The Milwaukee Brewers are hitting a crossroads this offseason. They're coming off their fifth postseason appearance in the last six years but it's their fourth straight first round exit. Many of the team's core players are entering their final year of arbitration before hitting free agency, while a young core is starting to emerge.
This crossroads situation has led to speculation that the Brewers are open to trading virtually anybody on their roster and could be moving veterans once again this winter. Milwaukee doesn't have a lot of available payroll space to improve the team via free agency and this year's free agent crop isn't very strong to begin with.
GM Matt Arnold figures to be active this offseason once again and trades may be the most logical avenue to make them. Which Brewers players make the most sense as trade candidates this offseason?
Brewers offseason trade candidate #1 - SS Willy Adames
This is a bad year to need a shortstop upgrade. There were multiple elite shortstops on the free agent market last winter and the teams that missed out on that carousel are left in a tough situation because this year's free agent shortstop class is barren. Amed Rosario is the top of the class but he's a platoon bat that's a better fit at second base. Tim Anderson is coming off a brutal season as well and would only be a one year rebound option for anyone and expectations are low.
Willy Adames would instantly be the best shortstop acquisition of the offseason if the Brewers do indeed move him. The lack of other quality options on the market could drive up the price from a team desperate for a shortstop upgrade. Even though Adames is coming off a bit of a down year himself, he did slug 24 homers and his defense is excellent, making him a sought after commodity.
Adames has wanted to engage in extension talks with the Brewers but the Brewers haven't appeared too interested in those kinds of discussions, and Adames is likely to walk in free agency after 2024. Milwaukee may be better served trading Adames in a weak market, getting a great return, and setting themselves up better for seasons to come. The Dodgers are one potential team to watch for Adames.
Brice Turang is a true shortstop and defensively he could easily take over the position from Adames without skipping a beat. There may be a step back offensively from Adames to Turang, but Turang is likely to see improvement at the plate in his second season.