It is July and the Milwaukee Brewers have made a trade for a first baseman.
Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns continues to be aggressive on the trade market this season, striking first once again.
We figured first base was going to be a position of need for the Brewers to address this July, and now they’ve addressed it.
After just six weeks in a Brewers uniform, Trevor Richards is on the move again, this time heading to the Blue Jays.
Who is Rowdy Tellez, the new Brewers first baseman?
Tellez has had a rough start to 2021, hitting just .209 with four homers this season. He’s been down in Triple-A the last few weeks as there hasn’t been a spot for him on the roster with Vlad Guerrero Jr locking down first base for the Jays.
For his big league career, which spans four seasons, the 26 year old has a .241/.301/.458 slash line with a 102 OPS+. In 111 games in 2019, Tellez hit 21 homers and 19 doubles, but with a .227 average and 95 OPS+.
In the shortened 2020 season, Tellez hit eight bombs with a .283/.346/.540 slash line and a 140 OPS+ in 35 games.
Tellez doesn’t have big splits based on pitcher handedness, in fact they’re a little reverse. As a lefty hitter, he actually fares better against lefty pitchers, posting a .261 average and .765 OPS while against righties he hits .234 with a .757 OPS.
However, 30 of his 37 career home runs have come off right handers.
With Keston Hiura doing better at first base although not quite fully back to his normal self, it makes sense to have a platoon partner for Hiura. That way he can get more time to adjust and doesn’t have to be in the lineup everyday if he’s struggling. Vogelbach likely won’t be back for a while and the Brewers need more depth at that spot.
Who is the return in the trade heading to Toronto?
The Brewers sent out Trevor Richards and Bowden Francis in return for Tellez.
Richards had been doing better in the Brewers bullpen of late, posting a 3.20 ERA in a Milwaukee uniform, appearing in just 15 games.
Francis has been in Triple-A Nashville’s rotation this year. In seven starts with them, the 2017 7th round pick has a 3.49 ERA in 38.2 IP.
He’s only allowed 17 walks on the season in 11 starts combined between Double-A and Triple-A.
Francis throws strikes, but doesn’t have the big velocity. He could be a back-end starter at the big leagues, and the Blue Jays have a need for big league ready starters and Francis is just about ready.
Does this move take the Brewers out of the market for other first basemen? Perhaps. But it’s early enough that they can pivot if Tellez doesn’t work out as hoped.