Milwaukee Brewers GM David Stearns played ‘the waiting game’ to perfection this past off season. Could fans again have to wait until February or March before the roster takes shape?
The Milwaukee Brewers made only four signings or trades before January 1st, and made 10 moves after the New Year this past off season. Third baseman Mike Moustakas didn’t sign until February 19th.
What are the odds that GM David Stearns slow plays this off season again?
The market could be slow for 1st basemen
After Jose Abreu, the first base market is very similar. From Edwin Encarnacion to Howie Kendrick, there are a lot of options available at first. That’s not even counting a potential reunion with Eric Thames or a run at Japanese slugger Yoshitomo Tsutsugo.
The Brewers could choose to wait out the market, and scoop up a capable first baseman at a discount if they choose. There are a lot of options available, and Stearns could wait until March before finding a deal that matches his budget.
Catcher is also crowded
If the the Brewers don’t pursue Yasmani Grandal, there are about a half dozen options that could pair with Manny Pina behind the dish in 2020. None are terribly exciting, and the team may choose to wait until the market develops before jumping in.
There are a ton of arms available
There are at least five starters who will likely secure deals worth over $70 million this off season, after that, there are a lot of capable guys. While the Brewers need an ace, they could also wait out the market for the other guys and land Julio Teheran, Michael Pineda, or reunite with Wade Miley once the dust settles.
There are also about 500 capable relievers on the market including a lot of reclamation projects and lottery tickets who may have to wait until the Spring Training starts before signing a deal.
Stearns has used this strategy before
Stearns didn’t just ‘slow play’ the market in 2019. He used a similar strategy in 2018 when he traded for Christian Yelich and signed Lorenzo Cain in late January. He also added reliever Matt Albers and Miley after adding the two marquee outfielders.
Stearns appears to prefer the market coming to him, instead of him going to the market. It may be a frustrating strategy for fans to observe, but it’s ended in playoff appearances in each of the past two seasons. It’s okay to hope that the Brewers add Stephen Strasburg and bring back Grandal quickly, but be prepared for the off season to linger into February and past the date when pitchers and catchers report.