4 Budget Free Agents the Brewers Should Target This Offseason

Which affordable free agents should the Brewers bring in this offseason?
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Player #3 - 1B Mike Ford

When looking at potential impact bats who could yield cheap deals, there aren't a whole lot of options for the Brewers to consider. The Brewers already acquired Jake Bauers from the New York Yankees a few weeks back, but they will need to do more at the position for the 2024 season.

Mike Ford brings some pop to the position at the expense of some swing-and-miss concerns. In 251 plate appearances with the Mariners in 2023, he posted a strikeout rate of 32.3% with a high whiff rate of 30.4%. Because of this, he hit just .228 on the year. That said, he made up for it in the power department, which is where his value resides.

Ford posted impressive quality of contact metrics with the Mariners, including a hard hit rate of 44.6% and a whopping 17.3% barrel rate. In turn, he posted a slugging percentage of .475 on the year. He smashed 16 homers, giving him a home run-to-plate appearance rate of .064, to go along with six doubles. His ability to hit for extra-base hits translated to an impressive ISO of .247.

Now, is he going to repeat his 17.3% barrel rate in 2024? Most likely not. But there are aspects to his profile that make him a good fit with the Brewers beyond his strong slugging numbers. More specifically, his success against southpaws throughout his career is noteworthy.

The 31 year old has reverse splits throughout his five-year career. Meaning, as a left-handed hitter, he has better numbers against left-handed pitchers than righties throughout his career. In 108 career plate appearances versus southpaws, Ford is slashing .268/.343./.577 for a .920 OPS and a 148 wRC+.

Admittedly, Ford wouldn’t be an everyday starter. He is a power-first bat who hits for a low average, but he can be a fine bench option for the Brewers in 2024. He is the type of first baseman the Brewers have recently shown interest in, and Ford could serve as a very cheap source of homers at a position of need for the Crew.