Recent rumors are connecting the Milwaukee Brewers to outfielders such as Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich.
It is true that David Stearns and the rest of the Milwaukee Brewers front office kicks the tires on a lot of players, but it is so interesting to think about what it all could mean. In the case of the outfielders there is one clear answer. One move means more moves.
Getting another outfielder, and a more established one at that, says to me that in order to move one, Stearns wants one. It makes sense too. The outfielders right now are full of talent, but they are young. They have not proved consistency between years quite yet. So getting a player with more experience will allow the Crew to trade away some potential to get starting pitching.
Why would the team want to rely on Brett Phillips, Lewis Brinson, or even Domingo Santana on the strength of potential or one solid year? They should not have to. That is where getting a player like Yelich would allow flexibility in trades. He is proven. That means less risk in a deal.
So, lets say that hypothetically Yelich becomes a Brewer. The Marlins reportedly want Brinson, but that is not likely to happen. For the sake of argument, Yelich adds into the mix of Phillips, Brinson, Santana, Keon Broxton, and Ryan Braun. That is now six MLB ready outfielders.
Naturally one would move as a result to any deal that adds an outfielder with experience in the big leagues. And it might not be only one move. It stands to reason that no player has moved yet because there is a risk of repeatability with the young breakout players.
To put numbers to this, take a look at Santana. Prior to last season he had not played over 77 games in a season. In these appearances in parts of four seasons before 2017, his ISO was below .200. His breakout year showed an ISO of .227. While there is little doubt he could do that again, he is not a proven 30 homer guy.
That is where that chain reaction comes in. The general consensus is that the Milwaukee Brewers need to move an outfielder. It looks as if Stearns agrees but with the caveat of wanting a proven bat to counteract the loss of quantity.
Once he attains that, then there will be more moves to follow. But it would not be surprising to see this movement happen around the trade deadline too. There are not too many young and controllable top of the line pitchers that are readily available for trade. That is likely to change as the season progresses, making a deal more likely then.
It is entirely possible that Stearns will hold strong with his five outfielders to start the year. That would not be the worst thing. See who is performing, potentially raise some trade stock, and give time to make the right decision of who to keep.
This is a weird situation. But the one thing to be certain of is that a move that brings in a outfielder will be followed by at least one move getting rid of an outfielder. So maybe it is not a huge chain reaction, but it will be news following news. It would be hard to believe the Milwaukee Brewers bring in an outfielder without a known, or close, deal to get rid of one.