With David Stearns as the GM the Brewers have sought depth and flexibility. The Brewers as you all may know don’t have the payroll of bigger market teams and the test for Stearns is build a World Series contender on a budget. He’s shown he’s quite capable of doing this. However, none of this would have been possible without the signing of some key guys who were more bargain bin adds. Wade Miley was signed to a minor league contract last off-season. Others such as Jesus Aguilar, Stephen Vogt, and Hernan Perez were designated for assignment by their previous clubs. Every team should investigate the bargain bin for potential diamonds in the rough, but it’s crucial for a small-market team such as Milwaukee to.
Clay Buchholz is coming off a solid, but short season. Buchholz started 16 games for the Arizona Diamondbacks last season. In 98 innings last season Buchholz had a 2.01 ERA with a 1.037 WHIP. Clay also had good advanced numbers including a FIP of 3.47. Buchholz may not be an ace like Madison Bumgardner or Corey Kluber that Brewers fans have been pawing after for years, but if Buchholz as effectively this year as he did last season he gives the Brewers a solid starter that won’t cost and arm in payroll or a leg in prospects.
Derek Dietrich is one of the last remaining options the Brewers have at 2nd base. He was designated for assignment by the Marlins back in November. Dietrich has one key asset the Brewers absolutely love, versatility. Dietrich played 1st base, 2nd base, 3rd base, right and left field last season. He isn’t quite Hernan Perez in the field though. One of his biggest dings his entire career has been his defense wherever the Marlins stuck him. However, as the Brewers proved last season, they can hide defensive shortcomings with the use of shifts and a magician at shortstop. Dietrich is most certainly an offensive upgrade bringing to Milwaukee his slash line of .265/.330/.421. He also hit 16 HRs and 45 RBIs. Let’s not forget that this happened in pitcher friendly Marlins Park. The swap from Marlins to Miller Park helped turn Christian Yelich into an MVP maybe it could give another former Marlin a huge boost.
Logan Forsythe is another cheap middle infield option for Milwaukee. He can play both 2nd and 3rd base which helps give Milwaukee the versatility they love. His 2018 was a tale of 2 teams. He had a slash line of .207/.270/.290 in 70 games in as a Dodger. Forsythe was then traded to Minnesota as a part of the Brian Dozier deal. He turned things around as evidenced by a .258/.356/.292 slash line in 50 games there. He may not be a guy you want to play every day, but he can provide quality at-bats throughout a week while platooning with Hernan Perez and Corey Spangenberg.
Marco Estrada (Signed a one-year contract with Oakland)
Marco Estrada is a former Brewer who spent the last 4 seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays. Marco is coming off a rough 2018 season in which he had an ERA over 5.5. He had troubles with walks and the long ball last season. If the Brewers can help him fix those issues he can again return to the solid back-end of the rotation option he had been in Toronto.
Jeremy Hellickson has been around the block in his career playing for 5 teams in 9 seasons. Hellickson had a solid 2018 season in a Nationals uniform. He had a 3.45 ERA in just over 90 innings last year. He also had one of the best BB/9 in all of baseball only surrendering 1.97 walks per 9. If he can repeat what he did last season he’s not going to lose you many games. Hellickson like Buchholz isn’t the ace Brewers fans yearn for, but he to would provide a solid depth option that can help get this team where it wants to go.
There’s a good chance that none of the guys are All-Stars next season, but the Brewers don’t necessarily need another All-Star. They are looking to fill holes for minor issues. Every position these guys play there is a young and exciting player coming from the minor league ranks or from the bullpen. Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, Freddy Peralta, and Zack Brown figure to all have shots to be in the starting rotation sooner rather than later. Prized prospect Keston Hiura and Mauricio Dubon both figure to get cracks at playing 2nd base in the not to distant future. This means the Brewers are looking for stopgap guys. Sometimes the best place to find them is in the bargain bin, which is right where these guys sit.