The Milwaukee Brewers chose to cut ties with Travis Shaw, and they added Ryon Healy on a one-year deal. Did the team improve? Stay the same? Get worse?
Of all the players that the Milwaukee Brewers have moved in the past few months, Travis Shaw was the one most in need of a change of scenery. He just finished a brutal campaign that saw him go from bad to worse to demoted to back up to riding the bench. The Brewers also added free agent Ryon Healy to handle some of the workload at third base in 2020, but is he really an improvement over Shaw?
How was Healy’s 2019 campaign?
It wasn’t as bad as Shaw’s, but it wasn’t good. Healy slashed .237/.289/.456 in 187 plate appearances for the Seattle Mariners. He blasted seven homers, drove in 26 runs, and scored 24 times.
He went on the injured list in late May with a back injury that was later diagnosed as spinal stenosis. While rehabbing his back injury, Healy injured his hip badly enough to require season-ending surgery. He went under the knife in early August, and his rehab was expected to take four-to-six months. He should be ready to ramp up his workouts right around the same time Spring Training gets underway.
How about Shaw’s 2019 season?
Do you want to know the best part of Shaw’s 2019 season with the Milwaukee Brewers? The end. This past season was a disaster for a guy who was once viewed as a franchise cornerstone.
Is Healy and upgrade over Shaw?
Given the severity of Healy’s health issues, it’s a surprise that the Milwaukee Brewers signed him at all. Spinal stenosis is the same injury that ended David Wright‘s career. However, it isn’t believed that Healy’s case is as severe as Wright’s.
While Healy’s health is a question mark, he does come with a few positives. First, he doesn’t have a platoon split. For his career, Healy owns a .749 OPS against lefties and a .751 OPS against righties. If his back holds up, Healy can play every day, and won’t need to be subbed in the late innings. Shaw is much better against right-handed pitching, but has never figured out how to hit lefties, as his .679 career OPS against would indicate.
When it comes to the defensive side, Shaw is a much better defender at third base than Healy is. Healy is capable enough at first base, but as of right now, he’s going to play a lot at third base unless the Brewers make another addition. He owns a .925 fielding percentage in over 1,200 innings at the hot corner, and possesses the range of a 225 lbs. traffic cone.
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The issue with Shaw is that it sounded like the situation with the club was turning toxic and he needed to make a change. Healy may not have the same skillset or is as likely to rebound as Shaw, but he also doesn’t come with Shaw’s perceived baggage, and that could mean a lot to a clubhouse that is known for it’s positive atmosphere. The Brewers may still add another option at third base, but it’s clear that both Shaw and the team needed to move on.