Batting 4th: Hunter Renfroe, RF
The Brewers needed a replacement in right field for Avisail Garcia, who departed via free agency this winter. Luckily, they were able to find one by swinging a last-minute trade with the Red Sox to acquire Hunter Renfroe in exchange for Jackie Bradley Jr. and a pair of prospects.
The right-handed hitting Renfroe is a perfect replacement for Garcia in the middle of the lineup. Renfroe provides big power, slugging 31 homers last season while hitting .259. His strikeout rate was pretty respectable at 22.7% and he’s a big run producer.
While his slash line numbers may not be consistent, one thing that has always been consistent with Renfroe is supplying home run power. He’s hit at least 26 or more home runs in each of the last four full seasons.
In 2021, the Brewers were lacking in home run power. Most of that stemmed from the sudden loss of production from Yelich and Keston Hiura. They need the power from those guys to come back, but they lost their biggest home run hitter in Garcia, who hit 29 last year. Renfroe brings that back and more with his arrival.
Batting 5th: Nelson Cruz, DH
Here’s a shakeup. In this dream 2022 Opening Day lineup for the Brewers, they have signed free agent Nelson Cruz post-lockout, and that’s because also in this dream scenario, in the next CBA there will be a universal DH.
The DH has been a long time coming and most expect it to enter the NL on a full-time basis in 2022. The NL experimented with the DH in 2020, but removed it for 2021. However, it proved to be very popular among fans and players and the addition of the DH opens up opportunities for the Brewers to sign someone like Nelson Cruz that they haven’t had before.
By signing Cruz not only do they bring his career full-circle and get him back to Milwaukee where it all got started for him, but the Brewers also make a big improvement with their lineup. This team does need some more offensive juice, beyond just Yelich and Hiura getting back to their normal selves. But there aren’t too many openings in the lineup for them to add that power. With the DH coming to the league, that presents a perfect opportunity to add to the offense.
Cruz would be the best remaining addition the Brewers can realistically make to this offense. They aren’t signing Freddie Freeman or Kris Bryant to help this lineup, that’s just not realistic. But adding Cruz, provided the DH comes to the NL this year, is definitely realistic.