Jun 27, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Juan Francisco runs the bases after hitting a solo home run in the 8th inning against the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Brewers’ first base situation is unnecessary


Maybe it’s just me, but the fact that the first base scenario for the Milwaukee Brewers is being blown up so much is a tad ridiculous. In Milwaukee, the general way things go are from the inside, so very rarely do the Brewers pursue a major piece outside of the organization.

Why should first base be any different?

It just makes no sense, at least to me, for the Brewers to pursue guys like Ike Davis, Justin Smoak, Mitch Moreland and even more recently Michael Young. While I was less than thrilled with Juan Francisco‘s lack of production this past season, he’s still the option the Brewers can roll with from the inside.

Davis and Moreland are not any better than Francisco and Smoak is essentially the same player, just with more homers, but less power. It’s true that Francisco lacks in patience at the plate, which contributed to him striking out 35.8 percent of the time, but it’s something that he can work on during the remainder of the offseason. Young could be a nice touch though, but still unnecessary.

Francisco is not a long-term option and neither are the players that the Brewers are looking into. It just seems fruitless to try and trade for someone who may not even put up better numbers than what the team already has. Too many people relish in Davis’ 2011 where he .302, but soon forget the fact that it was only in 39 games.

Then they point to his 2012 where he smacked across 32 home runs. Okay, I’m still not impressed considering his average shrank to .222. In just this past season, Davis hit a measly .205 and was even demoted back to Triple-A at a point in the season. I don’t get the interest in him at all.

Honestly, it’s just rather silly all the first basemen Milwaukee seems to be interested in because they don’t exactly have the worst of options in Francisco. It also feels like everyone forgets about Hunter Morris, who is on the cusp of making his major league debut. General manager Doug Melvin even said he regretted not bringing Morris up in September, so clearly they want to work with him to eventually take over that role. Say what you want about Morris, but I have faith in him.

Nobody should expect Francisco to be the next coming of Joey Votto or Paul Goldschmidt and if you do, then I have some bad news for you. He’s just a plug-in option for now and replacing him with another player who is essentially going to give the team the same production makes no sense.

The point is, is that the Brewers’ pursuits of other first basemen are pointless. Stick with what you have and suck it up for awhile. Sure, Francisco may not be the first baseman everyone wanted in Corey Hart, but he can’t get any worse than this past season. Plus if the Brewers call-up Morris sometime in 2014, that’s only going to help him develop into a major league player.

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  • Justin Jay

    I was going to say, “What about Hunter Morris?” but you took care of that. Honestly, Justin Smoak looked like he figured something out last season. Homers in Seattle are much different than homers in Milwaukee. If the Brewers think they can sign him, they should, and let Francisco go. What you’re talking about is the same concept the Reds tried to get Wily Mo Pena to buy into. It never happened. Chances are, it won’t with Francisco either.

    • Justin Schultz

      I’m somewhat interested in Smoak. It has become crowded in Seattle with the additions of Hart and Morrison, so I can’t imagine the Mariners will want much for him. He can platoon with Francisco and give the Brewers another power bat.

      • Troy Moench

        In my honest opinion, Smoak is the best option. He is just hitting his prime at age 27 even though he is a top prospect that hasn’t really panned out like the Mariners thought. A change of scenery would be perfect for him. Going from a pitcher’s park to a hitter’s park will only help his cause. His line this year wasn’t terrible at .238/.334/.412. My guess he would hit about 25 homers while playing half of his games at Miller Park. I like his power, but I love his patience. He boasted a 12.3% walk rate which is a big difference from Francisco’s 8.3%. He won’t hit for average much but his walks and power make up for that. I also read that he is about a league average fielding first baseman so I won’t have to cringe every time the ball comes near Francisco.

        • Justin Schultz

          I just wonder how expensive Smoak would be. The Brewers would most likely refuse if the Mariners demand a pitching prospect.

          • Troy Moench

            I was thinking either Michael Blazek or Ariel Pena would be worth it. Both throw hard but have control problems and are most likely bullpen arms in the future. The Brewers might not think that it would be worth it but I think it’s a good deal. If there are any better options than Smoak, I am open to suggestions.

          • Justin Jay

            I don’t think the Mariners are in prospect mode. They’ll probably be searching for somebody to settle into that SS role they need to solve. Is Jean Segura expendable? If so, the Brewers might be able to bring in quite the haul. I can completely understand why NOBODY would want to part with Segura, however.

          • Troy Moench

            I agree that it would be completely unrealistic for the Brewers to trade Segura. I believe Seattle already has a young solid shortstop in Brad Miller and will not look to replace him. The Mariners have a logjam at first base with Smoak, Hart, and Morrison and they are interested in trading Smoak. They will most likely take what they can get for Smoak. Besides, Blazek or Pena would replace what the Mariners gave up for Morrison (Carter Capps).

          • Justin Jay

            I’m aware of Miller, but I’m also pretty familiar to the fact that Seattle has had terrible luck bringing up middle infielders. Ackley, Franklin, Jose Lopez, Betancourt. 2nd seasons are usually more telling than rookie seasons.

            Morrison and Hart were also outfielders before they were 1B, so the logjam would not be as bad at 1B as much as it would be in the OF. With Morales gone and Hart coming off the knee injury, Hart will probably go to DH and sub in for the oft-injured Morrison or Smoak if he’s ineffective at 1B. Franklin Gutierrez or Dustin Ackley are probably the odd men out if everything pans out, but Ackley has more upside.

            Capps was a bullpen arm with some serious control issues. The Marlins are pretty good at fixing pitchers, so it’s possibly a very sweet pick-up for them, but NO arm since Gallardo has been really very good out of the Brewers system. If baseball values Pena as a starter, he’ll be buried in that embarrassment of riches rotation. If he’s a bullpen arm, he hasn’t tested that out yet, so nobody knows what kind of effectiveness he’ll have and it would better serve the Mariners to keep their 27 yr old bat.

    • Benjamin Orr

      That’s true and I think a lot of people know and expect that to happen with Francisco. He’s never going to be a break out player and if he is, it’s an added bonus to Milwaukee. If the Brewers could get a low-buy on Smoak, then maybe, but I feel like they’re just becoming too desperate for an option when all they have to do is wait.