It has been a busy couple of weeks for Matt Arnold since taking over as the General Manager for the Milwaukee Brewers.
The ball club has made a number of moves, including trading away former outfielder Hunter Renfroe for a few pitching prospects. It didn't end there. Just 11 days after the Brewers trade away Hunter Renfroe, they deal their former starting second baseman Kolten Wong to the Seattle Mariners.
It was rather surprising when Milwaukee exercised Wong's $10 club option, considering most anticipated the Brewers to let him walk and replace him with their number 4 prospect in Brice Turang. Wong was floated around in trade discussions since the club picked up his option, and now a deal finally get's done. So, what could be next for the Crew?
What moves could we expect to see next following the Brewers' trade for Jesse Winker?
Potential Move #1: Brewers trade away Keston Hiura
Keston Hiura most likely lost his role on the roster following the Brewers' acquisition of Jesse Winker. There are a couple of reasons why Winker will most likely slide into Milwaukee's primary designated hitter role: they have an excess of talented outfielders ready to contribute in 2023, and Winker's poor defense could keep him out of the outfield.
The Brewers have a plethora of young outfielders waiting for their shot to contribute at the big league level. Those prospects include Esteury Ruiz, Garrett Mitchell, Sal Frelick, and Joey Wiemer, all of whom I expect to see to some degree in 2023. Coupling the prospects with established players such as Christian Yelich and Tyrone Taylor, there will be a lot of mouths to feed in the outfield. After all, this was one of the reasons many believed the Brewers ended up trading away Hunter Renfroe.
Additionally, Jesse Winker grades out as a very poor defender. He has below average arm strength, and in 2022 he ranked in the 1st percentile in both Outs Above Average and Outfielder Jump per Baseball Savant. It would be wise for the Brewers to avoid having both Yelich and Winker manning the corner outfield spots, which gives Winker a good chance at locking down the designated hitter role.
This means that Keston Hirua may be the odd man out. The Brewers have their starters at each of the infield positions, and if the Brewers can get the 2021 version of Jesse Winker, he will be too valuable not to play. With Keston Hiura seeing half of his at-bats as the DH in 2022, it feels as if the Keston Hiura era in Milwaukee is close to coming to an end. While it's unfortunate that Hiura was never able to replicate his rookie season with the Brewers, it may be best for the team to move on from Hiura and get assets for him while they still can.