MLB trade rumors are a hot topic right now in which Friday’s tender deadline plays a big factor in that. This year the Brewers have a large arbitration class and they may put forth a large portion of their payroll to these players. With that being said, Matt Arnold is also likely exploring other creative ways to reduce payroll while maintaining a winning product on the ball diamond. One way he may be able to do that is by exploring a trade to obtain first baseman Jared Walsh.
Per the twitter page MLB Marathon, the Brewers, Cubs, and Rays have been linked to the Angels left handed slugging first baseman. The validity of this report has not been verified by well known insiders such as Ken Rosenthal, Jeff Passan, or Robert Murray.
— MLB Marathon (@MLBMarathon) November 16, 2022
Whether or not this report is true, let’s explore how a potential trade for Jared Walsh would impact the Brewers.
What is the current situation at first base?
Last season, Rowdy Tellez and Keston Hiura primarily split the first base job duties. Tellez ended up having a career season and is projected to make $5.3MM in 2023. Hiura had both good and bad moments in 2022, is projected to make $2MM, and is out of minor league options.
Prior to the tender deadline, the Brewers made a few moves by adding four prospects to the 40-man roster. One of those players was first baseman Jon Singleton. Singleton is a left handed batter who can hit for power. Matt Arnold made the comment that the addition of the DH allows the Brewers to be more versatile with Singleton. It is also worth noting that Singleton is out of minor league options.
As it stands today, this leaves the Brewers with three first basemen on the 40-man roster. Two of them are left handed hitters and one is a righty. Tellez is under club control through the 2024 season and Hiura 2025.
What happens if the Brewers do obtain Jared Walsh?
Adding in Walsh would likely mean that the Brewers move on from either one or both of Tellez and Hiura. Walsh is under club control through the 2025 season, which is one year longer than Tellez. Additionally, Walsh is projected to make $2.65MM during his first arbitration season. This would result in $4.65MM in savings if both Tellez and Hiura depart or $2.65MM savings if just Tellez leaves.
In theory, Walsh and Tellez could co-exist on the same team thanks to the DH. However, with both of them plus Singleton being left handed hitters, this may not be the best roster construction.
The exact asking price for Walsh is unknown. He is coming off a down season in which he hit for just a .215 batting average and had a 78 wRC+. The demands to acquire him may be at a low point right now. It will be interesting to see if any other reports link him to the Brewers.