With the World Series concluding, the ability for MLB teams to make trades opens back up. Brewers President of Baseball operations David Stearns historically has not hesitated to make trades with a vast majority of them working out in his favor. Whether the deal is blockbuster or not, I would expect Stearns to pull the trigger on a few trades this off-season.
In this article we will look at three players who are in danger of being traded this off-season.
1) OF Jackie Bradley Jr
Desiring to trade JBJ is not unreasonable. After signing a two year $24 MM contract, he recorded one of the worst offensive seasons ever in 2021. He recently picked up his player option for the 2022 season. This means that unless a trade is performed, Bradley Jr will be back in the Brewers outfield next season.
JBJ will pick up his $9.5M player option and remain a Brewer for 2022. He is a Gold Glove finalist but had an uncharacteristically rough year at the plate.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 3, 2021
In conjunction with his 9.5MM pay next season, a big obstacle is finding a suitable trade partner. Prior to signing with the Brewers, the New York Mets expressed serious interest in the outfielder, but ultimately could not agree on terms. With Kevin Pillar recently becoming a free agent, the Mets now have a need for an outfielder. The World Series Champion Atlanta Braves are in danger of loosing their entire rebuilt outfield from this year. Trade deadline additions Eddie Rosario and Jorge Soler are free agents. Joc Pederson and Adam Duvall both had mutual options, which they declined. With Acuna on the mend from his ACL injury, perhaps Alex Anthopoulos would be willing to acquire JBJ as the Braves may have to rebuild their outfield again.
No matter what happens with JBJ, this is not the first time we have seen an outfielder perform poorly in his first year with the team. Avisail Garcia is a good example of this. He struggled in 2020 and then went on to have a career season in 2021. Perhaps if no trade is struck, JBJ can return to form in 2022.
2) 1B Daniel Vogelbach
With Keston Hiura struggling mighty in 2021, Vogelbach initially was the first man up to replace him. Unfortunately a hamstring injury kept his sidelined for quite some time. By the time he returned, Rowdy Tellez had emerged onto the scene and was the primary first basemen.
After essentially losing the first base job due to injury, this now puts Vogelbach in a unique situation. He remains under team control this off-season via arbitration but has no minor league options remaining. This makes him a potential non-tender candidate come the December 2nd deadline.
Another option besides a strict non-tender would be trading Vogelbach. Last off-season, the Brewers intended to no not renew pitcher Corey Knebel’s contract and ended up trading him to the Dodgers instead for a prospect. With Vogelbach likely to draw interest from other teams, trading him prior to the tender deadline would ensure that the Brewers at least get a player in return for his departure.
3) P Josh Hader
You can not go a Brewers trade article without mentioning Josh Hader’s name. We have seen this storyline each of the past few off-seasons, but he has yet to be traded. Why should this off-season be any different?
This year, there are a few more factors to take into consideration. For one, Hader is projected to make near $10MM in arbitration. Two, he has just two years of club control left. My point with that is the longer they wait to trade him, the less of haul they will receive in return. It is worth noting that big trade packages including top prospects have been a lot less common over the past few seasons across the league.
Lastly, Devin Williams has proved for two consecutive seasons that he is legit and would be in line to take over the closers role. Jake Cousins breaking out and Aaron Ashby performing well in the pen also signals that the Brewers have good options remaining shoulder Hader be traded. Likely, the Brewers will again listen to offers for Hader, but they will have to be blown away by a trade proposal in order to accept it.