While we put faith and trust into David Stearns and Matt Arnold, the roster turnover is something to watch for in the off season. Players’ contracts come to an end and they become a free agent; But, here are three players that the Brewers should re-sign.
1. Eduardo Escobar
Arguably the best trade deadline pick-up by the Brewers, Eduardo Escobar has helped out the crew in tremendous ways. Although he had one trip to the IL, he really has brought a new spark to Milwaukee.
The problem of finding a consistent, everyday third baseman for the Brewers has been a challenge since they lost Mike Moustakas to free agency prior to the 2020 season. The team even tried to bring back Travis Shaw. However, after a trip to the injury list, the Boston Red Sox claimed him off of waivers. Escobar is the guy that the Brewers need to continue the success into future seasons.
A first-time all star with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Escobar was carrying that team on his back. Prior to becoming a Brewer, he hit a slashline of .246/.300/.478/.778 with 22 home runs, and 65 driven in. Escobar has experience playing all four infield positions, which would make him a more valuable player for teams to pursue.
While Escobar will be 33 next year, trying to give him another multi-year deal in Milwaukee shouldn’t be too hard. He’s currently finishing out a three-year, $21M contract with the D-Backs. The Brewers usually aren’t ones to sign huge extensions except if your name is Christian Yelich, but, depending on how the contract is structured, they should be able to work out a deal with Escobar. It’s likely that he’ll want a contract similar to what he has/had with Arizona, as well. With the way the Brewers are going right now, it would be silly for Escobar to find another team after he’s helped bring success to this team.
2. Avisail Garcia
Quite notably the biggest turnaround for the Brewers is Avi Garcia. While he struggled last year, 2021 has been an entirely different year for him. Garcia is due for a nice payday, and while there is a $12 million club option, it’s likely that Garcia will request a little more.
On the year, Garcia is batting ./269/.338/.498/.836 with 27 homers and 82 driven in. His amazing offensive efforts have also given him a WAR of 3.0.
In Avi’s contract, if he were to reach a certain plate appearance threshold, he could elect to choose free agency. While he’s nearing that point, if he were to reach 1,050 plate appearances (Combined from ’20 and ’21), then the club option would be mutual. The club option would also become mutual if he were to have 550 plate appearances in 2021 alone (He currently stands at 476).
This re-signing might be a little tricky, however. The Brewers’ outfield is stacked with Christian Yelich, Tyrone Taylor, Lorenzo Cain, and Jackie Bradley Jr; All of whom are locked up for next season. Additionally, with Corbin Burnes, Willy Adames, and Brandon Woodruff all due for raises in arbitration, it’s going to be difficult to come to agreement on a new contract for Avi.
3. Jace Peterson
If the team were to give some of the credit of their success to any player? It would have to be “On Base” Jace Peterson. The unsung hero of the crew, who honestly surprised a lot of us. During the 2020 season, he posted .200/.393/.356/.749 with an OPS+ of 104 and just two homers. With the crew being riddled with injuries this season, Peterson has seen himself all over the diamond. In times where Jace was needed, he would shine brighter than the others.
His slash line of .269/.380/.398/.778 with an above average OPS+ of 110 has been something no one really expected out of Peterson. He’s only hit five homers, but he’s driven in 30 in 258 plate appearances.
According to Baseball Savant, he’s ranked as an average defender. It’s shocking, quite honestly; Considering all the positions he’s been asked to play, you would think Peterson would be ranked a little higher. He’s spent 235.1 innings at 2B, 81.1 at 1B, 135.2 in the OF, 68.0 at 3B, and 50.2 in LF. Peterson has even gone an inning as a pitcher for the Brewers. He did allow two runs in that pitching appearance however, so his ERA is at 18.00.
The Brewers have gone back and forth with Peterson since he was initially signed in 2019, but given how he’s contributed so much to the team this year, bringing him back in 2022 would be the best move.
All their players have contributed in some sort of way and it’s exactly what they need going forward. Those three players will enter free agency next season if the Brewers don’t snatch them up, and they would be silly not to. Once the season comes to an end, it’ll be interesting to see who stays and who goes.
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