The Milwaukee Brewers continue their search to upgrade the offense this offseason. So far, they've done mostly subtraction from the position player group and not as much in the way of addition. One addition they could make is Twins infielder Jorge Polanco.
Recent reports indicate the trade market for Jorge Polanco has increased and there is a good likelihood that he ends up getting traded somewhere this offseason. Should the Brewers look to get more seriously involved in Polanco's market if they aren't already?
We haven't seen any reports connecting the Brewers specifically to Polanco's market, but the Brewers do check in on just about everybody.
Brewers Trade Target: 2B Jorge Polanco
Polanco is coming off a season in which he hit a respectable .255/.335/.454 with 14 homers and a 115 OPS+, playing primarily at second base. Polanco has plenty of experience at shortstop but moved to the keystone out of deference to Carlos Correa.
The Brewers didn't get a ton of offense at second base in 2023 as rookie Brice Turang held the everyday job. It took some time for him to adjust to the big league level, even though he was exceptional defensively. Turang, like Polanco, is a shortstop by trade that moved over because of a superior, experienced shortstop, in this case being Willy Adames. However, Polanco has the experience of hitting in the big leagues and a track record of being a productive bat.
Polanco would likely bring an offensive upgrade over Turang, but the Brewers still believe in Turang as a big piece of their future and want to give him those at-bats. If Polanco is brought in, where would Turang play?
To further complicate matters for Milwaukee, Polanco has just one year left on his contract, and he's due to earn $10.5MM this next season. That is not an insignificant amount to a team like the Brewers who didn't want to keep Mark Canha, who would've filled a need for a similar price. Polanco also has a club option for $12MM for 2025.
The only way a Polanco trade would seem to make sense for Milwaukee is if Willy Adames gets traded away. He's been rumored to be available on the trade market and is entering his final season of arbitration. Adames is projected to earn $12.4MM in arbitration for 2024. Swapping Adames for Polanco (albeit likely not in the same trade) would give the Brewers another offensively-minded middle infielder to put in their lineup, but it would only save the team a minimal amount of money in salary.
With less than $2MM in projected salary savings, the Brewers would likely be better off just sticking with Adames and Turang up the middle and search for another middle infielder next offseason when Adames hits free agency. The primary issues with Milwaukee's infield are on the corners, rather than the middle.
Now if the Brewers end up trading Adames anyway and don't get a viable middle infield option in return, then turning to Polanco may be an avenue to go down. But going from an Adames-Turang double play duo to a Turang-Polanco duo up the middle may not be much of an upgrade for Milwaukee.
As things stand right now, Jorge Polanco doesn't seem like he should be high on the priority list for the Brewers in trade discussions.