There are several players that qualify as solid options who are either utility players in the truest sense of the word, or are solid options at one position. If the Milwaukee Brewers are going to add a bat at the deadline, these are the players they’re most likely to explore getting.
Brian Anderson, RHB, Miami Marlins
Brian Anderson has positioned himself as one of the few valuable position players on the Miami Marlins roster.
After being a 3.4 WAR player last season for them, Anderson is nearly on pace to match that again in 2019 (his WAR is currently a 1.6).
Anderson has never been an elite power hitter, but he provides offensive value through his ability to both hit for contact and draw walks. Anderson posted a slash line of .273/.357/.400 in 2018, and currently sits at .244/.326/.425 in 2019. He’s already hit a career high 13 home runs this year through just 96 appearances.
Where Anderson’s real value is coming from in 2019 is his ability to defend well. Anderson has been one of the best defensive third basemen in 2019, with ten Defensive Runs Saved at the hot corner. He’s also been passable in right field in the 245+ innings he’s played out there.
Like Baltimore, Miami is in the midst of a painful rebuild. Even if they view Anderson as a solid piece now, they’d be wise to entertain a deal for him given that he’s under contract through 2024. He could land them several decent prospects.
Elvis Andrus, RHB, Texas Rangers
Elvis Andrus has staked himself out as one of the most consistent shortstops in baseball over the past decade. 2019 has been no different.
Andrus has been a 1.8 WAR player so far in 2019. His offensive stats don’t just off the page anymore, but he still provides value on offense. Andrus’s slash line sits at a respectable .287/.327/.425. Though his bat grades out as below-average (his WRC+ is 91), he is a constant threat on the bases. Andrus already has 21 steals in 2019, and is on pace to approach his best total in that category since he stole 42 in 2013.
What’s made him such a valuable player throughout his career, though, is his defense. Though his DRS is minus eight right now on the season, he does grade out as at or above average in several other defensive metrics. He’s also been an above-average or better defender in most of his MLB seasons.
Andrus is on a decently expensive contract, but he can opt out at the end of this year. With the Milwaukee Brewers struggling to get consistent production at shortstop, Andrus could make some sense as a player to help them stabilize that position should he become available. His career production, coupled with his extensive post-season experience, could be a major asset for them.
Derek Dietrich, LHB, Cincinnati Reds
Dietrich has been one of the players who’s been able to take advantage of not only the juiced ball, but from playing in a very hitter friendly park. His average is a career low .216 right now, but his OPS of .887 is the best of his career. Dietrich, however, has always been an above-the-league-average bat. He’s posted an WRC+ over 100 in all but his rookie season in the Majors.
Beyond his offensive value, Dietrich can play second and third base, as well left field. His best defensive position is second base, but he can be at least an average defender at the other two positions. His defense improving this year is part of the reason why he has a WAR of 1.9, the second best total of his career.
With the Reds looking like they’re virtually out of contention now, they may consider offers for him. His power and positional flexibility make him an intriguing option for anyone looking to add a bat.
Freddy Galvis, RHB, Toronto Blue Jays
Freddy Galvis has bounced around the league a bit in recent seasons, but he’s consistently been over a one WAR player since 2015.
Galvis is in the midst of his best offensive season of his career. His WRC+ is a 99, virtually at the league average. Galvis is posting bests in batting average (.274), on-base percentage (.310), slugging percentage (.454), and OPS (.765). Before this year, though, he’s always been a below-average to well-below average bat
The real value that Galvis has provided throughout his career is his defense. Though he’s shown some regression in that area since his peak defensive years in 2015-16, he still grades out around average or better depending on what metrics you look at for shortstop.
With him on a cheap contract, and having a career year, Galvis might make some sense for a team looking for a solid option at short.
Danny Santana, Switch Hitter, Texas Rangers
After showing real promise in his rookie year in 2014, when he was a 3.9 WAR player, Danny Santana‘s production fell off a cliff. In 2019, however, he’s been able to take advantage of the juiced ball.
Santana’s batting average currently sits at one of the highest marks in the Majors at .320. Though that’s being fueled by an unsustainably high BABIP of .399, he is making hard contact on over 45.5% of the batted balls he’s put in play thus far, one of the highest marks in baseball. He’s also near or in the top fourth of the league in several categories such as exit velocity, hard contact percentage, and speed. Santana’s OPS stands at .910, by the far the best mark of his career.
In addition to having a great offensive season, Santana can provide value by being able to play several positions in the field. He’s not great at defending any one position, but he can at least be passable across the diamond and in any of the three outfield positions.
If you’re looking for a utility option who can hit, you’d be hard pressed to find a better option than him. Even if 2019 is an aberration, a team might be wise to take a chance on him at the deadline.
Eric Sogard, LHB, Toronto Blue Jays
Eric Sogard has rebounded from an atrocious 2018 with the Milwaukee Brewers to become, once again, a valuable option.
Sogard is in the midst of his best offensive season, just like many other players around the league. His slash line stands at .305/.369/.491. His power surge in 2019, which has his OPS .859, is why his bat grades out as well-above-average thus far (WRC+ of 128).
Though he’s played most of his time at second base so far, Sogard can move across the diamond or in the outfield as a utility option.
Given that’s he’s been a 2.2 WAR player so far, there’s no doubt that several teams will explore getting him as a utility option at the deadline. Whether the Milwaukee Brewers would be willing to give up assets for a player they DFA’d just 12 months ago remains to be seen.
Beyond these players there’s a few others who could make sense for the Milwaukee Brewers as depth options.
Greg Garcia, LHB, San Diego Padres
Greg Garcia has found a role as a decent infield utility option for the Padres this season.
Garcia has split time between second and third base, with most of playing time coming at second. Garcia grades out as an average or better defender at second, has also done a passable job defending short and third in his career.
Where Garcia’s new found value is coming from, though, is a return to the offensive success that made him a 1.6 WAR player in St. Louis in 2016. Garcia has a slash .267/.355/.401. He’s never been a power hitter, but he has been able to hit for a decent average and draw a lot of walks throughout his career.
He may not be as buzz-worthy as the players discussed on the solid options list, but Garcia could be a good addition as an infield utility option for a contender.
Miguel Rojas, RHB, Miami Marlins
Miguel Rojas is one of the best defensive shortstops in the game that you haven’t heard about.
Rojas has posted a WAR of 2.2, 2.4, and 2.5 in each of the past three seasons including this year. Most of his value comes from his near gold-glove defending, where his defensive WAR has been a 0.8, 1.7, and 1.9 in each of the past three seasons.
Beyond his incredible defense at short, Rojas is at least passable offensively. He posted an OPS+ of 103 in 2017, and has an 89 OPS+ this year. He doesn’t hit for any power, but his best offensive seasons have come from his ability to hit for a good average (he’s hitting .289 right now).
Rojas is 30 years old. His age doesn’t mesh with the Marlins rebuilding time-line. Given that this is the case, it stands to reason that the Marlins will entertain offers for him ahead of the deadline this year.
Niko Goodrum, RHB, Detroit Tigers
Niko Goodrum has turned himself into a valuable utility options for the Detroit Tigers over the past two seasons.
Goodrum was a 1.1 WAR player last season thanks to his above-average bat. (WRC+ of 103). In 2019, he’s been even better, with a WAR currently at 1.4.
In 2019, Goodrum has maintained virtually the same batting average (.244) and on-base percentage (.318) as last season (.244/.315). His slugging percentage is tad lower (.407), but he’s shown improvement on the base paths, stealing 11 bases through 86 games compared to 12 in 131 games last year.
Defensively, Goodrum has played virtually every position in the field except catcher. He grades out as average or better at short, and is good in the infield overall. He’s not as good in the outfield defensively, but can at least do a job at all three spots if asked.
Given his bat and his ability to play all positions, Goodrum should be in demand at the deadline. The Tigers may be reluctant to move him, but they’re not in a position where keeping a utility guy in the early stages of rebuild makes a lot of sense.
Jose Iglesias, RHB, Cincinnati Reds
One final option to appear on the infield list is Jose Iglesias.
Iglesias is not, and never has been a great offensive player. His WRC+ in 2019 stands at just 77. He does, however, provide substantial value through his defense.
In terms of defensive metrics, Iglesias has been in the conversation for the gold-glove in virtually every season he’s been in the league. His eight DRS in 2019 is the best mark of his career to date.
He may only be a 0.4 WAR player so far, but Iglesias has consistently been a 1.5 to 2.5 WAR player because of his glove. With the Reds fading in the playoff race, a contender may want to pick up Iglesias for his glove. He could make a nice insurance option for short for the Milwaukee Brewers.