Now that the Houston Astros have taken home the 2022 World Series title, the offseason has begun. This also means that offseason transactions have officially begun as well for the Milwaukee Brewers and other MLB teams.
The offseason transactions began with players whose contracts had ended becoming free agents. For the Brewers, that means catcher Omar Narvaez, utility man Jace Peterson, designated hitter Andrew McCutchen, and pitchers Taylor Rogers and Trevor Rosenthal are now out on the market.
Of course, new leader of baseball operations Matt Arnold could always choose to reunite with one of these players as one of the earlier moves in his tenure. But are any of that quintet worth bringing back to the team for the 2023 season?
Which recent Brewers free agents might the team re-sign for the 2023 season?
1. C Omar Narvaez
It was a bit of an up-and-down time for Narvaez in his three years with the Brewers. After a disappointing first year in 2020, the left-hander rebounded with an All-Star 2021 season. Then after starting hot in 2022, he ended it with a thud. All-in-all, he put up a .233/.318/.350 slash line with 17 homers and a 1.6 bWAR in 247 games as a member of the Crew.
Milwaukee currently heads into 2023 with catchers Victor Caratini, Mario Feliciano, and Alex Jackson on the 40-man roster. There will also be backstops available in free agency or via trade. Though he came a long way defensively in three years, the Brewers probably don’t lose much with what they have and have better chances elsewhere if they want to upgrade. A return is unlikely.
2. UTIL Jace Peterson
Peterson also sees himself hitting free agency after three years in a Brewers uniform. A series of minor league and major league contracts led to 232 games across those three seasons with “On Base Jace” putting up a combined .337 OBP during that time, though it has declined in each season with Milwaukee.
Just as important has been Peterson’s defense, capped by a 2022 season that saw him lead the team with 11 defensive runs saved despite playing the ninth most innings of any Brewer. Though he turns 33 next year, it’s always nice to have a strong utility man who can get on base on your bench, so it’s quite possible to see him return on yet another one-year deal.
3. OF/DH Andrew McCutchen
As pretty much their one “big” signing last offseason, the Brewers brought former MVP McCutchen in on a one-year deal to largely serve as their designated hitter. The move was supposed to boost the Crew’s offense as Cutch had launched 27 homers and knocked in 80 runs, his highest marks since 2017.
Though he had his moments, the experiment didn’t quite work out as planned with McCutchen setting a career low in slugging percentage (.384) while hitting 17 homers and driving in 69. At 36 years old and seemingly on the decline combined with Milwaukee having a number of young outfielders ready for their chance at The Show, McCutchen’s chances at returning for 2023 are virtually zero.
4. LHP Taylor Rogers
Speaking of moves that didn’t work, the Josh Hader trade deadline deal was supposed to return (among others) a reliever in Rogers who could replace at least some of Hader’s production for the rest of the year. After all, Rogers had just one fewer save (28) than his fellow closer at the point of the trade.
Instead, Rogers put up a 5.48 ERA and 1.304 WHIP in 23 innings while converting just three of six save opportunities for the Brewers. All that said, Rogers has a career 3.42 ERA and is 31 years old. There’s an off chance that Milwaukee could give him an opportunity to redeem himself on a shorter deal.
5. RHP Trevor Rosenthal
What more can we say about the Rosenthal deal. In one of former president of baseball operations David Stearns’ worst moves, he dealt a quality outfield prospect for the injured reliever. Though Rosenthal would start making rehab appearances in an attempt to at least play a few games for the Crew, he would be pulled from one of them due to injury and never throw a single pitch for Milwaukee.
There’s a chance that the Brewers still bring Rosenthal back on a minimal contract based on the potential they saw that led them to sign an injured reliever in the first place. But those injuries are why they shouldn’t even think about it and go with more reliable (not to mention available) arms in the pen instead.
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The Brewers have a lot of work ahead of them this offseason to prepare their 2023 roster. A free agent reunion could make a little bit of that work easier.