Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to make things work with someone, you realize things just simply aren't working and it's in everyone's best interest to part ways and move on. That's where the Brewers are at right now with Jesse Winker.
The intentions were good. Winker needed to get out of a bad situation in Seattle and the Brewers needed to clear out Kolten Wong to make room for Brice Turang. Returning Winker to a familiar division and a place he's had a lot of success made a ton of sense. He was as good a bet to have a bounce-back season this year as anyone.
Unfortunately, that bounce back has not materialized as we sit here in late July. The Brewers are coming to a critical decision point with the Trade Deadline looming just one week away. Winker's obscenely poor production has left the DH spot the biggest need on the Brewers roster.
The Brewers need to move on from Jesse Winker and bring in additional help at the DH spot at the Trade Deadline.
If there's one spot no team can justify being a black hole in the lineup, it's at designated hitter. Yet that's exactly what the Brewers have with Winker. On the season, he's hitting a paltry .194 with a .559 OPS, 57 OPS+, and just one home run. Winker is striking out at a career high 26% clip.
Statistically, he's one of the worst designated hitters of all time.
The Milwaukee Brewers cannot simply stand by and continue to roll with Winker as their DH when he's providing absolutely nothing to the team. If they were a bottom feeder team with no hopes of the postseason, maybe they could. But they aren't. They're a first place team with eyes on a postseason run and they cannot make one if they have Jesse Winker as their DH. We're four months into the season, if he hasn't turned it around by now, he's not going to.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell is finally starting to bench Winker, but that's only a temporary solution.
Yes, Counsell is right, it is about getting guys who can produce at this point in the season. Which is why the Brewers need to straight up move on from Winker instead of just benching him.
What does Winker provide if he's not the everyday DH? He is a poor defender in the outfield and doesn't play out there much anyway. The presence of Sal Frelick makes it even less likely the Brewers would want to stick Winker out there. He's a DH who can't hit. They can't trust him in the everyday lineup, and they can't trust him as a pinch hit option either because he's given the team nothing at the plate all year.
Winker has been an empty roster spot. The Brewers are playing with 25 guys while everyone else has 26. It doesn't matter what's on the rest of his contract. It's a sunk cost anyway. Keeping him on the team just so he can play for his salary will likely hurt the team more than just moving on, taking the dead salary hit, and replacing him with a more productive bat. Can't afford to cut him? They can't afford to keep him on the roster at this point.
Benching him for a few days and intermittently giving him playing time as the DH isn't going to help Winker get into a groove and it isn't going to help the Brewers win ball games.
The Trade Deadline is here and if the Brewers are going to be a serious contender this year, they need to acquire someone to fill Jesse Winker's spot at DH and simply move on from Winker.
Cut your losses, Milwaukee. It was a good idea, we all thought it would work, but it hasn't. Don't wait any longer. It's time to part ways with Jesse Winker.