Woah. This offseason has already been one hell of a ride for the Milwaukee Brewers. One things for sure, the 2020 Brewers won’t look like the team that just lost in the Wild Card game a few months ago. The Brewers have already lost some key bats from last season including Yasmani Grandal, Mike Moustakas, Eric Thames, and Trent Grisham. However, there are still some names in the market that the Brewers could sign for great value. These players wouldn’t break the bank and have proven to be capable ballplayers throughout their careers.
Kevin Pillar is a former Gold Glove caliber center fielder who is coming off perhaps the best offensive season of his career. Last season for the Blue Jays and Giants, he set career highs in home runs, RBIs, and OPS. Pillar was the Giants best offensive player and could fill the void in the outfield left by Trent Grisham. Milwaukee would be able to sign Pillar for close to the veteran’s minimum on a one year deal so the team wouldn’t be investing long-term in a 30-year-old outfielder. Since 2015, Pillar, who is mostly known for his flashy defense, has also shown the ability to be competent at the plate. Since his first full year as a starter in ‘15 Pillar has had a batting average of .262. He also has very good speed on the base paths which has allowed him to average about 36 doubles per year since 2015. He can stretch singles into doubles and almost always score from second on any hit to the outfield. Last season, Pillar hit 21 homers with 88 RBIs while batting .259. 88 RBIs actually gave him more than guys like Manny Machado, Javier Baez, and Kris Bryant. Pillar could give the Brewers a low-risk, high-reward platoon outfielder that could make a difference when the 2020 season hits the dog days of summer.
Maikel Franco is a 27-year-old third baseman who is coming off of his worst season as a pro. Last year he hit 17 homers, drove in 56 runs, and had a batting average of .234 in 123 games. However, Franco has show flashes of being a very good power hitting third baseman in the past. He could be a very cheap option to fill the void left at the hot corner by Mike Moustakas. Since 2015, Franco has averaged about 20 homers a year while batting around .251. If he could stay around those averages for the Brewers in 2020, they would be getting a guy that needs to be respected at the plate and accounted for. Franco’s best season came only two years ago when he hit .270 with 22 home runs, 17 doubles, and 68 RBIs. Franco isn’t Mike Moustakas but he is a guy, for a fraction of the price, can be safely slotted at third base.
The oldest player on this list, Pablo Sandoval, is another guy the Brewers could sign for close to a minimum deal. Many people think Sandoval has been washed up since 2016, but he actually had a very productive season for the Giants last year. He hit .268 with 14 home runs and had an OPS of .820 in 108 games. The former World Series MVP definitely isn’t the same player he was when he was a top seven MVP vote getter, but he has valuable experience that the Brewers could use in the battle for a playoff spot. Sandoval would fit right into the culture in Milwaukee, the fans would love him, and a team can’t go wrong with a former two-time All-Star.
There’s two things every baseball fan knows about Billy Hamilton. One, he has great speed, in fact, he’s probably the fastest player in the MLB. Two, Billy Hamilton is a tremendous defensive outfielder, he can track down fly balls that other players dream of tracking down. The biggest knock against Hamilton is that his bat leaves a lot to be desired for. Since 2014, he has been a .241 hitter, which isn’t great but with his defense, is serviceable. He also puts his speed to use, averaging about 48 stolen bases per season since ‘14. Hamilton could provide great value in late game situations as a pinch runner or defensive substitution, and for a very cheap price. Once one of the top prospects in all of baseball, Hamilton has since turned into a veteran journeyman who could help the Brewers replace Grisham in the outfield.
The final player on this list and perhaps the most expensive is first baseman, C.J. Cron. All of the other players on this list could most likely be signed for the minimum but Cron may cost a few million. He’s coming fresh off his two best seasons in the majors where he has averaged about 28 homers, 76 RBIs and a BA of .253. Cron may cost about the same as Eric Thames would have, but he has shown to be more consistent throughout his career. Cron was a pivotal piece to the 100 win Twins last season and could be a pivotal piece for the 2020 Brewers moving forward.