The Brewers told anyone that would listen this winter that they were content with their young starting rotation, and that they weren’t comfortable sacrificing a first round pick to sign free agent Kyle Lohse.
Then, the Brewers got to spring training, and apparently, they’ve now panicked. Jon Heyman broke the story of Lohse signing with the Brewers. Tom Haudricourt says the deal is for three (3!) years and $33 million (!!).
Since the Cardinals made a qualifying offer to Lohse at the end of last season, the Brewers will also have to surrender their 17th overall pick in the draft. More importantly, they also lose the money associated with that pick from their pool of cash to sign draft picks — in other words, not only do they lose the pick, but they’re not allowed to use that money to give more to guys later in the draft that may have slipped due to signability concerns.
The Brewers will explain the signing soon, but the timing is a bit curious. The move comes a day after Mark Rogers and Wily Peralta struggled in their respective split squad starts, and Mike Fiers has had his struggles, too. Opening Day is in a week.
Now, note the post title. This appears to be a move done above Doug Melvin’s head. For weeks there have been rumors about Scott Boras meeting with Mark Attanasio directly. Every report today on the deal has been sure to mention Attanasio’s involvement, and Haudricourt’s report makes it sound like Attanasio was the one negotiating with Boras, not Melvin.
Not quite George Steinbrenner signing Reggie Jackson, is it?
With Lohse joining the rotation, the Brewers now need to figure out who’s getting booted in this last week of camp. Yovani Gallardo, Marco Estrada and Chris Narveson have been described as locks for much of the spring. That would leave the final spot down to Fiers and Peralta. With the bullpen almost entirely set, too, it’s possible the loser of that competition finds himself in Nashville to start the year.
For all the criticism, this is a move that likely makes the 2013 Brewers better. The question to ask, though, is whether going from 78-80 wins to 82-84 wins is really worth the money, longterm commitment, and loss of draft resources.