With the 2022 MLB season coming to a close, Brewers fans get to enjoy what should be a competitive World Series. The other 28 teams are staying busy, however. Building a roster takes careful consideration, and many franchises utilize multiple off-seasons to build an ideal roster.
Many positions will field weak markets, with first and third base being particularly lackluster on paper. There may only be one or two missing pieces. For those teams, seeking out a trade might be in their best interest to win extra games. One player for the Brewers in particular could garner decent interest.
Will the Brewers Repeat History?
Rowdy Tellez was acquired from the Blue Jays to serve as Daniel Vogelbach’s injury replacement. Since he was added to the roster, Tellez has played in 209 games for the Brewers since 2021. In that time, Tellez has batted .231 with 42 homers and 117 RBIs with 2022 being his most successful campaign.
The Brewers have experienced a variety of issues this season. However, one issue that will need to be resolved soon is the logjam at first base. Tellez played in 153 games last year and solidified himself as the starter, until Keston Hiura exploded onto the scene once again. Hiura played in 80 games as a platoon piece and worked his way into the lineup consistently to end the year. He batted .226 with 14 homers, 32 RBIs, and 34 runs scored.
Currently, the Brewers have an infield that consists of Willy Adames, Luis Urias, and Kolten Wong. As long as the Brewers accept the expiring play options, Hiura and Tellez are most likely platooning again next year. Both first basemen provide great depth and value, but perhaps keeping them together creates more problems than it solves. The Brewers may look to trade away Tellez for the same reasons the Blue Jays did.
The Value Tellez Brings
The Brewers first baseman is arbitration eligible for the first time in 2023. He won’t be a free agent until 2026, so there is still significant team control time left. Most importantly, he is a right-handed pitchers nightmare after launching 31 homers off of them this year. Along with that, Tellez is also an excellent two strike hitter batting nearly .270 in 1-2, 2-2 counts. Rowdy Tellez is built to be a clutch fill-in for any team and he began to show signs of improvement against left-handed pitchers as well this year.
Depth is something every team has tried to add. In the MLB, it has become normal to pay large contracts to bench players. A competitive bench bat at a reasonable price can be very hard to say no to. If Tellez is the player the Brewers choose to move to solve the jam, there will surely be plenty of suitors.
Who Will Be Interested? Who Will Call?
It seems odd to say a team in the World Series is a “piece away” because they aren’t, in reality. However, the Astros do have an issue looming at first base. Yuli Gurriel has been a cornerstone for the Astros over the years and his career will always be remembered by their fans. At 38-years old, Gurriel has taken a step back and his production isn’t close to what he accomplished in 2021. His .288 on base percentage and -0.3 WAR encapsulate what has been an abysmal season for both Gurriel and the Astros at first base.
The San Francisco Giants sit in a similar situation. With Brandon Belt likely to hit free agency and the remaining class being nothing special, the Giants calling the Brewers for Tellez isn’t out of the question. As of right now, the top projected free agents at first base are Brandon Belt, Josh Bell, and Jose Abreu. By far, Abreu has the best stats but he will also turn 36 before the start of next season. At 27-years old, the Brewers could see Tellez garner more interest because of the lack of options.
The Sleeper Teams
The Giants and the Astros seem to make the most sense currently. However, there are two teams flying under the radar that may reach out to the Brewers. Both the San Diego Padres and Boston Red Sox might have to dig deeper to add a solid bat to their rosters.
The Padres were one of the worst teams against right-handed pitching in 2022. Now, Josh Bell may walk away and seek another $10 million a year in free agency. The Brewers realistically won’t ask for a ridiculous package in exchange for Rowdy Tellez. His production against right-handed pitching along with a short right field porch may make Tellez the perfect target for the Padres.
The Red Sox are perhaps the biggest sleeper team in this case. Eric Hosmer still has an option available and Triston Casas will surely make his case to be the starter. Although, Chaim Bloom is a strategist and has been known to carry powerful bench bats. Fenway could also assist Tellez, which could make him a dangerous bat for Boston. The Brewers have an established relationship with the Red Sox, but will Tellez be moved? Or will the Brewers solve the logjam is another fashion?