The Milwaukee Brewers seem to be signaling a “win-now” mentality as they’ve acquired two veterans for their pitching rotation during Winter Meetings in Nashville this week, in addition to re-signing starter Colin Rea in November. But the biggest question regarding their rotation for 2024 remains unanswered.
Milwaukee Brewers Welcome Pitcher Wade Miley Back to Rotation Spot
By welcoming back 37-year-old starter Wade Miley with a one-year, $8.5 million deal, the Brewers indicated that they are willing to spend for what could very well be the southpaw’s final season of productivity. Miley went nine and four in 2023 with a 3.14 ERA for the Brewers, then declined a $10 million mutual option to explore free agency.
The renegotiation with Miley answers the briefly-opened question about who might take on one of the top spots in the pitching rotation. In 2023, Miley pitched 120.1 innings, the fourth-most among Brewers hurlers.
Milwaukee Brewers Hope for a Diamond In the Rough With Pitcher Joe Ross
In its second free agent pitcher signing during Winter Meetings, the Brewers secured Joe Ross, a 30-year-old who has been out of the big leagues since 2021 after undergoing Tommy John surgery for the second time in 2022.
Pitching for the Washington Nationals in 2021, Ross was hit for a 4.17 ERA and allowed a .402 slugging percentage. In eight minor league games last year, he pitched for a dismal 5.14 ERA in just 14 innings.
But the Brewers obviously think they have found something in Ross that can add depth to their pitching staff, signing him to a reported one-year, $1.75 million contract with incentives. It’s not immediately clear if Ross will get the chance to return as a starter, but it seems more likely that he will be a long-relief weapon as he attempts to make his comeback.
Will Corbin Burnes Pitch for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2024?
The resigning of Rea and Miley and the addition of Ross answer some questions about the Brewers pitching outlook for 2024. With Brandon Woodruff expected to miss next season and Eric Lauer unlikely to return, the top of the rotation for next season appears to include Freddy Peralta, Miley, Rea and Adrian Houser.
But there are major questions surrounding the future of the Brewers’ top starter from last year: Corbin Burnes.
Burnes’ name appears to be on the trading block at Winter Meetings, but Brewers General Manager Matt Arnold has indicated that it’s highly possible the right-hander will come back to lead the pitching staff in 2024.
“We don’t really feel like there’s any sense of urgency there,” Arnold said of potentially trading Burnes as well as shortstop Willy Adames while at Winter Meetings in Nashville. “They’re really good players, and we like having them. We certainly appreciate the interest from around the league any time that happens, but we feel like these guys are a huge part of what we’re trying to do here.”
The gauge on Burnes’ return for next year seems to change with the weather, and the Brewers’ rotation can’t be truly solidified until the fate of its 2023 ace is known. But even as the offseason moves forward and the roster continues to develop, the answers to some of the Brewers biggest pitching questions have already come into focus.