The reporting after the Brewers went all in on acquiring Christian Yelich and signing Lorenzo Cain was pretty consistent: the Brewers will want to address their starting pitching now, but probably won’t have the funds to sign one of the top arms.
At their fan fest today, though, team owner Mark Attanasio decided to buck that reporting:
Mark Attanasio says that after adding Yelich and Cain, there is still room in the payroll to add one of the big free agent pitchers. So, we’ll see.
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) January 28, 2018
We’ll see, indeed, since Attanasio also caveated with, “If the right situation comes along, we can take advantage of that.” (Brewers.com)
An owner playing it up for the fans? Playing fast and loose with the “big free agent pitcher” list? Stepping things up now that he sees an opportunity? Or merely leaving open the possibility that they would sign a top starter if the price tag were such that they couldn’t refuse?
Time will tell, though it should be noted that the Brewers reportedly already have an offer out to Yu Darvish, so it’s not as if they are – strictly speaking – out of his market entirely. It’s just a matter of whether $100+ million is realistic for them at this point.
If not Darvish, the Brewers would seem to still have the funds for an Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn, or perhaps even a steal on Jake Arrieta. It’s hard to imagine them coming this far and then not addressing the obvious need in the rotation. We will be especially interested to see what they do going forward, not only because it impacts the Cubs’ own free agent pursuits, but obviously because it could make a huge difference in competitiveness heading into 2018.