It is ridiculously rare for a Major League Baseball team to win a division with a rotation that consists of four pitchers who have less than a year of big league experience when it comes to starting games. Hence, the Milwaukee Brewers are interested in acquiring Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Aaron Harang.
This should not come as a surprise to the fans in Milwaukee as the Brewers were very interested in signing a veteran starter, such as Ryan Dempster or Kyle Lohse, this past off-season. Both players asked for way too much money, considering their age, and the organization was content with giving their talented prospects a chance. This made sense because Michael Fiers, Wily Peralta and Mark Rogers showed a lot of promise last season, especially down the stretch when Milwaukee was in the hunt for a playoff spot. Not to mention, Marco Estrada has fared well in a starting role as well.
However, if Milwaukee wants to take advantage of their over-powering offense that ranked first in the National League last season, they must have a pitching staff to back them up. The bullpen was horrendous in 2012, posting a Major League-worst 4.66 earned run average, but general manager Doug Melvin looks to have rebuilt it properly. Now, it comes down to what the starters are going to be able to do.
Ace Yovani Gallardo has been outstanding since being called up to the big leagues in 2007. There is no question he is a sturdy veteran that can handle the weight of the rotation on his shoulders. However, he had fellow veterans Randy Wolf (even though he was awful), Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke to help him over the past few years. In 2013, Gallardo will be the top dog who cannot afford to have a bad start because of the huge repercussions it could have on the team.
The Brewers sent scouts to watch Harang pitch in his Minor League game on Monday afternoon in which he tossed three scoreless innings. Considering the Dodgers have a surplus of starting pitchers, there is no question they will try and move the right-hander before the start of the season.
If Milwaukee could acquire Harang, they would have to pay him $7 million this season and another $7 million next year if they wish to keep him. If the Brewers feel that they no longer need his services in 2014, they have the option to buyout his contract for $2 million. However, in order to acquire the 34-year-old, the organization would have to offer an appropriate deal to Los Angeles.
Considering the Dodgers want to get rid of Harang and his $7 million anyways, the Brewers will not have to give up much to obtain him. One or two prospects should do the trick, but the only problem with that is Milwaukee does not have an abundance of talented minor leaguers these days. It is doubtful they would be willing to part ways with a top 10 prospect, but in all honesty, I do not believe that would be necessary to pry Harang away from Los Angeles.
It will be interesting to see if the Brewers come up with a deal to get the 6-foot-7, 261-pound pitcher, as he would clearly be a huge asset behind Gallardo in the rotation.
Harang went 10-10 with a 3.61 ERA, 131 strikeouts and 179 2/3 innings in 31 starts last season with the Dodgers.