The Milwaukee Brewers made a few small moves before the MLB lockout kicked in and one big one, swinging an 11th hour trade with the Red Sox to add Hunter Renfroe.
While the lockout has frozen any and all 40 man roster transactions until a new CBA has been agreed to, once the transaction freeze is over, how much more work will the Brewers have to do on their roster?
There’s a strong chance the Brewers heavy lifting this offseason is already done.
With the acquisition of Hunter Renfroe, the Brewers don’t have any major needs they will need to address the rest of the offseason.
After adding Renfroe to replace Avisail Garcia and clear out Jackie Bradley Jr’s contract, the outfield is pretty much set. The infield has Willy Adames and Kolten Wong up the middle, with Luis Urias slated to handle third base. While an upgrade could be made at third, it’s not completely necessary to make and Urias is certainly deserving of an everyday role.
First base could use some certainty, but the Brewers have two options they like in Rowdy Tellez and Keston Hiura. The organization still believes in Hiura’s hitting ability and they’re going to give him a chance to prove he can be an everyday player once again.
Any sort of addition at first base would have to involve either a subtraction of one of Hiura/Tellez, or the addition of the DH in the National League. If the DH comes in, the addition of another bat would be a lot more likely. But would they need some “heavy lifting” to fill that job? Or would they simply put Hiura in the DH role and find a platoon partner for Tellez at first?
The starting rotation is set and the bullpen could use a few more middle relievers to fill out the group, but that doesn’t constitute big moves. Really, the only position that could still see a change is likely first base, and that’s not even super likely.
Hiura is one of the biggest bounce-back candidates in all of baseball. If he does what the Brewers believe he can do, then there’s no need to add someone else. Hiura has the potential to be one of the top hitters in the league.
Is it a guarantee he bounces back in 2022? No. Is it risky to depend on him to? Absolutely. But should the Brewers sell low on him or block him from regular playing time? No, they shouldn’t.
Looking at the roster, the heavy lifting is probably done for the offseason, unless the DH comes to the NL in the new CBA, which creates a new lineup spot the Brewers can work to fill.
Barring that, the rest of the roster additions once the lockout ends should be expected to be middle relief options to fill the bullpen. The heavy lifting is probably done.
Of course, Stearns has pulled surprises before and could make a big deal happen when no one expects it. But also, don’t get your hopes too high that the Brewers are going to make another major transaction before Opening Day.
No lifting of any kind on the 40 man roster is allowed right now anyways, but once that lifts, we’ll see just how much things are going to change.