Brewers: Prospects Shouldn't Force Established Veterans Out
By Josh Waldoch
As the MLB offseason begins to enter its busy season, the Milwaukee Brewers have important decisions to make. After picking up Kolten Wong's contract option the Brewers committed to the veteran remaining on the roster for the 2023 season, even with Brice Turang waiting in AAA.
The Brewers tendered a contract to Hunter Renfroe; however, rumors around the league indicate he could be traded. While the influx of young talent is great, and an important step for the Brewers to remain competitive, turning to young prospects too early could prove to be a disaster.
The Brewers have the opportunity to mix promising prospects with established veterans. Despite the strong seasons the young prospects put together in AAA, their presence should not force veterans out.
A season after hitting 29 home runs with a 126 OPS +, an estimated $11.2 million salary should be a no brainer for the Brewers to retain Hunter Renfroe. Despite that, the Brewers could very well look to move Renfore, and opt to call-up prospect Joey Wiemer, who profiles very similarly to Renfroe.
Wiemer is coming off a strong season in both AA and AAA. In 548 plate appearances across the two levels, Wiemer slashed .256/.336/.465 with 21 home runs. Wiemer's strongest stretch came in AAA, where he slugged .888 in 43 games. Although he is advanced, 43 games at AAA is not a lot to commit to making him the everyday right fielder.
In additon to Wiemer, the Brewers also have Sal Frelick and Esteury Ruiz in the farm system. Frelick started in A+ Wisconsin, before ending the season with 46 games played in AAA with a .943 OPS. Ruiz saw sometime in Milwaukee this season, but spent a vast majority of his time in AAA with both San Diego with Milwaukee.
With the Brewers seeking to return to the playoffs, and Matt Arnold seeking to affirm his commitment to winning, turning the keys to the kingdom over to unproven prospects is not the solution for the Brewers. Craig Counsell has proven in the past that he can manage 'too many outfielders' and ensure everyone gets ample playing time, and that is what should happen in this situation.
Keeping Hunter Renfroe around would ensure the Brewers have a talented outfielder from the jump, regardless of the developmental steps Sal Frelick, Esteury Ruiz, or Joey Wiemer take in the offseason, and while the future is promising for the Brewers, they should remain in the present and keep talented players on their roster.