Milwaukee Brewers: What to do about Jesus Aguilar?

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 20: Jesus Aguilar
DENVER, CO - AUGUST 20: Jesus Aguilar /

Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar is in a tough spot. He doesn’t appear to have a path to a roster spot right now. What can the Brewers do to find a role for Aguilar in 2018?

In 2017, Jesus Aguilar had a fantastic spring, earned a bench spot for the Milwaukee Brewers, and then enjoyed a mini-breakout. Aguilar posted a .265/.331/.505 slash line in 311 plate appearances last year. Now? He may not have a role with the Brewers in 2018.

How’s Aguilar doing this spring?

Not as well as last spring, but he’s fine. Aguilar has an .800 OPS in 25 plate appearances. He’s already blasted one homer. Aguilar posted a 1.376 OPS with seven homers in 71 plate appearances last year.

Why is Aguilar the odd man out this year?

The Milwaukee Brewers have so many quality outfielders that Ryan Braun is moving to first base to accommodate everyone. Braun’s move to first pushes Eric Thames to the bench, and makes Aguilar redundant on the roster. The Brewers can’t afford to have two backup first basemen on the 25-man roster.

Why isn’t Thames the guy forced out?

Four reasons.

First, Thames has three years left on his contract, Aguilar isn’t even eligible for arbitration yet. Second, Thames can  theoretically play the outfield. Aguilar isn’t as versatile. Third, Thames is left-handed, and the Milwaukee Brewers need a capable lefty off the bench. Fourth, Thames is the better player.

Is there a path to a spot on the 25-man roster for Aguilar?

Not right now, but a few injuries and a trade could help. The easiest path for Aguilar to make the roster is an injury to Thames or Braun. The Milwaukee Brewers could also deal Domingo Santana, and that would allow Aguilar to stay. The only way he stays on the Major League roster is if a move is made.

Can Aguilar go back to Triple-A?

He can, and probably will. He’ll likely have to share first base and DH duties with Ji-man Choi, but stashing Aguilar in Colorado Springs is still an option.

Next: Should the Brewers go with a 4-man rotation?

The Milwaukee Brewers have a serious roster crunch, and Aguilar is just one of the victims. It looks like one of Brett Phillips or Keon Broxton will also open the season at Triple-A. It’s better to have too many capable options than too few, but it’s clear that a deal needs to happen. Whether it happens before Opening Day is anyone’s guess, but a trade doesn’t appear likely…yet.