It wasn’t long ago third baseman Travis Shaw was one of the Brewers’ most valuable players. He combined for 7.1 fWAR during his first two years with the club from 2017-18, and the Brew Crew surely expected similar results this past season. Instead, Shaw endured a nightmarish campaign, leading the Brewers to non-tender him in advance of the deadline on Monday.
Had the Brewers kept Shaw, they’d have been in line to pay him a projected $4.7MM for his penultimate year of arbitration. It turns out that the Brewers did make an effort to keep Shaw before cutting him, according to president of baseball operations/general manager David Stearns (via Adam McCalvy of MLB.com). However, the two sides couldn’t reach an arbitration-avoiding agreement.
With the losses of Shaw and Mike Moustakas, who agreed to sign with the division-rival Reds on Monday, the Brewers are now in a state of flux at third base. But they’d have been hard-pressed to consider Shaw their solution at the hot corner even if they’d have kept him. After all, the 29-year-old did slump to a horrific .157/.281/.270 line with seven home runs and a measly a .113 ISO in 270 plate appearances this season – some of which he spent in the minors.
It’s anyone’s guess where the small-market Brewers will go from here at third, but in regards to Shaw, Stearns said (via Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel): “We did our best, looked at Travis’ prior performance, his performance this year. We talked with Travis and his representation about his beliefs and how he thinks everything is going.”
Meantime, Shaw’s agent told Haudricourt that “we think Travis needs a change of scenery. No hard feelings about it. We’re sorry it didn’t work out. It’s a risk Travis is willing to take.” Shaw has already drawn interest from elsewhere, per Haudricourt.