The Milwaukee Brewers’ slide in the second half continues in 2022. It stings seeing a team good enough to be in the playoffs likely missing out on them. Over the past six weeks the Brewers have a 20-20 record. How will this disappointment impact the 2023 Brewers roster?
At the trade deadline, Brewers general manager David Stearns described it as being about “bites at the apple.” Well, it looks like the team won’t get a bite at the apple in 2022. The Brewers’ play has been more disappointing than the deadline. It could change the way the roster is typically constructed next year.
Brewers finish in 2022 has major ramifications for future
If the Brewers can turn things around in September and make the playoffs, I think it greatly affects roster decisions for 2023. As we’ve seen with Andrew McCutchen, Kolten Wong and other moves, Milwaukee loves plugging spots with veteran free agents. We saw it in 2020 with Justin Smoak, Eric Sogard-type free agents.
However, if the Brewers fail to make the postseason, it could be a slight rebuild with MLB-ready young players. The Brewers have players ready for the call at most positions of need.
Looking to the future?
Looking at the Brewers roster you can see the possibilities of a very different look in 2023. Kolten Wong likely is not brought back. Center field is a position that could use an upgrade. Catcher, too, and Omar Narvaez is a free agent after the year. And a look at AAA, what do you know? Potential replacements are seemingly ready for a shot.
Brice Turang is more second base than shortstop and can play 2B. In CF, Garrett Mitchell has already been summoned this year and Sal Frelick looks poised to be an option on Opening Day as well. Mario Feliciano is having a nice year in AAA and seems like an option to a least platoon with Caratini in 2023. The one position which needs an upgrade but isn’t an option in AAA is third base.
Could Brewers deal Burnes, Woodruff or both?
We saw what the Josh Hader deal did to the Brewers clubhouse this year at the trade deadline. Eric Lauer, Devin WIlliams, Lorenzo Cain and others had thoughts on it. None seemed too glowing either. Hader had 1.5 years left of team control. If the Brewers do indeed decide to go the youth route, it makes sense with just two years of team control left to look at dealing Burnes or Woodruff.
Burnes isn’t signing an extension with Milwaukee and he’s poised for a monster payday after the 2024 year. Also, dealing him with longer than just one year maximizes his value. Going young in 2023 and making a Burnes trade for a haul opens up the Brewers window long-term. With Burnes in tow, it’s a one year max window because you can’t let him walk for nothing and get any decent value return with a year or less of team control.
Woodruff could be dealt also, but he won’t get near the payday as Burnes. However, Woodruff will be 32 and could be looking for the most money he can get. The Brewers will probably gauge price of an extension for Woodruff.
What could the Brewers look like next year?
C – Caratini/Feliciano
1B – Rowdy Tellez
2B – Brice Turang
SS – Willy Adames
3B – Luis Urias
LF – Christian Yelich
CF – Garrett Mitchell/Sal Frelick or Tyrone Taylor
RF – Hunter Renfroe
This could change if Burnes or Woody is dealt for an MLB ready player. Urias could best be served as a utility player. The Brewers could use an upgrade at 3B. I would suggest going for the best haul possible regardless of MLB-readiness in a Burnes or Woodruff deal. You want guys close, but if they are more on star prospect Jackson Chourio’s timeline, go with the talent. It’s probably best to have staggered team control of players anyway.
What do you think?
I know it stinks to think of a Brewers team without Burnes. A Cy Young winning pitcher leaving Milwaukee isn’t ideal. But simply put, for a small market team paying Yelich over $25 million per year in particular, it’s not feasible. Burnes is getting over $30 million annually. But, I can see the Brewers going for one more shot in 2023. I just think it would be best to open the window long-term and get a haul with two years of control instead of going with plug-and-play free agents.
Needless to say, it will be a very interesting offseason in Milwaukee if they miss the playoffs.