The Milwaukee Brewers still have a glaring need at third base. Who are some free agents still on the market that could fix it?
For the entirety of the 2020-21 offseason, Brewers fans have known that the team needed to make an addition at the hot corner and fortify the position if the Crew are going to have any chance at a World Series title.
So far, the Brewers have added Daniel Robertson.
Robertson is a former Top 100 prospect that hasn’t really seen much success in the big leagues, but is just 26 and has some potential. However, the addition of Robertson doesn’t exactly scream “Plan A”.
Defensively, the Brewers could cover third base just fine with Robertson and Luis Urias, but offensively the combination of those two leaves something to be desired, and that something is power.
With only a week before spring training begins, who are some free agents that are still out there that could fill the hole the Brewers have?
This definitely would be the “Plan A” addition. Justin Turner is the best third baseman on the market and even though he’s 36 years old, he’s been incredibly productive and is likely to ink a multi-year deal.
Reports all winter were that he was looking for a 4 year deal, but even the Dodgers aren’t willing to do that, so there’s no chance the Brewers would go that long either.
Recently, especially with spring about to start, Turner reportedly might be more likely to accept a shorter term pact.
Fansided’s Robert Murray has reported that the Brewers are on the “periphery” of the Turner sweepstakes and expectations still are that he returns to the Dodgers.
But Stearns has made quick strikes from the outside before, and it certainly could happen again.
Turner has posted an OPS+ of 100 or higher in every season since 2013 and his OPS+ has been at 131 or higher each of the past four seasons.
Owner Mark Attanasio is personally intrigued by Turner, which could mean he will do what he can to find a way to get the money needed to land him. It’s tough to tell at this point just how far Attanasio would be willing to go to get Turner, but his personal intrigue is a factor that we need to consider.
Maikel Franco doesn’t strike out very much, just 15.3% in his career. Given the Crew’s strikeout woes in 2020, that would be a welcome addition. Kolten Wong, the big infield addition so far this offseason, also has a low strikeout rate around 15%. Getting those two in the lineup would really help the Brewers put the ball in play.
He doesn’t draw a lot of walks, but he had a 109 OPS+ in all 60 games last year for the Royals with eight home runs.
The problem for Franco in his career has been consistency, or lack thereof. One year, he’s hitting over .270 with an above average OPS+ and the next year he’s around .230 with below average numbers across the board.
With the change of scenery to Kansas City last year and getting out of Philadelphia, perhaps Franco found something this time around to stay consistent. He’ll add some power into this lineup and the Brewers could certainly use some more of that.
Franco has gotten to be passable defensively and if his offensive uptick is able to continue, he’d be a good pickup.
A familiar face. After killing the Brewers almost every time he faced them, the Brewers signed Jedd Gyorko to a one year contract in 2020 and he played well, posting a .838 OPS and 121 OPS+ in 42 games.
Gyorko ended up becoming the starting first baseman by the end of the year after Justin Smoak’s DFA. But earlier in the year he was a part of a trio at third base and that would likely be his position again in 2021 if the Brewers bring him back. He’d also be able to spell Keston Hiura at first base if need be and could help him learn the position.
His contract option for $4.5MM was declined at the end of the season, despite his strong performance. That decision was mostly made due to the uncertainty surrounding the team’s financial situation heading into 2021 and the uncertainty around what the market prices would look like in free agency.
If Gyorko were to come back, it would likely be on a somewhat smaller deal than what his previous option was worth.
Gyorko doesn’t have the highest ceiling, but he’s got a pretty high floor and should be able to at least not be a black hole in the lineup. He won’t have the impact of a guy like Turner, but he’ll be an upgrade over the offensive capabilities of Urias and Robertson.