The Brewers are looking overseas to address a rotation that has been one of their biggest weaknesses in recent seasons.
According to multiple reports, Milwaukee is signing 32-year-old Josh Lindblom to a three-year deal. It’s worth $9.125 million but can max out at more than $18 million, should Lindblom hit certain bonuses, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan.
Right-hander Josh Lindblom is in agreement on a deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, sources familiar with it tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 11, 2019
Josh Lindblom’s contract with Milwaukee will be for three years and guarantee $9.125 million, according to a source. With performance bonuses, it can max out at more than $18 million.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 11, 2019
The Cubs also had discussions with Lindblom, according to MLB.com's Jon Morosi, before he reached a deal with the Brewers.
Source: #Cubs, free agent Josh Lindblom have had discussions this offseason, but it appears other clubs are more heavily involved now. Lindblom, the 2019 KBO MVP, grew up in West Lafayette, Ind., fewer than 150 miles from Wrigley Field. @MLB @MLBNetwork— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 9, 2019
Lindblom has pitched in parts of five big league seasons since 2011, most recently with the Pirates in 2017. The right-hander holds a career 4.10 ERA in 114 games (six starts) but he remade himself during a successful stint pitching in South Korea in recent seasons.
From 2018-19 with the Doosan Bears, Lindblom went 35-7 with a 2.68 ERA, striking out 346 batters in 363 1/3 innings. He was named MVP of the KBO in 2019. Some of Lindblom's success can be attributed to the splitter he featured in his repertoire.
One of the key attributes to @JoshLindblom52 's success this season has been his nasty splitter. Opposing hitters have only managed to hit .172 against it with a .405 OPS & 46.7% swing percentage. #KBO pic.twitter.com/zititVKN86— Sung Min Kim (@sung_minkim) August 26, 2019
Lindblom’s name doesn’t jump off the page, but he’s a low-cost addition for the Brewers and is returning stateside an improved pitcher. Milwaukee finished 14th in starting pitcher ERA in 2019, but that figure was a not-so-great 4.40. They traded mainstay Zach Davies — who had been a rotation mainstay since 2016 — to the Padres two weeks ago.
Lindblom joins a rotation featuring Brandon Woodruff, Adrian Houser and Eric Lauer (acquired in the Davies trade). The Brewers also have 25-year-old Corbin Burnes and 23-year-old Freddy Peralta as starting options. The duo struggled in 2019 (Burnes: 8.82 ERA, 32 games/four starts; Peralta: 5.29 ERA, 39 games/eight starts), so the guess here is the Brewers aren’t done shopping for pitching.