In the blink of an eye, MLBs 2020 (virtual) Winter Meetings have come and gone with no fresh news for Milwaukee Brewers fans.
We knew this year’s meetings would operate quite differently, but plain and simple the amount of transactions and rumors were as slow as former Brewers catcher George Kottaras attempting to run out a ground ball.
Of course a few transactions did occur across the league. In the trading department the White Sox acquired Lance Lynn, the Angels traded for Raisel Iglesias, and the Rangers swapped six minor leaguers for Nate Lowe.
Additionally, free agents Carlos Santana signed with the Royals and Adam Eaton with the White Sox. Santana was believed to be the best free agent first basemen on the market this offseason, so seeing him sign elsewhere certainly was disappointing.
The Brewers were linked to only one major rumor throughout the entire three-day event, which was them reportedly being interested in OF Joc Pederson. While nothing has come about those rumors at this time, Milwaukee wasn’t the only team to appear rather dormant this week as it was a theme around the league.
While it was disappointing that this year’s Winter Meetings lacked rather juicy rumors and drama, this may actually play in the Milwaukee Brewers’ favor.
For example, it certainly appears as if this offseason is going to be rather slow developing and the Brewers have benefited from this in the past.
In 2019 the Brewers signed Yasmani Grandal in the middle of January and subsequently Mike Moustakas in late February. Both of these players signed one-year deals instead of multi-year deals due to the slow market.
While this year’s free agent crop is not extremely deep in top end talent, the longer players like DJ LeMahieu, Marcell Ozuna, James McCann, Trevor Bauer, or whomever you desire that the Brewers pursue, the better their odds of making a signing become, especially for a one-year deal. In fact it may play in Milwaukee’s favor to take an approach like this for the 2021 season.
If you look around the NL Central, the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds are attempting to slash payroll, the Pittsburgh Pirates are still rebuilding, and along with the Brewers, the Cardinals are attempting to manage payroll. A splashier one-year signing may be just enough to give the Brewers an extra edge next season to compete for a division championship.
As for team needs, they remain the same as they were entering winter meetings: first base, third base, and starting rotation depth. Waiting out the market post winter meetings and signing a top free agent at any of these positions is one thing the Brewers should do this offseason.
Though the Winter Meetings may be over, the Brewers still have work to do this offseason. It just might be a while before fans find out what moves get made, a strategy that would make some sense.