After one of the worst offensive seasons in Brewers history, these three players could be perfect fits at American Family Field to help turn things around.
After last season’s subpar offensive output, Brewers fans are expecting the front office to be active on the market for free agents this offseason, looking for inexpensive but impactful offensive pieces.
The two glaring holes the team needs to fill are first base and third base. Prior to last season the team acquired Justin Smoak and Logan Morrison to replace Eric Thames at first base, and neither of those signings worked out. It wasn’t until the latter part of the season where the Crew took a gamble on Daniel Vogelbach, who impressed in a limited sample size with a .328 batting average and 4 home runs in 19 games played.
With Vogelbach’s future with the team being murky, along with third baseman Jedd Gyorko, whose option was declined, let’s take a look at the current free agent market to see who might thrive within the confines of American Family Field.
1B Matt Adams
Matt Adams is a familiar opponent for the Brewers, having spent 5 ½ years with the St. Louis Cardinals. The 32-year-old veteran first baseman bats left-handed which always plays well for power hitters in Milwaukee, and he fills a position of need.
Due to his age and less than stellar output in 2020, he likely will not be too expensive for Milwaukee, but he could potentially help with the dearth of home run power the Brewers battled through last season. He has shown that when healthy, he can provide around 20 long balls in a season.
OF/DH Michael Brantley
Although outfield is not a position of need for Milwaukee as we stand right now in November, Michael Brantley, with his nice combination of offensive skills, could boost the Brewers offense significantly
In the last two regular seasons with the Houston Astros, Brantley has a slash line of 309/.370/.497. As alluded to previously, American Family Field tends to benefit left handed batters, which Brantley is. The 33-year-old will potentially be out of Milwaukee’s price range, but you can never count out David Stearns making the unexpected happen. Never say never, right?
As a side note, Brantley was originally a Brewers prospect. They drafted him in the seventh round of the 2005 draft and he was sent to Cleveland in the infamous CC Sabathia trade. It would make a nice homecoming story if Brantley were to end up with the team that drafted him, all these years later.
3B Tommy La Stella
We all know the Milwaukee front office as well as Craig Counsell value positional versatility greatly.
Tommy La Stella, a utilityman formerly of the Chicago Cubs, L.A. Angels and most recently Oakland A’s could fit like a glove with the Brewers. One would assume his primary position would be third base, based on positional need, but his ability to play several positions increases his value.
La Stella, another left-handed hitter, earned his first and only all star selection in 2019, and put up comparable numbers in 2020, so clearly Milwaukee would be adding a player who is in his prime. He showed a nice power stroke in 2019 with 16 home runs, and with the hitter friendly confines in Milwaukee, that number could even increase.
As is abundantly clear from last season, the Brewers have a problem on their hands that needs fixing. Compounding the problem is their status as a small-market franchise with limited payroll flexibility caused by revenue losses from 2020.
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Still, these are three players who could, for the right price, help Milwaukee find an offensive groove to complement their young and dynamic pitching staff.