On November 8th, Jon Heyman tweeted that the Cincinnati Reds have displayed a willingness to discuss trading anyone on their roster making significant money. The Milwaukee Brewers will be looking to replace some key players on the roster, such as Avisail Garcia, Brad Boxberger and Hunter Strickland, while looking for stability at other positions.
The Reds weren’t far behind the Brewers in the NL Central heading into the late stages of the season but finished September and October 12-17 and seem to be heading towards a rebuild. Let’s look at a few players on the Reds that the Brewers could target.
Here are four players the Milwaukee Brewers could target in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds this offseason.
1. OF Jesse Winker
The first outfield target and a player that should be at the top of David Stearns’ list of Reds to potentially bring to the Brewers is Jesse Winker. Milwaukee will need to retain depth in their outfield with every significant outfielder save for Jackie Bradley Jr. spending time on the injured list in 2021.
So how do you replace the home runs Garcia hit in 2021? Bring in the 24 home runs hit by Jesse Winker in 2021. Brewers fans should already be familiar with seeing Winker hit home runs as, among other things, he hit three home runs against them on May 21st alone.
Jesse Winker does primarily play left field, which is currently occupied by Christian Yelich, but the Brewers could move one of the two to right field if the team could complete a deal. Winker’s addition would be most valuable in the batter’s box though, a place the Crew struggled mightily in 2021.
This past season Winker slashed .305/.394/.556 with a .949 OPS and finished the year with a 2.7 bWAR. His .305 batting average would be the highest on the Brewers by 20 points above Willy Adames’ .285 average in addition to his 24 home runs being second only to Garcia’s 29.
Jesse Winker is arbitration eligible and is expected to earn approximately $6.8MM in 2022.
2. RHP Luis Cessa
The Brewers could get a head start on replacing the 64.2 innings pitched by Brad Boxberger in 2021 by replacing it with the 64.2 innings Luis Cessa pitched in 2021 as a member of the New York Yankees and Cincinnati Reds.
Cessa doesn’t possess high strikeout stuff but is a groundball pitcher with a respectable 2.51 ERA. In 2021 Cessa held opponents’ batting average to .245 and put up a 1.144 WHIP while finishing the season with a 2.1 bWAR.
With the departure of not only the aforementioned Boxberger, the Brewers will also have to replace free agents Hunter Strickland and Daniel Norris. It makes a lot of sense to try and grab a guy like Cessa who is set to make $1.5MM in 2022, a manageable cost for Milwaukee to inherit.
3. SS Kyle Farmer
In the category of backups, Kyle Farmer could be a target for the Milwaukee Brewers to bring in and back up Willy Adames at shortstop and potentially Luis Urias at third base, not to mention occasionally spelling Kolten Wong at second base.
A majority of Farmer’s starts came at shortstop but he is capable of playing the other infield positions, his role could be similar to that of Travis Shaw or Eduardo Escobar, giving the Brewers depth that always seemed to be tested in 2021.
Farmer slashed .263/.316/.416 in 2021 and hit 16 home runs in 147 games played, showing his ability to stay on the field which would definitely be an attractive quality to David Stearns and company. Farmer finished 2021 with a 1.2 bWAR and is set to make approximately $2.2MM but is arbitration eligible. Still, that would be another manageable contract for the Brewers to take on.
4. OF Tyler Naquin
The second of two outfielders the Brewers should talk to the Reds about is Tyler Naquin. As mentioned previously, the Brewers dealt with a ton of injured list stints by outfielders last year but also have to replace Garcia, who elected free agency heading into 2022.
Naquin played all three outfield positions in 2021 and David Stearns and Craig Counsell praise players often for the versatility of playing multiple positions. Naquin slashed .270/.333/.477 and had an .809 OPS while hitting a career high 19 home runs, so he’s shown he can hit the ball.
Naquin is eligible for arbitration in 2022 and estimated to make approximately $3.6MM.
All four of these Reds players could be realistic targets for the Brewers. We’ll see if Stearns and company end up pulling the trigger on a trade with one of their divisional rivals.
Statistics and arbitration contract estimates courtesy of baseball-reference.com.