After everything that transpired over the last few days in terms of the Craig Counsell drama, it's hard to imagine that there's an entire offseason worth of moves still to take place. There is, though, and what better way for Milwaukee Brewers fans to clear their minds than to start predicting free agents.
As it so happens, predicting free agents is exactly what the good people over at MLB Trade Rumors do at the beginning of every offseason. And they did so again recently when they ranked their top 50 free agents of the offseason and predicting landing spots for each of them.
Last offseason, writers for the site predicted that three free agents from their list would land with the Brewers, though none of which would end up in Milwaukee in the end. This offseason, that number has come down by one.
MLB Trade Rumors writers predict that these two free agents will end up with the Brewers for 2024.
1. Brandon Belt - 1B
This signing would almost make too much sense for the Brewers. First base will once again be a position to address for the Crew after the loss of Carlos Santana (free agency) and Mark Canha (traded to the Tigers) as well as Rowdy Tellez being a potential candidate for a non-tender.
That's likely why MLBTR writer Darragh McDonald predicts that first baseman Brandon Belt will end up with the Brewers. Though he is about to enter his age 36 season, the veteran had a nice bounceback season in his first and only year with the Blue Jays, hitting .254 with a .858 OPS and 19 homers following 12 seasons with the Giants.
Two factors might prevent this signing from happening, though. For one, MLBTR's predicted one-year, $15MM contract might be too rich for Milwaukee's blood if history is any indicator. Additionally, Belt has struggled against left-handed pitching recently, so much so that the piece mentions how Toronto severely limited his exposure to them. As the Brewers have already struggled themselves in that area, they may not want to add another such player to the mix.
2. Luis Severino - SP
Another area the Brewers will need to address this offseason is starting pitching. Brandon Woodruff may miss all of 2024 due to injury, Wade Miley declined his half of a mutual contract option for 2024, and who knows if Corbin Burnes may or may not still be on the roster by the time the offseason is over.
Top flight starting pitching free agents command a ton of money, though, so the Brewers may have to take a chance on a player with strong history who struggled last season. That could be why writer Anthony Franco predicts former Yankees hurler Luis Severino to sign with the Crew.
Severino struggled in 2023 coming back from an injury that ended his 2022 season prematurely, going 4-8 with a 6.65 ERA and 1.646 WHIP in 19 games. In his seven years prior to that, however, he was a two-time All-Star who had a 50-29 record with a 3.39 ERA and 1.121 WHIP. Severino is predicted to land a one-year, $14MM prove it deal, which really could be worse for a 29-year-old with his pedigree.
Will this be the year that MLBTR accurately predicts a free agent or two to the Brewers? We'll have to wait and see. Either way, the free agent chase will be a much more fun thing to watch than the saga of a now former Brewers manager.