3. Marco Estrada and Joe Smith, Toronto Blue Jays
Verlander and Kinsler would add instant name recognition to the Brewers roster, but because of the dollar figures involved, not to mention the fact both have shown signs of decline in their mid-30s, making a move for the pair might not be in the best long-term interest of the organization.
A safer, cheaper route would be to target two Blue Jays right-handers, starter Marco Estrada and reliever Joe Smith. Brewers fans remember Estrada from his five years in Milwaukee, including 2011 when he pitched for the club in the National League Championship Series – the last postseason trip the Brewers made.
From 2010-14, Estrada posted a mediocre 4.11 ERA and 4.04 FIP. However, he blossomed after Milwaukee traded him to Toronto for Adam Lind before the 2015 season. In his first two seasons north of the border, Estrada posted ERAs of 3.13 and 3.48, respectively. He did an outstanding job keeping hitters off base, leading the American League with 6.7 and 6.8 hits allowed per nine innings, respectively.
Though Estrada has taken a step back this season (his ERA has jumped to 5.52 in 20 starts, and his hits allowed per nine innings rose to 9.6), his FIP is on par with what he posted over his first two seasons with the club. In 2015, when Estrada finished 10th in the Cy Young vote, he had a 4.40 FIP. The next year, when Estrada made the All-Star team, he posted a 4.15 FIP. This year, he has a 4.42 FIP. Also, hit strikeout numbers have risen from 6.5 K/9 in 2015 to 8.4 last year and 9.7 this season.
Adding Estrada to the rotation wouldn’t grab the headlines like some of the others on this list, but because he and Smith who has a 3.58 ERA and 2.17 FIP with 49 strikeouts in 32.2 innings this season, will be free agents after the season, the asking price should be cheap, and a deal could be done easily.