In the offseason, the Brewers added back-to-back Gold Glove award-winning second baseman Kolton Wong, which meant a position change to first base for Keston Hiura. As a result, the only glaring hole in the infield was third base.
Believe it or not, David Stearns started addressing the third base position shortly after the non-tender deadline in December. On December 2nd, 2020 he signed Zach Green to a minor league contract with an invite to minor league camp. Subsequently, in early January, Pablo Reyes was also signed to a similar contract.
Despite these two acquisitions, Stearns was not satisfied. Just a few days before spring training began, Travis Shaw was signed to a minor league deal with an invite to big league camp. His deal did include a potential opt out date of March 15, 2021, but recently it was announced that Shaw was indeed added to the Brewers 40-man roster.
With Shaw making the roster, Zach Green and Pablo Reyes were both reassigned to minor league camp.
Though the Brewers may not have made a splash signing at third base, the team is still set up with some nice depth at the position.
From a statistical standpoint both Green and Reyes have outperformed Shaw so far throughout spring training. Green is batting .275, has a 1.149 OPS, two home runs, and nine runs batted in whereas Reyes is batting .350, has a 1.181 OPS, and has drawn six bases on balls. On the flip side, Shaw is batting .174, has a .693 OPS, and has also drawn six walks.
Watching the actual games, it is fair to say that Shaw has played better than his stats have indicated so far. Add this to his track record of multiple 30 home run seasons with the Brewers and it makes sense to give him the first shot at third base this season given his ceiling as a power threat and run producer.
The plus side to re-assigning Green and Reyes to minor league camp is that the Brewers will now have two MLB ready options at third base in their minor league system. This will allow Craig Counsell to operate with a shorter leash in regards to Shaw’s playing time and even his tenure with the Brewers.
Also in the mix at third base is long time shortstop Orlando Arcia who has been experimenting with time at third base this spring training. Additionally, both infielders Luis Urias and Daniel Robertson have the ability to man the hot corner as well. All together, this makes six different options the Brewers could roll out at third base.
Once you take all of this into consideration, you can see how this is a huge benefit for the Brewers because unlike last season the Brewers have backup plans already in place if Travis Shaw does not pan out at the third base position, including MLB ready players in the minor leagues. I believe this is a great construction of the roster and depth and should set the Brewers up nicely to begin the 2021 regular season.