Reliable play from the shortstop position has been a challenge for the Milwaukee Brewers for a few years. Should they stay the course with Orlando Arcia, or look to upgrade with Didi Gregorius?
The New York Yankees didn’t extend a qualifying offer to free agent-to be Didi Gregorius. This means that the team that signs Gregorius won’t have to surrender a draft pick. Could the Milwaukee Brewers solve shortstop by signing Gregorius to a multi-year deal?
MLB.com featured an article on one free agent target for each team, and Gregorius was the pick for the Brewers. Should he be a priority?
How did Gregorius perform last year?
Gregorius missed the first two months of the 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery in 2018. He only appeared in 82 games for the Yankees, and slashed .238/.276/.718 in 344 plate appearances. Gregorius bashed 16 homers, drove in 61 runs, stole two bases in three attempts, and scored 47 times.
His 2018 campaign was a true breakout with an .829 OPS in 134 for the Yankees.
How did the Brewers shortstops perform in 2019?
In 162 games, the Brewers only managed a .612 OPS from the cast of characters they had playing shortstop. Orlando Arcia accounted for the majority of that.
Arcia managed to stay in the Majors for the full season, but he only managed a .223/.283/.350 slash line in 546 plate appearances. He did manage to hit 15 homers and he drove in 59 runs, but that’s about the extent of what he had to offer on offense.
Should the Brewers make a change at shortstop?
It really depends on how much Gregorius wants in free agency. Arcia is expected to get less than $3 million in his first year of arbitration eligibility. Gregorius earned $11.75 million last year, but he wasn’t offered a qualifying offer of $17.8 million this year. Meaning, his value by Major League standards is probably in the $12 million-to-$15 million AAV range.
If the Brewers move on from Arcia with Gregorius, they’ll likely have to miss out on bringing back Yasmani Grandal or Mike Moustakas, or they won’t be able to overhaul the pitching staff like they need to. Signing Gregorius isn’t the worst idea, but given the budgetary restrictions the Brewers have to operate under, he’s a luxury, not a necessity.
If the off season drags like the past two have, and Gregorius is still on the market in early March, it could make sense for the Brewers to look for him on a one-year deal. However, he shouldn’t be a priority for the team at the very start of free agency. Working on a multi-year deals for Grandal and Moustakas, and finding an ace starting pitcher take priority over adding a shortstop at this point.