Positional versatility has always been a characteristic that Brewers President of Baseball Operations David Stearns values. He also tends to place a heavy emphasis on depth when putting together a roster to prepare for a 162 game season. Given that, current free agent Mark Canha would be a great fit for the Brewers.
Where would Mark Canha fit in defensively?
Canha has played seven major league seasons, all with the Oakland Athletics. In 2015 he was primarily a first basemen in which he logged 537 innings at the position. Since 2015, he has played just 203 innings there including just two innings during the 2021 season. Instead of first base, Canha has been playing in the outfield in which he has the ability to play all three spots.
Although he has not played first base as much recently, many teams may be looking at Canha as a first base option given the relative lack of depth at the position available in free agency. As a right handed batter, Canha could fit in as a platoon option for the Brewers given that current firstbasmen Rowdy Tellez and Daniel Vogelbach are left handed batters. Additionally, with the departure of Avisail Garcia, Canha could fill in as an outfielder when not playing first base.
How is Canha on offense?
Since 2018, Canha has a 124 OPS+, which is slightly higher than his career average of 114. He does not hit for a high batting average, typically around the .240 range, but over the past three seasons he has had a walk rate greater than 12%. He is a very discipline hitter who will work the count, seldomly chase pitches outside of the zone, and has a strikeout percentage around league average.
From a power standpoint, Canha will not put up eye popping numbers. He did hit 26 long balls in 2019 and 17 in both 2018 and 2021. While the Brewers lineup is in desperate need of an additional power bat, his ability to contribute in the other areas mentioned may be enough to consider pursing him.
What would a contract look like?
MLB trade rumors projects a contract of two years, $24MM for Canha. Given that he will be 33 years old by the start of the 2022 season, a deal similar to this would be about what to expect. However, this is his first time entering free agency so throwing in an option for a third year would not hurt either.
It’s clear that the Brewers are in need of a right handed bat at first base and Canha may be the perfect fit. Signing him would be cheaper than other top free agents such as Anthony Rizzo and Freddie Freeman. Matt Olson is also a trade target, but would come at a heavy prospect cost. It will be interesting to see which direction the Brewers elect to pursue.