The Brewers could use a starter and some infield help, but it would involve making a trade with a division rival.
Although MLB’s virtual Winter Meetings have been very slow from a rumor mill standpoint as compared to previous years, especially on the Brewers front, occasionally players’ names are being leaked as being available by their respective ball clubs.
Most recently, a pair of players from the division rival Pittsburgh Pirates have been reported.
RHP Joe Musgrove
As a 27-year-old player who is most famously known as a player included in the Gerrit Cole trade during the 2017-2018 offseason, he has spent five total seasons in the MLB and relies on a six-pitch repertoire to keep hitters off balance since he does not have overpowering velocity. In 2020 his fastball/sinker was utilized 39% of the time, slider 24%, curveball 20%, changeup 10%, and cutter 6%.
Over the past three seasons, Musgrove has posed a 4.23 ERA as a starter in the Pirates’ starting rotation. Compared to previous years, Musgrove increased his strikeouts per nine in 2020 to 12.5 compared to his career average of 8.4. He also posted a career low 3.86 ERA in 39 innings pitched.
Musgrove ranks out as a solid middle to low end of the rotation pitcher. He is yet to have a breakout season nor a blow up season, but has rather been quietly consistent. Including 2021 he has two years of club control remaining and was projected to earn $3.2MM to $4.4MM in arbitration per projections by MLB Trade Rumors.
After the departure of Brett Anderson and the poor 2020 performance from Eric Lauer, the Milwaukee Brewers could certainly use another starting pitcher. After a potential trade, Musgrove would remain affordable and likely would be a solid contributor in the starting rotation.
2B Adam Frazier
As a Brewers fan, not being familiar with Adam Frazier is nearly impossible. In 66 career games, Frazier has batted .311 with eight home runs and 32 runs batted in versus Milwaukee, by far his best splits when compared to other National League Central teams.
In five MLB seasons, Frazier’s slash line is .273/.336/.413/.749. He is an excellent contact hitter with a career strikeout percentage of just 13.6%. Although he does not draw many walks, his batting average is consistently in the .270s during normal length seasons.
Frazier hits from the left side but throws from the right and primarily plays second base. He has made extended appearances in the outfield as well with very brief periods of time at third base and even shortstop. Third base is currently a team need for the Brewers though Frazier has logged just 26 innings at that position.
If acquired, Frazier would have two years of club control remaining. He was projected to earn $3.3MM to $5.2MM in 2021. Although his role at this time would be murky at best with the Brewers, he is at least an intriguing option for David Stearns to consider.
Which of these players would be more likely to be traded to the Milwaukee Brewers and what would the asking price be?
Recently, teams have been told to proceed under the assumption that there will not be a universal DH in 2021, which means Frazier may not be a good fit with Milwaukee at this time. However, Joe Musgrove could help fill a position of need at an affordable price.
The Pirates currently are in desperate need of additional pitchers, particularly in the bullpen. They also may be willing to take a flyer on a prospect outfielder. If the Brewers could manage to swing trading a prospect pitcher in J.P. Feyereisen, Justin Topa, or Angel Perdomo in addition to a prospect outfielder such as Corey Ray, that may get a deal done.
The Brewers currently have not rumored to be interested in either player, but Joe Musgrove could certainly help bolster their starting rotation.