Brewers Positions Of Need
With the "dust settled" on the players leaving the roster or potentially leaving the roster, now let's get into the holes that remain for the front office to address in the free agent and trade markets.
1. Starting pitching
Brandon Woodruff's injury ending his 2024 season before it could start was no doubt an awful break for him and the Brewers. One silver lining from this news though is that learning of this so early allows the Brewers to plan around his injury accordingly. When they lost Woodruff for four months mid-season, they had to scramble to fill the rotation because they were counting on Woodruff being healthy. Now, they can put together a plan to more adequately fill the rotation.
Brewers GM Matt Arnold publicly stated his desire to add to his pitching depth this offseason and that was even before Woodruff's injury. The healthy, guaranteed returning starting pitchers on the roster are Burnes, Houser, and Freddy Peralta. Currently 4th on the depth chart is Janson Junk, who made just one MLB start in 2023.
Wade Miley, Colin Rea, and Julio Teheran are all candidates to return from the 2023 team but there's no guarantee any of them are back and if they don't return, the Brewers will need to bring in pitchers to fill those spots.
Milwaukee is full of pitching prospects in the high levels of the minors. Carlos Rodriguez and Robert Gasser are two pitchers who could earn rotation spots, but the Brewers shouldn't go into 2024 with them as the only plan. They'll get innings no matter what.
Michael Lorenzen, Frankie Montas, James Paxton, and Hyun-Jin Ryu are potential free agent options for the Brewers to consider.
2. Third Base
When asked about the position at his end of season press conference, Brewers GM Matt Arnold named Andruw Monasterio and Tyler Black as options at third base in 2024. There's certainly room for an addition at the hot corner. Monasterio had a solid rookie season but lacks power and Tyler Black, a top prospect, hasn't even made his MLB debut yet.
The long term plan at the position is likely Tyler Black, but the Brewers will likely be on the lookout for some veteran insurance at the position anyway. Black may or may not be on the Opening Day roster and rookies always have their ups and downs. A veteran insurance policy similar to Brian Anderson may be a smart play for Milwaukee.
The Brewers won't be buying in the Jeimer Candelario/Matt Chapman level of the market though. Stopgaps like Isaiah Kiner-Falefa, Donovan Solano, and Justin Turner are potential free agent targets for Milwaukee.
3. First Base
Yet again, first base is on the Brewers position of needs list. Rowdy Tellez lost his starting job and is staring at a likely non-tender. Carlos Santana is a free agent. If Mark Canha's club option isn't picked up, you're potentially looking at Owen Miller as the top option on the depth chart. That's hardly an ideal scenario.
The Brewers could solve this need by simply picking up Canha's option and plan on putting him at first base everyday. He has the outfield versatility in case he's needed out there but fits perfectly in the lineup at first base. His production this year and what he's done for his entire career show that he's an above-average hitter and he'd be an immediate solution for 2024.
If the Brewers decide to move on from Canha, Rhys Hoskins is maybe the only everyday starter quality first base option on the free agent market that's potentially within the Brewers price range. The trade market could be more fruitful, but there's no guarantee of that, especially if the Mets decide to keep Pete Alonso. The smart play is keeping Canha and solving this need quickly.