The MLB Winter Meetings are this week and the Milwaukee Brewers enter with a big list of needs to fill.
Each year, the MLB Winter Meetings is the place where there’s a ton of player movement, between free agent signings and trades. Every GM, every team is in one building for four days and it sparks a ton of activity.
The past few years, the Winter Meetings have been a little bit of a dud, which was representative of those offseasons as a whole. But so far this winter, there’s been a lot more activity early and teams are more willing to sign players to bigger contracts, so this year could see a ton of movement.
Obviously, the Brewers have a bunch of needs on this roster. They have eight openings on the 40 man roster, and most likely are going to fill a couple of them by the end of the day on Thursday.
But David Stearns doesn’t need to fill every hole by the end of the Winter Meetings. There’s still a lot of offseason left after this week. However, he should find someone to fill these spots.
To-Do List: #1
Acquire at least one established starting pitcher
Realistically, the Brewers should add two veteran starting pitchers to this rotation. They need established arms to go along with Brandon Woodruff to lead this rotation in 2020 and beyond. Currently, the four spots behind him are all question marks. The Brewers need at least 3/5 of the starting rotation to be established guys that can go every fifth day.
The Brewers have been cutting the fat off the payroll and slimming down as much as possible, all in an effort to be able to sign some big players to fill the holes. Given the price of starting pitching nowadays, there’s a good chance that’s in an effort to get an established starter or two.
David Stearns needs to have at least one of those rotation spots filled by the end of the Winter Meetings. The pitching market is moving at a solid pace and trying to sign multiple guys after the Meetings are over is going to be a much tougher task with a thinner crop of available free agents.
Guys like Dallas Keuchel, Madison Bumgarner, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Julio Teheran, and Taijuan Walker are all free agent names to watch as we make our way through the Winter Meetings. Also don’t be surprised if he adds a starter through a trade. That market might provide some better options than the free agent group since they won’t be players for Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg.
To-Do List #2
Fill one of the corner infield spots
The Milwaukee Brewers currently have openings at both corner infield spots. Stearns needs to fill at least one of those spots by the end of the Winter Meetings.
With Mike Moustakas gone and Travis Shaw surprisingly non-tendered, the Brewers have no starting options at third base. The only available guys are Lucas Erceg, who struggled in Triple-A, and Luis Urias, who was really brought in to compete at shortstop with Orlando Arcia. So they need someone.
It also shouldn’t be surprising if Stearns swings a trade for a third baseman that can take over the starting job that perhaps was blocked with a different organization and isn’t an obvious target to us fans. That’s what he did in 2016 when he acquired Travis Shaw at the Meetings to be the starting third baseman.
Whichever way he goes, Stearns should fill at least one of those corner infield spots during the Meetings.
To-Do List #3
Add to the bullpen
With a bunch of pitchers from last year’s bullpen now free agents, the Milwaukee Brewers are going to need to replenish the depth among that group. Sure, they’ll have Bobby Wahl and Corey Knebel returning next season, which will be a nice boost, but they still need more arms.
Outside of Josh Hader, who has been reported as a trade candidate, the only bullpen options that are sure bets to make the Opening Day roster are Devin Williams and Ray Black, and even that’s not a totally inspiring group.
There isn’t much for late-inning relief options out there, so it’s more going to be filling the middle innings with any free agent signings. Again, the return of Knebel and Wahl next season will help the back end of that bullpen.
The more important moves are adding to the rotation and getting some good corner infielders, but the Brewers should add a reliever or two if they can.
With the amount of holes the Brewers have on their roster, this figures to be a very active Winter Meetings for David Stearns.