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The Brewers lost MVP candidate Christian Yelich to a knee fracture in early September but nevertheless rode a torrid hot streak to an NL Wild Card berth. The Milwaukee Magic ran out earlier this season than last, however, as the Brewers couldn’t overcome the Nationals in that one-game showdown. It’ll be back to the drawing board again for president of baseball ops David Stearns and his staff, who’ll enter the offseason with question marks behind the plate, in the infield and on the pitching staff.
- Lorenzo Cain, OF: $51MM through 2022
- Christian Yelich, OF: $27.75MM through 2021 (includes buyout of 2022 club option)
- Ryan Braun, OF: $20MM through 2020 (includes buyout of 2021 mutual option)
Arbitration-Eligible Players (salary projections via MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz)
- Jimmy Nelson – $3.7MM
- Corey Knebel – $5.125MM
- Alex Claudio – $2.2MM
- Travis Shaw – $4.7MM
- Zach Davies – $5.0MM
- Junior Guerra – $3.5MM
- Tyler Saladino – $1.0MM
- Orlando Arcia – $2.7MM
- Ben Gamel – $1.6MM
- Brent Suter – $900K
- Josh Hader – $4.6MM
- Non-tender candidates: Perez, Shaw, Guerra, Spangenberg, Saladino, Austin
- Yasmani Grandal, C: Grandal declined $16MM mutual option, becoming a free agent (received $2.5MM buyout)
- Mike Moustakas, 3B/2B: Moustakas declined $11MM mutual option, becoming a free agent (received $3MM buyout)
- Eric Thames, 1B/OF: Brewers declined $7.5MM club option (Thames received $1MM buyout)
- Manny Pina, C: Brewers exercised $1.85MM option
- Grandal, Moustakas, Thames, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Lyles, Drew Pomeranz, Matt Albers, Tyler Austin (outrighted, elected free agency), Cory Spangenberg (outrighted, elected free agency), Hernan Perez (outrighted, elected free agency)
For a team that just enjoyed its second postseason berth in two years, the Brewers have a surprising number of holes to fill. The rotation will be an obvious point of focus, but the lineup offers its share of uncertainty as well.
Both Yasmani Grandal and Mike Moustakas declined mutual options, as expected, removing two of the team’s better bats from the equation. First base will also be a possible point of focus after Milwaukee paid a $1MM buyout rather than exercising a $7.5MM option on slugger Eric Thames. Meanwhile, Travis Shaw struggled through the worst season of his career and isn’t a sure bet to be tendered a contract — let alone to be a major contributor in 2020. At shortstop, Orlando Arcia posted an anemic .223/.283/.350 batting line in 586 plate appearances.
In summary: the Brewers will be in the market for a catcher, at least one corner infielder and perhaps a shortstop. First base could be an area of need as well. That’s a lot of work to tackle even before looking at the pitching staff, so let’s begin with the lineup.
Grandal shocked onlookers, MLBTR included, when he spurned a reported four-year offer from the Mets last winter to sign a one-year pact with Milwaukee. After the agreement, Grandal spoke about the obligation he felt to prioritize a higher annual salary as a means of advancing the market for future catchers.
Perhaps that was a bit of PR spin or perhaps it was genuine; whatever it was, Grandal proved with a .246/.380/.468 batting line and his characteristic brand of strong defense that he should be Milwaukee’s priority this winter. There’s no doubt that retaining him would be expensive — particularly if Grandal’s preference is once again for a premium annual rate at the expense of length. But the Brewers would be within their means and within reason if they offered Grandal an annual salary in the $20MM range over a three-year term. If he’s willing to sign a four-year pact at a slightly lesser rate, that’d be well worth considering, too. As for the backup role, paying a net $1.7MM for Pina’s quality glove is perfectly sensible.
There’s also a strong argument in favor of re-signing Moustakas. It’s tough to pay Shaw a projected $4.7MM as a rebound candidate, but reallocating that money to a new pact for Moustakas would create needed stability in an infield mix where only breakout rookie Keston Hiura appears locked into a spot (second base). Despite a quality run that now includes four above-average seasons in five years, Moustakas simply hasn’t been valued all that highly in two trips to the open market. Retaining him on a two-year deal comparable to this season’s value would be a worthwhile avenue to explore.
Of course, offseason demand will dictate the price points for Grandal and Moustakas, and at a certain juncture the Brewers will be willing to move on. Should that happen, they’ll have a bevy of catching alternatives from which to choose, including a perhaps on-the-rise Travis d’Arnaud, a steady defender in Jason Castro and a quality veteran bat in Robinson Chirinos (among others). There are fewer reasonably priced free agents at the hot corner — Anthony Rendon is too lofty a target — but perhaps if Grandal spurns a robust three-year offer, the Brewers could look to the older-but-still-excellent Josh Donaldson in a similar price range.
Uncertainty at the infield corners notwithstanding, the biggest problem area in the infield is shortstop, where the aforementioned Arcia has yet to live up to the hype that surrounded him as a minor leaguer. Once ranked inside the game’s Top 10 overall prospects by both Baseball America and MLB.com, Arcia has mustered a miserable .243/.292/.360 batting line in nearly 1700 MLB plate appearances. The Brewers have entrusted primary shortstop duties to him for three straight seasons and come away with virtually nothing to show for it. If you’re looking for a clean fit for Didi Gregorius, Milwaukee is a good place to start.
Shifting focus to the pitching staff, it’s somewhat amazing that Milwaukee made it as far as it did with the staff in place. The Brewers, by Stearns’ own admission, “tend to blur the lines” between starters and relievers more than most clubs. You want see many Milwaukee starters even pitch six innings, but their success while relying on Chase Anderson, Zach Davies, Adrian Houser and IL returnees Brandon Woodruff, Brent Suter and Jimmy Nelson was remarkable. Both Nelson and Woodruff have high ceilings and have realized that potential for significant stretches of time, but both have battled recent injuries. Nelson missed most of 2019 while recovering from shoulder surgery, while a severe oblique strain sidelined Woodruff for two months.
That duo, if healthy, gives the Brewers a foundation for the starting staff in 2020. But Milwaukee has already moved on from Anderson, whom they didn’t trust for more than five innings at a time in 2019. With his $8.5MM option deemed more expensive than the organization was willing to spend, Anderson was flipped to the pitching-needy Blue Jays on the first day of the offseason. That move saved some money but also further thinned out the Brewers’ depth.
The Brewers may yet be hopeful that right-handers Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta can function as starters — or at least a multi-inning role of some sort — but the organization could still stand to bring in a source of stable innings. Similar arguments have been made in each of the past two offseasons, and the Brewers responded rather tepidly by adding Jhoulys Chacin, Wade Miley and Gio Gonzalez on low-risk deals. That history makes it hard to predict that the Brewers will step up in pursuit of any high-end starter, but they at least make sense for some reasonably priced upside plays. Jordan Lyles (again), Drew Smyly and Michael Wacha could fit the bill. Or, the Brewers could operate as they have most recently and wait to see who’s left without a seat at the end of this offseason’s game of musical chairs.
In the bullpen, the Brewers will likely be intrigued by any pitcher they believe capable of throwing more than an inning at a time. Drew Pomeranz morphed into a late-inning monster in Milwaukee and recorded four or more outs in nearly a third of his appearances down the stretch. Pomeranz’s unexpected dominance could make him a buzz reliever who generates multi-year interest, but if the Brewers plan to continue sticking to low-cost rotation options, spending more to retain a pitcher who looked like a potential high-end relief weapon would make sense.
Alternatively, Milwaukee wants to pursue some higher-end targets to pair with Josh Hader and a returning Corey Knebel next season, they could look into a Will Smith reunion or pursue Will Harris. This year’s market is generally lacking in top-flight setup options, though veterans like Joe Smith, Steve Cishek and Craig Stammen have generally solid track records. And, as always, the trade market will present limitless opportunities for Stearns & Co. to explore as they look to piece together what should once again be one of the game’s more unique assemblies of pitchers.
Depending on the moves the Brewers make on the position-player side of the coin, they’ll need that penchant for creative pitching staff construction to its fullest extent. Assuming some additional non-tenders (Shaw, Junior Guerra, and Tyler Saladino), the Brewers currently project to have about $73.5MM in 2020 commitments. That’s roughly $49MM shy of this year’s Opening Day mark, but the aforementioned needs at catcher, third base and shortstop could all be costly to fill — particularly if retaining Grandal is deemed a Lorenzo Cain-esque priority (that is to say — a relatively unique free agent worth deviating from the more value-based mindset with which the organization typically approaches the open market).
There’ll be a lot written about the Brewers’ need to add legitimate starting pitching help this winter, but that hasn’t been how this front office has operated. Milwaukee has persistently bucked conventional wisdom when putting together rosters that feature exceptional flexibility in the lineup, on the pitching staff and on the fringes of the 25-man roster itself. The addition of a 26th roster spot next season might allow other clubs to follow in those footsteps a bit, but Milwaukee’s knack for cultivating depth and leveraging versatility is among the best in the game.
The Brewers will need to employ that same creativity in the months to come as they look to reshape the infield and deepen their pitching staff in an effort to keep up with the division-champion Cardinals, the typically aggressive Cubs (last winter being a notable exception) and a Reds team that is more motivated to win than at any point in recent history.
Their biggest problem lies with the change in September rosters. Gone are the days of bullpening games in September. They’re going to need SPs going more than 9-12 outs….that’s a major departure from the last two years.
Might be why they specifically mentioned bullpen arms that can give multiple innings. Just a hunch.
Or Counsell is going to employ Joe Maddon strategy and move a pitcher to lf for 1 or 2 batters, then bring him back to the mound.
I’m thinking option 1 is more likely.
Yeah but September call ups will change but were just going to have to have a little more depth so we can be creative on bringing up and sending down with the 10 day of waiting to return. I dont believe it will be as negative as what people think.
Cubs win games in September right twentyforty?
They used too.
Did you know that the Don Henely song “Dirty Laundry” is about how Don Henley likes to poop his own pants and that’s why his laundry is always so dirty?
Uh, no it’s not. It’s about the Media hounding him about the time (around 1980) he gave too much cocaine to teenage hookers and he took them to the hospital so the police found out. He felt it should have been a private matter. He got probation. Those were different times…..
Well if you listen to the words to the song Stand Up Guy your version is obviously not true but nice try
Ehhh. I hear what you’re saying and all… But I’m still like 99.9% sure it’s about how he likes to poop his own pants.
It’s actually about how he likes to poop in other peoples’ pants. People don’t seem to understand the metaphors.
OMG! You’re right! I just reread the lyrics. He says, “THEY got dirty laundry.” Jesus man… I think you might be some kind of musical genius. Great work in reading between the lines. I wonder why Don Henley has such a weird fetish. Why does he actually feel the need to do it in real life? Why doesn’t he just use the internet like I assume most people with similar afflictions do? Then again, I think he might actually be proud of it for some reason. He did make a song where he does nothing but sing about it and got it played all over the radio just to make sure everyone can hear. Maybe it’s like a struggle to him or something. Like he has to go through people looking down on him everyday but its not fair because that’s discrimination since he was born this way and it’s not in his control. Good for him. Preach it, Don! No one else could ever understand what you go through but you! It’s your life! Don’t let anyone else tell you how to live it and don’t ever let anyone judge you for things you can’t control! I do kinda feel bad for all those people he forced to walk around with dirty britches though. I guess it’s just collateral damage. You gotta crack a few eggs if you wanna make an omlet, right? Do it for the cause!
That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard, read, or seen in weeks.
Thanks for the great Stand Up!
Seriously??!! Apparently dislike Don Henley and/or the Eagles for some reason?
“Dirty Laundry” has nothing to do with “poop in the pants” of anyone, a fetish or other misguided “behind the lyrics” theories here..
The song was/is ahead of it’s time and foresaw the state of what the “news” was becoming to the detriment of the people. News is supposed to inform the public with FACTS without or with very little bias. How the “news” through the 70s & 80s developed from actual news and facts into the infotainment that most of the “news” is today. IE “If it bleeds, it leads!”
It used to be “you can have your own opinion … BUT you are NOT entitled to your own FACTS.” Which unfortunately doesn’t seem to apply today because we have a loud, but minority group of people who live in their own little bubble and reality devoid of facts.
Think about it and the lyric “We got the bubble-headed bleach-blonde who comes on at five ….” Spells it out pretty clearly imo.
I don’t dislike Don Henley at all. How could anyone dislike Don Henley? He started the Eagles. Not only did he write “Dirty Laundry” but he has so many other classics to his credit at as well. “Desperado”, “End of the Innocence.” Not to mention the entire H Freezes over tour. I support Don Henley and his struggles through this affliction. You are right about the fact the song refers to the news but it is more about how other people get attention for their problems but his affliction is still treated like something he caused. He was born this way just like many other people were with their own situations. The media has been ignoring people like Don for decades while pointing out others as victims of society. Don Henley is a victim of society too. He made the song to make sure everyone else knew that. Who cares if he likes to poop in his pants? It’s 100% natural. Everybody has a digestive system. People tried to force Depends adult diapers on him to suppress his lifestyle. He even tried them out for a time and deeply regrets it. He likes the way the poop feels in his actual britches. Why can’t everyone just understand that and leave the poor guy alone. Don cares about other people. That’s why he started pooping in other people’s pants so they could finally see what it feels like and enjoy it as much as him.
Why poop your pants ehrn you can poop in someone else’s?
Exactly right. Roster expanded to 28 instead of 40 so loading up on bullpen arms isn’t an option. (And based on the last two years, BP overused anyway because of short starts.) A Lyles-type SP flanking Woody and Davies would be useful, and maybe Suter moves back to the rotation.
I don’t think there’s any chance Suter goes to the rotation. He was lights out coming back from TJ surgery, and is exactly what they want in the pen..capable of giving multiple innings. “Opener” on occasion? Maybe, but if everyone truly insists they need 5+ innings from starters, hes not going to give that.
And I think people are making a bit too much of the smaller Sep rosters. How many of those guys beyond the 28th were used more than sparingly?
Stearns is going to load up on multi-inning BP arms and I have a hunch Counsell will shift a little from “bullpen games” to “piggyback” with the starter going about 4, and the next guy trying to get at least 1 or 2 outs in the 7th before handing it over to hader and Knebel.
I get what your saying with the 40 man to just 28 man September but if a team can set it up right you can rotate 4 or 5 guys regularly up and down through September .
I’m not sure that’s true.
The reason those rules were changed is largely due to the way Stearns has managed arms in September (watch for changes to option rules to further thwart how Stearns has manipulated the roster, which was also why DL rules were recently changed).
Stearns seems to adapt, but the responses by MLB are horrible and taking away strategies (and hurting the small market teams more).
I’ve always felt really in tune and not disagreed with many of Stearns’ moves. I’m not sure what he will do here, but I truly believe he won’t sign a big or expensive pitcher (Lyels at most and for not much more than Anderson was getting).
I think he expects Woodruff and Houser to be stars and slotting Lyles, Davies behind them and letting Burnes, Peralta, Suter and Nelson have another crack at the last spot will gives us a great staff. If Burnes and Peralta were to break out and relegate the 5th spot to Davies or Nelson, the Crew could have 4 starters the equal of the Baltimore teams of the 70s.
I’m pretty sure what money they have will go to fill the 3 infield positions and the season will start at the same payroll as last year, allowing for other acquisitions to bring it up to the 140 million mark.
Pomeranz is about the only move I would make for a reliever.
I’ve been saying this too, MLB is doing whatever it can to keep creative teams like the brewers from keeping the large market teams out of the playoffs. The crew just doesn’t generate the same number if viewers add the Cubs or Dodgers, thus, they attack the deck against small market teams like the crew.
I think Moose is back and Grandal leaves for more money. Pomeranz on a 2 year deal, when Knebel comes back the back end of the pen is a monster. A mid tier starting pitcher and Braun spends a lot more time at first with Grisham playing left. They should compete at least for a wild card again, the NL Central title barring serious injuries.
Grandall isnt the catcher the Brewers need. I know he had some good numbers but he did it in Milwaukee too and I believe that Travis D’arnaud could do even better offensively and defensively for us. Grandal was missing that it thing with the pitchers. The pitching started coming when Pina got more playing time behind the plate. I look for Moose, Lyles, Jackson, Pomeranz as top priority to resign. Look for Shaw/ Braun to platoon at first. We still have Erceg and Nottingham could help at first too. Hopefully we target Didi or Iglesias as possible help at short. Then we need a top of rotation pitcher in either Wheeler, Baumgartner, or Ordozzi. That gives us enough money I think to work on AAA depth for a long season. Maybe bring more guys in to fight for super utility guy.
Or basically what the other guys said too lol
Interesting take on that situation
Grandal is one of the best in the game, so I don’t see how someone could view d’Arnaud as the better backstop.
If you look at the pitching it turned around a lot when Pina started catching more. I watched every game. They were more comfortable with him. Grandal is more about himself. Now a walk doesn’t help if there is two outs and your next batter is hitting under 200. Gotta know when to take a shot when its needed. Then you add on the Milwaukee being a friendly hitters park . You have a 18 million dollar Austin Hedges
This is one of the dumbest fan analyses I’ve seen on this site.
I think that’s a lonely island your on there stubby66. Grandal is going to get a nice contract this year for a reason. Durable with a productive bat and plenty acceptable behind the plate.
I’m going to say he’s more of a poor man’s Jorge Posada.
You are right about Pina. Near the end of the season they showed a graphic and the team ERA with Pina catching was more than a full run better.
Grandal is a good defender and not the passed ball nightmare everyone believed, but the fact is that Pina calls a better game, frames pitches better and is just a superior defensive catcher (who can hit lefties).
Grandal’s bat makes him a backup nonetheless and there isn’t a better catcher in the game overall.
Cut Shaw dude is a bum, resign grandal we haven’t had a decent catcher since lucroy please don’t lead us back to the dark days. Trade jimmy Nelson for infield prospects.
I think it’s important not to get preoccupied with resigning guys like Pomeranz. He was great for the Brewers down the stretch, but he also played himself into a significant contract, likely $6-$8MM AAV, especially as more teams begin to value multi-inning bullpen arms. While I understand Steve’s logic in saying that it makes sense to pay for a potentially dominant bullpen arm like Pom, I don’t think that’s the best play for a team like the Brewers. They have to find the next Pomeranz, and the Brewers likely have some in-house candidates for that role: Corbin Burnes (aka Roger Dorn), Freddy Peralta, or even Adrian Houser. There’s also the minor league versions of these guys, like Angel Perdomo, who the Brewers just added to their 40-man roster. Stearns has been very good at identifying these types of pitchers and acquiring them on the cheap. (Arguably Pomeranz wasn’t that cheap as he cost the team Dubon, but still.)
The same is true of Moose, though to a lesser degree. He fit in well in the clubhouse and fans liked him, and that does have some kind of marginal value. But on the field, he’s been pretty much an average player the last few years. If he resigns at a reasonable price, fine. I’d actually like to see him back on the Brewers; he can provide stability, and he has some positional flexibility that adds a bit of value. But he’s not a guy to get hung up about.
One thing that this article didn’t mention was the Brewers will have additional income from a new TV deal starting in 2020, and significant money from the sale of stadium naming rights starting in 2021 (when Braun’s contract is also off the books). They already have traded Chase Anderson and declined Eric Thames’s option, saving around $14MM for 2020, and it’s not difficult to imagine them non-tendering Travis Shaw (or trading him a la Anderson) to save another $4.7MM (perhaps resigning him to a minor league deal later in the offseason if he doesn’t catch on elsewhere). All of this suggests that they will have money to spend en route to a team-record opening day payroll. But they still have to make the best use of that money.
In place of Moose, I’d rather see them go more significant upgrades to the offense, with targets like Josh Donaldson at 3B and Didi Gregorius at SS (as Steve points to in the article). A player like Donaldson consolidates a lot of production into one roster spot, and Didi represents a potentially massive upgrade over Arcia; both of those are things for which it’s worth paying a premium, IMO. Steve also mentions Travis d’Arnaud as a possible fit at catcher, and while he’d be a downgrade from Grandal, he could provide about half Grandal’s production for less than half the money (and length of contract).
If they’re going to keep “being creative” with how they use pitchers (with which I’m fine), they might be better off by signing a couple of mid-tier rotation options. I’d love for them to sign Michael Pineda, for example. Then take a flyer on Drew Smyly or someone similar in an attempt to find the next Chacin/Miley/Gonzalez. Have guys that can be swing men, turn into long relievers—general pitch 100+ quality innings. Ride the lightning as it comes.
Whatever they do, they can’t afford to stand pat. I’m willing to give Stearns and Counsell a lot of credit for innovation and finding value in overlooked players, but the Brewers rode a last-minute hot streak to the wild card this year, and some heavy overperformance to the division title in 2018. If they want to get over the top, some significant and bold moves are going to be necessary this offseason. They don’t have the farm system to make significant trades or to rely on for in-season depth. They’re going to have to throw some money around in some arenas, and find news ways to save in others.
Spot on Take. Front Office can’t get attached to the value they unlocked in Jordan Lyles, Pomeranz types. Consolidating assets into fortifying the Offense is more prudent. The lost offensive production of Grandal can’t be replaced via another FA or platoon. The obvious upgrade offensively is at Short. Funding undervalued corner bats is possible. It’s rare to find up the middle production creatively- though it can be done.
Price is important in Moustakas. Do the teams that miss out on Rendon / Donaldson Offer $13M+ in AAV on a multi yr deal?
Gregorius with no QO and lacking a robust market should be priority 1. Big market clubs are gonna wait on the FA group in 2 years or have incumbents at SS.
Paying d’Arnaud is a scary proposition given the confusion history and he’s really a league average hitter with OK Defense. Doesn’t control running game (but who steals anymore besides the Cardinals) and framing has improved.
Josh Lindblom is an intriguing option. Maybe go after Homer Bailey in the depth role. Finding the next impact lefty reliever will be a challenge. Everyone that misses on Pomeranz will look at Smyly. Other names I’d look at Andrew Cashner, Ivan Nova, Kevin Gausman (Non Tender), Trevor Cahill, Matt Shoemaker. I agree Michael Pineda could be a huge get.
Fix Offense first then bargain bin shop for pitching value. If Mous isn’t retained there’s a bunch of corner prototypes.
Just looked at this again and wanted to acknowledge the suggestion of Josh Lindblom as an option. Could be the pitching version of Thames. Probably pretty low risk, with pretty decent upside.
Wow, this is one of the best takes ive seen on this site. I agree with every word you just said. I myself, think that the Brewers need to not go after Grandal. Grandal had a career year, and i think Miller Park had a lot to do with that. Id be worried giving him a 4 year deal as an aging catcher–just does not make much sense at all. I think D’Arnaud is a terrific addition to this team. He would be pretty cheap and would hit very well in Miller Park.
I would do my best to resign Moose to a team friendly deal if he would allow. I would not break the bank on him, but i would give him a 2/3 year deal. If he jerks us around with the money, i say let him walk.
I also think that Didi/Donaldson on the left side of the infield would be massive upgrades to our offense. You could even try a platoon of Braun/Shaw at first base, but im not sure Braun is the answer over there.
Miller didn’t help Grandal at all.
After years of being known for his power from the left side, he actually had the best year of his career for right handed power (by a wide margin).
I think he actually fell off from his career average from the left side of the plate.
He also did a lot of his damage on the road.
He’s not old nor was he aided much by his own park.
He isn’t worth more than 3/60 though. 4 years would be as big a mistake as the for Cain (which was 2 too many).
Grandal hit .221/.376/.421 this past season at Miller Park. He was .266/.388/.507 on the Road.
Good point on TV revenue (do we know how much?) and I agree that Shaw isn’t worth $4.7M so he should be cut loose. No point in hoping and praying for a bounceback year, if it happens somewhere else good for Travis.
And if any big contracts (Grandal, starter) can be backloaded to years 2 and 3, you have the cushion of Braun’s salary disappearing after 2020. Or maybe Braun himself willing to defer, to get one more shot at the playoffs in a Brewer uniform.
Can’t really backload if they plan on extending Yelich though. If*
And I’m not sure if they can defer (more) $ to Braun. I believe deferred money is already in the current contract.
I have to agree on Shaw. Really like the guy, but unless they can somehow bring him back at a much lower salary, time for a change of scenery.
I think they can go into season with Braun/ Shaw platoon because you do have Erceg or Nottingham that could handle first but at the same time if you can get a Dominic Smith for a #5 to # 10 prospect you gotta pull the trigger maybe ( Ray to be a starting place)
I like the idea of signing Didi and Moose (no more than 3yrs/$33MM) instead of Donaldson. I think that $10MM+ difference can be better used adding some quality arms (i.e. Pineda 2yrs
They have made some great signings in recent years and one hell of a trade for Yelich. I’m not hating but expect a drop off in 2020 maybe a sharp one. They made some outstanding one year prove it deals. But they probably wish those had been three year deals(would’ve taken more AAV than 2019 but less than what Moose is going to get now) about now. Unless they expand the payroll I don’t see them with either Moose or Grandal and that’s a big hit. But it definitely doesn’t end with just those two. They had/still had big rotation needs. It might not even be wise to try to fill all those holes in one offseason with intent on contending in 2020. To do that you usually have to force the issue and negotiate from a position of weakness. Make deals that make sense and if it’s enough add in season via trade and if it’s not look to fill the rest with smart deals again next offseason. Braun isn’t horrible but get his deal off the books next offseason that’ll help some. Again Yelich is an absolute beast
The “not do it all in one offseason” pill is tough to swallow when you have one of the very best hitters in the league in his prime anchoring your lineup. That said, it does make a lot of sense. If they do that, though, it seems to follow that they’d need to sign a few guys to longer contracts this year.
If that’s the aaproach, I still like the idea of going after Didi and Donaldson, perhaps on 3-year deals with a substantial AAV. Boost the offense and stay competitive in 2020. See if Woodruff continues to succeed, give Nelson one more chance to get back to near where he was before the injury, see who else takes a step forward (Burnes? Houser?). Then next offseason take the next step and really improve on the rotation. We’re not signing Cole, obvs, and I really hope they don’t approach a nine figure offer to Zach Wheeler, so they might as well wait. If they’re going to split up the reload over more than one offseason, that is.
I think they retain both Moose and Yaz and the development of pitchers continues and a 3rd star emerges behind Woodruff and Houser (both are ace caliber and if both Burnes and Peralta were to figure things out, the staff could be as good as the Orioles in the 70s). Davies and Lyles at the back of the rotation and as depth (Nelson is likely done, sad to say).
Next year should be a 95 win season and they should be even better the following year after Braun comes off the books and they have some payroll room.
The talent in the minors is also better than people believe.
I don’t expect any splash moves.
They have a 2 year window. They have Yelich for 3 but he really should be moved to expedite the next rebuild before his last season. They shouldn’t give out more than 2 year deals to any free agents. Getting rid of the Chase Anderson and Thames contacts (and hopefully non tendering Shaw) should free up the money for Moose. Move Braun to first. I’m sure they’ll dumpster dive for a couple starters. Try to keep Pomeranz. Sign a catcher like d’Arnauld
They’ll do the same thing to yelich that they did to braun and never let him go. I hope…reading that they wont have yelich one day made me wanna puke
how’s that working out with Braun?
not a smart move. It’s always the same… why would Milwaukee offer Yelich an extension to age 40 paying him $40M per year? It would have a better than 50/50 chance to kill the team.
why do people want to kill the Brewers? I never understand it.
Look at the Tigers (paying Cabrera at least another $126,000,000), Look at the Reds (paying Votto at least another $107,000,000). That’s just franchise killing kind of stuff.
Braun’s extension isn’t killing the team. A contract like Harper’s, Machado’s or Stanton (who I don’t believe has ever played close to a full season) would.
Had they been able to convince Fielder (‘s agent) to take even a slight discount, then lost him due to career ending injury, THAT would have killed the team.
Whats really funny is everyone trying to bury Braun for occasionally being rested, when there’s actual reason to do so, yet NBA players are getting NEW contracts for Max dollars, when everyone knows they’ll be “DNP-REST” in 10-12% of games every year, regardless of age or health.
And who said they’d sign Yelich to his age 40 season?
MIL is a good team to watch this Winter.
I really like the Brewers’ 4-man OF of Braun-Cain-Yelich-Gamel. Trent Grisham did very well at AAA and may force Braun to 1B. I believe Orlando Arcia is due to break out; I really like Keston Hiura-Arcia too.
MIL has the strongest catching core in MiLB below AAA. They would be best served with a pitcher’s confidence catcher to tandem with Manny Pina this year.
MIL doesn’t have quality at 1B or 3B in MiLB. Besides pitching, MIL’s biggest concern is 3B. What happened to Travis Shaw?
at this point an Orlando Arcia break out season would be a .260/.330/.380 slash line.
You really believe MIL has the strongest catching core in MLB below AAA? Mario Feliciano is the only one I can see, and he’s only played 1 game at AA… he’s 3 years away from being a major leaguer.
Did Milwaukee induce Shaw’s issues with all of the 2nd/1st base messing around due to Moose playing 3rd? Maybe he’s the kind of player that just needs focus and repetition. I’d hate to see them let Shaw go to another team to find his footing.
I dont think so. He looked absolutely lot with the bat in his hands. You dont lose track of the strike zone by switching defensive positions
He basically only played 3rd in ’19, until his struggles and injury forced a change. Moose started the year at 2b. I don’t think Shaw did much at 1b until his stint at AAA.
Can’t believe an entire article on the Brewers and not a single mention (other than a far too low assessment of his arbitration number) of the one guy who probably got them into the postseason, Brent Suter. He figures as a starter or multi inning reliever.
I think the Brewers have their sights set on bringing back Grandal, Moustakas, Pomeranz and Lyles and making a run at Gregorious.
Can anyone explain to me why Shaw is still on the roster at this point and is given so many more chances than other players over the past couple years? Yet, the front office and Counsell, etc continue to gets rid of or really don’t allow certain players the same equal opportunies. Why keep Shaw and dump Thames? What about Perez (who’s a helluva lot more versatile and better “clubhouse guy.”) or Aguilar, Villar, Dubon, Schoop to name a few?
Notice a pattern?
Whatever the Brewers do this winter, the number one priority should be a top end starter they can count on for 6 or 7 innings. Because they can’t keep up overusing the bullpen and prematurely wearing out pitchers like Knebel, Hader, etc.
Using MLBTR’s free agent and arbitration projections:
C – Grandal – $17 M resign
1B – Braun – $16 M
2B – Hiura – pre-arb
SS – Arcia – $2.7 M
3B – Moose – $10 M resign
LF – Grisham – pre-arb
CF – Cain – $16 M
RF – Yelich – $12.5
Bench – Pina – $1.85 M
Bench – Gamel – $1.6 M
SP – Woodruff – pre-arb
SP – Houser – pre-arb
SP – Davies – $5 M
SP – Nelson – $3.75 M
RP – Hader – $4.6 M
RP – Knebel – $5.125 M
RP – Guerra – $3.5 M
RP – Claudio – $2.2 M
RP – Suter – $0.9 M
RP – Burnes – pre-arb
RP – Peralta – pre-arb
That’s $105 M for 21 players. Leaves about $17 M to play with, if they keep the salary at the same level.
Where is everyone getting the idea that Gregorious would be such a huge upgrade over Arcia? Just glancing at their #’s from last year, I’m not seeing it.
I’m not sure if it means anything, but most of Shaw’s merch is on clearance at brewers.com.