First, the Brewers passed on a fantastic young pitcher for a track and field standout. Now, Ken Rosenthal is confirming our worst fears:
The Brewers badly need starting pitching. They bid $100 million for left-hander CC Sabathia last winter. But they do not expect to be a serious player for righty John Lackey, the top free agent available this offseason.
Lackey, Brewers officials believe, would prefer to go to a larger market. The Brewers almost certainly would not make the best offer, and Lackey might only use their proposal to persuade other clubs to bid higher.
The Brewers' most pressing decision involves whether to exercise the $6.5 million option on right-hander Braden Looper or pay him a $1 million buyout. They are likely to pursue mid-rotation starters such as left-handers Doug Davis and Jarrod Washburn.
Here are the guys I want Melvin to target. I'm not putting a ton of thought into this, and neither should you. At this point, it's sort of difficult to guess what kind of market there will be, and where the numbers will fall. Some of these guys will end up with valuations that don't make sense. If there is someone you really really want the Brewers to sign, write him down. Then find a guy who is about 60% as good as that guy and hope the Mustache pays him too much to play for Milwaukee. You're less likely to be disappointed.
ESK's 2010 Brewer Free Agent Wish List:
Russell Branyan - obvious. McGehee will pull a Hall and even if he doesn't Branyan is instantly the best right fielder on the team
Mark DeRosa - hopefully the AL stint diminished his value where he makes sense as a third middle infielder. If not, pass.
Melvin Mora - Cheap pinch hitter? Has to be very very cheap, and only in the event Doug still hates the Muscle
Jason Bay - yeah...fucking....right
Matt Holliday - see Jason Bay...it's nice to want things
Vladimir Guerrero - put him in right, trade Corey Hart
Matt Stairs - because he's better than most of the Brewers outfielders
Justin Duchscherer - too expensive most likely
John Lackey - not going to happen
Brett Myers - Instant #2...plus, he's an asshole...and only 29.
Cha Seung Baek - eh...we need pitching and there is a lot of shitty pitching...he is a bit less so, plus, imagine Uecker calling his games!
Chad Bradford - bullpen arm...real name Chadwick. Terrible year after awesome year.
Horacio Ramirez - lefty bullpen arm
None of these names excite me, aside from the obvious Branyan. The guys who I think would be an excellent fit are guys I know Melvin won't go after, where as the rest are crappy hole fillers.
My last, and most important signing the Brewers could make this winter: Kim Ng.