If you've been paying attention to the Crew at all this season, you would surely realize that Milwaukee's starting rotation needs a lot of help. Although it has been riddled with injuries, the starting five is average, at best. On opening day, our starting rotation consisted of Suppan, Gallardo, Looper, Parra, and Bush. And only Gallardo has shown any consistency. Personally, I don't think that Gallardo is the Brewers ace for the future. I think that he's going to be a great No. 2 starter, but needs to follow a veteran ace to fulfill his full potential. Suppan has been sub-par and incredibly inconsistent. He's usually good for four innings, and then seems to get out of control, very similar to Dave Bush last season. Dave Bush started off the year great, but lately has been horrendous. Looper has been a decent pickup, but is better suited as an above average No. 4 starter, as opposed to a No. 2 guy. Manny Parra is starting to show signs that he has the stuff to be a very solid power-lefty. Plus, Manny is still only 26, which makes me think that he'll be in the rotation for at least the next two years.
Of these five pitchers, only Suppan is currently on next year's payroll. All of the other starter (Gallardo, Looper, Parra, and Bush) are scheduled to become free agents at the end of the year. This means that Doug Melvin and Ken Macha will have a lot of decisions to make in the offseason. They will try their best to re-sign Gallardo, but it will cost the Brewers a lot more than the 414K he's making right now. I predict he'll sign a two-year contract with the Brewers, with an option for the third year, somewhere between $7 and $9 million. They will also try to sign Parra, who will probably go for about $3-4 million. I don't think they'll try very hard to re-sign Looper or Bush. If Bush will sign for somewhere near his current salary ($4 million), they might consider a one-year deal. But I think that the Brewers will not re-sign Looper, instead they will try for one of the more dominant pitchers that are scheduled to be free agents. Although, Looper is eligible for a 2010 option, so they might keep him and get rid of Bush.
Here is a list of possible free agents that I think the Brewers may be interested in signing:
Cliff Lee, Jarrod Washburn, Brett Myers, Justin Duchsherer, Freddy Garcia, Rich Harden, John Lackey, Todd Wellemeyer, and Brad Penny.
Out of this list, I could really only see Brett Myers, John Lackey, and Brad Penny as legitimate possibilities.
I'd have to guess that Brett Myers would land with the Brewers. The Phillies will not pursue him because of the all-of-a-sudden tremendous depth in their rotation.
So, I predict the 2010 pitching rotation to look like this: Gallardo, Myers, Parra, Looper, Suppan.
This rotation should be much stronger than the 2009 rotation, and should be able to push the Crew even further into playoff contention.