With free agency officially underway, here at Reviewing the Brew we will examine some free agent targets that may be a good fit for the Brewers. Today, we will look at third baseman Jake Lamb.
From the middle of the 2018 season through 2019, the Brewers had a very solid everyday third basemen in Mike Moustakas. His play with the Brewers did not go unnoticed and eventually, upon the conclusion of the 2019 season, he signed a long term contract with the rival Cincinnati Reds.
To replace Moustakas, the Brewers used a platoon of players throughout the 2020 season, including: Eric Sogard, Jedd Gyorko, Luis Urias, and Jace Peterson. The Brewers were unable to find success or long term answers with this platoon and are now in need of someone to hold down the hot corner. To me, former 2017 All-Star Jake Lamb is an intriguing low risk, high reward option.
Lamb was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the sixth round of the 2012 draft. As an experienced collegiate player, he made his MLB debut in the second half of the 2014 season and quickly established himself as a power threat with the Diamondbacks.
Lamb’s 2016 and 2017 seasons are by far his most memorable for he clobbered 29 and 30 home runs in those seasons with 91 and 105 RBIs, respectively. In those seasons he also posted a combined .248 average, 151 walks, and a 113 OPS+. His 2017 performance earned him his first and only All-Star appearance.
Unfortunately for Lamb, he injured his left shoulder early on in 2018 and was not the same player as he attempted to rehab and play through injury. Eventually after multiple stints on the injured list and rehab assignments, he was placed on the 60 day IL thus ending his season.
Unfortunately, once again in 2019 he suffered a quadriceps injury and was forced to play through injury but was just not the same player from a short period just two years prior. As a result of his struggles, he was designated for assignment by the Diamondbacks late in the short 2020 season. He did have a brief period with the Oakland Athletics in September of 2020 where he found more success, but again in a smaller sample size.
After hearing all of that about Jake Lamb, I know exactly what you’re thinking. Here we go again discussing bargain/bounce back options for the Brewers, but hear me out.
Yes, “Bargain Brewers” or “Bounce Back Brewers” was the theme for the ballclub entering the 2020 season, but they did find success with multiple bounce back candidates. Jedd Gyorko had a very nice season. Daniel Vogelbach provided a huge spark once acquired, so why not take a chance on a player whose biggest obstacle the past two seasons has been his physical health?
As a left handed slugging third basemen who can likely be acquired for $4MM or less this year in free agency, I have a hard time justifying not pursuing this. This is not a loaded free agent class and it seems unlikely that the Brewers will be in contention for other big name free agents who can play third base such as DJ LeMahieu and Justin Turner.
When healthy Jake Lamb has shown to be a very good run producer, but unfortunately for him luck has not been on his side recently. He fits the mold of what the Brewers need in their lineup in a power hitting left handed hitter who can play third base everyday.
In what will likely be a slow developing market this off-season it will be interesting to see if the Brewers elect to pursue his services or not.