The Brewers have a shortage of first basemen, while the Rangers have a first base competition. Could a trade be worked out?
It’s no secret that the Milwaukee Brewers are searching for a solution at first base. They just might be able to find one down in Texas.
A few weeks ago, the Rangers acquired first baseman Nate Lowe from the Rays, which sets up a competition with incumbent first baseman Ronald Guzman. One of them isn’t going to win the job and why should the Rangers keep two first basemen when the Brewers have none?
Perhaps these two teams can line up on a trade.
A Possible Brewers-Rangers Trade
Given what the Rangers just gave up to acquire Lowe, of the two first basemen, Guzman is the more likely trade candidate.
For the last three years, Guzman has been the regular first baseman for the Rangers, and he has a career .230/.308/.417 slash line with an 87 OPS+ in 236 games.
He’s coming off a strong Dominican Winter League season, where he just won league MVP and hit .360/.450/.523 with five home runs. Guzman is an ascending player that’s still young at just 26 years old and he has four years of team control left.
He’s a left-handed hitter, which should help his power reach new heights if he comes to play half his games in Milwaukee.
So what could a trade for Guzman look like? He’s out of minor league options, which hurts the leverage for the Rangers and even though the Brewers love getting guys with options, given their current desperate need for a big league first baseman, the odds of him needing to be sent down by Milwaukee are minimal.
The Brewers could look to deal from their depth of big league ready catchers and outfielders, but the Rangers are pretty well set at both of those spots. Since the Rangers are in a rebuild, what may intrigue them is low-level pitching prospects with some upside.
Here’s my projected trade between the Brewers and Rangers.
Brewers get: 1B Ronald Guzman
Rangers get: RHP Victor Castaneda
In return for Guzman, the Brewers send righty Victor Castaneda. The 22 year old was signed out of Mexico back in 2018 and put up some decent numbers for Low-A Wisconsin before dominating the 2019 Arizona Fall League with a 1.99 ERA.
Castaneda was also one of the stars at Instructional League this year, with reports that his velocity had increased, reaching the upper 90s.
There’s a lot of upside in Castaneda given his velocity and penchant for strikeouts. He’s still a ways away from the big leagues and would be a solid return for the Rangers. They get a powerful young arm to continue developing while the Brewers can get an ascending first baseman in Guzman for the next couple of years.
Guzman would not only fill the first base hole for the Brewers in 2021, but he’s under team control for three more seasons beyond that. If the Rangers don’t want to risk losing Guzman for nothing on waivers if he loses the spring training battle, they could look to trade him now and the Brewers in their endless search for corner infielders this winter, could make a perfect match.
Something like this may have to wait until there’s more clarity on the status of the DH in the NL in 2021, but if the DH stays, this move makes a lot of sense. If there is no DH, then not so much.