The Milwaukee Brewers have too many outfielders on their roster and not enough playing time for all of them. Because of this, GM David Stearns will need to trade one of them to clear up the current logjam. The most logical trade candidate of these players is Keon Broxton.
To say Keon Broxton‘s 2017 season was full of ups and downs would be an understatement. He had one of the streakiest seasons in baseball. He could go for a week or two absolutely demolishing baseballs and hit for a high average. Then he would go a whole month where he couldn’t touch a thing. It made for an extremely frustrating season for Broxton who was even demoted from the Milwaukee Brewers to Triple-A for a short time during the season.
Broxton, 27, finished the year with a .220/.299/.420 slash line including 20 homers and 21 stolen bases. With that type of output when he makes contact and gets on base, Broxton can be a really productive player. The problem is making contact and getting on base. He struck out in 37.8% of his at-bats last year and walked in only 8.6% of his at-bats.
His inconsistency at the plate is obvious. However, Broxton has shown himself to be a high quality defender in centerfield. With his quickness and ability with the glove, Broxton should garner some attention on the trade market. While some teams may balk at his high strikeout rate, if they feel they can straighten out his swing, they could have a 30-homer player in their outfield.
Although there are some big names out there on the outfield market, there are plenty of teams looking for an outfielder and Broxton is on the block for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Who is looking for a centerfielder?
The Seattle Mariners would have been at the top of this list. However, they have just recently acquired Dee Gordon from the Marlins to play that position. Although traditionally a second baseman, Robinson Cano currently plays there for Seattle and Gordon will move to center.
Even with the Mariners out of the question, there are still plenty of places that could use Broxton’s services. These places include, but aren’t limited to:
- Detroit Tigers
- Kansas City Royals
- Oakland A’s
- San Francisco Giants
- New York Mets
- Baltimore Orioles
- Arizona Diamondbacks
The Tigers have a need for cheap talent in the outfield as they go through their first rebuilding offseason in a long time. They did recently sign Leonys Martin to a free agent contract to man center field but Broxton has a much higher ceiling than Martin does at this point.
Kansas City will watch Lorenzo Cain sign somewhere else in free agency and that will have a major impact on Broxton’s market. If Cain signs with any of the above teams, that will take Broxton out of consideration for them. But Kansas City is highly unlikely to retain Cain and will need a replacement for him. They are starting a rebuilding process as well and cheap young talent is the name of the rebuilding game. Broxton could easily fit in a trade for Danny Duffy or Whit Merrifield.
Oakland currently has Boog Powell in centerfield and their top outfield prospect, Dustin Fowler, is coming off major knee surgery. Oakland was asking for Lewis Brinson during talks for Sonny Gray during the summer. Perhaps they would be willing to take Broxton in a deal for a lesser player than Gray is. A’s GM David Forst says that he’s targeting right handed outfielders at the Winter Meetings according to Susan Slusser. Keon Broxton fits into that category.
The Giants are currently in hot pursuit of the top two storylines in baseball this off-season. They are finalists for both Shohei Ohtani and Giancarlo Stanton. If the Giants add Stanton and his monstrous contract, that leaves little money to be spent on a centerfield upgrade. They need to find two outfielders this winter and with Stanton restricting the rest of their payroll, a guy like Keon Broxton would make a lot sense to add in a trade.
The Mets are in need of a centerfielder as both Brandon Nimmo and Juan Lagares are mediocre options for new manager Mickey Callaway. If Broxton can find some consistency, he would make a great addition between Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto in the outfield.
Baltimore and Arizona are in the same boat, they need an outfielder but not necessarily a centerfielder. Baltimore has Adam Jones while Arizona has AJ Pollock and both are better players than Broxton is at this point. But he could move to a corner outfield spot in either of these places.
In our FanSided Faux GM meetings, the Orioles made a trade for Broxton and outbid everyone else. Arizona would be a major darkhorse at this moment but with payroll stretched and JD Martinez walking out the door, Broxton could be a nice get.
Who has the best chance for a deal?
Right now, the top three most likely landing spots in a deal are the Kansas City Royals, New York Mets, and San Francisco Giants. The Royals will look to rebuild and need a young talent in centerfield. The Mets have a need as well.
The Giants interest depends on the result of the Stanton sweepstakes. If they land him, Broxton makes a lot of sense to add. If somehow Stanton goes elsewhere, San Francisco will look to make a big outfield free agent acquisition, possibly a centerfielder, which takes them out of the conversation with the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Tigers would have been one of these top teams had they not signed Leonys Martin. They could easily be content to allow him to play centerfield and won’t actively seek out Broxton. The Royals, Mets, and Giants all could make the first call to the Milwaukee Brewers about Broxton, thus giving them the best chance to land him.
Keon Broxton lacks the no-trade clause that Ryan Braun has. Broxton has no control over where he plays next season and that gives David Stearns a ton of leverage in negotiations. The 20-20 season Broxton put up gives teams positive numbers to look at even though his peripherals are more concerning. All it takes is finding some consistency and Broxton is well on his way to a productive MLB career.
With the slow-moving market so far and the vast amount of options still available to teams, a Broxton trade may not happen until well after the upcoming Winter Meetings. It’s entirely possible he doesn’t get moved until January and there’s still a chance he doesn’t get moved at all and stays with the Milwaukee Brewers. But if that happens, that means a much bigger deal went down instead.