June is more than halfway over and there is still no agreement on a 2020 baseball season for MLB. If the season were to actually get cancelled, these players might never don a Brewers uniform in a regular season game.
Offseason acquisitions are fun for fans of any sport. You start looking up the new players’ stats and get excited for their future contributions. You might even go out and buy some Brewers merchandise adorned with one or more of those players’ names.
The Brewers brought in several new players last offseason to fill holes left by departing players. It was well-documented that many of those players were signed to contracts in which the Brewers could cut bait after just one season.
Of course, no one could foresee that there would be a global pandemic that would bring the 2020 MLB season to an abrupt halt. And though all the other major sports have plans in place to restart their 2020 seasons, MLB owners and the MLB Players Association still have been unable to come to a similar agreement of their own.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred still has the power to mandate a season of around 50 games. But what if he doesn’t and the season gets cancelled instead? These players may never play a regular season game for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Players with Contract Options in 2021
One main strategy for GM David Stearns this past offseason was to sign players to two-year contracts with team options for 2021. It would allow Milwaukee to stick with those players next year if they were to have big years in 2020 and move on at minimal cost if they didn’t.
Five players fall into that category for the Brewers: infielders Justin Smoak, Eric Sogard, and Jedd Gyorko, utility man Brock Holt, and reliever David Phelps. All players were to fill important roles in 2020.
Smoak was brought in to replace the vacancy left behind when Eric Thames was signed by the Nationals. His potential power display at Miller Park was a point of anticipation for fans. Similarly, Gyorko and Sogard were brought in largely to fill the void left when Mike Moustakas signed with the Reds.
Holt was a late signee this offseason and was set to fill a super utility role once filled by Hernan Perez, who is now with the Cubs. He also brought a championship pedigree with him as he was a part of the 2018 World Series-winning Boston Red Sox squad. Phelps was to bring a stable presence to the bullpen after the departures of players like Junior Guerra, Jeremy Jeffress, and Drew Pomeranz.
Players Who Will Be Free Agents in 2021
A few other players signed simple, one-year contracts. Some of those players, such as infielder/outfielder Logan Morrison and pitchers Shelby Miller and Justin Grimm, were signed to one-year minor league deals and it remained to be seen if they would contribute for the big league club in 2020.
However, one player who was expected to contribute in the majors right away was starting pitcher Brett Anderson. With 2019 Brewer starters Jhoulys Chacin, Chase Anderson, and Zach Davies all with new teams, the Brewers were giving Anderson a chance to show that he was fully over his past injuries and that his solid 2019 season with the A’s was no fluke.
Of course, there’s always the chance that at least some of these players could have their 2021 options picked up by the Brewers or be signed to new contracts. But if that isn’t the case, the games they played in Spring Training could be the last we see of them in Brewer blue and gold.
There’s still time to get a very shortened 2020 MLB season implemented, but that time is fading fast. Hopefully the league figures things out and fans get the opportunity to see these players add their names to Milwaukee’s regular season history books.