Ranking The Still Available Free Agent First Basemen For The 2024 Brewers

The Brewers still have to add a first baseman
World Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Houston Astros - Game Six
World Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Houston Astros - Game Six / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages
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The "Retirement Tour" Tier

Carlos Santana, Justin Turner, Joey Votto

This tier is nearing the end of their illustrious careers but are on the lookout for one year deals to keep going until they can't play anymore. The Brewers, likely looking for short-term solutions given their corner infield prospects in the upper minors, would be amenable to a grizzled veteran like any of these three names.

Carlos Santana, 38, is the most oft-connected name to Milwaukee. He joined the Brewers last season at the Trade Deadline and played well down the stretch. Santana and the Brewers have been in contact about a reunion and he may be the most likely solution at first base.

Justin Turner, 39, finally left the Dodgers and played for the Red Sox last year. He proved he's still a productive hitter even into his late-thirties and he hasn't shown any signs of slowing down yet. Turner was a previous free agent target of the Brewers front office and they could always look to pursue him again. He'd be an instant upgrade to this Milwaukee lineup.

Joey Votto, 40, is a familiar name in Milwaukee, having tortured Brewers pitching for the last many years with the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds declined his contract option, making Votto a free agent for the first time in his career. Votto isn't as good as he once was, dealing with injuries and hitting just .202 last year, but still slugging 14 homers and posting a 99 OPS+.

Votto still wants to play but hasn't found a ton of interest. At his age and recent injury history, Votto's looking at a part-time role. Santana or Turner would be likelier everyday solutions, making them likelier choices for the Brewers front office.

The "Possible Multi-Year Deal" Tier

Garrett Cooper, CJ Cron

The Brewers generally haven't given out long-term contracts to free agent first basemen, or really any free agents in recent years. But if they're going to find a multi-year solution on the free agent market for even just two or three years, the most likely bets may be Garrett Cooper and CJ Cron.

Cooper, 33, was an All Star in 2022 for the Marlins. This past season, he slugged a career high 17 homers. Cooper's a career .268 hitter with a .772 OPS and 109 OPS+ in his seven big league seasons. The former Brewers farmhand grades as a solid defender, which the Brewers covet and he was in the 95th percentile in sweet-spot % last year. Cooper could certainly be deserving of a two or three year deal.

Cron, 34, is a one-time All Star with a career .260 average, .791 OPS, and 111 OPS+. He's usually good for 25-30 homers a season and has never had a full season with a batting average below .248. Cron has spent the last couple years in Colorado, which may have inflated his numbers a bit. His home/road splits were quite extreme, but he was a productive hitter before he arrived in Colorado. His walk rate is low and his strikeout rate in manageable. Cron dealt with injuries in 2023 but is healthy for 2024.

A short 2-3 year contract at a reasonable annual value should be on the table for these two players. They're entering their mid-thirties and have been solidly productive in their careers. The Brewers would instantly upgrade their offense with either of these two players.