The Milwaukee Brewers have shown that they likely will be in the playoff picture come September. Starting off winning 4 of their first 6 series of the year and supporting the leagues 3 best team ERA (2.75) including a league best starter ERA (1.90). Over the last week the Brewers hitting has also started to come around. As guys like Travis Shaw and Omar Narvaez are getting off to hot starts.
However, its not all good for the Brewers as a trio of big names for the Brewers have already hit the 10-Day DL. Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, and Kolton Wong have all missed time due to injury and will hopefully be back soon. Luckily, the Brewers have had guys like Tayrone Taylor, Daniel Robertson, and breakout player Billy McKinney step up to help fill the void.
However, assuming the trio comes back soon healthy, I want to focus on 5 upgrades the Brewers can make to help contend with the LA Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, and SD Padres in the NL.
1. Add Relief Pitchers
A team that has bolstered on of the best bullpens in baseball the past few years should look to add more talent to the bullpen. Of course you have Josh Hader, a two time reliever of the year. Along with Devin Williams the 2020 NL Rookie of the Year, who is working back from off-season surgery. Then you add in Brad Boxberger, JP Feyereisen, and Angel Perdomo, who all have pitched extremely well so far. The Problem is so far the trio of Drew Rasmuessen, Josh Lindblom, and Eric Yardley who haven’t pitch well. Yardley already on his second stint with the team this season, looks like an early season replacement.
The Brewers could use another left handed pitcher as well as another option for high leverage situations if Williams can’t work his way back.
A guy like Orioles southpaw Tanner Scott could be one possibility here as he would give the Brewers another hard throwing lefty. Scott, who has had good success and could be available in trade will be an excellent addition to the pen to face players like Cody Bellinger.
Another option to help add depth to the pen is Rockies Mychal Givens. Givens while isn’t a lefty. But, is a guy who would given the Brewers another high leverage pitcher out of the pen.
2. Make the Starting Rotation Elite
Like I mentioned earlier in the article, the starting rotation has the best ERA in the league. However, that’s because the Brewers 1-2 punch of potential Cy-Young candidates Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes. Freddy Peralta has also been exceptional so far his season. That leaves Adrian Houser and Brett Anderson who both have pitched well through 3 starts. However with a lot of season left, injuries and regression happen. Having another quality starter would be beneficial. Also Anderson left Friday’s start against the Cubs after 4 batters with an injury.
Adding guys like Jose Quintana or Andrew Heaney, both Angels, could be beneficial to have another left handed starter. They do have Brett Suter, but they would like to keep him in the multi-inning reliever role instead.
Other options they could look at is is a trio of guys in their minor leagues. Ethan Small(4th ranked prospect), Antoine Kelly(6th), or Aaron Ashby(7th). All could see time either in the rotation or in the pen this season.
3. Replace HIURA
This is one that I wouldn’t like to do. We knew that Hiura’s defense would take time at 1st, that there would be growing pains. However, due to Kolton Wong injury, and the Brewers trading Orlando Arcia to the Braves, Hiura has had to play secod more. However, no matter where you play two errors already and multiple miscues, Hiura’s best fit likely is DH. The reason the Brewers have kept Hiura is his offense. But, so far Keston Hiura has gotten off to an awful start. Batting just .118, with one HR and five walks. Maybe a trade to an AL team in need of a DH could be beneficial to both sides.
Options: The team that comes to mind in a possible trade is Oakland. The Brewers could trade Huira for Matt Olson. Olson is a power hitting 1st baseman, while Huira would become a DH and have the opportunity to grow into a decent defender at either 2nd or 1st. Likely this trade would have to involve other players, but is one both teams should look at.
Brewers do have Vogelbach as an option to take over for Huira as well. The Brewers could choose to use Huira in other ways as a trade piece to either get a big name pitcher or other position.
Likely unrealistic, Anthony Rizzo could be had in a possible three team trade with the Cubs and likely a AL team. As Huira likely would be dealt in the trade, as the Cubs likely wouldn’t want him.
4. Spark The Offense
Finding a way to spark the offense might be one of the best ways to improve this this team. The pitching has been great and has helped this team take a lead in the NL Central. However, the offense has sputtered much of the season. While some of that has to be the injuries to Cain, Wong, and Yelich some of it is inconsistent hitting.
There is 3 options that can be made. The first is just wait until they get everyone back and healthy and hope it just fixes itself. This is a possibility as long as they continue winning games.
The second option the Brewers could do is insert some different players. They could lean on players like Billy McKinney, and Tayrone Taylor. Or they could call up a guy or two from the affiliate site. Guys like Garrett Mitchell or Brice Turang come to mind, but there is no guarantee that they are ready to hit at the MLB level.
The final option could be looking to get rid of Andy Haines. If they replaced Haines they could look to promote Jacob Cruz the assistant hitting coach. Otherwise it might be tough to replace him mid season.
5. Upgrade at Third Base
Travis Shaw has been solid so far this season in a bounce back season. And considering the contract he’s on it has been an excellent signing for the Brewers. However, Shaw is still a bit inconsistent and doesn’t seem to be the former Shaw that Brewers fans grew to love and even earned him the nickname “Mayor of Ding Dong City.” But he also isn’t as bad as 2019 version Travis Shaw. He is somewhere in between the two. Which is a guy who can still come up big in huge moments and hit right handed pitching well. But, if the Brewers could add another big bat to the lineup that not only make the lineup stronger but also spark the offense they have to do it.
A few options the Brewers could target is former Brewer Mike Moustakas, or Eugenio Saurez both Reds. Or could look else where to two different players Kyle Seager or Evan Longoria. Both the Reds players make the most since to add for the Brewers but could be tough to deal with the Reds being in the same division as them. However both Seager and Longoria could be on teams that might be willing to deal the aging stars to get a few prospects. Both are guys who could hit around .250 and hit for 20 HRs. but in a lineup that could include Yelich, Cain, Wong, Narvaez and Huira they will likely get opportunities to produce.
The Brewers are a good team with a excellent pitching staff both starters and bullpen. However, the lack of offense and long season the Brewers have a few ways to improve the roster and take the next steps to locking down the NL Central and truly contend with the LA Dodgers for the best team in the National League.
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