Here are grades for each of the major Milwaukee Brewers’ 2021-2022 offseason moves.
6. Brewers trade for OF Hunter Renfroe
On December 1st, the day before the MLB lockout was set to begin and league operations would be shut down until well into the new year, Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns had a last-second trick up his sleeve. And it was a big one.
The Brewers pulled off a shocker of a pre-lockout trade, receiving outfielder Hunter Renfroe from the Boston Red Sox for outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr and two prospects. Renfroe would be set to take over the starting right field spot from Avisail Garcia, who left in free agency.
Renfroe is coming off a career year where he slashed .259/.315/.501, slugged 31 homers, and had a career high 96 RBIs and 89 runs scored. He now gets to call American Family Field home, a stadium where he has had some success in the past (9 games, .303 average, 1.197 OPS, 5 HR, 11 RBIs).
Not only did the Crew find their right fielder of the future, but they also got out from under the contract of Bradley Jr, who was coming off the worst offensive season of his career. Though the Brewers will miss Bradley Jr’s defense, Renfroe is no slouch in the field himself.
Yes, the Brewers had to give up a couple top 30 prospects in David Hamilton and Alex Binelas. But considering it allowed Milwaukee to slightly upgrade a position and get a team to actually take Bradley Jr and his contract, it’s hard not to classify the move as a resounding win.
7. Brewers sign free agent RHP Brad Boxberger
Once the MLB lockout was finally over, one of the big positions the Brewers were still expected to address was the bullpen. While the additions of Gott and Mejia were nice, it still felt like Milwaukee need a little more firepower among the relief corps.
We looked at a number of potential relievers the Brewers could have targeted, and sure enough, one of them ended up being Milwaukee’s first post-lockout signing. That someone ended up being free agent Brad Boxberger, who on March 13th re-signed with the Crew on a one-year contract with a 2023 option.
Boxberger was one of the team’s top relievers in 2021, leading the team with 71 appearances and putting up a 3.34 ERA and a 1.067 WHIP with 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings. At $2.5MM, he isn’t isn’t particularly expensive, and if he has another solid year, the Brewers can opt to keep him for a third campaign with the team.
One could question whether the Brewers should have gone with another high-quality reliever on the free agent market instead of reuniting with one who turns 34 this season. But Boxberger put in a ton of quality work for them last year, and until he shows actual signs of decline, it makes sense to keep rolling with a winning formula.