Brewers: Mitch Moreland An Intriguing Free Agent Option For First Base

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 07: Mitch Moreland #18 of the San Diego Padres reacts after hitting an RBI double during the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Two of the National League Division Series at Globe Life Field on October 07, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 07: Mitch Moreland #18 of the San Diego Padres reacts after hitting an RBI double during the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Two of the National League Division Series at Globe Life Field on October 07, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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The Milwaukee Brewers have some holes in the corner infield spots and a new free agent option just popped up.

As soon as free agency opens, the Brewers should place a call to Mitch Moreland. The 35 year old first baseman just had his contract option declined by the San Diego Padres.

In the abbreviated 2020 season, Moreland hit .265/.342/.551 with a 139 OPS+ and 10 home runs between the Red Sox and Padres. The Brewers need more production at the first base position and the left-handed hitting Moreland could provide just that.

While never an overwhelming presence, Moreland has been a consistently productive offensive contributor for most of his career, including three straight above average OPS+ seasons from 2018-2020.

Why Mitch Moreland Is A Fit In Milwaukee

Moreland’s contract option that was just declined was worth only $3MM for next season, and the Padres weren’t willing to pay that. Part of that could’ve been because Moreland struggled in the pitcher’s paradise that is Petco Park in San Diego. In a hitter’s park like Milwaukee, Moreland could thrive again.

After being declined for a $3MM salary, Moreland is likely going to have to sign for less money in 2021, especially given the state of baseball’s economy right now.

For the Brewers, they could try to snag Moreland for $1.5MM-$2.5MM to be the regular starter at first base, giving them a strong option to boost this lineup.

Moreland has consistently provided somewhere between 15-25 homers a season while getting on base at a .320-.330 clip.

Mitch Moreland could present a solid upgrade over Daniel Vogelbach at first base for the Brewers.

While Vogelbach played well down the stretch for the Brewers, history says he’s unlikely to repeat his .328/.418/.569 slash line over a whole season next year. It was only 58 ABs for Vogelbach this year, but did the Brewers see enough to make them believe he can hit better than what his MLB career has shown to date?

One thing Vogelbach has in his favor is four more seasons of team control. He’s just 27 years old and Moreland is eight years his senior.

However, Vogelbach has also primarily been a DH his whole career and his defense at first base isn’t that great, while Moreland has been a Gold Glove first baseman in the past (2016). Moreland also strikes out less, and has posted a consistently higher batting average and OPS over Vogelbach.

The floor for Moreland is a lot higher than Vogelbach, but Vogelbach’s ceiling is higher. With Moreland, you basically know what you’re going to get. With Vogelbach, you could get an All-Star or you could get sub-.100 batting average.

If the Brewers do want to make a change at first base, Moreland would present the most cost-effective and impactful option on a weak free agent market for first basemen.

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After Jedd Gyorko’s option was declined, Vogelbach is the only first baseman on the roster right now. Moreland would not make a good platoon partner since both he and Vogey are left handed. Moreland can provide consistent offense and solid defense in the field.

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