The Milwaukee Brewers will be looking to tweak their roster this winter instead of going into rebuild mode. The reason for this is because of the success the team had down the stretch. Not to mention, numerous injuries and the Ryan Braun debacle certainly played a role in the dismal season. Starting pitching is definitely an area of focus, which means the Brewers could very well sign another free agent to add to the mix.
One starter Milwaukee should consider is Bronson Arroyo. I know what you are thinking. The Brewers have not made the wisest decisions when it comes to signing free agent starting pitchers over the years. With that being said, Arroyo could be the difference in Milwaukee making the playoffs or going home early for the third year in a row.
The right-hander is a great team player who will do whatever it takes to help everyone around him get better. He is not going to blow past batters with an exceptional fastball (87 MPH is his average). However, he is very consistent with his pitches meaning he will toss 200-plus innings and keep runners off the bases. It is true the long ball has been his arch nemesis throughout his career, which certainly does not bode well at Miller Park. Nonetheless, Arroyo has what it takes to improve Milwaukee’s starting rotation.
The Brewers’ starters ranked 11th in the National League in earned run average (4.20), 12th in opponent batting average (.263) and dead last in home runs allowed (120). Obviously, there needs to be an immediate improvement in this area of the ball club if the playoffs are desirable in 2014.
Throw in the fact that no starter recorded more than 12 wins and posted less than a 3.35 ERA, with the exception of Tyler Thornburg and his seven starts, and the case could be made that a free agent starter is exactly what the doctor ordered.
The Cincinnati Reds are not expected to re-sign Arroyo because they simply have too many expenses and not enough money to go around. At 36 years old, Arroyo wants to play for a contender but also wants to get paid. It would be in Milwaukee’s best interest to offer a two-year contract at around the same price veteran Kyle Lohse is getting per season ($11 million) minus the deferred payments.
I can already hear the anger brewing from fans that do not want money wasted on washed up pitchers. Let’s be honest with ourselves. If the Brewers are not going to spend money on starting pitching, how do they expect to make the playoffs? The rotation is a weak link on the roster. I understand run production was down in 2013 but the offense is going to rebound with a healthy Corey Hart, Aramis Ramirez and Braun. The rotation better be up to par with the rest of the team if the Brewers want to succeed next season.
Arroyo posted a 14-12 record with a 3.79 ERA, 124 strikeouts, 202 innings, two complete games, one shutout and 2.5 wins above replacement in 32 starts.