Brewers: A Reunion With A Familiar Face Is Realistic Solution To First Base Opening

Wild Card Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v Milwaukee Brewers - Game One
Wild Card Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v Milwaukee Brewers - Game One / John Fisher/GettyImages

The Brewers are in the midst of once again completely reshaping their first base picture. They haven't been able to cobble together a long term solution since Prince Fielder and that will continue as the Brewers will have yet another new face starting at the position on Opening Day.

But who will that be? Right now the only first basemen on the 40 man roster are Jake Bauers and Owen Miller. Miller is more of a utility option that has experience at first base while Bauers has a career .663 OPS and has a negative-1.5 bWAR for his career. He's a platoon option at best.

It's quite clear the Brewers' starting first baseman is not currently on the roster. They will need to bring in somebody to shore up that position and the answer may be to bring back a familiar face.

That answer is Carlos Santana.

The Brewers don't appear to be shopping in the Rhys Hoskins aisle of free agency. The following tier includes Justin Turner, Garrett Cooper, CJ Cron, Trey Mancini, and Carlos Santana. Turner would be a solid choice and the Brewers have shown interest in the past, but David Stearns is also among those interested in Turner's services and he's now with the Mets. Does Matt Arnold have the same kind of interest in Turner as a player as Stearns did when he was in Milwaukee or was Stearns the driver of those previous pursuits?

Cooper and Cron are both career above-average hitters but are coming off below-average years in terms of OPS+. Mancini also has put up good numbers in his career, but has struggled since leaving Baltimore.

Carlos Santana may be the most likely solution for the Brewers at first base in 2024. They are familiar with one another, Santana is a switch hitter, so he doesn't need a platoon partner, and he'd be available on a short-term, affordable contract. Santana played well for Milwaukee after coming over at the Trade Deadline, hitting .249 with a .773 OPS and 11 homers in 52 games.

So far in free agency, the Brewers have focused a lot on re-signing their own players. Wade Miley and Colin Rea are Milwaukee's biggest expenditures on the open market so far. Continuing that trend with Carlos Santana would be a logical next step for the Brewers in their offseason.

Santana would bring veteran leadership to what will be a very young Brewers squad in 2024. He's well respected and, as we saw last season, he can still put up quality production.

If the Brewers don't go big to address the first base position, a reunion with Santana is a logical path to address the roster shortage while not blocking any of the young corner infielders in the minor league system.