The deadline to start the season on time has been extended as MLB and the MLBPA inch closer in negotiations on a new CBA. Once they agree to a deal, a frenzy is going to kick off like we’ve never seen before and the Brewers still have work to do on their roster.
Once this deal is in place, teams will have to scramble to get everyone to spring training and get that started while also signing free agents, making trades, working out arbitration deals, making plans that adjust to changes in the CBA, and so much more all at once.
It can be hard to prioritize what to do first with so much going on, so let’s help out David Stearns and the Brewers.
Here are three things the Milwaukee Brewers should do immediately after the lockout ends and free agent and trade markets open again.
#1: Put in a call to Nelson Cruz
One of the few things we do know for sure about the new CBA is that it will include the addition of the designated hitter position in the National League. That gives the Brewers an extra spot in their lineup to add an impact bat.
The best DH on the free agent market is Nelson Cruz. The Brewers should call him as soon as they are legally allowed to and offer him a deal to come back to Milwaukee. Despite being over 40 years old, Cruz is still a powerful bat that can slug 30 home runs a year and provide a major boost to an offense.
FanSided MLB Insider Robert Murray suggested on the Cold Brew Podcast recently that Cruz would be a good fit and that the Brewers may make a big signing post-lockout.
The Brewers need someone like Cruz to improve what was a struggling offense in 2021 that is returning most of that same crew. It’ll be a one year deal and will likely cost $10-15MM, but he’d be a huge addition and the Brewers should snatch him up quickly while they can.
#2: Sign at least one reliever right away
It’s clear the Brewers still have to add to their bullpen before the season begins, and with spring training set to begin shortly after this deal is completed and a large number of relievers available on the open market, it’s going to be a feeding frenzy.
The best way to make sure you aren’t left out in the cold fighting for whatever scraps are left, if there are any, is to go in and get yourself a bite early. The Brewers might want to sign two relievers to fill out their bullpen group, but they need to get at least one right away.
The Brewers have had three months to plan which players they want to target and they likely have a couple in mind that they want. Don’t bother waiting and risk seeing your top target sign elsewhere and force yourself to go further down your list that has been carefully built over these last three months. Get your top guy right away.
#3: Scan the trade market for big league help
As stated in #1, the Brewers need an offensive boost still. While adding Nelson Cruz to be the DH is a great option, it’s not the only option and Cruz is likely to have a lot of suitors, especially with the 14 other NL teams now having a DH at their disposal and a potential spot for Cruz. He may not sign here, at least not right away.
In order to ensure the Brewers don’t get left out on that front, Stearns should be scanning the trade market simultaneously for other options to boost this offense. Austin Meadows is on the trade block and could be a good fit, as is Miguel Sano as the Twins line up well as a trade partner.
The Brewers have depth at several position groups that other teams desire and need an infusion of offense. There’s many ways they could get it and if the free agent market turns into too much of a bidding war for David Stearns’ taste, there’s always the trade market.
We appear close to a new CBA being agreed to, and then the frenzy of all frenzies will commence. These three things should be at the top of the to-do list for the Brewers.