Brewers: 1 Thing Still Left On Milwaukee's Offseason To-Do List
The Milwaukee Brewers have made the bulk of their offseason moves already this winter. They've addressed some holes and brought in some new faces. But there's still one more need to address.
Entering this offseason, the Brewers had needs at catcher, DH, and third base, and overall needed to shake up the offense and upgrade it. They brought in William Contreras to address catcher, Jesse Winker to address DH, and a whole bevy of options for third base. Abraham Toro, Brian Anderson, and Owen Miller were all added this offseason and can help that position. Several prospects are also ready for big league roles.
On the mound, the Brewers addressed their rotation depth concerns with the signing of Wade Miley, plus bringing in starting options like Janson Junk and Bryse Wilson.
Then there's the bullpen. The Brewers have brought in a number of relief options that could compete for jobs. Javy Guerra, Joel Payamps, Elvis Peguero, Gus Varland, and Tyson Miller are among the additions. But all of them are right-handed and none of them figure to be late-inning, high-leverage options.
The Brewers still have one more thing to address this offseason, adding a reliever with high-leverage experience, preferably a left-hander.
Milwaukee's bullpen is light on lefty options following the August trade of Josh Hader and the offseason departure of Brent Suter, who was placed on waivers ahead of the tender deadline. Hoby Milner is the only lefty relief option on the 40 man roster.
Aaron Ashby has some experience in relief but he's going to be stretched out as a starter and isn't a one-inning relief type. Ethan Small has been a starter and may become a bullpen arm but it's likely he'll at least start the year stretched out and not be an 8th or 9th inning type of guy.
There are a couple of non-roster invitees that are lefty relievers, including Alex Claudio and Thomas Pannone, but the Brewers need a bit more certainty for the setup spots in the bullpen. Devin Williams is the closer, but who will be setting up for him? Right now it looks like Matt Bush is the leader in the clubhouse, but outside of him, who has experience in high leverage situations in this group? Nobody.
The Brewers have shown a willingness to trust talented young bullpen arms before, but bringing in a veteran with plenty of experience is something the Brewers also like to do. Brad Boxberger filled that role the past couple of years but now he's with the Cubs and someone else needs to be that guy for Milwaukee.
It would be nice if this veteran reliever were also left handed, to give teams a different look from this now righty-heavy bullpen. Rumors are the Brewers are interested in several lefty options still on the market. Hopefully they could sign one of Matt Moore, Andrew Chafin, or Zack Britton. All three have years of big league experience and have been in high leverage spots. There's also guys like Brad Hand and old friend Will Smith on the market who have closing experience.
There are plenty of veteran relievers still on the market who have prior closing experience that can fill a role in the Brewers bullpen and help be the bridge from the starting rotation to closer Devin Williams.
The offseason work for the position players is done. The offseason work on the rotation is done. Adding a veteran reliever to the bullpen is the last thing still on the Brewers to-do list this offseason before spring training gets underway.