The Milwaukee Brewers have traded outfielder Hunter Renfroe to the Angels in exchange for three pitchers. Now, rumors are swirling that the next move in the pipeline for Milwaukee is trading another veteran, Kolten Wong.
When the Renfroe trade was announced, Brewers GM Matt Arnold was quick to state that this was not a salary dump type of trade, despite the fact the Brewers dealt a productive player that was going to make north of $11MM next year for three young arms with less than 50 IP of MLB experience combined between them, but that this was a pure baseball trade.
Many raised an eyebrow to that statement.
Then Buster Olney reported Wednesday morning that the Renfroe trade was indeed a salary dump and that other teams expect Kolten Wong to be next.
Olney simply confirms what many fans were already thinking, that the Renfroe trade was a salary dump. But the interesting nugget is about Kolten Wong, who is set to make $10MM in 2023.
The latest Brewers rumors have Kolten Wong on the trade block and he's expected to be the next player traded.
It was easier to stomach moving on from Renfroe because the Brewers have so many outfield prospects that are ready for big league opportunities in 2023. Overall, they should be fine at his position without him. The same could be said for Kolten Wong. Brice Turang is a ready-made replacement in the infield and will see big league time in 2023. Even if Turang isn't ready on Opening Day, Luis Urias can handle duties at the keystone.
With quality replacement options for cheap already on the roster, it makes it easier for the Brewers to dump Kolten Wong's salary as well.
Since Wong is also on a one year contract, the expected return for him will probably also be somewhat light and fans may be disappointed in the return if he is traded. Just a fair warning, that may be the case.
If a Wong trade does occur, the Brewers will have dumped $21MM in projected payroll for 2023 in just him and Renfroe alone. For the organization to save face among the fans, they are going to have to use that newly freed up payroll space for either free agent additions or contract extensions for their current players.
Hunter Renfroe led the Brewers with a 126 OPS+ in 2022. Second on the team was Kolten Wong with a 118 OPS+. If the Brewers trade Wong, they'll have traded their two most productive hitters from a team desperate for offensive improvement.