The Milwaukee Brewers thought they had finally found an answer at first base when they signed who Tyler Kepner, of The New York Times, describes as the Korean Babe Ruth, Eric Thames, to a three-year 16 million dollar deal via Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. After the slugger put up video game numbers in South Korea for the last three years. It turns out they might have been wrong, with the now unexpected emergence of a recent waiver claim and former Cleveland Indians prospect Jesus Aguilar the Brewers seem to be in quite a jam.
Aguilar, who seems to be enjoying his very own video game-like spring is now pushing the Brewers towards a difficult decision. We all know the saying numbers do not lie, so let’s try to say that Aguilar’s spring stats do not scream that he deserves a place in Milwaukee. While the numbers seem to look legit, there is one downside to the big slugger. He is limited to one position, that being first base.
Having only one position does not seem like a big deal, but in Milwaukee under GM David Stearns, versatility is key. In this case, the Brewers should consider making an exception, one very important factor being that Aguilar is out of options and would be exposed to waivers, he will most likely get scooped up by the first team awarded the opportunity. That being said with all the versatility the Brewers possess, they lack that rare commodity of a bench bat that can tie up a game in the ninth inning with one swing of a bat.
There is no question that Eric Thames will be the starting first baseman come Opening Day 2017, but with Thames’ ability to play right and left field, if Aguilar can produce during the regular season it could eventually force Milwaukee’s hand on who gets the most playing time at first base.
However, due to Thames’ high price tag, and Spring Training numbers not meaning much, there is a small chance that we could instead see a platoon between the two sluggers. Regardless this Brewers lineup could be very dangerous in the middle with either Thames or Aguilar batting cleanup behind all-time Brewer great Ryan Braun.