Our first Brewers rumors of the offseason are starting to roll in, and they aren’t going to be very surprising.
MLB Insider and FanSided colleague Robert Murray recently posted his latest column and it included a couple of updates on the offseason plans of the Milwaukee Brewers.
While these updates aren’t exactly earth-shattering developments, it provides important confirmation of the Brewers planned direction this offseason.
Rumors: Brewers “intend to listen” on Josh Hader
For the past year or two, there’s been speculation that the Brewers could trade Josh Hader as there are a number of teams around the league interested in him that have a better ability to pay him the money he’s going to earn.
Coming off a season with no ticket revenue, the Brewers will likely cut payroll heading into next year. To give themselves some more payroll flexibility and possible upgrade the roster at the same time, they could trade Hader to the highest bidder. That way, they get a young impact player or two back and solve their payroll issue.
This offseason seems to line up best for a Hader trade from the Brewers perspective, but GM David Stearns won’t just trade Hader away for nothing. He’s still expecting to get full value for him if a deal is to be had. If he doesn’t get the value placed on Hader back in an offer, he’s not likely to make the trade. According to Murray, the market for him may be more limited because of where baseball is coming out of the pandemic shortened season.
Stearns is going to listen, see where the offers go, maybe go back and forth on a few players, likely demand more from the calling team, and this will go on all offseason. It’ll go on until a team finally offers enough to get a deal done or all the interested teams stop calling because the price is too high.
It’s important to note that “listening” is not the same as “selling”. Selling is making outgoing calls trying to get other teams to make an offer for your player. Listening is taking incoming calls and hearing other teams trying to convince you to accept their offer for your player. That difference creates leverage in negotiations.
Rumors: Brewers Looking To Trade Pitching For Offense
Murray also mentioned that the Brewers are placing some outgoing calls in search of offensive upgrades and that the team has “indicated a willingness to deal from their pitching surplus”.
While Murray had these two sections separate, there could be some overlap. It’s hard to know for sure, but Hader would be the guy from the pitching surplus the Brewers have that would probably bring the most back to help the offense. That would also mean they’re making outgoing calls about Hader, which they haven’t done much of to this point.
The Brewers reportedly recognize that their corner infield is far behind where it should be compared to other World Series caliber teams, which the Brewers want to be. Those spots are their biggest need this offseason.
For the first time in a long time, pitching is the strength of this Brewers roster, and they’re looking to possibly use it to upgrade the offense. Generally speaking you want to trade from a position of strength for a position of weakness as a way to improve your club. Few teams have a surplus of pitching and many have it as a weakness. This would open up a lot of opportunities for Stearns this offseason.
Although Murray didn’t mention any names from this pitching surplus they might be talking about, one possible player would be Adrian Houser. He’s still young, has plenty of potential, although he had a down season in 2020, and could bring back a decent return. The Brewers would still have a plenty of options for the rotation if they dealt him.
Some other players that, speculatively, might fit the “surplus” title are Eric Lauer, Justin Topa, Zack Brown, Ray Black, and Angel Perdomo, in my opinion. Although what exactly the Brewers could get back for each of those pitchers is going to vary.
Things are churning along slowly this offseason, but will perhaps start picking up soon. The Brewers appear to have a general plan in place and are putting it in action to improve this team heading into 2021.