The Milwaukee Brewers were thought to have second base high on their priority list this offseason. But with most of the free agents signed elsewhere, they’re left with few options.
This is really unexpected. But it really shouldn’t be. The Milwaukee Brewers went into this offseason with their expected biggest area of need being at second base, with everyone predicting they would land a stopgap free agent for one season to bide time until prospects Mauricio Dubon and Keston Hiura were ready.
Here we are on January 23rd and the only addition the Brewers have made to their middle infield is Cory Spangenberg, who’s coming off a .235/.298/.362 season. He’s barely an upgrade over Hernan Perez, if he is one at all. He can’t be their major plan of action at second base for 2019, right?
Remaining Second Base Options
Marwin Gonzalez, Derek Dietrich, and Josh Harrison are the only three free agent second basemen remaining who could possibly be a starting caliber second baseman in 2019. Harrison’s bat has been declining for years now, Dietrich was non-tendered but represents a better offensive option than Spangenberg.
Marwin Gonzalez would solidify the position, and add some power, but he’s coming off a not-so-great season. He can play all over the diamond when Dubon or Hiura is ready to take over. But where would he play in 2020? Gonzalez was in line for a multi-year deal earlier this offseason, but it’s unknown where his market currently stands.
Will They Even Add A Second Baseman?’
After Asdrubal Cabrera signed with the Rangers on a measly one year, $3.5 million contract, hopes shouldn’t be high for the Milwaukee Brewers finding an upgrade at second base in free agency. Cabrera would’ve been perfect, combining his offensive potential, experience, and versatility into a cheap one year deal sounds like a good idea.
But newly extended GM David Stearns didn’t pull the trigger on Cabrera for whatever reason.
At this point, with the options they have remaining in free agency, unless they complete a trade that we don’t know about yet, I think the Brewers will have to roll with a Hernan Perez/Tyler Saladino/Cory Spangenberg rotation at second base until Mauricio Dubon is ready for the big leagues. Then, Dubon will get his shot to earn the second base job before Keston Hiura is ready.
They’ve already upgraded at catcher, a position that’s not exactly teeming with offensive potential either in the big leagues or close to it. But at second base, there is plenty of offensive potential that’s close to the big leagues that could afford them to not sign a free agent.
For the Brewers to not bring in a free agent second baseman anywhere above the caliber of Cory Spangenberg, that should speak to how highly they think of Dubon and Hiura and how close they are to the big leagues. Dubon could be up to Milwaukee before the end of April if things go well in Triple-A. I think we could see Hiura get his call-up anywhere from late-July to early September, depending on how things go with Dubon.
David Stearns did say they could afford to be patient on this market and wait for a bargain. They’ve been patient, and now there’s basically no one left. Derek Dietrich is the best fit for this team among the remaining free agents, in my opinion. If they don’t get Dietrich, they’re either working on a trade for a second baseman like Joe Panik or Starlin Castro, or they’re standing pat with what they have.
Is that the right strategy? Only time will tell. The Milwaukee Brewers are limited in their remaining options at the position, and with what’s left on the free agent market, they have to move fast if they plan to add to this group.