Milwaukee Brewers infielder Eric Sogard will return for the 2018 season after signing a 1-year deal on October 26th. The journeyman infielder will get $2.4 million in guaranteed money with $650k in available bonuses. But which role will he fill in 2018?
Eric Sogard brought Nerd Power to the Milwaukee Brewers after a call-up in May from Colorado Springs. Sogard ended the year with a .273/.393/.378 slash line, but fans will remember his ridiculous stretch when he first arrived. He slashed .400/.571/.686 in 35 plate appearances in May. He blasted two of his three homers, and scored 10 runs in 15 games.
Where should Sogard start 2018?
That really depends on the rest of the off-season. If the Milwaukee Brewers are aggressive in pursuing a second baseman through free agency or trades, Sogard may end up back in Colorado Springs. For that to happen, the Brewers would sign Second Baseman X and keep Jonathan Villar on the bench, and push Sogard off the 25-man roster. If the Brewers stay out of the free agent market or deal Villar, Sogard has a much easier path to a bench role.
Eric Sogard bats left-handed and managed a .275/.402/.372 slash line against righties in 2017. He was also competent against left-handers in 2017 and posted a .262/.340/.405 slash line. If there’s a platoon or he’s pressed into action, he can handle a larger role.
Should Sogard worry about prospects?
The only middle infield prospect that could push Sogard off the roster is Mauricio Dubon. If the Milwaukee Brewers decide that Dubon is ready, Sogard could end up heading to Triple-A or refusing the assignment. Dubon needs at least another half season at Triple-A if not more. He has the tools to succeed at the Major League level, but would benefit from another few hundred plate appearances away from Milwaukee.
Sogard possesses a solid glove and an elite-level plate discipline. He’s best suited for a bench role or hitting near the top of the order on a limited basis. Sogard isn’t in line for an everyday role unless there’s an injury. He proved in 2017 that he can succeed, but is best used in small doses. He managed to get 299 plate appearances with the Brewers in 2017. It’s unlikely that he reaches that in 2018, but it’s clear that the team wanted him back and has a role in mind. Just not a starting role.