With little time remaining before the Milwaukee Brewers start playing Spring Training games, the team went into Wednesday with some needs that could still be addressed. Today, it appears they were set to work on some of those needs in the form of bringing back old friends.
Earlier in the day, it was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic that the Brewers were bringing back 2020 starting pitcher Brett Anderson to a one-year contract. A veteran, back-end starter was something Milwaukee could have used, and Anderson fills that need.
A more pressing need to many, though, was at third base, where the Brewers are set to go into the season utilizing a tandem of Luis Urias and David Robertson. To some, that’s a combo that the Crew should avoid carrying forward out of Spring Training.
As it turns out, president of baseball operations David Stearns may have a solution to that dilemma in the works as well. And according to Robert Murray of FanSided, that solution may also be in the form of a reunion with a former Brewer.
It’s true that Travis Shaw‘s production has dipped since his productive 2017 and 2018 seasons with Milwaukee. But at 30 years old, it makes sense that the Brewers would want to see if he can return to previous levels of offensive success and solve their third base problem in the process.
A Travis Shaw reunion could prove to be a savvy move for the Brewers, if they think he can return to pre-2019 levels of production.
At one point, it seemed like the Brewers may have already had their third baseman of the future in Shaw. After trading for him from the Red Sox after the 2016 season, he slashed .258/.347/.497 with a .844 OPS, 63 homers, and 187 RBI across the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
2019 ended up being a disaster for the lefty, though. Bouncing between the majors and Triple-A, Shaw played in just 86 games for the Brewers that season, slashing just .157/.281/.270 and finishing with a -0.8 fWAR and a 33% strikeout rate.
Shaw would end up being non-tendered by the Brewers that offseason before signing with the Toronto Blue Jays prior to last season. Though he didn’t quite look like his 2017-2018 self, he looked much better than 2019, slashing .239/.306/.411 and putting up a 0.2 fWAR and 92 wRC+. Still, he was non-tendered for a second offseason in a row by the Jays.
It’s unknown what type of deal the Brewers could be looking at with Shaw. Considering the team’s 40-man roster is maxed out and looking at how some other veteran deals have gone across the league, it’s possibly he’s looking at a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training.
Either way, if Shaw can win out a spot on the roster, he would actually help the Brewers in a couple different ways. Obviously he would be a leading candidate to take over at third. But with plenty of experience at first base as well, he could be a left-handed compliment there to Keston Hiura in the event that Daniel Vogelbach regresses.
Nothing is set in stone yet, so we’ll have to wait over the next few days to see if a deal gets finalized. If it does, it could go a long way toward finalizing the team’s 2021 roster.