will see him make $7.4 million in 2024, $10.4 million in 2025 and $21.4 million in 2026 and 2027. After posting an ERA+ of at least 120 in his first three seasons, that plummeted to 92 last season. If the Brewers want to buy low, now is their time.
Braxton Garret might be their guy if the Brewers are looking to add a player with a higher ceiling and an unproven track record. He dabbled in the MLB from 2020-2022 before finally breaking through in 2023 with 30 starts and 159 innings pitched. His 3.66 ERA and 122 ERA+ would be great additions to a pitching rotation that will likely lose at least a few starters. He’s also a left-handed pitcher, an excellent addition if Wade Miley leaves in free agency.