For the past two season the Milwaukee Brewers have found themselves in a situation that they are not too familiar with. That is lacking offensive production.
Gone are the big bombers in Yasmani Grandal, Mike Moustakas, Eric Thames, and Jesus Aguilar. Those players were a near lock to hit 25-30 home runs each season. Christian Yelich remains with the Brewers but has yet to find his power stroke in 2021.
While roster construction has changed drastically over the years, the Brewers were relying heavily upon Keston Hiura to be an offensive leader for this ballclub in 2021. Unfortunately that has not panned out.
Despite the lack of offense, with the Brewers atop the division and looking like a team poised for a playoff run, they were forced to make a move for a power hitter. On Wednesday the Brewers orchestrated a deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks that sent Eduardo Escobar to Milwaukee.
This trade certainly appears to be a big win for the Milwaukee Brewers. They gained an impact bat at a relatively low cost for the remainder of the season. Escobar has positional versatility and certainly will play a big hand in the teams success the remainder of the season.
With the addition of Escobar, a switch hitter, and also having left handed power hitter Rowdy Tellez, there really is not room for Hiura at the MLB level going forward this season. The first base room is very crowded and will belong to the hottest hitters.
Keston Hiura is now the odd man out of a roster crunch and the Brewers should demote him to the minors for the rest of the year.
Essentially the Brewers could elect to trade Hiura, demote him to the minor leagues, or have him continue to get limited opportunities at the big league level. With having years of club control left and his trade value currently at its lowest, parting ways with Hiura seems the least likely.
The most likely and probably best scenario for Hiura is that he spends the remainder of the season in the minor leagues. This will allow him to get consistent playing time while working on the mechanics of his game that needs tweaking. This would be very similar to what the Brewers did with Corbin Burnes in 2019.
Escobar will be a free agent at the end of the year, meaning he won’t block Hiura at first base in 2022 and Keston will have another opportunity to claim the first base job next year. For 2021, it’s just not happening for him.
This is almost an ideal situation for Hiura, outside of Hiura being able to hit well again. It allows him to go to the minors, get a complete reset, get his confidence back, and he can come back to the bigs in 2022.
Once the Brewers start getting players back and healthy, I would expect Hiura’s minor league reset to begin.
We’ve seen flashes of what Hiura can be when all is right and the focus of the remainder of this year should be getting him back to that point so he can be an impact player in years to come.