Despite slumping after the trade deadline, the Milwaukee Brewers still find themselves within contention for a playoff spot with one month to go in the regular season. A lot can still happen, but there are six upcoming free agents who may be in the final month of their Brewers careers.
The players set to be free agents at the end of the season are: Andrew McCutchen, Omar Narvaez, Jace Peterson, Pedro Severino, Taylor Rogers, and Trevor Rosenthal. Brewers management will also have to decide on whether or not to pick up club options on Kolten Wong and Brad Boxberger.
Let’s take a further look at each of these players and what may happen with them this upcoming off-season.
Upcoming Brewer Free Agents: Position Players
The Brewers big offseason signing was agreeing to a one year, $8.5MM deal with Andrew McCutchen. He was signed with the expectation to serve primarily as the designated hitter. This has remained true. While he has played the corner outfield at times, the Brewers have been reluctant to play him in center field this season.
Overall, McCutchen has been average offensively this season and that is evident by his 97 wRC+. He did go through a hot stretch during the month of June, but otherwise his power and production numbers are down when compared to what he did with the Phillies in 2021. It was thought that McCutchen would contribute the most against left handed pitchers, however he has just a .214 batting average and .710 OPS in those match ups this season.
McCutchen will be 36 years old at the start of the 2023 season. It’s hard to imagine that the Brewers will elect to bring him back, especially with outfielders Garrett Mitchell and Esteury Ruiz currently getting MLB playing time and Joey Wiemer and Sal Frelick knocking on the door. That outfield core may push Christian Yelich to the DH role next year.
Omar Narvaez + Pedro Severino
A trade with the Seattle Mariners during the 2019 offseason brought Omar Narvaez to Milwaukee. He initially struggled in the shortened 2020 season, but was an All-Star in 2021. This season, his offense has not been up to par with what he accomplished a season ago.
A big knock on Narvaez’s game prior to coming to Milwaukee was his defense. However, as a Brewer he has been great behind the dish and is one of the best pitch framers in all of baseball. According to fangraphs, his defensive rating above average was 6.3 in 2020, 15.8 in 2021, and 8.4 in 2022.
If the Brewers were to let Narvaez walk, Mario Feliciano is the next MLB ready catcher in the farm system. He has seen limited major league at-bats but is putting together another solid minor league season. The Brewers could also elect to re-sign Pedro Severino, who remained in the system after being DFA’ed in August.
Things get tough when you remember how close of a bond Narvaez has with multiple other Brewer players and his familiarity with the pitching staff. Lorenzo Cain just called out the team’s upper management for letting good leaders and clubhouse guys leave the organization, and Narvaez fits that bill.
Among Brewers fans, there seems to be a theme that you either love or extremely dislike Jace Peterson. The 32 year old utility infielder has found several different ways to contribute to the team over each of the past three seasons, but 2022 has been his best season yet.
Of Brewers position players, Jace Peterson is currently tied for the second highest fWAR on the team at 2.2. He is doing this despite missing over a month of game action with an elbow injury. His fWAR is elevated this year because he has been playing extremely well defensively and as you know, Jace is good at getting on base.
Peterson’s future may depend a lot upon what the Brewers plan infield plan for next season is. If the Brewers elect to bring Peterson back for 2023, he should be able to be re-signed around the $2MM range.