Multiple baseball insiders are connecting the Milwaukee Brewers and Texas Rangers to Kansas City Royals free agent Lorenzo Cain.
Out of context, this news does not make sense from a Brewers perspective. Milwaukee already has several good options for their outfield. That being said, insiders have commented that the Milwaukee Brewers are looking to trade some of their current outfielders, namely Keon Broxton and Domingo Santana.
Who Is Lorenzo Cain Now?
Cain grew up in the Milwaukee Brewers minor league system. He played for the team at the major league level briefly before they traded him. That trade sent Cain in a package that brought back pitcher Zack Grienke for a playoff push. Grienke helped the Brewers advance to Game 6 of the NLCS (2011).. Cain played well in two World Series with the Royals (2014-2015), one of which they won (2015).
Cain has a fair amount of pop and speed, but not as high of a ceiling as Brewers 2017 center fielder Keon Broxton. Furthermore, Cain holds a modest career .763 OPS and has failed to play over 150 games in all but one of his eight big league seasons.
On the positive side, Cain’s strength is in his legs. Not only does he accumulate over 20 stolen bases during good years, but his stolen base percentage is always dynamic. He also plays elite defense in center field.
The bottom line, Lorenzo Cain is entering his age 32 season. He will not likely find a big long-term deal on the market. However, teams could sign him for three or four years and not break the bank.
Why Are Milwaukee Brewers Interested In Lorenzo Cain?
The Texas Rangers have more need for outfield help than the Milwaukee Brewers. Therefore, it makes sense Texas is looking into the free agent outfielder. The Brewers interest makes less sense.
Perhaps, Milwaukee is getting an idea of how much Cain costs in case they send one or more of their budding outfielders for a pitcher.
No doubt, the Brewers would cut down on team strikeouts if they replace Broxton with Cain. Cain has multiple seasons below 100 K, Broxton whiffed 175 times in just 143 games during 2017. Cain would bring a better on base percentage and leadoff option to Milwaukee.
If the Brewers sign Lorenzo Cain, one can assume they are confident about moving an outfielder. More likely, Milwaukee is checking on Cain’s asking price in case they move any of their outfielders for pitching. Cain, then, would be a plan B.
The Brewers will feel less pain if they move prized prospect Lewis Brinson for top pitcher such as Chris Archer or Gerrit Cole if they can sign Lorenzo Cain.