Brewers Positions of Need
1. Added Pitching Depth
We’ve gone in-depth on the Crew’s needs this offseason, but it’s important to go over them again and look at the needs in context of this whole offseason preview and give some potential options.
David Stearns has stated that the Brewers lack of pitching depth was an issue in 2022 (which it was) and that that will be addressed this offseason, most likely with some external additions. So look for a couple of free agent signings for either bullpen or rotation depth. While Milwaukee isn’t going to be looking at the top of the market for pitching, they will be checking around for someone that can help them and is in their price range.
Someone like Chad Kuhl could be an option for improving the rotation in Milwaukee. He won’t cost too much, had a good season in 2022, and might even present an improvement over someone like Adrian Houser. Chris Flexen of the Mariners might be an option on the trade market as back end rotation depth.
The bullpen could have any number of options on the free agent market that they could sign for cheap, potentially even on minor league contracts.
2. Third Base
Luis Urias regressed a little at third base in 2022 and with Jace Peterson hitting free agency, the Brewers could stand to upgrade that position. Urias could fill the super-utility role that Peterson held if Milwaukee acquired a new starting option at third base.
However, the free agent market this winter isn’t exactly flush with starting third base options. The best player that could potentially be worthy of being a starter and might be in the Crew’s price range is Brandon Drury. Nolan Arenado could opt out and become a free agent, but even if he did, the Brewers couldn’t afford him.
Other than Drury, there aren’t really any free agents that would be an improvement over Urias. They would then have to look to the trade market and maybe target someone like Arizona’s Josh Rojas or Colorado’s Ryan McMahon. If they really wanted to go all out, trading for Boston’s Rafael Devers would represent a move dedicated to building a World Series roster right now.
The Brewers got extremely poor offensive production from their catchers in 2022. Victor Caratini hit .199 on the year, while Omar Narvaez hit .206. Yikes.
They need to get better. Catching prospect Mario Feliciano is ready for a role in 2023 and he’ll likely take one spot. Narvaez is a free agent, so they could simply roll with a Feliciano/Caratini duo in 2023. Although since Caratini struggled so much in the second half, it isn’t out of the question for them to non-tender Caratini and look elsewhere for another catcher.
The free agent market has players such as Tucker Barnhart and Christian Vasquez available, but the cream of the crop this year is Willson Contreras. Would Contreras sign with Milwaukee? He’d cost a lot but he’d be a major improvement. I’m sure Brewers fans would warm up to him if he puts on a Milwaukee uniform.
But if the Brewers do look to the free agent market for catching upgrades, there are a couple of good options out there.