Over the next few weeks the Milwaukee Brewers will be looking to add to their team and put themselves in the best situation possible to win the division. A year ago David Stearns mixed things up by subtracting away one of the best closers in the game and replacing that production with a mixture of other relievers. It didn't work. This year it will be interesting to see what different direction new GM Matt Arnold takes.
One area that Matt Arnold has to evaluate ahead of the August 1 trade deadline is the current players on his team. He's had some players such as Owen Miller, Joel Payamps, Elvis Peguero, and at times Brian Anderson exceed expectations, but the names of Rowdy Tellez, Jesse Winker, and Luis Urias not perform to the level expected of them.
Here are three bold predictions on internal Brewers players and what their fate in the organization may be throughout the remainder of the 2023 season.
Prediction #1: Rowdy Tellez remains the everyday starting first baseman
Prior to the All-Star break Rowdy Tellez was placed on the IL with forearm inflammation. It's unclear when exactly this injury started becoming symptomatic for him, but from May 5 through today he's batting just .186 with a .528 OPS, three doubles, three homers, and 14 RBI. That's quite the drastic change from a player who started the season off very well.
Milwaukee has to be hoping that after an extended time off Rowdy Tellez will be able to bounce back. Once healthy he should get the vast majority of starts at first base again. It's possible that the Brewers bring in a right-handed bat to platoon with him the rest of the way, but if they don't Owen Miller is a solid option to serve in that role as well. Regardless the prediction here is that Rowdy has a strong second half of the season and remains the everyday starting first baseman.
Prediction #2: Keston Hiura remains in the minor leagues
Keston Hiura has put together a strong season in Triple-A. He started the year off scorching hot, unfortunately injured his knee, and missed essentially two months worth of games. Since returning he has continued to hit and put up strong numbers consisting of a .321 batting average, .993 OPS, and 14 home runs.
Despite his excellence in the minor leagues the Brewers have not called upon him this season. An untimely injury played a role in this, but so far there has been no indication that they have even been thinking about calling him up. It's a strange situation and in the setting of providing bold predictions I am going to say he remains in the minor leagues throughout the entire season.
Prediction #3: Jesse Winker finishes the season out in a Brewers uniform
At this point it is more than fair to say that the Brewers-Mariners exchange of Jesse Winker and Abraham Toro for Kolten Wong has not worked out well for either side. There was a lot of optimism surrounding a bounce back campaign for Winker because he underwent two successful surgeries during the offseason and is playing on an expiring contract.
Given his struggles it's easy to justify that the Brewers should designate him for assignment. At a base salary of $8.25 million he would more than likely go unclaimed at that point. This would keep Milwaukee on the hook for his salary. DFAing him and having that 'dead' money does not seem like a move the Brewers would make, so for better or worse it seems likely that he finishes the season out on the team.
It should be interesting to see how the second half plays out for the Milwaukee Brewers and if any of these predictions hold up.