5:34pm: LeMahieu is not likely to land in Milwaukee, per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). It seems the price tag is too steep after the team’s addition of Grandal.
(It’s worth noting, too, that Lowrie has now reportedly agreed to terms since this post was first published.)
3:40pm: The Brewers surprised many with a sudden agreement with free-agent catcher Yasmani Grandal last night, promising the former Dodgers All-Star $18.25MM on a one-year pact. The catching position now upgraded, the Brewers are in “heavy” pursuit of an infield upgrade, reports Jeff Passan of ESPN (via Twitter). Both second basemen and third basemen are in play as Milwaukee looks for a new player to patrol the dirt.
Adding a true second baseman would seem a better fit on the surface, as the Brewers already have a strong defensive option at the hot corner in the form of Travis Shaw. However, the Brewers did acquire Mike Moustakas last summer, shifting Shaw to second base in the process. Apparently, the team was comfortable enough with what it saw in Shaw’s 268 innings at the position — he checked in at -1 DRS and -1.5 UZR in that tiny sample, for what little it’s worth — that it’s comfortable with the idea of Shaw returning to second base in 2019 as well.
One prominent free-agent option at second base came off the board this morning when Brian Dozier agreed to a reported $9MM contract with the Nationals. Dozier seemed a strong fit for Milwaukee in many respects, and though they’d previously been tied to the former Twin, they’ll look to other options. DJ LeMahieu’s market is reportedly beginning to gain a bit of steam, and he’s one of many free-agent options for Milwaukee GM David Stearns and his staff. The trade market has no shortage of options, either; for instance, Passan reported earlier this morning that the Giants are exploring deals involving Joe Panik.
If the Brewers prefer a more versatile option who can handle multiple positions, thus preserving some flexibility, they’re in luck. Marwin Gonzalez, Jed Lowrie, Josh Harrison and Asdrubal Cabrera are among the free-agent options that can handle either second base or third base (in addition to other positions, at least in the case of the former three). With Cory Spangenberg already in the fold as a potential utility option that can handle both second and third, the Brewers’ likely focus at this juncture is to acquire a player they feel can shoulder the majority of the load at either second or third, with Shaw manning the other spot.