Almost every free agent hitter will eventually land a job. However, there are a few that the Milwaukee Brewers should stay far away from. We’ve got three names that aren’t obvious, but they should be.
The Milwaukee Brewers probably aren’t going to seek out an aging power hitter or an everyday third baseman. Jose Bautista and Todd Frazier won’t land in Milwaukee unless there are a lot of weird trades. These two are clear stay aways for the Brewers. Here are three free agents that GM David Stearns needs to hang up on when they call…
Beware the random dude who has a career year in his walk year. Zack Cozart posted a 5.0 WAR season in 2017 with a career high in homers, runs scored, and batting average. He’ll turn 33 next season and is looking to cash in on his big year. If he gets a five year deal, he’ll be in his age-38 season in the final year for large, large dollars. That’s not a contract the Brewers should want.
This is also his last chance to earn an uber-deal, and all signs point to Cozart aiming for the largest contract he can get. That’s great for him and his family, but he’s not a great fit for the Milwaukee Brewers. There’s a reason the Reds didn’t offer Cozart a qualifying offer. It’s probably because they know his 2017 season isn’t representative of what Cozart will produce in the next few seasons. It’s also unclear if he would accept a move to second base, or push Orlando Arcia off the shortstop position.
Neil Walker was a solid addition to the Milwaukee Brewers for the stretch run in 2017. He posted a .243/.417/.446 in the final month of the season. His contributions kept the team in the race up until the final few days of the season. He probably shouldn’t come back for 2018. Walker can provide a boost to the offense, but the team needs speed, defense, and, hopefully, a solid on-base percentage. Walker has a .341 career on-base percentage, and posted a .362 mark last season. That’s solid, but he’s not great with the glove, and lacks speed.
His contract demands won’t be franchise-killing, but Walker isn’t the best fit for Brewers lineup. He’s the most likely of these three to land in Milwaukee, but the team would be better off looking elsewhere to solve second base.
Howie Kendrick won’t command a huge contract, but he’s just not a fit with the Milwaukee Brewers. Eric Sogard exists. If the Brewers sought to upgrade their bench this off season, they could’ve waited to make a run at Kendrick instead of bringing back Sogard. They did bring back Eric Sogard, so Howie Kendrick is a clear stay away even if his versatility and usefulness against lefties might help the Brewers. He’ll turn 35 soon, and simply isn’t a fit for the Brewers and their youth movement.
The Brewers will likely beef up their middle infield, and possibly add a catcher, but most of the hitters available this off season are stay aways. If an agent for an expensive hitter comes calling, David Stearns should pretend to be out of the office, especially if they represent Kendrick, Cozart, and Walker.