The Milwaukee Brewers knew they were going to have a logjam in the outfield coming into the season. And Domingo Santana has taken the worst of it.
After the offseason acquisitions of Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain, the Milwaukee Brewers had a problem. How were they going to play Yelich, Cain, Santana, and Ryan Braun all in the same outfield? Along with Brett Phillips and Keon Broxton, the Crew had six outfielders worthy of starting in the big leagues and only three spots. It’s a good problem to have… for the organization.
For Domingo Santana, this has been a nightmare scenario in 2018. He was coming off a breakout 2017 campaign that saw him hit 30 homers with a .278 average. Now, he’s relegated to bench duty with few chances to get in the lineup.
His batting average is down 20 points from last year, and his power is practically gone. Santana has three home runs on the year. At this time last year, Santana had already went yard 11 times and was hitting .281.
The Failed Ryan Braun Experiment
We knew it was going to be between Braun and Santana for the corner outfield spot not occupied by Yelich. To remedy this and give Santana more opportunities, Ryan Braun trained at first base and the plan was to give him more opportunities in the infield. That has not worked.
It’s not for Braun’s failures at first base that this experiment failed, it’s because of the play of the Milwaukee Brewers other first basemen. Eric Thames led the team in homers and was on a hot streak when he went on the disabled list. Jesus Aguilar has been outstanding in a regular starting role. The Brewers need to keep Aguilar’s bat in the lineup, but he only plays first base.
With such great production coming from Aguilar and Thames at first base, there’s no need for Braun to play there, but his bat needs to be in the lineup as well, so Domingo Santana is out of luck.
Limited Trade Value
Over the winter, the Milwaukee Brewers reportedly were shopping Domingo Santana on the trade market. It wouldn’t surprise anyone to see them do that again either in July or next winter given their positional depth.
But what can they trade Santana for now? The reason other teams liked Santana was his powerful offense. And the reason other teams balked at Santana was his poor defense. Now he’s worked his way up to being an average defender instead of a below-average one, but his once above average bat is now gone.
What would teams give up for an average defensive outfielder who hasn’t hit the ball well all season? Not much. Santana is a lottery ticket now for interested trade partners. He’s not the bona fide bat that he was last year, which destroys any trade value he had.
Part of the reason for his lack of success this season could be attributed to his inability to get consistent playing time. But his trade value is pretty low right now. Teams can dream on the potential of getting him back to what he was with a change of scenery, but if they didn’t want to pull the trigger last winter, they won’t want to give up much of value right now.
The Brewers will have to find a way to remedy this outfield logjam. I highly doubt they will deal from the major league depth in July, but if that is necessary for some reason, Santana would be the first to go. But he might not bring back as much as previously thought.