FEB. 20: Holt’s deal is worth a guaranteed $3.25MM, Rosenthal tweets. It comes with a $5MM club option or a $750K buyout in 2021, and has incentives worth $250K each for 400, 425 and 450 plate appearances.
FEB. 17: The Brewers have agreed to a deal with infielder Brock Holt, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). If the physical checks out, Holt will be a late addition to a Milwaukee roster that has already seen multiple infield acquisitions.
Holt was one of the top remaining free agents. The 31-year-old may not leap off the page in many regards but he has been quite a useful player. At his best, Holt has turn in roughly league-average offensive work while contributing with the glove at multiple positions.
It’s hardly surprising that the Brewers wish to provide a Swiss Army knife to skipper Craig Counsell. It’s just that he already has a few in his knapsack. The club had already picked up defensive vagabonds Luis Urias, Eric Sogard, Jedd Gyorko, Ryon Healy, Ronny Rodriguez, and Mark Mathias this winter, in addition to adding non-roster players Jace Peterson and Andres Blanco.
Among the players added, Holt probably comes with the most functions. In particular, he’s capable of lining up anywhere in the field that doesn’t involve extra protective gear or a climb atop a hill. Holt has played at least 200 MLB innings at six positions and 75 2/3 at one other (shortstop) — and he has mostly done so with solid-to-good grades from metrics.
He has always reached base at a solid rate, producing a career .340 OBP by carrying solid walk rates and strong batting averages. Holt has trended up in the past two seasons at the plate, turning in a collective .286/.366/.407 batting line in 662 plate appearances — a bit above the league-average overall output.
Those nice efforts with the bat came on the heels of a tough 2017 season in which Holt struggled with symptoms of a concussion, vertigo, and anxiety. It’s obviously great to see him rebound since, though Holt has not returned with quite the same athleticism. Once a highly graded and rather swift baserunner, Holt now rates in the bottom third or so leaguewide in terms of sprint speed.
While Holt doesn’t carry drastic career platoon splits, he has been a bit better — especially in the power department — when facing opposite-handed pitching during his career. The left-handed hitter seems likely to supplement the right-handed-hitting Keston Hiura at second base, spend some time in the corner outfield, and perhaps line up occasionally at third base. Fellow left-handed-hitting utilityman Eric Sogard is also primarily a second baseman by trade, but has more experience on the left side of the infield than does Holt and could see most of his action there.