As the calendar creeps closer to July the time for trade rumors emerges. David Stearns makes it a point to leave no stone unturned, and seems to be constantly engaging in trade talks. As Stearns begins to pick up the phone, there is one position that shouldn’t be the Brewers highest priority: third base.
Going into the offseason, third base was wide open. Jedd Gyorko had his option declined, and is now coaching, the Brewers flirted with Justin Turner, but ended up going with Travis Shaw and Orlando Arcia in tandem. Arcia was traded away, and Shaw is recovering from a dislocated shoulder.
Luis Urias has taken well to his new role at third base, lessening the need for the Brewers to make an outside acquisition at the trade deadline.
In Shaw’s absence, Luis Urias has emerged as a viable option at third base, seeing the lion’s share of the time there. Since Shaw went on the injury list on June 10th, Urias is slashing with .271/.338/.386, an OPS of .724, a wRC+ of 102, which is slightly above total league average, outperforming Shaw who was slashing .191/.279/.337 with a wRC+ of 72 before the injury.
On the season, Urias has a wRC+ of 103, tied with Avisail Garcia at the top for qualified hitters.
Urias’ defense has also been serviceable at third. The throwing errors that plagued him at shortstop have not translated over to third for the most part. He even is capable of performing magic on the field:
The Brewers have never been afraid to get unconventional with midseason trades, as evidenced by bringing in both Jonathan Schoop and Mike Moustakas in 2018. However, at this point, the Brewers obvious hole is first base.
Daniel Vogelbach is out until mid-August with a hamstring injury, and Keston Hiura is still finding his swing, though early signs are encouraging. With uncertainties abounding, the Brewers’ need at first is clear. Targets such as CJ Cron, and former Brewer Jesus Aguilar are viable options, and seem well within the wheelhouse of David Stearns.
The Brewers are unlikely to make a gigantic splash at the trade deadline. But the trade chips the Brewers have would be better suited trying to fill one hole as opposed to splitting it into two.
Luis Urias has been given an opportunity to play everyday and has seized the moment. He is even showing more pop, which is what you typically find in third basemen. Willy Adames is on the team for the long haul, and Kolten Wong is under contract through next season, meaning the only way for Urias to see consistent playing time is anchoring him in at third base.
Whether Urias is the third baseman of the future or not is yet to be seen, but for the 2021 season he has been able to adapt and shift over while performing at the best offensive level of his career. It is safe to say that third base is not a problem that needs to be solved this season.