Posted by Steve
We usually see one or two of these in the off-season: A semi-premier free agent who the Brewers pursue with an outside shot of signing. Last year it was Jason Schmidt (whew, dodged a bullet there). In recent years it was Troy Glaus and Matt Clement (another bullet dodged). Suppan was one of these as well, although he’s the first one they actually signed.
The first one this year is Curt Schilling. Schilling recently posted a list of teams he’d consider on his (wordpress, represent!) blog 38 pitches, and the Brewers made the first cut. Now today Haudricourt reports that Melvin will at least talk to him.
Usually I’d be against pursuing a 40-year old pitcher who will cost a ton of money. Schilling may be an exception, though, because he has said he expects to sign a one-year deal. This seems to be a good match with the Brewers, who really have this season to spend a bit. After 2008 Fielder, Hart and Weeks all hit arbitration and Sheets’ contract will be up. Now it will probably take at least $12 million, but again, it’s completely off the books after next season. It’s really pretty low-risk.
It’s rare to have a pitcher of Schilling’s caliber agree to a one-year deal. He certainly is not the dominant pitcher he once was, but his 3.87 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in the American League would look pretty nice in the Brewers’ rotation next season.
Just to get way ahead of ourselves, let’s check out the hypothetical rotation:
That’s a pretty crazy upgrade over 2007. In that scenario I see Bush moving to the bullpen and Vargas and Capuano traded. Manny Parra would also likely stick in the pen for one year.
As always with free agency, you have other teams to beat out. If Boston isn’t interested, Schilling will still have a handful of suitors. An obvious match would be Philadelphia, where Schilling spent the prime of his career.
Sure it’s likely to come up empty, but there’s no reason to take a shot. All I’m saying is I would be much less annoyed by Schilling’s tendency to speak up on any issue if he was helping the Brewers make the playoffs.
Other odds and ends
Jeffress busted again
Jeremy Jeffress, the Brewers’ top pitching prospect and first round pick in 2006, has failed a drug test–for the second time–in three months. Melvin wouldn’t say, but Haudricourt hinted that it was for marijuana. His first failed test resulted in a 50-game suspension. This test will yield no automatic suspension since it was not given by MLB, so it remains to see if the Brewers will issue further punishment.
Needless to say, this is pretty frustrating. After you fail a test, you know you’re going to be tested again. How could he not know this was coming? This leaves his status as a promising prospect in jeopardy, and also leaves the Brewers minor league system without much in the way of high-ceiling pitchers.
Linebrink’s officially a Type A
The Elias Sports Bureau has ranked players for this off-season. Obviously Francisco Cordero is a Type A free agent. The good news, as expected, is that Scott Linebrink also qualified as Type A. This softens the blow of losing three young pitchers for Linebrink, but as Melvin said, he probably wouldn’t have even made the trade if he didn’t think Linebrink would be a Type A.
Another ’82 Brewer on the coaching staff
But this one I’m pretty happy about. Ted Simmons will be the new bench coach, sliding Dale Sveum back to third base coach. Simmons is widely respected as a sharp baseball mind, and to be honest, I’m much more confident in Simmons’ in-game decision-making that Yost’s. Here’s hoping this will help Ned cut back on his Sha-wuuhhh??s next year.