After a slow start to their off-season hot stove activity, the Milwaukee Brewers picked up steam in December and January and landed much-needed help to plug a few glaring holes in their roster. William Contreras and Jesse Winker will bolster their offense, and the Brewers hope Bryse Wilson and Wade Miley can support a proven pitching staff. However, will the Brewers stand pat and be content with their new acquisitions, or is Matt Arnold still plotting more moves in areas of need?
BULLPEN IS STILL A SOFT SPOT
The current state of the Brewers’ bullpen is a mere shell of what it was in 2022. Devin Williams returns to be the anchor at the end, but other than Hoby Milner and Jake Cousins, this year’s relief staff will have a very different look. Gone are Brad Boxberger, Brent Suter, Trevor Gott, and Taylor Rogers, just to name a few. Still reeling from the controversial Josh Hader trade and the second-half collapse of all aspects of their team, the bullpen situation must be addressed and shored up before Opening Day.
Paul Casella, a writer for mlb.com, argues that while the Brewers have made a recent splash with their signings, it may not be enough to contend. He includes the Brewers as one of seven teams that are contenders but should continue to work the free agent market to improve their current status. Casella writes in his January 7th column “7 Teams With Work To Do Before Opening Day”: “It’s hard to find a true weakness on the Brewers’ roster…(but) it’s still fair to ask if Milwaukee has done enough in the wake of 2022’s late-season collapse.”
At this stage, only scraps remain on the table of bullpen help. One possibility that remains available is Alex Reyes, a hard-throwing righthander most recently with the Cardinals. He missed the entire 2022 season following shoulder surgery, but David Adler from mlb.com believes that Reyes may be worth the risk for a team desperately seeking bullpen help. Adler feels “if a team throws a dart on Reyes and he stays healthy, that club is getting a 28-year-old pitcher who has a 2.86 career ERA and averages 11.0 strikeouts per nine innings–and he throws in the upper 90s with a wipeout slider…With the top closers now off the market, you’re not going to find many remaining free-agent relievers with Reyes’ talent, and none that are so young.
Time is running out, deals will be made across the MLB landscape in the remaining weeks of the off-season. The only question is: Will the Brewers step up and make an additional splash to be a contending team in 2023?