General manager Doug Melvin was asked the question ad nauseam, but he gave the same calm response each time. Though the Brewers did nothing to their starting pitching corps but add minor league depth, they believe this inexperienced group will be just fine. Instead of jumping into the free-agent pool and tossing big money to starting pitchers, Melvin decided to stay in-house and give his young pitchers a crack at carrying over the success they found at the end of last season. With pitchers getting crazy money on the open market, the strategy makes sense. Instead of trying to sign pitchers who will give Milwaukee an ERA around 4.50, the Brewers are deciding to give youth a chance, just like they did with their position players earlier in the 2000s. All six serious contenders for the rotation have had success in the big leagues, be it in 2011 or at the end of last season. If the Brewers were going out and looking for free agents, Melvin said they'd be searching for pitchers with the strikeout-to-walk ratios similar to Fiers and Estrada and for players with the stuff of Rogers, Peralta, Thornburg and Burgos. Milwaukee went hard after right-hander Ryan Dempster, but it didn't pursue any other veteran starting pitchers after Dempster signed with Boston. The door isn't shut on signing Kyle Lohse, but it's only open a crack. Lohse is represented by Scott Boras, and the reason he's still available is his asking price. While he'd be a nice addition to the staff, Lohse's price would have to come down drastically for the Brewers to have a chance. With Zack Greinke getting $147 million and a guy like Joe Blanton and his career 4.37 ERA getting $7 million a year, Melvin is playing his hand wisely. Because they didn't spend big on starting pitching, the Brewers have the ability to make a trade and add salary if they are in the race toward the end of July. Owner Mark Attanasio admitted he may give Melvin the flexibility to add a pitcher at the trade deadline, something the club has done successfully before. STARTER SPOTLIGHT: There's no question Gallardo will be Milwaukee's Opening Day starter and ace of the staff, but the other four spots are completely up for grabs in spring training. Estrada has the inside track to landing somewhere in the rotation, but he'll still have to earn his spot. With Estrada in behind Gallardo, three spots would remain. Because he is out of options, Mark Rogers is going to be given every chance to claim one of the open positions. Rogers is no sure thing and could be moved to the bullpen, as well.
Brewers confident in their young rotation
Fox Sports Wisconsin | Feb 8