Can The Brewers Take The Next Step In 2020? (Off-Season Preview)

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With an 89-73 record, and a 2nd straight playoff appearance, for a small market team is extraordinary, but it isn’t enough for a team with a perennial MVP caliber player in Christian Yelich to just be a playoff of team. The contributors to a lack luster and early exit for the Brewers in a loss to the Nationals in winner take all Wild Card game were the same factors that haunted the team that went to the NLDS in 2018. Plagued by injuries, lack of consistent offense, and lengthy pitching outings played a toll on this team throughout the year. While injuries are like playing Russian Roulette and are hard to predict, just like how Travis Shaw forgot how to play baseball this season, we can still try to come up with a plan for the Brewers to get better and take that next step to not only becoming and staying a perennial playoff team, but a World Series contender year in and year out. Below I am going to breakdown just what I believe the Brewers should do this off season to take the next step and just who should be on the 2020 Opening Day roster.

What Should The Brewers Do With Mike (Moose) Moustakas and Yasmani Grandal?

The fall of Travis Shaw this season changed Moose from being the everyday 2nd baseman, back to his traditional 3rd base role, where he produced a stat line of .254BA/87RBI/35HR. So what do we do with Moose? He likely, wants a multi-year deal again this off season, something he wasn’t able to get last off season. I believe it is time for the Brewers to lock him up for 2-3 years to help solidify the 3rd base spot, because minor league prospect Lucas Erceg isn’t ready to contribute at the big league level and may never be ready to play for a playoff caliber team as a everyday starter. Secondly, will Shaw bounce back? While history has shown players like Shaw will bounce back, and I personally think he will, you can’t go into the season with that unknown at a position where they clearly need that offense of consistently.

Yasmani Grandal on the other hand is even more important to re-sign as he may be one of the best all around catchers in the league. Offensively, .246BA/77RBI/28HR and more then 100 walks and ranked third defensively by MLB metrics. On top of the metrics Grandal played 153 of the 162 games this year for the Brewers, playing at both catcher and 1st base. Throw in the fact Manny Pina is also a free agent and you have just to many reason not to re-sign Grandal at least for one more year. However like Moose, Grandal will likely be looking for a longer term deal, and the Brewers should give it to him.

Who Else Should They Bring Back?

The other players on the roster who should be coming back next year that aren’t under contract are just as important as the two names listed above. Guys like Eric Thames, Jordan Lyles, and Drew Pomeranz to just name a few are huge reasons this team even made it to the playoffs. First off, the Brewers over the last two years have done a great job of getting working pieces in season to help the team win, but this year might be the year that they re-sign almost all of their players and then look out at the market to make a trade or a free agent pick up to help this team so that they aren’t just searching for players come May. I believe they will re-sign all three guys above and get deals done with majority of their arbitration players. The few players I see them letting walk are Chase Anderson, Manny Pina, Gio Gonzales, Matt Albers, and Tyler Austin. The first three may come back on a really cheap deal as backups or bullpen guys to start, but are not major priorities for the front office to re-sign.

Who Are The Free Agents or Trade Options?

This is the interesting part of this article, because while many will ask for a Madison Bumgarner, or Gerrit Cole type of player to be signed I don’t think the Brewers want to spend that kind of money to commit to those players for multiple years. I think SP Ivan Nova (Chicago White Sox), who is a free agent is a true possibility to go after. He is a solid starter who would likely be our second starter and wouldn’t likely break the bank. I also believe that the Brewers will go after SS Freddy Galvis (Cincinnati Reds), who is also a free agent and would likely give the Brewers a offensive option at SS over a streaky Orlando Arcia. My guess here is Galvis either gets re-signed by the Reds, or go to a team that will likely over pay him because they need a short stop. However, Ivan Nova may just be the one guy the team can get. As for trades, the only way the Brewers get any significant haul is giving up on prospect or young players such as SS Brice Turang who is just 19 year old (Brewers 2019 1st rd draft pick). Keston Huira who showed great offensive prowess, posting a .303BA/19HR/49RBI stat line, but struggled mightily defensively in his roughly half a season in the big leagues. Or the last option is OF Trent Grisham, who in about a month and a half posted .231BA/6HR/24RBI while filling in for Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich. Unless the Brewers get one of the top five pitchers in the league Huira isn’t going any where, at least not this upcoming season. However, if the Brewers sign a SS or believe that Arcia is their guy Turang could be an option due to the fact he may not be ready to help this team for a few seasons. I however, feel like Grisham or Gamel aren’t both needed at the big league level to start the season, and while Gamel is the easier to get rid of he wont get as much back in return. But who exactly can we get in a trade? Well keeping with the idea of pitching help two names come to mind Toronto’s Ken Giles, or San Diego’s Kirby Yates both of whom enter the final year of their deals, but would give the Brewers another dominate relief pitcher to pair with Josh Hader, and a hopefully healthy Corey Knebel.

Who Is On The 25 Man Roster Out of Spring Training? Who Starts Opening Day?

First off let me say this is completely my prediction based off of who as of right now should be healthy, and just how much the Brewers will be willing to spend this off season.

  • C- Grandal, Nottingham
  • IF- Thames, Huira, Spangenberg, Shaw, Moustakas, Arcia
  • OF- Braun, Yelich, Gamel, Cain
  • SP- Woodruff, Davies, Nelson, Lyles, Nova (FA)
  • RP- Hader, Guerra, Peralta, Suter, Pomeranz, Knebel, Jackson, Giles (Trade TOR)

Opening Day Starting Lineup

  1. CF-Cain
  2. RF-Yelich
  3. 2nd-Huira
  4. 3rd-Moustakas
  5. C-Grandal
  6. LF-Braun
  7. 1st-Thames
  8. P-Woodruff
  9. SS-Arcia

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