The Milwaukee Brewers are having fun this week. On Thursday, they signed Lorenzo Cain and traded a prospect bundle for Christian Yelich to boost their chances of topping the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central. On Sunday, their owner suggested another splash -- this time in the form of a top free-agent starter -- could be in the works.
Here's what Mark Attanasio said as part of the Brewers' fan fest event, per MLB.com's Adam McCalvy:
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
The Brewers have been tied primarily to Yu Darvish in recent weeks. Yet if that pursuit fails and they're unable to find better through a trade, it makes sense that Milwaukee's front office might spring for Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn, or Alex Cobb. The need is there, anyway. Manager Craig Counsell said Sunday that the only locks for the rotation are Chase Anderson, Zach Davies, and Jhoulys Chacin -- with a handful competing for the other spots. Club ace Jimmy Nelson isn't expected back until June.
Counsell says the locks for the starting rotation at this point are Chase Anderson, Zach Davies and Jhoulys Chacin. The "next group" would be Brandon Woodruff, Brent Suter, Yovani Gallardo, Junior Guerra and Aaron Wilkerson.— Todd Rosiak (@Todd_Rosiak) January 28, 2018
For those wondering, the Brewers are sporting a projected payroll around $89 million, per Cot's Contracts. Signing another top free agent could push Milwaukee over its current franchise-high of $104 million -- that came in 2015, the last time they boasted a nine-figure payroll. The Brewers finished last in the majors in end-of-season payroll in 2016-17.