The Milwaukee Brewers outfield has been in rough shape ever since centerfielder Garrett Mitchell was lost to injury. It took Joey Wiemer some time to find a groove at the plate while Tyrone Taylor and Blake Perkins have scuffled and Brian Anderson splits time between right field and third base. Taylor is out hurt again and may not be back for a while.
Right field has been a black hole in the lineup most of the season, and the Brewers found an opportunity to improve their outfield group and bring in a veteran presence.
At this point in the season, trades between contenders and sellers are rare, since it's still early on. The Brewers need help now, and they are hoping to find another diamond in the rough from the scrap heap with their addition of Raimel Tapia.
The Milwaukee Brewers signed veteran outfielder Raimel Tapia to a major league contract after he was released from the Red Sox.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic was the first to report the Brewers signing of Tapia. A corresponding move was not immediately announced and the Brewers did not announce the signing prior to Tuesday's game against the Twins.
Tapia first made his way to the big leagues in 2016 with the Colorado Rockies. He spent several years there then played in Toronto last year and was with the Red Sox this year. His best season came in 2020, when he hit .321 with a .772 OPS.
Tapia is a contact hitter that doesn't bring much for power, but he has a career .276 average. Excluding an injury-shortened 2018 season, Tapia has never had a batting average below .263 in his career. Tapia was hitting .264 with a .701 OPS with the Red Sox this season prior to his release.
The Brewers are hoping that Tapia can continue his on-base ways in Milwaukee. They're in desperate need of that not just in the outfield but in the lineup in general as the whole offense has gone cold of late. Getting base hits and keeping the line moving is what Tapia is very good at.
Tapia serves as a veteran upgrade over rookie Blake Perkins, who has struggled at the big league level. Perkins is hitting just .200 with a .583 OPS in his limited looks this year. Tapia's 1,800+ ABs as a big leaguer will be valuable experience to help the Brewers win now that Perkins just doesn't have. It's expected that Perkins will be the one optioned down to Triple-A when Tapia is activated.
The longer-term look at Tapia's fit is that he'll help bridge the gap to the promotion of outfield prospect Sal Frelick. Frelick was in line for a promotion in April before he suffered a thumb injury. Frelick is down in Arizona rehabbing in the ACL and will soon return to game action in Triple-A Nashville. After that, it's only a matter of time until the Brewers call him up.
The Brewers will be hoping Tapia can find some success like their other veteran pickup, Julio Teheran.