It might be the offseason, but Milwaukee Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns doesn’t take off days.
Every offseason sees Stearns go out and execute a few trades to bolster the Brewer roster. On Saturday, that was proven true once again when it was announced that the Crew were adding to their infield depth.
The Brewers made a trade on Saturday afternoon to acquire INF Mike Brosseau from the Tampa Bay Rays.
The 27-year-old Mark Brosseau has seen time at first base, second base, third base, left field, and right field in parts of three seasons in Tampa Bay. After two particularly strong seasons, he struggled in 2021, slashing .187/.266/.347 which was good for a wRC+ of 73 and a -0.2 fWAR or 1.0 bWAR.
His slugging percentage was inflated as half of his hits were extra bases in 2021, but he also had an exceptionally low BABIP of .245 in that time, far lower than his career mark of .319 and lower than what he had seen in both 2020 (.412) and 2019 (.345).
Despite his age, Brosseau is still fairly inexperienced in the majors with only 409 career plate appearances,16 career home runs, and a career 106 wRC+.
When looking at the splits, Brosseau appears to hit left-handed pitchers better than right-handed pitchers, recording a career 131 wRC+ versus lefties as opposed to a 74 wRC+ against righties. Against southpaws, he has a career slash line of .277/.336/.515 while striking out fewer times.
Unlike fellow former Ray Willy Adames, who had abysmal splits at Tropicana Field, Brosseau appears to have very similar splits at the Trop and away from it. In his career, he has a 108 wRC+ in Tampa and a 104 wRC+ while playing elsewhere.
In 2021, he became more of a pull hitter than in the past, as well.
Brosseau appears primed to slide on to the Brewers bench, perhaps serving as the right-handed utility player to either compliment or replace Jace Peterson.
From a financial standpoint, replacing Peterson as the utility man appears to make sense. Peterson is arbitration eligible and estimated to receive $1.3MM while Brosseau is not yet arbitration eligible.
From a roster construction standpoint, Brosseau also may be more desirable to have rather than Peterson as Brosseau has two minor league options remaining while Peterson has none. Having minor league options is ideal for the Brewers as they like to shuttle players back and forth from the minors.
In exchange for Brosseau, Tampa Bay is getting RHP Evan Reifert, a 22-year-old right-hander who pitched quite well in his 2021 season between Wisconsin and Carolina. Reifert recorded a 2.10 ERA with 103 strikeouts in 60 innings, all while holding opponents to a .168 batting average.
The last trade the Brewers made with Tampa for an infielder in exchange for a reliever worked out quite well, and while Brosseau might not become an MVP candidate, this could be a trade that again works out for both sides.