The Milwaukee Brewers made a trade for a first baseman early this July, adding Rowdy Tellez to fill a semi-platoon role with Keston Hiura at first base. Does this take the Brewers out of the first base market?
With Keston Hiura’s poor season approaching complete disaster levels, the Brewers need to make a decision at first base. He started off stronger in his third stint in the big leagues this season, but has looked rough in his last few games.
Should Hiura continue to struggle and need another demotion to Triple-A, the Brewers need a better solution at first base. Daniel Vogelbach is out for an extended period of time with a hamstring injury. They have no other options in their system. So they added Rowdy Tellez.
Can Rowdy Tellez fill the everyday first baseman role for the Brewers if need be?
The current plan for Tellez isn’t to play everyday. He’ll split time with Hiura for now, but can he play everyday if Hiura needs to go down?
He played 111 games at first for Toronto in 2019 and did fairly well. He also played well in just 35 games last year before his season was cut short due to an injury.
Tellez is a powerful left-handed bat, but he hasn’t really had an opportunity to play everyday and be “the guy” at first base. So it’s difficult to know for sure if he could handle the role as well as the Brewers might need him to.
One of the perks of making this trade this early before the Trade Deadline is that it gives the Brewers some time to figure out if there’s another course of action they want to take.
Say Hiura struggles some more and they send him down again, leaving Tellez to be the everyday guy for the time being. If Tellez hits really well and impresses, they could stick with him. If Tellez struggles like he did earlier this season with Toronto, then they can try to add a more impactful bat at first base.
Are the Brewers out of the first base trade market?
The short answer is: no, not necessarily. Speaking in absolutes when it comes to David Stearns and the moves he could potentially make is never a good idea. Stearns and the Brewers front office has been plenty willing to make unconventional moves and add players no one else even thought of and take risks no one else considered.
So it’s impossible to say the Brewers are completely out of the first base market this July. There’s still about three more weeks until the Deadline, and a lot can happen. If Hiura continues to struggle, which is entirely possible, and Tellez doesn’t get off to a hot start, also entirely possible, then the Brewers will have to make another move.
Tellez isn’t a surefire impact bat, like you would expect a Deadline acquisition at a position of need like this to be. If you’re building a World Series winning lineup, Tellez being the starter at first base likely isn’t the best choice. Tellez being a power-hitting lefty bat off the bench makes a lot more sense.
Again, in an ideal world Keston Hiura would simply return to being the hitter the Brewers expected him to be. That would solve a lot of the Brewers problems. But the decision on adding someone else at first base is going to be entirely determined by what Keston Hiura does over the next three weeks. If he becomes himself again, great, stick with what you have. If he doesn’t, they’ll need more than just Tellez and a soon-to-be returning Vogelbach at first base.
The Brewers aren’t completely out of the first base trade market after the Tellez trade. They’re going to wait and see how their current situation plays out, but they have time to figure out what they have and can make another move if necessary.
Once again, we’re in “wait-and-see” mode regarding the Brewers situation at first base.