The Milwaukee Brewers are going to have some roster turnover this upcoming offseason. As such, there are a number of players we’re watching right now that won’t be on this team next season.
It’s clear some changes need to be made to the construction of this roster if this team is going to compete for a World Series in the near future. Certain players will have to come off the roster, and new players will have to take their place. Who those new players might be, remains a question, but the players that will not be on the roster again next year is a bit more clear.
There are several current Brewers players who very likely won’t be coming back on the 2023 roster.
Brewers who won’t be back in 2023 #1: Andrew McCutchen
However, McCutchen has regressed against lefties in 2022, hitting just .217 on the year against them with just a .290 OBP. On the positive side, the majority of his hits off lefties have gone for extra bases. 17 of his 30 hits off lefties were either doubles or homers with seven being homers. But he’s just not getting it done often enough.
Considering that was the primary reason he was signed and he hasn’t been able to deliver that, it makes little sense to bring him back to DH again next year. Plus, the Brewers have a bevy of outfield prospects that will be making their debuts next season. They will deserve regular at-bats and McCutchen will only take ABs away from them.
As nice as it would be to have McCutchen as a veteran leader on the club and how he could be a great mentor to those young outfield prospects, for roster construction purposes and financial purposes, it makes no sense to sign him to another contract for 2023.
Brewers who won’t be back in 2023 #2: Omar Narvaez
Like Andrew McCutchen, Omar Narvaez is also slated to reach free agency this offseason. Narvaez has been with the Brewers for three seasons, and he’s had some good moments, but the offense has regressed in 2022 and he also has prospects lined up behind him.
Narvaez had a solid season last year, hitting .266 with 11 homers, a .743 OPS, and a 101 OPS+. However, in 2022 he’s hitting just .216/.299/.320 with four homers and a 77 OPS+. He’s missed some time due to injury and even when healthy has been in more of an even split of playing time with Victor Caratini.
Meanwhile, down in the minor leagues, Mario Feliciano is having a good season in Triple-A Nashville and is primed to earn a big league spot next year. With Caratini still under contract, the Brewers will likely let Narvaez walk and roll with a Caratini-Feliciano tandem behind the plate in 2023.
Narvaez could’ve made a case for sticking around in Milwaukee longer, but after he wasn’t able to build off his solid season last year, the Brewers are most likely going in a different direction at the position with someone younger and cheaper and, ideally, better in Feliciano.
Brewers who won’t be back in 2023 #3: Taylor Rogers
The “centerpiece” of the Josh Hader trade you could say was Taylor Rogers. The Brewers traded Hader and his year and a half of team control to the Padres for Rogers and his half-season of control plus two prospects. There was a fourth player in Dinelson Lamet but he was already unceremoniously removed from the roster 48 hours after the trade, but I digress.
The Brewers traded Hader for a variety of reasons, but one of them is that they weren’t willing to pay him the money he was going to be worth. Rogers was making slightly less money than Hader this year but will still be in line for a solid payday this offseason. That’s a payday the Brewers aren’t going to be giving him.
It doesn’t help that Rogers hasn’t exactly dominated in a Milwaukee uniform. In his first 20 innings as a Brewer, Rogers has a 6.30 ERA. He’s given up six home runs already with Milwaukee. There may have just been a “few” blowup outings that destroyed his ERA, but that happens with every reliever, and his season ERA is pushing 5.00. That’s more than just one or two bad outings.
Devin Williams is the closer going forward. Rogers will want to go someplace where he has the opportunity to close and that won’t be coming here.
Brewers who won’t be back in 2023 #4: Kolten Wong
Unlike the other three names listed here, Wong is not automatically a free agent at season’s end. He has a club option for 2023 for $10MM with a $2MM buyout. The Brewers are likely to decline that option and take the buyout instead and save themselves $8MM on the payroll.
But, like the other three names on this list, the Brewers have someone ready in the minors to take over his job. Brice Turang has spent the entire season in Triple-A in 2022. He’s played extremely well and is ready for a big league opportunity. Turang is Rule 5 eligible this winter and will be added to the 40 man roster to be protected.
It doesn’t help that Wong has clearly regressed both offensively and defensively in 2022. The defensive regression has been puzzling for someone who has been such a great defender over his career. A recent three homer game has boosted his offensive numbers, but his batting average is still hovering around .250 and he just hasn’t been as reliable a contributor in the lineup.
Because of the size of his contract option, a readily available replacement for cheap, and the defensive regression, Kolten Wong isn’t likely to be back in Milwaukee for 2023.
For each of these four players, the Brewers have cheaper available replacements in the minor leagues that could and likely will outperform them.