With yesterday’s addition of all-star infielder Eduardo Escobar, it seems as though the Brewers may have solved their season-long first base conundrum. Key word being may.
Escobar is a switch-hitter who can play multiple positions in the infield, and given his offensive capabilities (leads NL 3rd basemen in home runs with 22), he figures to be in the lineup on a daily basis.
With Eduardo Escobar now in the fold, it appears the Milwaukee Brewers have satisfied their need with a first base by committee.
What makes the most sense on paper from a lineup-construction standpoint for Milwaukee is to have Rowdy Tellez start at first base against right-handed pitchers– moving Escobar over to his natural third base– and then for Escobar to start at first base against left-handed pitchers. In other words he would be splitting time with Luis Urias at third base and Rowdy Tellez at first base.
Another positive aspect of the Escobar acquisition is that it provides some insurance in case of injury. Kolten Wong will be the everyday 2nd baseman and leadoff hitter when healthy, but unfortunately he has been on the IL multiple times this season, so if Wong were to get banged up again, Escobar could fill in at second as well.
Right now, it seems like the current options for the Brewers infield are solid. That being said, over the years David Stearns has shown a tendency to double-down on positions of strength at the deadline. We saw this in 2018 when mostly everyone thought the Crew was done adding infield bats after trading for Mike Moustakas, only to see Milwaukee proceed to trade for Jonathan Schoop shortly thereafter. So while the Crew looks set in the infield right now, it is still a possibility that they add another player who can help at first base.
The end goal is to win a World Series, and you don’t get to the top of that mountain by playing it safe, especially if you’re a small-market team like the Milwaukee Brewers. There is a window in 2021 for the Brewers to compete for a championship, and watching their division lead grow by the week and also watching their basketball counterparts bring a title and a parade to Milwaukee, figures to have made the Brewers hungrier than ever, players and front office alike.
In all likelihood, Milwaukee is done with first base for now, though. A combination of Escobar and Tellez complemented by Vogelbach, Shaw, and Peterson when they return should be sufficient to get the needed production out of first base.
They did not give up any of their top prospects in the Escobar deal, which leaves them with plenty of enticing young players in the farm system to make more deals. Whether that will be for another first baseman, or a relief pitcher or starting pitcher remains to be seen, but don’t think the Brewers are done after last night.