In the midst of turmoil surrounding the team’s recent slump to 2-8 in their last 10 games, combined with the Josh Hader controversy, the injury bug has continued to bite the Milwaukee Brewers. Now 2.5 games back of the Chicago Cubs, the Brewers have lost starting pitcher Brent Suter for the remainder of the season with an elbow injury that may require Tommy John surgery.
Suter had pitched in 21 games, starting 19 of those contests, to compile an 8-8 record. With Zach Davies only just beginning a stint in the minor leagues as he recovers from a back injury and Jimmy Nelson still out for the foreseeable future, Milwaukee’s starting pitching rotation is thinning out at a critical time in the season. Last year, the Brewers went through a similar midsummer slump and were unable to recover and break back into the playoffs for the first time since 2011. To right the ship in 2018, general manager David Stearns will need to bolster the frontlines with another consistent arm on the mound.
With the excitement around potentially adding Manny Machado to the infield now only a memory, new rumors have begun to swirl in Milwaukee. Whispers of the team once again paying closer attention to Rays pitcher Chris Archer have arose, and there are a handful of other arms that could be within reach if Stearns decides to be aggressive to make a move.
Among the bigger names are the Reds’ Matt Harvey, the Rangers’ Cole Hamels, and the Mets’ Jacob deGrom.
Chris Archer has been serviceable for the Rays, who are still over .500 in a tough division, posting a 4.30 ERA and going 3-4 in 16 starts. While the numbers don’t jump off the page, the lesser prospects and pieces required from Milwaukee to bring in the 29-year-old Archer make it a lower risk trade than some of the bigger names that could be on the move before the deadline.
Matt Harvey allowed eight earned runs in 3.2 innings during a loss to the scorching-hot Pirates in his last outing, and looks like a different man on the mound compared to his early years with the New York Mets. On the bright side, he has looked better since being traded to Cincinnati. Harvey has posted a 1.22 WHIP for the Reds, which would be his best since 2015, and has a positive WAR for the first time since 2015 as well. It may be a small sample when considering the nightmare of his last two seasons with the Mets, but perhaps a move to a team in the playoff mix could rejuvenate the former ace.
Cole Hamels has been great for the Rangers since arriving from the Phillies in 2015, but his time in Texas may be up soon. The Rangers sit at the bottom of the AL West at 42-59 and will be gearing towards revamping with young players and prospects. At 34 years old and 5-9 on the season so far, Hamels may not mind jumping ship and pursuing another World Series with a team in contention. Milwaukee could use the experience if Hamels is able to find his good stuff once again, but he has not helped his own case of late, allowing 14 runs in his last 12 innings.
Jacob deGrom has made a significant jump in 2018 and dominated during his appearance in the All-Star game last week. Pitching in the same rotation as Noah Syndergaard, the Mets have two of the National League’s best starters and have still managed to struggle their way to last place in the NL East at 40-57 on the year. After a series of odd roster moves, who knows what New York plans to do with deGrom, but he has brought the heat so far this July and is only going to draw more attention as the deadline draws nearer. In three starts, the righty has allowed just three runs in 24 innings, and has struck out 25 batters. If it were as simple as taking their pick, it is a no-brainer that the Brewers would grab deGrom, the question is just whether or not the Mets are willing to give him up for a fair price.
Regardless of what Stearns makes happen before the trade deadline, the Brewers will need the guys they already have on the roster to step up. Adding one starter could certainly boost the team’s spirits, but it won’t fix everything. Strong play from the current five-man rotation of Chacin, Guerra, Peralta, Miley and Anderson will be crucial for Milwaukee. With Suter out for the year, not only will the Brewers need solid performances from their starters, they’ll need them to stay healthy.