Milwaukee Brewers: Which moves happen next?

MILWAUKEE, WI - SEPTEMBER 26: Domingo Santana
MILWAUKEE, WI - SEPTEMBER 26: Domingo Santana /

Now that the Milwaukee Brewers have gone ‘all-in’ for 2018, there are still moves that will occur before Spring Training starts. Which move does GM David Stearns make next?

There are over 100 free agents still unsigned, and several trade targets still out there. The Milwaukee Brewers still have a glut of outfielders, and they still lack an ace in their starting rotation. Could one or both of these moves happen before pitchers and catchers report?

Which outfielder gets moved?

It’s really not a matter of when an outfielder gets dealt. It’s a matter of which outfielder finds a new home. The Milwaukee Brewers moved a pair of outfield prospects and added a pair of established outfielders. That leaves them with more outfielders fighting for playing time at the Major League level than before.

Keon Broxton and Domingo Santana are clearly in need of a new home, right? Not necessarily. Ryan Braun could make the move to first base, and allow Christian Yelich to slide into left field. The Milwaukee Brewers could keep Lorenzo Cain in center and Santana in right. Broxton and Brett Phillips could handle pinch-running / defensive replacement / backup duties.

However, if this occurs, Eric Thames becomes the odd man out, and would need to move elsewhere before Spring Training. Thames wouldn’t fetch an ace or established starting pitcher, but he could bring in solid prospect or two.

What if the Brewers add a free agent starter.

The calendar is a few days from flipping to February, and all the top free agent starting pitchers are still on the market. The Milwaukee Brewers have been linked to all four at one point or another. While it’s unlikely that Stearns brings in another expensive free agent, signing Cain also appeared unlikely. Alex Cobb makes the most sense of the four available top starters to sign in Milwaukee, but it’s impossible to bet against Stearns at this point. There’s a non-zero chance that we’re blogging about Yu Darvish deciding to come to Milwaukee next week.

What about trading for a starting pitcher?

This is the one scenario that cancels out the previous two. If the Milwaukee Brewers trade for a starting pitcher, Santana has to go the other way. Whether Stearns targets Chris Archer, Danny Duffy or young, controllable starter X, Santana has to be a part of the return package. Santana is pre-arbitration, he’s only 25 years old, and he has a 3.3 WAR season under his belt. He has to leave if the Brewers deal for an ace.

One name that hasn’t been mentioned anywhere is Jacob deGrom. The New York Mets tried to sign him to an extension with little success. If the Mets get serious about rebuilding, wouldn’t it make sense to deal deGrom for Santana?

Next: How much did the Brewers really give up for Yelich?

There are fewer than three weeks before Spring Training starts, and it’s clear there are still a ton of moves that need to occur. One legit ace and three solid starter need to find contracts. The Brewers have to trade someone off their Major League roster or risk a roster crunch in April. Spring Training is right around the corner, but the off season isn’t ready to end just yet.