When Qualifying Offers are given out, it’s typically to the best upcoming free agents. After all, not many players are worth $18.4MM a season. As a team looking to get better and win the World Series, the Milwaukee Brewers could show interest in several of these players.
There were 14 players that received the Qualifying Offer this offseason, and the Brewers’ own Avisail Garcia was not one of them. The 14 players are: Freddie Freeman, Eduardo Rodriguez, Nick Castellanos, Trevor Story, Carlos Correa, Justin Verlander, Raisel Iglesias, Corey Seager, Chris Taylor, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Brandon Belt, Robbie Ray, and Marcus Semien.
A few of these players should intrigue Milwaukee, and despite the potential forfeiture of a draft pick, David Stearns should pursue them. The Brewers have signed three players who rejected a QO before: Kyle Lohse, Lorenzo Cain, and Yasmani Grandal. They lost draft picks each time, but that didn’t faze Stearns, who also gave up early picks in trades in 2019 and 2020.
Could the Brewers sign a QO free agent for the 4th time in their history? If they do, it’ll likely be one of these three players.
Brewers Qualifying Offer Free Agent Target #1: Brandon Belt
Few opposing players hurt the Brewers more in their games against Milwaukee during the regular season than Brandon Belt.
In just seven games this year, Belt hit .320/.414/.960/.1.374 with 5 home runs. The only team he hit more homers against was the Rockies with 7 and they’re in his division, he played 17 games against them.
He’s a standout first baseman, and had a phenomenal year in 2021, finishing the season hitting .274 with a .975 OPS, 160 OPS+, and 29 homers.
Given the Brewers lack of production at first base this season and the revolving door that has been there for the past decade, signing the 33 year old Belt for a few years should finally settle that position down.
Age may be a bit of a concern, especially if Belt wants a long-term deal, which he’s likely going to. But, as a first baseman, he relies less on athleticism and moving around, so as long as the Brewers feel comfortable that the bat speed will remain and he’ll continue to hit, that’s all they need.
Signing Belt would push Keston Hiura to a different position, but if the Designated Hitter comes to the NL in the upcoming CBA, then there can be room for both Belt and Hiura on the roster.
After seeing Belt torch their pitching staff this season, it would behoove Milwaukee to try to get him on their side. The fewer hitters on other teams that can light up this pitching staff, the better.