The Milwaukee Brewers appear likely to focus their efforts to improve the roster through the trade market. The budget is limited, the free agent position player class is weak, and the Crew has assets ready to move.
Brewers GM Matt Arnold laid a lot of foundations at the Winter Meetings and history tells us that trades could soon be on the horizon now that the Winter Meetings are over.
While we don't know what exactly Arnold is working on with all those trade irons in the fire, we can make some safe guesses. The Brewers are rich in outfielders and prospect depth and they have needs in the corner infield, backup catcher, and pitching staff.
There are several teams that line up perfectly as trade partners for the Brewers with those needs and assets in mind.
Toronto Blue Jays
Needs: Outfield help
Assets: Pitching, catching
The Blue Jays just came up empty-handed in their pursuit of Shohei Ohtani and watched as their backup option in Juan Soto got traded to a division rival. They need to make a splash and they have a massive need in left field. The Brewers just so happen to have a bevy of splash-inducing outfielders that could intrigue Toronto.
What do the Blue Jays have to trade? There are a couple names that the Brewers should find intriguing. Firstly, Alek Manoah is a possible trade candidate coming off a struggle-filled 2023. The Brewers specialize in helping pitchers reach their potential and we've already seen what Manoah can do at the big league level when he received Cy Young votes in 2022. With four years of team control remaining, Manoah could help lift the Brewers rotation not only in 2024, but in years to come. He has ace potential when he's right, which could help fill the void left by Brandon Woodruff and soon to be Corbin Burnes.
If Toronto doesn't want to part with Manoah, Yusei Kikuchi is another rotation piece that the Brewers should be intrigued by. He has one year left on his contract at just $10MM for 2024, so he isn't a long term solution but he can stabilize this Brewers rotation after losing Woodruff.
On the position player side, Wisconsin native Danny Jansen also stands out. He's currently slotted to be the DH as Alejandro Kirk is the everyday catcher. The Brewers need a backup option at catcher and help at DH. Jansen's in his final year of arbitration as well and could be a nice bridge to Jeferson Quero.