In 2018, the Milwaukee Brewers were one game away from clinching their first World Series since 1982. Just two seasons ago, they were projected to be one of the worst teams in the MLB, but quickly rose to one of the top teams in the league in 2018. It is crazy to think that in 2016, the Brewers roster was completely different than what it currently is today. David Stearns has certainly done a phenomenal job as the youngest GM in the MLB. Coming from one of the top farm systems in the league, the Brewers have turned average players into superstars, in players like Christian Yelich and Josh Hader. Now, it is time to look ahead into next season and decide what moves need to be made. The Brewers have already made a few transactions this offseason, including trading outfielder Domingo Santana to the Mariners and outfielder Keon Broxton to the Mets. Milwaukee received minor league prospect pitchers in both trades, which will give them more depth in their bullpen. The pitching rotation is an area that Milwaukee needs more strength at, and there are several ways they could go about making this more lethal.
Re-Sign Key Players
Wade Miley– From a minor league prospect at the start of the season to a top notch force in the postseason, Wade Miley became a big part of the Brewers this year, ending with a 2.57 ERA and one of the main areas of success in the Brewers rotation this postseason. Wade Miley should be a key player for Milwaukee to keep around. This year, it was almost as if he was on a “prove it” contract, making only $2.5 Million on a minor league deal at 32 years old, and Miley definitely improved coming off of a struggling 5.61 ERA season in Baltimore.
The Brewers also have Gio Gonzalez as a key free agent, who is a former NL Cy Young Award winner, but in order to make big transactions this offseason, Wade Miley would be the smarter move for Milwaukee to keep. Even though Gonzalez has more experience in the playoffs, he also struggles majorly in big games like that. Wade Miley would be the better move at helping the Crew win a ring in the next few years.
Dallas Keuchel– As one of the top farm systems in the league, the Brewers would have enough money to make a move on Keuchel. This is a solid veteran with playoff experience coming off a 3.74 ERA during the 2018 season. Keuchel has a total of 4 Golden Glove Awards, including one in 2018, and is one of the best pitchers in today’s game. The former 2015 AL Cy Young pitcher has one World Series ring earned in 2017, which would help the Brewers to have another guy in their rotation familiar with the playoff atmosphere. He also has had an average WHIP of under 2.00 ever since he has entered the league in 2012, which shows how consistent he is throughout the season. Keuchel will receive numerous interests from other teams, and Milwaukee should definitely be a contender to sign him.
Trade for Key Players
Corey Kluber– This is another veteran pitcher that would help Milwaukee substantially with his consistency on the mound. Cleveland has been to the postseason for 3 consecutive years, including 1 World Series appearance. Kluber had the 5th best ERA in the American League last year, finishing with a 2.89. He also captured a 20 win season, which was the 2nd highest in the AL. His numbers were impressive in 2018, as he is one of the best pitchers in the league when it comes to staying consistent throughout the regular season. Kluber might require Milwaukee to give up more than they would like, but he would help improve their rotation immensely at times when it matters most.
Madison Bumgarner– Bumgarner has been in trade talks with various teams for quite some time. As of right now, the Brewers seem to be one of the frontrunners to acquire the 12-year veteran. The Brewers have just what the Giants need to give up for him, it is just a matter of if they will make the move. Corey Ray, a top prospect of Milwaukee who many believe will make a great impact in 2019, has started to enter the trade mix for the Brewers in acquiring a top pitcher like Bumgarner. Madison Bumgarner has 3 rings with San Francisco and was the MVP for them all. He has had an average ERA of 3.03 his entire MLB career. His numbers in the postseason are jaw-dropping. Of his 4 year playoff appearance, Bumgarner’s postseason ERA is 2.11 and has an 8-3 record out of the 12 opponents he has faced. In the 2014 World Series, he had a 0.43 ERA in 21 innings pitched, averaging out to be one of his best years in baseball. Madison Bumgarner is one of the most successful pitchers of this era and very well could be on the move soon, garnering interest from Milwaukee and several other teams.
The Milwaukee Brewers can only get better from here and that starts with pitching, something that was strong in the 2018 postseason, but there is always room for improvement. The Brewers starting rotation struggled with injuries last season. For example, they will most likely lose Brent Suter for the 2019 season due to Tommy-John surgery late in the year. The Brewers need a big playmaker that will make an impact in their rotation, and transactions like these will make a difference and improve their consistency throughout the year.