There is no doubt that the departure of Khris Davis makes the Brewers’ outfield picture a little clearer. Domingo Santana won’t have to play center field just to get plate appearances. In fact, he should be able to slot back in at his best position, right field, while Ryan Braun can move back to left.
That made GM David Stearns’ comments turn a few heads:
It’s certainly possible that Stearns simply misspoke, but for now it’s simply a head scratcher. Not only has Braun said he would defer to Santana in right field, but having your better defender in right should be obvious.
At this stage in his career, Braun doesn’t have the range in the outfield that Santana does. Despite being understandably overmatched in center, Santana has easy speed that looks more like jogging given his long limbs (a la Corey Hart). He also gets consistently solid marks for his arm strength, which would be a much larger asset in right field than left.
There is a pretty clear-cut reason for putting your better defender in right field. A fly ball or line drive getting passed an outfielder in left is likely to result in a double. The same play in right field could easily end in a triple. Stearns doesn’t need to be told this, which is why his comments are so odd.
I would hope that the aforementioned conversation between Stearns and Craig Counsell will end with Santana in right, but either way, the outfield defense just got a lot better.