So the Brewers finally made their first big signing of the offseason. And fans have gotten to both digest the move as an acquisition on its own, and also see how it affects the team’s roster going forward.
Those are both important points in this case, because that major signing was second baseman Kolten Wong, a former Brewer killer for the Cardinals. And with his arrival, previous Milwaukee second baseman Keston Hiura will be shifting over to first base in 2021.
While that move improves the Brewers’ outlook quite a bit for this upcoming season, there are some areas in which the team could still stand to improve before the season begins, most notably at third base. If many fans had their way, another big name signing would help solve that issue.
Reports have Milwaukee connected to former Dodger and current free agent Justin Turner. That would represent a huge upgrade at both the position and their general offense if they could pull it off, but there’s a very good chance that the asking price ends up being too high.
In the event that Turner is in fact unattainable, the team would be wise to shift focus on bringing back 2020 contributor Jedd Gyorko. Not only would it benefit the team both at the plate and in the field, it would give the team flexibility to make even more moves if they desire.
Reuniting with Jedd Gyorko would both continue improving the offense for 2021 as well as make the infield defense even more formidable.
After what fans had to go through in watching what Milwaukee put forth for an offensive effort in 2020, it would make sense that they would want to largely wipe that slate clean going into a new season. But Gyorko is one of few players from that squad who would be worth running back.
Gyorko was arguably the team’s most consistent offensive performer last season, setting career highs with a .838 OPS and 121 OPS+. He also ended up finishing third on the team with nine homers.
Add that to an offense that has just improved by obtaining Wong, has the return of Lorenzo Cain to look forward to, and should see bounce backs by players like Hiura, Christian Yelich, and Omar Narvaez. That could all of a sudden be an offense worth watching in 2021.
Not that Turner wouldn’t provide an offensive jolt as well. He slashed .307/.400/.460 in 2020 and hasn’t had an OPS below .832 since 2013. But at 36 (Gyorko is 32), how long can Turner keep up that pace?
Where Gyorko would provide added value is on defense. Brewers fans got a glimpse of that value last season when he was a solid defensive option at both corners of the infield.
At third base, specifically, Gyorko would be the more valuable asset. He has a combined 10 defensive runs saved over the last four seasons at the hot corner. While Turner was good in that metric in past years, he has tailed off in recent seasons with -4 DRS across 2019 and 2020.
The addition of the two-time Gold Glover Wong is huge for Milwaukee’s infield defense and he will pair well with either Orlando Arcia or Luis Urias up the middle. Adding Gyorko would create an outstanding 3/4 of a defensive infield, which could really help as Hiura finds his way at first base for the first time in his career.
As beneficial as Jedd Gyorko would be to both the offense and defense, he would help the team’s pocketbook as well.
Yes, third base is the biggest position of need for the Brewers. But that’s not the only area where the team could stand to add a bit of reinforcement for 2021.
Though Milwaukee goes into this upcoming season with a very solid pitching staff, they could still stand to add a back end starter, particularly one who could bring a veteran presence. And it never hurts to add extra relievers to a bullpen, even one that has two former NL Relievers of the Year.
If the Brewers were to manage to convince Turner to sign in Milwaukee, there’s a good chance it would be at an average annual value somewhere in the $12MM-$13MM range according to projections. After that signing, the Brewers are probably done making offseason moves.
Meanwhile, Gyorko could probably be gotten for just a few million dollars at the most. If the Brewers are showing a willingness to get Turner, they would hopefully also be willing to continue adding after the type of money that Gyorko would command.
It sure would be enticing for just about any team to bring in a player like Turner. But when it comes to bang for your buck, Gyorko is a player that just makes too much sense.