The Milwaukee Brewers have added another player to their roster for the 2020 season.
Now, the Brewers do have a player with some experience at third base, having signed free agent Ryon Healy to a one year contract.
Healy was listed as a 1B/3B, but the place he figures to get the most playing time is at first base.
Healy spent last season with the Seattle Mariners and was previously with the Oakland A’s before that.
Who Is Ryon Healy?
Healy became the third baseman for Oakland his rookie season in 2016, and hit .305 with an .861 OPS and 132 OPS+. He followed that up in 2017 with a .271 batting average, 25 homers, a .754 OPS and 103 OPS+.
Healy was traded that offseason to Seattle, where his bat promptly declined. He hit just .235 with 24 homers in 2018 with a .688 OPS. He followed that up in 2019 with a season riddled with injuries to his hip and back, getting just 169 ABs, and hitting .237 on the season.
He primarily played first base in Seattle, after playing mostly third base in Oakland. Defensive metrics regard him as a generally poor defender, registering -8 DRS in his career at both corner infield positions.
Why Sign Him?
Healy, at the very least, is depth at the corner infield spots. For the most part, his splits are pretty even against lefties and righties, so he wouldn’t necessarily need a platoon, but depending on Healy to be an everyday guy in 2020 on an allegedly World Series contending team, especially after injuries limited him to less than 200 ABs last year, doesn’t seem wise.
Really, Healy was unlucky in Seattle. His BABIP for his two seasons in Oakland was .352 and .319 respectively, and then in his last two seasons in Seattle his BABIP dropped to .257 and .262 respectively.
Perhaps the Brewers are banking on a bounceback from Healy with some better luck in a hitter-friendly ballpark.
Frankly, banking on Healy returning to his Oakland level of offense is a big risk, especially if he’s going to be given a starting job. Especially with Healy being right handed, it doesn’t strike me as a huge upgrade. With Ryan Braun likely spending more time at first base in 2020, Healy isn’t an ideal platoon partner for him either.
This signing won’t prevent the team from making any larger signings at the corner infield spots, if they prefer a different third baseman or first baseman. But it’s a solid depth addition.
Healy is going to turn 28 years old before the 2020 season begins and could do well with a change of scenery.