The 2019 season has come and gone and it’s time for the Brewers to reload for another postseason run. Our staff has given their responses to some pressing questions as Milwaukee prepares its offseason plan.
What’s the plan at shortstop? Should the Brewers give Arcia another shot or is it time to move on?
Nate Truettner: There are a few obvious holes on the team heading into the offseason and shortstop without question is one of them. Orlando Arcia has been one of the worst hitters in baseball the past couple of seasons and had the lowest OPS of any qualified hitter in 2019. His defense, while highlighted with some remarkable plays, has also lost some of its luster as he was roughly average in the field last year. With his combination of awful offense and average defense, the Brewers can no longer afford to keep his bat in the lineup. I think they’ll tender him a contract, but he will not be the clear-cut starter.
Connor Grossnickle: Orlando Arcia will be back until we lose team control of him. With Hiura starting out at second next year, and question marks defensively at third and first base, don’t be surprised if the Crew keeps Arcia around at least to start the season. Because he is the worst hitter in the league though, don’t be surprised if the Brewers can find solid players at the corners that a midseason trade sees Arcia going for someone with a little better bat and slightly more mediocre glove.
David Turicek: Too long have Brewers fans been waiting for a shortstop that can provide some offensive support. Sure it is nice to have a player like Arcia to strengthen the infield defensively; however, for the Brewers who would have been knocking at the door of the World Series if it were not for Yelich’s injury, one may wonder how much better the Brewers would have been if they did not have to start players like Orlando Arcia, who throughout the year stayed cold at the plate. There were times when Arcia stepped up and had some important hits, but the Brewers need a more consistent hitter in their shortstop. While trades are always a possibility, the Brewers could look for free agents such as Jose Iglesias from Cincinnati, who batted .288 last season.
What’s the clearest need for the Brewers and how can they fill it?
Nate Truettner: Shortstop was just mentioned above and while I think that’s a position in desperate need of an upgrade, Milwaukee could really use some starting rotation depth. It’s been said year after year that the Brewers need to pick up a starting pitcher, and I think that this is the offseason it finally gets done. Look for Milwaukee to be in on pitchers like Hyun-Jin Ryu and Zack Wheeler while also picking up at least one mid-tier rotation option (i.e. Jordan Lyles).
Connor Grossnickle: The clearest need for the Brewers in my eyes is a somewhat clutch bat in the bottom half of the lineup. The Brewers left the most runners in scoring position in the league last year, averaging 3.75 runners left on per game. These runners were coming from Yelich, Moustakas, and Grandal consistently getting on base, but letdown seasons at the plate from Cain, Arcia, and slumps by players such as Aguilar. The problem? Clutch batters are kind of at a minimum on the market, at least at the Brewers price tag. Assuming that they get one of Moustakas and Grandal back, and Braun, Grisham, and Hiura continue to stay in average to above-average form at the plate, the Brewers should look to fill the backside of the lineup with a corner or utility infielder that’s capable of scoring some runs. Maybe this will be a rerun of Eric Thames or Neil Walker, or maybe a prospect will come to form outside of that. Limited options on the market do hinder this ability though so a trade may be in order to get a better hitting shortstop such as Xander Bogaerts, someone that was hinted at trading for last year.
David Turicek: The Brewers need consistent and reliable starting pitchers. For the first three-quarters of the 2019 season, the Brewers fell behind far too early in games—typically in the first two or three innings. The trend of early-game breakdowns on the mound depleted the morale of the team and can be attributed to their difficulty in securing a Wild Card spot. Next season, I think it is crucial that the Brewers continue to utilize Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Lyles, Adrian Houser, Zach Davies, and Brandon Woodruff. Otherwise, I think it is time for the Brewers to move on with Jhoulys Chacin and Chase Anderson, who have been struggling to say the least.
Chances the Brewers re-sign Moustakas/Grandal?
Nate Truettner: This is tough because it seems that each player *should* have a more robust market this time around as opposed to last season when both eventually had to take 1-year contracts. Yasmani Grandal is going to be a hot commodity, as he is a clear-cut top 5 catcher in baseball and his framing is second to none along with power at the plate. Moustakas will have slightly fewer suitors but he should still be able to nab a multi-year contract. If I had to put it into percentages, I’d say there’s about a 30% chance Grandal comes back and around a 60% chance that Moustakas returns.
Connor Grossnickle: While interested in both players, I believe that the Brewers have too many other needs to allocate resources to give both of these two a contract. In my opinion Grandal is actually more likely to come back. While other teams may be willing to doll out more cash for Grandal, Milwaukee is his best chance at winning a ring with a contending team, as other contenders around the NL and AL already have a solid backstop such as the Dodgers, Cardinals, Yankees, and Rays. On the other hand, many of the contending teams are on the lookout for power at the corner. While the Brewers will make a play at both I suspect Grandal will be brought back along with a solid first baseman and a few pitchers to fill out the free agents, while Shaw is given another chance to earn his place at the corner.
David Turicek: I personally think that the Brewers will be able to secure both Mike Moustakas and Yasmani Grandal. Assuming that both players are not chasing a good paycheck from a big-market team, both players are probably searching for a World Series victory. Given that the Brewers reached the NLCS without Grandal, I am sure that the Brewers management can provide a convincing argument for them to stay. As long as both players’ intentions are right, they both will be on the Brewers next year.